August 17, 2011

The "good, Better, and BEST" of Folic Acid

Today I want to talk about the good, better and best...nope not talking about this good better and best (also very good information)...but about the good, better and best of Folic Acid.

Ask anyone who knows anything about the human body and medicine...they can and will tell you about the importance of Folic Acid (folate) and it's uses in the human body.  It is vital for many, if not most, of our bodies functions.  So making sure you have enough folic acid is really important.

Unfortunately, there are some of us (a large percentage---try 70%) who have a genetic condition/defect/varient (whatever you want to call it) called MTHFR that makes it difficult (and for some, nearly impossible) to convert regular Folic Acid  or Folate from our food and regular supplementation (multi-vitamins, folate supplements), and convert it into the usable form the body needs called L-methyltetrahydrofolate, or methylfolate for short. (For more information, see my page on MTHFR )

So how do you get past that?  You take a pre-methylated, already active, already usable form of methylfolate.  This helps to bypass any problems your body might have in breaking it down itself.  Right?  Right!

I, for one, am one of these people.  I have a "mild" form of the MTHFR defect.  So...I take methylfolate.

Just recently I learned, sadly, that not methylfolates are created equal (as man was).  Bummer.

A few months back I found a new brand of Methylfolate made by a company (we'll call it "P") that had not been mentioned to me by my doctor.  It was the same price as the brand he had recommended (company "T") but TWICE the capsules.  Now, I don't know about you, but I am a pretty frugal lady....and that really appealed to me.

I checked the bottle labels of both companies (P and T) and saw that, other than a few differences in what the capsules were made from, the ingredients appeared to be the same.  So I bought the cheaper ones, of course.

A few weeks into taking the new stuff, I told my husband, "It doesn't feel the same," but chalked it up to scepticism (I mean, they were basically half the price...there's gotta be something wrong with them) and then paranoia (It's just in my head).  Eventually I upped my dose and tried to move on.

Slowly over the last two months I have felt myself very slowly declining.  I'm nowhere NEAR as low or as dysfunctional as I was before but, none-the-less, the changes are still pretty evident.

Lower emotions, slow mentation (brain fog, words-stuck-in-brain-can't-come-out-of-mouth-which-leads-to-social-awkwardness syndrome), and had another miscarriage.  All symptoms of decreased levels of Folic Acid. 

I should have followed my gut instinct about the new methylfolate.

And then when things start to go south....why is it that I automatically go into denial?  ("This cant be happening again, this cant be happening again, this cant be happening again....".)  Then I just freeze up while things continue to get worse.  DUH Melanie!

I'm grateful that the Lord, in his grace, is always looking out for me. 

While attending his seminar last week (was it only last week?), I had the chance to talk to Dr. Rawlins about the new supplement I had found (which is actually the ONLY reason I went again this time).  He had never heard of it.  When I told him that it claimed to be the same supplement but was twice the pills for the same price, he only had one question.

"Is it L-methylfolate or DL-methylfolate?

What the what?

"I don't know," I said.  "It just says 5-methyltetrahydrofolate on the bottle."

"My guess," he said, "is that it is DL and not L.  And while DL is better than taking's not the purest form of methylfolate and therefore is not as effective."

 Bummer....I had no idea.

He continued, "You should look into it.  Companies that sell "L" are pretty proud of the fact that they sell the "purest" form and are usually pretty good about disclosing that fact...the other companies are not as good about disclosing that theirs is not as good."  (this doctor was there, as well, and confirmed Dr. Rawlins suspicion.)

I took a few minutes during the seminar to do some research on my laptop.  I couldn't find anywhere where company P disclosed what form of methylfolate they produced.  Not even on their OWN website.

D.A.N.G. I.T....

I KNEW I should not have taken a walk down the unbeaten (un-prescribed) path.  Shame on me for being so cheap. 
Back to the drawing board.

I came home and re-ordered some of my "usual" Methylfolate and have been taking it again for 3-4 days.

Whether the lack of "pure" methylfolate was a catalyst in the miscarriage, along with the decreased sense of well-being, or it just so happens to be a coincidence, I don't know.  What's done is done.

If anything, this experience will most likely turn out to be one more thing to reaffirm to me how much I need to be on this particular folic acid supplement.

I'm going to be watching myself closely for the next few weeks.  I'll have to wait and see (or more accurately, feel) what happens.

I'm optimistic things will be looking up sometime soon.

Folic Acid (Folate)...good.

 P.S. Leave a comment! I love to hear from you!


Me said...

VERY Interesting...and I love the powers that be that guide me to you! I was just on your blog to copy and paste your link onto my blog because I'm writing a bit about MTHFR today and rather than be redundant I'm just sending them to you. And I thank GOD I was sent to you...I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now without your help!

Natalie J said...

Because I had already ordered from "P", I am going to take it until it is gone and then get the "T" kind. Like you said, going from nothing to the "P" kind, is better than nothing. I want to have the best, though. Love ya!

Melanie said...

Melanie, is there a test for this issue and where does one take it?

The Bailey's said...

Mel - will you email me the company names? I ordered the "P" one, I think? and wondering what the T one is if I order again in the future. I haven't told the hubs about it yet, cause I want to see how it helps me before he starts making fun of me:) You know how he is, needs a kick in the hiney every once in a while, but I still love him!

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