This tasty little fruit packs quite a nutritional punch. Flowing with minerals of copper, potassium, and magnesium, you will find your efforts at being healthy a cinch with this fruit as part of your daily diet. A big one here in this tiny package is the content of folate! What you need to know about folic acid and folate: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING! Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, and should NEVER be consumed by humans. Unfortunately, this information was not widely accepted a decade ago, and many women, including myself, took folic acid when pregnant.
The facts: Folate is a general term for a group of water soluble b-vitamins, and is also known as B9. Folic acid refers to the oxidized synthetic compound used in dietary supplements and food fortification, whereas folate refers to the various tetrahydrofolate derivatives naturally found in food. The form of folate that can enter the main folate metabolic cycle is tetrahydrofolate (THF). Unlike natural folates, which are metabolized to THF in the mucosa of the small intestine, folic acid undergoes initial reduction and methylation in the liver, where conversion to the THF form requires dihydrofolate reductase. The low activity of this enzyme in the human liver, combined with a high intake of folic acid, may result in unnatural levels of unmetabolized folic acid entering the systemic circulation. Several studies have reported the presence of unmetabolized folic acid in the blood following the consumption of folic acid supplements or fortified foods. Human exposure to folic acid was non-existent until its chemical synthesis in 1943, and was introduced as a mandatory food fortification in 1998.Food fortification was deemed mandatory due to overwhelming evidence for the protective effect of folic acid supplementation before conception and during early pregnancy on the development of neural tube defects (NTD) in newborns. While the supplement did decrease this issue, the side effects are too numerous to make folic acid a wise choice. We won't go into the specifics in this class, but do yourself a favor and research the differences between folic acid and folate.