9 Impressive Health Benefits of Beetroot

9 Impressive Health Benefits of Beetroot

Beetroots, commonly known as beets, are a popular root vegetable used in many cuisines around the world. Beets are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, some of which have medicinal properties. What’s more, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet. This article lists 9 health benefits of beets, all supported by science.

 

The following article was written by Daisy Coyle, APD for the website Healthline. Follow Healthline by clicking the following link: https://www.healthline.com/

 

1. Many Nutrients in Few Calories

 

Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile.

They are low in calories, yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost all the vitamins and minerals that you need (1).

Here is an overview of the nutrients found in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked beetroot (1):

  • Calories: 44
  • Protein: 1.7 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 6% of the RDI
  • Folate: 20% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 3% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 6% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI
  • Phosphorous: 4% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 16% of the RDI
  • Iron: 4% of the RDI

Beets also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which are plant compounds that have a number of health benefits.

SUMMARY:

Beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals and low in calories and fat. They also contain inorganic nitrates and pigments, both of which have a number of health benefits.

 

2. Helps Keep Blood Pressure in Check

 

Heart disease, including heart attacks, heart failure and stroke, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. And high blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for the development of these conditions.

Studies have shown that beets can significantly lower blood pressure by up to 4–10 mmHg over a period of only a few hours (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source4Trusted Source).

The effect appears to be greater for systolic blood pressure, or pressure when your heart contracts, rather than diastolic blood pressure, or pressure when your heart is relaxed. The effect may also be stronger for raw beets than cooked beets (5Trusted Source6Trusted Source7Trusted Source8Trusted Source).

These blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets. In your body, dietary nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, causing blood pressure to drop (9Trusted Source). Blood nitrate levels remain elevated for about six hours after eating dietary nitrate. Therefore, beets only have a temporary effect on blood pressure, and regular consumption is required to experience long-term reductions in blood pressure (10Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:

Beets contain a high concentration of nitrates, which have a blood pressure-lowering effect. This may lead to a reduced risk of heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.

 

3. Can Improve Athletic Performance

 

Several studies suggest that dietary nitrates may enhance athletic performance. For this reason, beets are often used by athletes.

Nitrates appear to affect physical performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria, which are responsible for producing energy in your cells (11Trusted Source).

In two studies including seven and eight men, consuming 17 ounces (500 ml) of beet juice daily for six days extended time to exhaustion during high-intensity exercise by 15–25%, which is a 1–2% improvement in overall performance (7Trusted Source12Trusted Source13Trusted Source).

Eating beets may also improve cycling and athletic performance and increase oxygen use by up to 20% (7Trusted Source14Trusted Source15Trusted Source16Trusted Source). One small study of nine competitive cyclists looked at the effect of 17 ounces (500 ml) of beetroot juice on cycling time trial performance over 2.5 and 10 miles (4 and 16.1 km).

Drinking beetroot juice improved performance by 2.8% over the 2.5-mile (4-km) time trial and 2.7% over the 10-mile (16.1-km) trial (17Trusted Source).

It’s important to note that blood nitrate levels peak within 2–3 hours. Therefore, to maximize their potential, it’s best to consume beets 2–3 hours before training or competing (18Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:

Eating beets may enhance athletic performance by improving oxygen use and time to exhaustion. To maximize their effects, beets should be consumed 2–3 hours prior to training or competing.

 

4. May Help Fight Inflammation

 

Chronic inflammation is associated with a number of diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer (19Trusted Source). Beets contain pigments called betalains, which may potentially possess a number of anti-inflammatory properties (8Trusted Source20Trusted Source21Trusted Source). However, most of the research in this area has been conducted in rats.

Beetroot juice and beetroot extract have been shown to reduce kidney inflammation in rats injected with toxic chemicals known to induce serious injury (20Trusted Source22Trusted Source).

One study in humans with osteoarthritis showed that betalain capsules made with beetroot extract reduced pain and discomfort associated with the condition (23).

While these studies suggest that beets have an anti-inflammatory effect, human studies are needed to determine whether beets could be used to reduce inflammation.

SUMMARY:

Beets may have a number of anti-inflammatory effects. However, further research in humans is required to confirm this theory.

 

5. May Improve Digestive Health

 

Dietary fiber is an important component of a healthy diet. It has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion. One cup of beetroot contains 3.4 grams of fiber, making beets a good fiber source (1).

Fiber bypasses digestion and heads down to the colon where it either feeds the friendly gut bacteria or adds bulk to stool. This can promote digestive health, keep you regular and prevent digestive conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and diverticulitis (24Trusted Source25Trusted Source). Moreover, fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases including colon cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (26Trusted Source27Trusted Source28Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:

Beets are a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health, as well as reducing the risk of a number of chronic health conditions.

 

6. May Help Support Brain Health

 

Mental and cognitive function naturally decline with age. For some, this decline is significant and may result in conditions like dementia. A reduction in blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain may contribute to this decline (29Trusted Source30Trusted Source31Trusted Source).

Interestingly, the nitrates in beets may improve mental and cognitive function by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and thus increasing blood flow to the brain (32Trusted Source). Beets have been shown to particularly improve blood flow to the frontal lobe of the brain, an area associated with higher-level thinking, such as decision making and working memory (33Trusted Source).

Furthermore, one study in type 2 diabetics looked at the effect of beets on simple reaction time, which is a measure of cognitive function. Simple reaction time during a computer-based cognitive function test was 4% faster in those who consumed 8.5 ounces (250 ml) of beetroot juice daily for two weeks, compared to the placebo (34Trusted Source).

However, whether beets could be used in a clinical setting to improve brain function and reduce the risk of dementia remains to be seen.

SUMMARY:

Beets contain nitrates, which may help increase blood flow to the brain, improve cognitive function and possibly reduce the risk of dementia. However, more research in this area is needed.

 

7. May Have Some Anti-Cancer Properties

 

Cancer is a serious and potentially fatal disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells. The antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory nature of beets have led to an interest in its ability to prevent cancer. However, the current evidence is fairly limited.

Beetroot extract has been shown to reduce the division and growth of tumor cells in animals (35Trusted Source36Trusted Source). One test-tube study using human cells found that beetroot extract, which is high in betalain pigments, reduced the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells (37Trusted Source).

It is important to note that these studies were performed in isolated human cells and rats. Further research is necessary to determine whether similar effects would be found in living, breathing humans.

SUMMARY:

Studies in isolated human cells and rats have shown that the pigments in beets may help reduce the growth of cancer cells.

 

8. May Help You Lose Weight

 

Beets have several nutritional properties that should make them good for weight loss. First, beets are low in calories and high in water (1). Increasing your intake of low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables has been associated with weight loss (38Trusted Source39Trusted Source).

Furthermore, despite their low calorie content, beets contain moderate amounts of protein and fiber. These are both important nutrients for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight (40Trusted Source41Trusted Source42Trusted Source).

The fiber in beets may also help promote weight loss by reducing appetite and promoting feelings of fullness, thereby reducing overall calorie intake (43Trusted Source44Trusted Source45Trusted Source).

While no studies have directly tested the effects of beets on weight, it’s likely that adding beets to your diet can aid in weight loss.

SUMMARY:

Beets have a high water and low calorie content. Both of these properties are beneficial for weight loss.

 

9. Delicious and Easy to Include in Your Diet

 

This last one is not a health benefit, yet it is still important. Not only are beets nutritious, but they are also incredibly delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet.

Beets can be juiced, roasted, steamed or pickled. Also, they can be bought precooked and canned for convenience. Choose beets that are heavy for their size with fresh, unwilted green leafy tops still attached.

Dietary nitrates are water soluble, so it is best to avoid boiling beets to maximize their nitrate content.

Here are some delicious and interesting ways to add more beets to your diet:

  • Beetroot salad: Grated beets make a flavorful and colorful addition to coleslaw.
  • Beetroot dip: Beets blended with Greek yogurt make a delicious and healthy dip.
  • Beetroot juice: Fresh beetroot juice is best, as store-bought juice can be high in added sugars and may only contain a small amount of beets.
  • Beetroot leaves: Beet leaves can be cooked and enjoyed like spinach, so don’t throw them out.

SUMMARY:

Beetroot is a delicious and versatile vegetable that is easy to add to your diet. Choose beets that are heavy for their size with green tops still attached.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Beets provide some impressive health benefits.

Not to mention, they are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Beets also contain nitrates and pigments that may help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance.

Lastly, beets are delicious and versatile, fitting well into a healthy and balanced diet.

 

 

Oshun Health’s Phyto Fuel has beetroot as its main ingredient and is an excellent dietary support for individuals with heart disease. Heart disease is often related to chronic inflammation and Phyto fuel contains more than one component that helps to fights chronic inflammation.

Henry Deale, chemist Oshun Health

Phyto Fuel (500ml)

R659.00

Oshun Health’s Phyto Fuel is a liposomal,  whole food extract of organic aloe, beetroot, curcumin, fulvic acid, ginger and  lemon, in a liposomal base.

Phyto Fuel contains the following active ingredients: Curcuminoids, Piperine, Fulvic Acid, Vitamin C, Dietary Nitrate, Gingerol, Betalain, Betaine and Minerals (Himalayan). Thyme is used as a preservative.

Turmeric for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Does it Work?

Turmeric for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Does it Work?

 

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term autoimmune condition that causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints. Some research suggests that the spice turmeric may help relieve the inflammatory symptoms of this condition.

 

 

The following article was written by Jon Johnson and medically reviewed by Nancy Carteron, M.D., FACR  for the website Medical News Today. Follow Medical News Today by clicking the following link: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/newsletter

 

Turmeric is a common ingredient in many dishes, including curries, but it also has a long history in traditional medicine. Scientific research indicates that turmeric may offer several health benefits. In particular, turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

However, there are some things to consider when taking turmeric supplements, and people with RA should speak to their doctor before adding the spice to their treatment regimen.

In this article, we discuss whether turmeric can help treat RA and look at what the research says. We also cover how to use turmeric and possible side effects and risks.

 

 

Can turmeric help relieve RA symptoms?

 

turmeric for relieve of rheumatoid arthritis

 

Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is a bright yellow or orange spice that is a popular ingredient in a variety of food dishes. Turmeric also has a place in traditional medicine practices, such as Ayurveda, which uses the spice to treat:

  • stomach problems
  • skin diseases
  • blood disorders
  • mild infections
  • cough
  • liver conditions

Researchers have also studied the potential health benefits of turmeric and its compounds in Western medicine. According to a 2015 review articleTrusted Source, study findings suggest that curcumin, one of the main active compounds in turmeric, may lower blood sugar and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer properties.

RA is an autoimmune condition, which means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joint tissue. These attacks cause inflammation that eventually leads to bone and joint damage in the affected areas.

As such, the natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric may benefit people with RA.

 

 

 

What does the research say?

 

Turmeric contains several different compounds, including curcumin. Much of the available scientific research focuses specifically on curcumin rather than turmeric as a whole.

However, some studies do suggest that both turmeric and its compounds may be helpful for the symptoms of arthritis, including RA.

2016 systematic review examined data from eight randomized clinical trials that investigated the effectiveness of turmeric and curcumin extracts for treating symptoms of joint arthritis.

The authors concluded that there was enough evidence to suggest that taking 1,000 milligrams (mg) of curcumin each day for 8–12 weeks can help reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis. The results also indicated that curcumin extracts might be as effective as taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and diclofenac (Voltaren).

However, the authors stated that the small size and moderate quality of the studies mean that further research is necessary to confirm these findings. In the meantime, they recommend that people with arthritis use curcumin as a dietary supplement in addition to conventional therapy.

2017 study involving 36 people with RA tested a bioavailable formulation of curcumin. After 90 days of treatment, the participants who took curcumin reported significant improvements in their pain and inflammation compared with those in the placebo group.

A newer studyTrusted Source from 2018 investigated the effects of curcumin in a rat model of RA. The study indicated that curcumin reduced joint inflammation and redness in these rats by blocking an intracellular signaling process called the mTOR pathway.

The authors concluded that the results provide evidence of the anti-arthritic properties of curcumin and its potential for treating RA. However, further research in humans is necessary to confirm these findings.

 

 

Curcumin as a Supplement

 

The recommended dosage for curcumin supplements can vary. The authors of a 2016 systematic reviewTrusted Source recommend taking 1,000 mg of curcumin each day to treat the symptoms of arthritis. Highly bioavailable forms of curcumin may be effective at lower dosages.

However, it is important to purchase dietary supplements from reputable manufacturers and to follow their guidance on what constitutes a safe and appropriate dosage.

It is also advisable for people to speak with their doctor before taking turmeric or curcumin to relieve some of the symptoms of arthritis. It is vital not to stop or replace any other treatments without consulting a doctor first.

 

 

Side effects and risks

 

Turmeric and curcumin can cause mild side effects, such as digestive upset or headaches, in some people. Individuals who are sensitive to these substances or take very high doses may experience symptoms that include rashes, nausea, and diarrhea.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should seek advice from their doctor before taking turmeric or curcumin supplements.

Turmeric may also interact with some medications, which may make them more or less effective. People taking blood thinners should consult a doctor before using turmeric or curcumin supplements as they may interfere with blood clotting.

As with other supplements, there may be a risk of contamination with heavy metals, such as lead, so it is essential to purchase these products from a reputable manufacturer.

 

 

 

 

Summary

 

RA is a long-term condition that can cause inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that turmeric and its major compounds, such as curcumin, may help alleviate or prevent symptoms of arthritis.

However, people with symptoms of RA should always see a doctor for evaluation and treatment. Although turmeric may help alleviate symptoms of arthritis, there is not enough evidence to suggest that it can replace standard medical treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment of RA are important to reduce or prevent irreversible joint damage.

It is advisable for people to speak to a doctor before taking curcumin supplements, particularly those currently taking other medications.

 

Oshun Health’s Curcumin Boost contains the full spectrum of biologically active curcuminoids. Due to the liposomal absorption technology and piperine in Curcumin Boost the product is highly bio-available and can not be offered in doses higher than 200mg.
Henry Deale, chemist Oshun Health

Curcumin Boost (250ml)

R350.00

Oshun Health’s Curcumin Boost contains piperine which makes curcumin 2000% more bio-available, increases its lifespan, and prevents its premature breakdown in the gut. Curcumin Boost also uses Oshun Health’s trademarked liposomal encapsulation system – fulvisomes – to increase absorption by a further 19x.

How to Reduce Inflammation in your Dog Naturally

How to Reduce Inflammation in your Dog Naturally

Inflammation: The Real Cause Of Canine Arthritis

 

 

It was once thought that arthritis was the result of wear and tear, but more recent research shows this isn’t the case. Researchers say arthritis may be the result of chronic, low-grade inflammation. In fact, chronic, low-grade inflammation isn’t just linked to arthritis. It’s now believed to be the cause of virtually every health condition and disease. Dr Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, says …

“Inflammation appears to play a role in many chronic diseases …”

The following article was written for the website Bella & Duke. Follow Bella & Duke by clicking on the following https://www.bellaandduke.com/

 

 

What causes inflammation?

 

Inflammation can be caused by various different internal and external stressors. ‘Stressors’ are essentially anything which creates stress on or in the body.

Physical stressors

 

As an example, a physical stressor can be a nasty knock or fall. Excessive exercise can also cause inflammation. That creaky feeling after overdoing it at the gym two days ago? That’s DOMS… ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’. Inflammation in your body is deployed to repair those torn muscle fibres. This is why it’s important to give the occasional rest day to your dog.

External stressors

 

The best way to define an external stressor is by listing some:

  • Pollution from cars – Dogs walk around at exhaust pipe level
  • Chemicals that you apply to your dog’s skin or coat, such as synthetic anti-flea or worm treatments
  • Humans get exposed to these issues with toiletries which can include toxic chemicals such as parabens. Read more about these from the hard working people at Breast Cancer UK

Internal stressors

 

These tend to be foods which cause inflammation in your dog. Examples of these include:

  • Food intolerances or allergies – Your dog’s body sees certain foods it is intolerant to as an ‘invader’. It launches an inflammatory response while it locks the food down to deal with it.
  • Inappropriate foods – Such as grains or lectins. More on why grains shouldn’t be part of a balanced dog diet
  • Fats which have oxidised or are rancid. These fats oxidise when they exposed to the air. Rather than performing as those magical anti-inflammatory molecules, they become ‘Pro-inflammatory‘.

Mental Stressors

 

Dogs are as susceptible to emotional stress as we are.

Emotional stress can lead to inflammation as readily as any of the above types of stressor. Emotional stress can even create inflammation in your dog’s gut amongst other places.

What is an anti-inflammatory?

 

An anti-inflammatory is a compound or action that prevents inflammation or helps to lower it. When we hear ‘anti-inflammatory,’ most of us instantly think of ibuprofen or aspirin. That famous family of pharmaceuticals called ‘Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs’ or NSAIDs. Mother nature also has its own family of natural anti-inflammatories. The active compound in aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, originally from Willow tree leaves. [1]

Examples of a natural anti-inflammatory for your dog are:

  • Curcumin
  • Omega 3 fats (non-oxidised! See above)
  • Blueberries
  • Ginger
  • Broccoli

WARNING Please avoid ever giving your dog grapes, avocados or green tea! 

Did you Know?

Curcumin extract is at least as potent as Ibuprofen and Diclofenac at reducing inflammation in arthritis. Research included in well over a thousand published scientific papers demonstrate curcumin’s potency. [2]

The role of diet, a two-part approach

 

Every cell in our and our dog’s body is built from the food we eat and the liquids we drink. It is clear that food and drink has one of the biggest influences on our levels of inflammation.

Here is a simple two-part approach to avoiding chronic inflammation in dogs:

Part One: What Foods to Cut Out

 

Cut out all inflammatory foods, including any foods your dog may be intolerant to. Remember to swerve any oxidised, rancid fats.

If that giant economy pack of processed food has been open for a long time without being sealed in the dark, its probably full of oxidised fats and proteins.

If you are using one of those convenient gigantic storage containers that don’t seal properly and you store it in a warm part of the kitchen or in direct sunlight, it’s the same story.

Part two: what foods to include

Include lots of anti-inflammatory foods and some pet-specific probiotics to help the gut heal even faster.

Add some:

  • Omega 3 rich meats and fish
  • Nutrient-dense organ meats
  • Green leafy vegetables, like broccoli
  • select few berries for the superfood benefits
  • Flavonoids called anthocyanins (the BBC has a good explanation of the benefits of flavonoids)

The best way to avoid chronic inflammation is to re-read the top of this article and draw a little mind map of any other potential stressors your dog is exposed to, which may cause inflammation. Consider the following:

  • Excess exercise
  • Chemicals
  • Pollution

Either remove or reduce these whilst counterbalancing them with your natural anti-inflammatories. Before you know it, you will have a happier, healthier and inflammation-free pet.

Grains & inflammation

 

Grain-rich convenience foods, be it for us or our pooches, have been shown to create inflammation.

Before any of us fall into the great gluten debate, whatever your opinion is on this, one irrefutable fact is that grains provoke the release of something called zonulin.

Zonulin opens our gut wall and creates intestinal permeability (leaky gut). This allows the bacteria in the intestine to flood into the bloodstream. Bacteria entering the bloodstream is associated with huge inflammation and brain fog. Cutting this out makes all of this go away. Its literally stopping the source of fire before it happens. And this is the outline of our very simple, two-part approach.

Want more scientific evidence to back this up? https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/biochemistry-genetics-and-molecular-biology/zonulin 

 

 

Oshun Health’s Canine Nutritional Formula contains the full spectrum of biologically active curcuminoids as well as Omega 3’s to fight inflammation. It also contains fulvic acid which ads 75 different minerals and trace elements to your dog’s diet, is a potent free radical scavenger and removes heavy metals from your dog’s body.

Henry Deale, chemist Oshun Health

Methylation: What is it and what role does it play in your body?

Methylation: What is it and what role does it play in your body?

 

Methylation is a biochemical process happening in each of our cells thousands of times a minute – just one of the amazing but invisible processes going on in our bodies right now. It’s worth talking about because it plays a big role in mood, stress tolerance and a few other important cellular reactions.

Methylation is critical for the production and release of neurotransmitters that help to promote a balanced mood and a healthy stress response. Methylation is also involved in detoxification, antioxidant production, normal DNA replication, cellular energy production and regulating circadian rhythms to name just some of the important roles in the body that it is involved in.

Folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium and various amino acids derived from animal protein are very important nutritional co-factors that need to be in the body in adequate levels in order for methylation to work efficiently.

The following article was written by Susan Hunter for the website healthfulclinic.com.au. Contact Healthful clinic by clicking on the following link: https://www.healthfulclinic.com.au/contact/

 

The Caues of Impaired Methylation

Methylation can become impaired for many reasons and your diet, genes and digestive health can play a big role in this. Here are the main causes.

Low intake of folate rich foods

 

A diet lacking in folate rich foods is becoming more common. Many people just do not eat enough uncooked leafy green vegetables in their daily diet. Folate is crucial for the methylation cycle to work properly. For individuals with the MTHFR gene, polymorphism it is important to avoid large doses of synthetic folic acid found in nutritional supplements and commercially-baked products that use folic acid fortified foods. These individuals struggle to convert folic acid to the active form of folate that gets the methylation cycle working efficiently.

Low vitamin B2 intake

 

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is a co-factor for the MTHFR enzyme to help with the conversion to active folate. Vitamin B2 is also a co-factor for methionine synthase reductase (MTRR) enzyme which is catalysed by methionine synthase (MTR) and important for the generation of methyl donors, methionine and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe).

Vitamin B2 also plays a role in the function of an enzyme called glutathione reductase which regenerates the boy’s most abundant antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is also produced as a part of the methylation cycle. People that follow a long term dairy-free diet are at risk of deficiency in riboflavin.

Inadequate intake of vitamin B12

 

We need good levels of vitamin B12 to methylate properly. When we don’t eat enough red meat or are eating a vegan or vegetarian diet we are at risk of slowing down methylation. Some people can eat adequate amounts of vitamin B12 containing foods and still have trouble with utilising the vitamin B12 they eat because they have gene polymorphisms for the MTR and MTRR genes. This means they are slow to take vitamin B12 out of the blood and up into cells where it can be used for methylation to occur.

 

Low intake of B6 rich foods

 

Vitamin B6 deficiency comes about mostly because of inadequate intake of whole grains. It is becoming more common to see this with the popularity of grain-free diets like the Paleo and GAPS diet. Vitamin B6 is involved in the conversion of folic acid to active folate and is also involved in the conversion of homocysteine to cysteine via the transulfiuration pathway, a CBS gene dependent process.

 

High Homocysteine blood levels

Homocysteine is an amino acid and high levels in the body increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. High levels can damage arterial walls and cause clot formation. Homocysteine is important in the methylation cycle to help with regenerating methionine, another amino acid that is important for donating a methyl group so cellular reactions can happen. Being a smoker, drinking caffeine and consuming too much alcohol all increase homocysteine levels.

Having the MTHFR genetic polymorphism

 

Having the MTHFR gene mutation means methylation can be impaired by 25 to 70%. It is an enzyme responsible for conversion of folic acid to the active form of folate.

Certain medications

There are some medications that impair methylation by affecting folate and vitamin B12 levels in the body. Some drugs such as carbamazepine, asmethotrexate, sulfasalazine, proton pump inhibitors, bactrim and the oral contraceptive pill act as folate antagonists. Nitrous oxide and metformin deplete vitamin B12 levels and cholestyramine depletes vitamin B12 and reduces absorption of folate.

Signs that you may need methylation support

  • Hormonal imbalances: PCOS, PMS, fibroids, endometriosis etc
  • Infertility (both male and female), history of miscarriage or pregnancy related complications.
  • Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, poor circulation.
  • Mood and mental health issues: mood swings, depression etc.
  • Autoimmune conditions: e.g. multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis etc
  • Memory problems
  • Chronic fatigue and low energy
  • Allergies, histamine intolerance: eczema, hay fever, headaches, congestion etc.
  • Poor bile production leading to digestive problems, fat malabsorption, and gallbladder issues like gall stones.
  • Inflammatory conditions e.g. arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Oshun Health’s B-Complex contains only natural, biologically active B-Vitamins – the same as in whole food.

Henry Deale, chemist Oshun Health

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Folic Acid vs. Folate – What’s the Difference?

Folic Acid vs. Folate – What’s the Difference?

 

Folate and folic acid are different forms of vitamin B9. While there’s a distinct difference between the two, their names are often used interchangeably. In fact, there’s a lot of confusion regarding folic acid and folate, even among professionals. This article explains the difference between folic acid and folate.

The following article was written by Atli Arnason BSc, PhD for the website Healthline. Follow or subscribe to Healthline by clicking on the following link: https://www.healthline.com/

 

Vitamin B9

 

Vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient that naturally occurs as folate.

It serves many important functions in your body. For example, it plays a crucial role in cell growth and the formation of DNA.

Low levels of vitamin B9 are associated with an increased risk of several health conditions, including:

  • Elevated homocysteine. High homocysteine levels have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
  • Birth defects. Low folate levels in pregnant women have been linked to birth abnormalities, such as neural tube defects (3Trusted Source).
  • Cancer risk. Poor levels of folate are also linked to increased cancer risk (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).

For these reasons, supplementing with vitamin B9 is common. Fortifying food with this nutrient is mandatory in many countries, including the United States and Canada.

SUMMARY

Vitamin B9 is an essential nutrient that’s mainly present as folate and folic acid. It’s commonly taken in supplement form and even added to processed food in North America.

What is folate?

 

Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9.

Its name is derived from the Latin word “folium,” which means leaf. In fact, leafy vegetables are among the best dietary sources of folate.

Folate is a generic name for a group of related compounds with similar nutritional properties.

The active form of vitamin B9 is a folate known as levomefolic acid or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).

In your digestive system, most dietary folate is converted into 5-MTHF before entering your bloodstream (6Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9. Before entering your bloodstream, your digestive system converts it into the biologically active form of vitamin B9 ⁠— 5-MTHF.

What is folic acid?

 

Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9, also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid.

It’s used in supplements and added to processed food products, such as flour and breakfast cereals.

Unlike folate, not all of the folic acid you consume is converted into the active form of vitamin B9 — 5-MTHF — in your digestive system. Instead, it needs to be converted in your liver or other tissues (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Yet, this process is slow and inefficient in some people. After taking a folic acid supplement, it takes time for your body to convert all of it to 5-MTHF (7Trusted Source).

Even a small dose, such as 200–400 mcg per day, may not be completely metabolized until the next dose is taken. This problem may become worse when fortified foods are eaten along with folic acid supplements (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

As a result, unmetabolized folic acid is commonly detected in people’s bloodstreams, even in the fasted state (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

This is a cause for concern, as high levels of unmetabolized folic acid have been associated with several health problems.

However, one study suggests that taking folic acid along with other B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6, makes the conversion more efficient (10Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9. Your body does not convert it into active vitamin B9 very well, so unmetabolized folic acid may build up in your bloodstream.

Is unmetabolized folic acid harmful?

 

Several studies indicate that chronically elevated levels of unmetabolized folic acid may have adverse health effects, including:

  • Increased cancer risk. High levels of unmetabolized folic acid have been associated with increased cancer risk. However, no evidence proves that unmetabolized folic acid plays a direct role (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
  • Undetected B12 deficiency. Among elderly people, high folic acid levels can mask vitamin B12 deficiency. Untreated vitamin B12 deficiency may increase your risk of dementia and impair nerve function (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

Even a small, daily dose of 400 mcg may cause unmetabolized folic acid to build up in your bloodstream (9Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

Although high folic acid intake is a concern, the health implications are unclear, and further studies are needed.

SUMMARY

Researchers are concerned that high levels of unmetabolized folic acid may negatively affect health, but more studies are needed before any strong conclusions can be reached.

What is the healthiest source of vitamin B9?

 

It’s best to get vitamin B9 from whole foods.

High-folate foods include asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens like spinach and lettuce.

However, for some people, such as pregnant women, supplements are an easy way to ensure adequate vitamin B9 intake.

Folic acid is the most common supplemental form of vitamin B9. It can be purchased at many drug stores, as well as online.

Other supplements contain 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), also known as levomefolate, which is considered an adequate alternative to folic acid (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

Supplemental 5-MTHF is available in the form of levomefolate calcium or levomefolate magnesium. It’s sold under the brand names Metafolin, Deplin, and Enlyte and available online.

SUMMARY

The healthiest dietary sources of vitamin B9 are whole foods, such as leafy green vegetables. If you need to take supplements, methyl folate is a good alternative to folic acid.

The bottom line

 

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 in food, while folic acid is a synthetic form.

High intake of folic acid may lead to increased blood levels of unmetabolized folic acid. Some researchers speculate that this may have adverse health effects over time, but further studies are needed before solid conclusions can be reached.

Alternatives to folic acid supplements include 5-MTHT (levomefolate) or whole foods, such as leafy greens.

 

Oshun Health’s B-Complex contains only natural B-Vitamins – the same as in whole food. Therefore, it poses no risk of unmetabolised folic acid building up in the system. 

Henry Deale, chemist Oshun Health

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