Ladies - this message is important!
We all know that folate is important if you’re in the preconception period or if you’re pregnant (scroll down in my feed for my post on folic acid vs. folate). Our physicians tell us to take a prenatal that contains folic acid and we are good to go. Sometimes, however, this isn’t the whole story.
To keep things simple, the MTHFR (which stands for methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase) genes (there are two) are responsible for converting folic acid (in many prenatal vitamins and fortified foods) to the active form of folate that the body can actually use. Some people have a mutation in one or both of these genes and, as a result, cannot adequately convert folic acid into the useable form in the body (for reference - it is estimated that 30-50% of us have this gene mutation). Why should we care about this? This gene mutation can result in folate deficiency (and folate is a CRITICAL preconception/pregnancy nutrient that helps to prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida or anencephaly), high homocysteine levels and miscarriage.
You can get genetic testing done to confirm whether or not you have this gene mutation but for all of my preconception/pregnancy clients, I recommend a good quality prenatal vitamin that already contains the active form of folate (simply look at the label of your prenatal to see that it says 5-MTHF or L-methylfolate instead of folic acid)
If you’ve had recurrent miscarriages, preeclampsia or genetic issues with another pregnancy, I recommend talking to your physician about testing for this gene mutation.
Have you heard of this gene mutation before? Let’s chat in the comments!
Please share this post - if 30-50% of is are affected, someone will benefit from hearing this message.
Until next time,