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How bad is Folic Acid?

Discussion in 'Genetic Testing and SNPs' started by anxiousguy, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. anxiousguy

    anxiousguy

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    I am homozygous for a1298c, no c677t

    I am very anxious. I don’t supplement with folic acid. I am going to attempt methylation soon.

    How bad is folic acid? Does anyone really know. I am not going out of my way to eat food that is fortified, but I like to eat a sandwich, pasta and chinese food with noodles and rice at least once a week or so.

    Am I drastically increasing my odds of cancer? Blocking good methylfolate when I do try methylation?

    It gets crazy:
    Don’t eat gluten, folic acid, animal proteins, dairy, high glutamate foods, non organic foods, etc
    Basically, don’t eat anything and don’t ever go out to dinner.

    Thank you
     
  2. PeterPositive

    PeterPositive Senior Member

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    No folic acid is not evil incarnate :)
    Before knowing I had the C677T ++ mutation I was taking folic acid because my homocysteine was ultra high and my serum folic acid too low.

    It worked to some degree.

    The problem with folic acid is avoiding long term supplementation, especially at high doses. There are better choices such as folinic and mehtyl-folate. So if you can switch to either the former or (event better) the latter it would be best.

    Cheers
     
  3. Critterina

    Critterina Senior Member

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    Asking how bad is folic acid is like asking how bad are tomatoes or blueberries. It depends on who you are. I got noticeable, reliable results (relief from occasional neuropathy), from folic acid. I didn't notice whether it affected my predisposition toward depression, so either it was mild or I didn't make the connection. Methylfolate, however, improves my mood.

    Tomatoes, on the other hand, appear to be evil incarnate for me, due to histamine intolerance. A quarter of a thin slice of tomato used to make me sick for three days. People keep telling me about foods like this "It's so good for you!" Well, maybe, if I could breathe after I ate it. But I prefer breathing. Thanks, I would love to have tomatoes or blueberries, but I'll take buttered toast.
     
  4. anxiousguy

    anxiousguy

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    @PeterPositive I assume that the first line is sarcasm :)

    I was on tons of folic acid before I knew what MTHFR was. I am just wondering if it is really harmful - cancer, blocking good folate/methylfolate - or just a case of not going out of your way to eat a ton of enriched products and supplement with synthetic folic acid.

    My whole question is about fortified foods, not supplements

    @Critterina Thank you as always
     
  5. PeterPositive

    PeterPositive Senior Member

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    Yep, the smiley face should have conveyed that :)
    As @Critterina said... it's not that folic acid is bad per se, but certainly it can be bad in certain situations and some people should probably stay away from it.

    Well, if it was "a ton" then it's best not to persevere at least. There are known risks and side effects from high levels of unmetabolized synthetic folic acid.

    I think you should calculate the dose of how much folic acid those foods provide. I am not very familiar with fortified foods as we don't have them in Europe.

    Personally I did find folic acid useful to lower my homocysteine even with the MTHFR double mutation. I took it for almost 2 years. When I switched to methylfolate I did not experience major noticeable differences but in general it is considered safer and more effective.

    Some people, on the other hand, find immediate problems and must stay away from it. A bit of experimentation and common sense is required.

    I think it all boils down to how much folic acid you're taking from the food, are we talking about 100% RDA? 50%? More?

    Since the MTHFR mutation causes a higher % of unmetabolized folic acid it would be best to keep the intake to a minimum.

    cheers
     
  6. anxiousguy

    anxiousguy

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    Again, sorry for not being clear. I am homozygous for a1298c. I want to know if it is ok to eat some folic acid fortified foods (pizza, donuts, rice etc) I know that these aren't the best foods for you in general, I just want to make sure that it is not super harmful (though maybe not ideal) to eat them. I do get joy from eating some of that stuff

    Unfortunately it is not always easy to tell what is fortified and what is not and how much is in it. It usually just says that it is in it, not how much is in it
    For example http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/donuts/donuts.html

    The other problem is that delis and other places don't know what is in it (at least the kids behind the counter don't) It seems like "everything" has it in it.

    I don't take any folic acid supplements anymore other than fortified foods.

    @Critterina @PeterPositive @caledonia
     
  7. caledonia

    caledonia

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    I don't see any problems with occasionally eating something like that. It's fun to cheat every once in awhile. :)
     
    Critterina likes this.
  8. anxiousguy

    anxiousguy

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    Thanks @caledonia

    I cheat numerous times a week
     
    Critterina likes this.
  9. PeterPositive

    PeterPositive Senior Member

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    Personally I'd be more worried of the preservatives, coloring agents, hydrogenated fats, corn syrup etc... than the folic acid, in the long run :eek: :)
     
    Critterina likes this.
  10. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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  11. Critterina

    Critterina Senior Member

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    I'm with @caledonia and @PeterPositive on the folic acid issue: don't worry about it. You don't have any SNPs that would make it an issue, so I wouldn't even consider it cheating. But, like Peter said, do watch out for artificial colors, preservatives, sweetners, etc. or other non-foods that the human race didn't evolve with. IMHO, people differ in their sensitivities to those things, but once you're in this forum, whether you have CFS/ME or not, you probably are more sensitive.
     
    PeterPositive likes this.
  12. anxiousguy

    anxiousguy

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    Thank you everyone @PeterPositive @Critterina @ahmo @caledonia

    Critter - what do you mean that I don't have any snps that would make it an issue? Isn't MTHFR a snp that makes it an issue. Ben Lynch is always very clear that he would avoid it altogether.

    @ahmo - Thank you for that link. This is confusing: "According to researchers Obeid and Hermann:
    Evidence of a negative health effect of free folic acid (FA) in blood is not consistent and suggests rather artificial factors. FA has no known cofactor function that would increase the likelihood of a causal role for free FA in disease development.

    This means that since folic acid is totally synthetic, it doesn’t do anything to the body’s enzymes thereby rendering it harmless."

    Much of that link seems to be focused on mothers and babies.

    Again, I am not supplementing with synthetic folic acid. I am strictly speaking about fortified foods here. The things that I have always been worried about about are UMFA floating around my system and helping cancer grow and the bad folic acid blocking the good folate (dietary or supplemented methylfolate) which is also mentioned in this article. I know that my Homozygous A1298c blocks a large % (still not clear on that as I have heard 30% to 70%. Do people without MTHFR have no problems with synthetic folic acid? Does it all get through? Is what happens with me that it just takes the percentage and the rest floats around unused? I am a little unclear how the methylfolate works too. Does it all get through? None of it floats in circulation?

    Again, the biggest problem with fortified foods is that I don't know what it is in or how much is in it. Again, it is as much as supplementing or 1% of it? I'd imagine if they went through the trouble of fortifying foods, they'd add a significant amount. The foods that I'm worried about are breads, pasta, noodles, rice and pizza. I'll occasionally notice pretzels or other things that have folic acid in them. Again, this is where the labeling gets tricky too. I'm assuming that everything that says folic acid is synthetic vs folate. There doesn't seem to be a ton of consistency here either.

    I always wonder how our ancestors got sufficient b12 to have healthy brains. I know that it absorbs poorly through the stomach. I know that early man wasn't sublingually taking b12 or getting methylcobalamin shots. Were they just eating animals and their guts were in better shape?
     
  13. PeterPositive

    PeterPositive Senior Member

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    They had better genes :)
    No pollution, moderate to intense physical activity, lots of time spent outside, real alive food ... and yes (cynically) natural selection did its job more thoroughly... meaning that the less strong had less chances to survive the early years and become adults.

    Now we've much better life expectancy now we deal with a ton of chronic and degenerative diseases, sensitivities and allergies and pass along our more or less damaged epigenome and microbiome to out offspring, so these issues spread pretty quickly within few generations.

    If I think of my grandma, eating meringue at 91 (died at 95) when my stomach couldn't handle those at 30... yeah we definitely didn't came from the same mold :(
     
  14. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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    I agree, folic acid in your foods is probably not something to get anxious about.;)But I would urge you to try, even for just 5 days, going gluten and dairy free, to see what happens. I can't remember, maybe you've already done this. But I mean totally, not sorta. Clearly we can't give you any absolute approach. But I want to emphasize how dramatic the shift in my nervous system and unbearable anxiety levels was when I'd been 3 days gluten-free.

    I've now been on a healing trajectory. My diet is very limited. But a year ago it was incredibly limited. As I've progressed, I've been able to put foods back . But never again gluten, probably not grains altogether. It's easier for me, I'm living like a recluse, no social eating, no eating on the run. But please anxiousguy, I urge you to do whatever it takes now to get on top of your health, to set you on a path of increasing health, rather than towards a cliff edge.:hug:
     
  15. caledonia

    caledonia

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    There is no direct study on how much A1298C blocks folic acid. The best one I have seen is one that shows a combo of C677T and A1298C. So you can interpolate. If C677T+/- blocks 40% and compound hetero C677T and A1298C blocks 60%, then subtract the known value of C677T and you come up with A1298C blocking 20%. You have two mutations, so that would be 40%.

    Or to put it another way - 60% is working fine.

    The RDA for folic acid for an adult male is 400mcg.
    http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-folic-acid

    Here is a chart of the amount of folic acid in fortified grain foods:
    http://cchealth.org/folic-acid/list.php

    Bread Products (made with enriched flour)
    Bread, white
    1 slice 35 mcg
    Bread, whole wheat
    1 slice 14 - 26 mcg
    Bread, bagel
    1 - 4 inch bagel 119mcg

    Pasta (made with enriched flour)
    Spaghetti, enriched (cooked)
    1 cup 127 mcg
    Macaroni, enriched (cooked)
    1 cup 172 mcg

    The worst offender looks like macaroni. So let's say you were a big Mac and Cheese fan. If you ate two and a third cups of MC a day it would be like taking a multi with 400mcg of folic acid every day.

    It looks like three and a half bagels, and 11 or 12 slices of bread would be equivalent.

    So it looks like you would have to be working really hard at ingesting enriched flour carbs to get that much folic acid.


    The issue is something called intrinsic factor in the gut which metabolizes B12 from food. So if your gut isn't compromised and you generally live in a clean environment that doesn't cause a high demand for B12, and you're eating animal products containing B12, you would be in good shape regardless of your genetic mutations.
     
  16. Critterina

    Critterina Senior Member

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    MTHFR is a gene, and it is subject to different mutations (SNPs) with different effects.

    The MTHFR C677T SNP slows down the last step of the conversion of folic acid (which at this point has become folinic acid) to methylfolate.

    The MTHFR A1298C SNP slows down the reverse reaction (conversion of methylfolate back to folinic acid) - at least in the lab. There is debate as to whether it actually occurs in vivo (in humans, at least).

    The other gene that is in involved in the chain of conversion steps is SHMT, but from what I can tell* there in a secondary pathway, so there is a possibility that folic acid conversion can proceed, even with the SHMT SNP that I have (in my signature). Research shows that if you have the C677T that SHMT makes it worse in a statistically significant portion of the population. (I have not tried to assess this report, but if there is a secondary pathway and that pathway is also affected by SNPs, you can see how coomplicated the picture can get.)

    There is no research on the effect of this SHMT SNP on those with the A1298C mutation.

    Does this make it any more clear, what I was saying?

    I believe that Ben Lynch has much improved his website from the time when I was diagnosed with the hetero A1298C SNP, but at that time there was no useful information about A1298C. None.

    *I was reading my biochemistry texbook (Lehninger, 2nd edition), but I'm not sure I was reading it right. The secondary pathway is what I understood, but until I'm sure of it, I treat it as hypothetical. Still, it is consistent with my experience that when I supplemented folic acid, it eliminated the sharp, transitory pains in my feet and legs, that I have experienced since childhood.

    Crit
     

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