When talking about health for babies and mothers, you’ve likely heard of the importance of B vitamins, namely B9 or Folate.  A prenatal chiropractor will be able to guide you to making wise decisions in your health for the next 9 months of pregnancy and should know the role folate plays in the development of your child.

Folate plays a vital role in the healthy development of the neural system during and is essential for normal functions.   This includes growing children, women getting chiropractic during pregnancy, and men as well.  It is water-soluble, meaning it becomes active in the body when water is present. Excess folate is then excreted in the urine after being processed by the kidneys. Folate is very important when considering the impact it has on energy production and cell metabolism. When the body uses B vitamins like folate, it allows cells to produce energy needed for an array of different functions in cells and tissues.

The vitamin is actually more like a special enzyme, which allows your own DNA to make amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are needed for almost every function in the body, one of which is building muscle. As a developing fetus, it helps to ensure proper cell division, and as an adult it prevents you from developing a certain kind of anemia where the cell enlarges due to lack of iron. But did you or your prenatal chiropractor know that there are different sources and qualities of folate?

Folate is typically found in food products in the form of folic acid. If pregnant, a doctor may advise a folic acid supplement. But did you know folic acid is not the same as folate? Folic acid may be chemically altered in the body to become folate, but they have different effects on the body. Folate is a naturally occurring vitamin found in foods like beef liver, leafy green vegetables, and legumes (green beans, black beans, peanuts). Folic acid is a cheap synthetic form of B9 that the government mandated to be added to foods back in 1998. It was done to decrease neural tube defects, and has been very successful in that aspect.

But research is showing that this form is unusable in as much as 45% of the population due to a genetic defect that makes it impossible to convert folic acid to folate. Decreased folate in the body means an increased risk for heart disease, anemia, cancers, and developmental growth problems. One study also showed that high folic acid consumption was linked to cognitive decline later in life.

“So how can this be avoided?” By choosing whole foods with folate, you cannot overdose on this vitamin because naturally occurring foods with folate have balanced levels and contain other synergistic nutrients to help the body make energy as efficient as possible. When at the store, the only way to know what form you’re eating is by reading the label. Only then can you know what you’re eating and take a stand for the health of you and your baby if pregnant.  Reach out to us if you are interested in finding a prenatal chiropractor.

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