Wonder Bread was all the rage in the 1950’s. It’s not so wonderful after all. The rise in sensitivities to wheat have risen to create a gluten free market for consumers who avoid wheat products. Although wheat crops aren’t genetically modified, they are sprayed with RoundUp to dry or dessicate the crops a few days before harvest. The residues of glyphosate are in the wheat when they are harvested, which you in turn eat. Why is this a problem? Read more to find out what this can mean to your health.
GMOs and RoundUp
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are prevelant in our diet of processed foods in the 21st century. Corn, soybeans and canola crops are the major GMO crops. Most of the GMO crops are designed to be resistant to a weedkiller containing glyphosate, which is the key ingredient in RoundUp and other weedkillers on the market. Glyphosate is registered as an antimicrobial (antibiotic) with the US Patent office. When you eat foods that have been grown where glyphosate has been sprayed, your gut bacteria is effected. It kills the “good guys”, the good bacteria that help keep you healthy. The B vitamins and other nutrients are produced in the intestines and without the “good guys” your body can’t provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need to have a healthy immune system. You see the glyphosate binds to the minerals in the soil and depletes them making them unavailable to the plants and to you when you eat them. Many farmers are seeing the difference and switching to organic or non-GMO crops.
To learn more about GMOs visit GMO Free USA
Folic Acid vs. Folate
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate which is in the natural form. Folic acid is very difficult for the liver to digest and for some people impossible, resulting in a folate deficiency (see MTHFR). Remember to avoid foods that contain Folic Acid and eat foods high in folate or take a methylated form of folate available at health stores and vitamin shops.
Sources of Folate (B9)
Folate is found naturally in a wide variety of foods, including vegetables (especially dark green leafy vegetables), fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry and meat, eggs, seafood, and grains (Table 2) [3,7]. Spinach, liver, yeast, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are among the foods with the highest levels of folate.
In January 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring manufacturers to add folic acid to enriched breads, cereals, flours, cornmeals, pastas, rice, and other grain products . Because cereals and grains are widely consumed in the United States, these products have become very important contributors of folic acid to the American diet. The fortification program was projected to increase folic acid intakes by approximately 100 mcg/day [9,10], but the program actually increased mean folic acid intakes in the United States by about 190 mcg/day .
The Canadian government has also required the addition of folic acid to many grains, including white flour, enriched pasta, and cornmeal, since November 1, 1998 [11-13]. Other countries, including Costa Rica, Chile, and South Africa, have also established mandatory folic acid fortification programs . (Quoted from National Institute of Health – Folate)
Well, what does folic acid and folate have to do with bread??? I’m glad you asked. When grocery stores became widespread in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s bread didn’t have a long enough shelf life for it to be shipped to various locations. The wheat germ and the wheat bran were removed to make the product more stable at room temperature. Freshly ground wheat berries must be either refrigerated or frozen to keep the wheat bran and wheat germ from turning rancid. Since then it was discovered that pregnant women who were deficient in folate had babies with neural tube defects. So an “enriched” version of the breads, pastas and cereals began using a synthetic version of folate known as “folic acid”. The synthetic version was stable in grocery store baked goods for long periods of time. In 1998, the FDA required all manufacturers to add folic acid to breads, cereals, flours, cornmeals, pastas, rice and other grain products.
Folic acid is added in vitamins and supplements, also is in many processed foods, especially products containing wheat, such as breads, pastas, cereals, and baked goods.
To learn more about Folic Acid vs. Folate
Listen to the podcast – Whole Healthy Living (featured below)
MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is a genetic mutation that effects many people and has recently been realized since the completion of the Human Genome Project (completed in 2003). MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is a growing health concern that is being treated successfully by physicians who understand Functional Medicine. To find a doctor who understands MTHFR see Seeking Health Physicians Directory or find doctor who practices Functional Medicine visit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
What is the normal function of the MTHFR gene?
The MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme plays a role in processing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is important for a chemical reaction involving forms of the vitamin folate (also called vitamin B9). Specifically, this enzyme converts a molecule called 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to a molecule called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. This reaction is required for the multistep process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. The body uses methionine to make proteins and other important compounds.
Methylated form of folate (5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate) is the major form of folate in most plant cells, and that methylfolate appears to be the only form of this vitamin that crosses over the blood brain barrier and into the brain. This research has greatly increased interest in whole foods and the extent to which they naturally contain methylfolates. – The World’s Healthiest Foods
Methylated form of folate (5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate) is also available as a nutritional supplement and available at health food and vitamin stores. These doses are in micrograms (mcg) and not in milligrams (mg). Many prescribed dosages of 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate are dangerously to high. Dr. Ben Lynch discusses the problems of under methylation and over methylation.
My homocysteine levels were high (19.3) and after only two weeks of taking a methylated form of folate supplement (5-MTHF) my homocysteine levels dropped down to a more normal range (6.76). I was tested before and after Joel Kahn, MD became my cardiologist. Previously I had asked the cardiologist I was seeing locally to have me tested for MTHFR but he chose to argue with me and tell me he didn’t think I needed it. When I pressed him further he told me it was to expensive and insurance wouldn’t cover it (it cost me $23) or no labs would do the test. Dr. Kahn sent my blood test into the Cleveland Clinic where it was confirmed that I am a homozygous MTHFR A1298C. I got a mutated gene from both of my parents. The higher homocysteine levels (>15.0) are indicators for future cardiovascular events and strokes. I believe this test and treatment helped to save my life. Thank you Dr. Kahn!
The overlap begins with the ability of adequate dietary folate to help keep blood levels of homocysteine in check. Homocysteine (Hcy) is a well-documented marker for cardiovascular disease that when excessive, represents a clearly increased risk for a variety of cardiovascular problems. (Hyperhomocysteinemia is the name of the condition for high Hcy in the blood.) Optimal levels of blood folate in one particular form (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5-MTHF) can directly help lower Hcy levels. By helping to keep Hcy levels in check, healthy intake of folate can help lower risk of cardiovascular disease. – The World’s Healthiest Foods
Thank you to these awesome women who came together for this informative podcast that covers the topics discussed in my post today. Thank you to Stephanie Seneff for sharing it on Facebook and got my attention. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie on my old podcast “Scoop with My Soup” about GMOs. You can listen to the interview using the audio icon below.
Thanks to these ladies for putting it all together (GMOs, Folic Acid vs. Folate and MTHFR) in this one podcast
Whole Healthy Living Podcast
with host Sharon Brennan, Lshc, Cnhc, Ntp
Click on the graphic below to visit the website and listen to the podcast. You’ll be glad you did.
To download the show’s MP3 file click here.