As a mother and facilitator of health for other mothers, I really wanted to share this with you all, be you single, married or a mother or a mother wanting to provide the best nutrition for her children.  Well, as a pregnant mum you may have been told to take Folic Acid supplements or seen it on the label of supermarket breads, flours and numerous other food items.

Lets start by looking at Folate.  Naturally it is present in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip green, romaine lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and bokchoy.  Fruits containing it are grapefruit, pineapple honeydew melon, raspberries and strawberries.  Organic liver, brewers yeast are good sources too.

Folic acid is a single type of molecule, crystallized in 1943 by a scientist working for the patent medicine company Lederle Laboratories, then a subsidiary of American Cyanamid Corporation. Folic acid is the fully oxidized form of naturally occurring folates, which are found in leafy and green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, romaine, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy. Other sources include corn, beets, tomatoes, dried or fresh beans and peas, fortified sunflower seeds and some fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, banana, raspberries, and strawberries. Liver (only organic, of course) and brewer’s and baker’s yeasts are good sources of folate, too.

Folic Acid, on the other hand is nothing like Folate. Folic Acid is a single type of molecule, crystallized in 1943 by a scientist working for the patent medicine company Lederle Laboratories.  When a Natural Folate molecule is oxidised (exposed to air), it becomes unstable and breaks down, and is generally no longer useful in nutrition.

But—and this is important to understanding the difference between folic acid and the various naturally occuring folates—none of these vegetables, fruits, liver or yeast naturally contain even one molecule of folic acid.  It is similar to the public belief( thanks to medical media), that horse estrogen and human estrogen are the same thing.

The human and animal body cannot use a Folic Acid molecule itself, but we are able to convert Folic Acid  into much needed Folate. So what are the benefits of Folate you may be asking?  Some birth defects of Folic Acid are: spina bifida, cleft lip and palate.  The tricky thing is that as we age, our bodies are increasingly slow at transforming folic acid into usefully metabolized folates. That’s probably why scientists are finding that folic acid (not folate) is associated with cognitive decline in the elderly.

So, really in a nutshell – make the list above of foods containing natural folate a large part of your daily intake.  Green juices, green smoothies and with winter on the way some organic liver in your hearty stews.

Happy feasting, with love Kira