(Health Secrets) Drug companies and their best friend, the FDA, are trying to patent naturally occurring nutrients found in supplements. Once these common, low cost nutrients are patented, they will be available only at highly inflated prices and through prescription. The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH) has just issued a bulletin alerting its readers that folate has become the latest nutrient the drug companies have their eye on. If allowed to follow through with their scheme, folate, one of the most important naturally occurring B vitamins, will disappear from stores shelves and what will take its place is folic acid, a synthetic and vastly inferior product.
The FDA has just released a new 109 page guidance on the revision of nutrition and supplement labels. On page 69 of this report, ANH has discovered “two little paragraphs that could risk the health of millions of people who desperately need folate.” They characterize the action as “a sneak attack so quiet and unobstrusive that few people will even realize it’s there.”
Why should we care about folate?
Folate is a water soluble vitamin critical to the health of adults, children and babies. Here is a sampling of its many actions in the human body:
- Essential for formation of red blood cells
- Aids in protein metabolism
- Vital to the formation of nucleic acids (RNA and DNA)
- Essential for healthy cell division
- Needed for utilization of sugar and amino acids
As listed in the definitive book on nutrients, Earl Mindell’s Vitamin Bible, here is what folate does for us and our children:
- Prevents birth defects, especially spina-bifida and neural tube defects
- Improves lactation
- Protects against intestinal parasites and food poisoning
- Promotes healthier skin
- Acts as an natural analgesic for pain
- Delays hair graying when used with panthothenic acid (PABA), another B vitamin
- Increases appetite in the debilitated
- Prevents canker sores
- Wards off anemia
Dr. Jonathan Wright, famed head of the Tacoma Clinic , has pointed out that folate deficiency is one of the most dangerous medical conditions, leading to Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
Folate is naturally occurring in several common foods, including deep green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, carrots, tortula yeast, liver, egg yolk, cantaloupe, apricots, pumpkins, avocados, beans, lentils, broccoli and whole and dark rye flour.
For the time being, food derived folate is also available as a supplement.
The difference between folate and folic acid
Folic acid does not occur naturally. It is an oxidized version synthesized in a laboratory. Like all synthetic vitamins, it is inferior to the real thing. It is the form of folate that is found in cheap vitamins from discount stores, and it’s used to fortify poor quality processed foods.
Unlike natural folate which has its own metabolic pathway in the mucosa of the small intestine, folic acid undergoes initial reduction and methylation in the liver, where it must be converted in order to be capable of being metabolized. But not all folic acid is successfully converted. The low activity of the conversion enzyme, combined with a high intake of folic acid, can result in unnatural levels of unmetabolized folic acid entering the system.
Studies have shown the presence of unmetabolized folic acid in circulating blood following consumption of folic acid supplements and fortified foods.
One of the documented major risks associated with excessive intake of folic acid is the development of cancer, particularly of the colon. A randomized control trial found that daily supplementation with 1 mg of folic acid was also associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. Other reseach has suggested that the excessive consumption of folic acid in fortified foods may be directly related to the skyrocketing rates of cancer seen since it became mandatory in food fortification in 1998.
High intake of folic acid may mask vitamin B12 deficiency and lead to a deterioration of central nervous system function in the elderly. Folic acid intake in excess of 400 micrograms per day in older adults resulted in significantly increased rates of cognitive decline than were seen in nonusers.
FDA game plan may target select groups
As the gap between the wealthy and those who are not increases, those who can afford to do so may continue getting folate from the quality foods listed above. For those who can afford only poor quality process foods, ANH foresees two problems:
*A deficiency in folate, because it is difficult to get enough folate from a diet full of processed foods.
*An excess of folic acid because humans can’t metabolize what could become an overabundance of folic acid present in fortified foods.
If you would like to oppose the tactics of Big Pharma and the FDA, go to ANH and take action with the green button found at the bottom of their article.
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