We are living in a supplemented world, in the UK at least, our water contains fluoride to reduce our incidence of tooth decay and our flour contains folic acid or Vitamin B9 that has dramatically reduced the incidence of birth defects such as neural tube defects.
But are we using the best source of Vitamin B9?
According to publication in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN ) we are not. Currently, folic acid is used as a supplement while the type normally found in our food is folates. It is assumed that our bodies convert both types efficiently to 5-MTHF, which is actually used by our bodies.
But what the team found was that although the human body could convert 96% (+/- 18%) of folate within 15 minutes of being injected directly into the blood stream, after the same amount of time only 20% (+/- 12%) of folic acid was converted. They hypothesize that muscosal cells are able to convert the folate but that the liver has to do most of the folic acid conversion which can lead to saturation. They suggest we should change to folate as the form of supplement.
Check out the abstract on the AJCN website.