What is the deal with Folate during pregnancy?

PRECONCEPTION

Why is MTHFR important in preconception and pregnancy ? 

Written by our fertility Naturopath – Shannon Stokes

1. MTHFR is an enzyme in your body that converts the folate you eat (leafy greens and legumes) into a usable and active form for absorption
2. If you have a mutation in the gene (which is what we can test for) the absorption of folate you consume via diet or prenatal vitamin will be affected. 
3. Folate is absolutely essential for a healthy pregnancy. 
4. If we know there is a mutation in this gene we can help ensure you are getting the right types of active folate to assist with getting you pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy and healthy growth and development of your baby. 
4. A mutation in one of the tested genes or even both of the genes tested is very common and could be affecting your chance to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy. 
5. Taking higher doses of folic acid in a prenatal vitamin if you have this gene mutation is not the answer and can be impacting your fertility and may lead to pregnancy struggles. 
6. So many foods and cereals are fortified with folic acid which is overkill if you ask me, so you may be overloading via diet and then taking a prenatal vitamin with already high levels of folic acid form. 
7. This science is hugely complex and not a one size fits all approach, don’t opt for a quick over the counter prenatal vitamin especially if you feel there might be some problems getting pregnant or having frequent miscarriages.
8. Some of the signs that you may have a defect are;

depression
– fatigue
– anxiety
– low B12 levels
– elevated homocysteine (blood test)
– multiple miscarriages
– ADD
– ADHD
– high blood pressure
– chronic constipation. 

All this aside, it is important to know that the MTHFR gene resides in every single cell in the body. People with the genetic variant can have up to 40-60% reduced ability to utilise folate. It is suggested that 1 in 4 people carry a variant or mutation. That’s pretty high odds if you ask me?!
If you would like to know more, call us for a chat and get the test done at our clinic or have it posted to you. The test is simple and quick with a finger prick test and the information gained and treatment post MTHFR test is actually really easy, but always individualised! 

Credit:

Shannon Stokes

Naturopath and Nutritionist at our Brisbane clinic.

Specialising in fertility, pre-conception care, pregnancy and women’s health, children’s and adolescents Nutrition

To learn more please contact us!

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