Fertility and Folic Acid

We have all heard of taking folic acid before getting pregnant. But why? Is folic acid the very best vitamin for folks having fertility issues?
Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate. Folic acid takes more work to break down in the body and some people don’t have the ability to do his job well. Folate or vitamin B9 is necessary for preventing spina bifida.
Folate is found in food and folic acid is man made. Some people have genetic mutations that don’t allow them to convert folic acid to folate and the folic acid may actually cause inflammation in the body. The recommendation for folic acid prenatally went up from 1mg a day to 5mg a day.


Folate is needed for DNA metabolism. One of the ways that folic acid helps DNA is through helping the methlyation pathway. Stay with me here, the methylation pathway is important for everyone and helps to support proper genetic expression. For example, if I cut my finger, then I want my body to make sure to check my genetic code to make some good quality tissue to repair my finger. If my methylation pathway is not working well or as fast as it should, then my genetic code will only make poor quality tissue. Folate is involved with pushing the methylation pathway is the right direction.

What happens if the methylation pathway is not working as well as it should? Spina bifida is one case, but so is cancer, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, hormone irregularities, autoimmunity and neurological disorders. The methylation effects more than just women wanting to get pregnant.

If you have a family history of any of the above issues and you want to have a child AND you are a MAN or a woman. I would suggest:

1. Take folate. At least 1mg
2. Find out if you have genetic methylation issues by testing your genes. Purchase a kit from 23andme.com, a genetic ancestry company and download your raw genetic data 2.5% of your genetic code into the report offered my mthfrsupport.com and get someone who knows how to read it to tell you if you need more than just folic acid for fertility and for making a healthier baby.

You can optimize your genetic expression before conception. You can’t change your eye or hair colour and that is also determined by genetics. But you can make a healthy and genetically healthier expression of your genetic code which can get passed down to your children.

I have seen it. Support your genetics and make the  methylation pathway work better and make better genetics to carry on. Good luck!

On a side note. Folate has no toxicity and in the States it is being used as a drug for cardiovascular disease. In Canada, this water soluble, extremely safe vitamin, found naturally in leafy green vegetables and beans, is a controlled substance. You can only purchase 1mg at a time. Weird? Politics?

Dr Carissa Doherty ND, Natural Care Clinic

About Carissa

Dr Carissa Doherty, Naturopathic Doctor has been practicing in Burlington since 2005. The Natural Care Clinic is the culmination of over 8 years of training and a dream to bring Naturopathic Medicine to her patients and to Burlington.

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