Joe Rogan Folic Acid: Science & Recommendations

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In a recent podcast episode, Joe Rogan and guest Gary Brecka dove into the crucial role that folic acid plays in our health and the potential consequences of folic acid deficiencies.

Brecka illuminates how a common gene mutation called MTHFR can impact the body’s ability to process this essential nutrient.

In this post, we will share takeaways from Joe Rogan’s folic acid conversation and actionable steps you can take.

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Joe Rogan Folic Acid

Joe Rogan’s podcast episode with Gary Brecka highlights the importance of understanding the role of folic acid in our health and the potential impacts of the MTHFR gene mutation.

By being aware of our genetic predispositions and making informed choices about our diet and supplementation, we can take proactive steps to support our overall health and well-being.

MTHFR Gene Mutation

According to Brecka, the MTHFR gene mutation is one of the most common genetic variations, affecting an estimated 40-60% of the population.

This mutation can hinder the body’s ability to convert folic acid into its usable form, methylfolate.

As a result, individuals with this mutation may struggle to obtain sufficient levels of this crucial nutrient, even if they consume folic acid-fortified foods.

Gary Brecka on Folic Acid

Gary Brecka emphasizes that folic acid is entirely synthetic and man-made and cannot be found anywhere on the surface of the Earth. In contrast, folate, the natural form of the nutrient, is present in various food sources.

In 1993, the United States government implemented a policy requiring the fortification of grains, white flour, white rice, and white bread with folic acid.

This decision was likely influenced by a pharmaceutical company, as Brecka mentioned, “I forget if it was Monsanto, I forget the pharmaceutical company that convinced the US government to spray our entire grain supply.”

The intention behind this fortification was to prevent nutrient deficiencies and improve public health.

However, the widespread fortification of foods with folic acid may have unintended consequences, particularly for individuals with the MTHFR gene mutation. This genetic variation hinders the body’s ability to convert folic acid into its usable form, methylfolate.

As a result, these individuals may experience an accumulation of unconverted folic acid in their bodies, leading to a deficiency in the biologically active form of the nutrient.

The potential negative impacts of folic acid fortification for those with the MTHFR gene mutation have raised concerns about the one-size-fits-all approach to nutrient fortification.

While the intention behind folic acid fortification was to prevent deficiencies and support public health, it is crucial to consider individual genetic variations and the potential unintended consequences of consuming synthetic nutrients.

Folic Acid and Mental Health

Studies have suggested a correlation between folic acid intake and various mental health conditions, including depression.

Brecka explained that when individuals with the MTHFR gene mutation consume folic acid, their bodies struggle to process it properly, leading to a deficiency in the usable form of folate and an excess of the synthetic form.

This imbalance can contribute to mood disturbances, anxiety, and poor gut motility.

Folic Acid Standard American Diet

The standard American diet is heavily reliant on processed foods, many of which are fortified with folic acid.

Common breakfast staples, such as pop-tarts, white bagels, and cereals, are prime examples of foods that contain added folic acid.

While these fortified foods are often marketed as being nutritionally enhanced, they may have unintended consequences for individuals with the MTHFR gene mutation.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the potential negative effects of excessive folic acid intake.

Brecka explained that when children with the MTHFR gene mutation consume folic acid-fortified foods, their bodies struggle to process the excess folic acid properly.

This can lead to hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating, as the unconverted folic acid can overstimulate the nervous system. Brecka likened this effect to giving a six-year-old cocaine, stating, “it could literally be like cocaine for a six-year-old, it could make their mind race.”

The behavioral and cognitive challenges resulting from excessive folic acid intake in children with the MTHFR gene mutation are often misinterpreted as attention deficit disorders.

This misdiagnosis can lead to the prescription of unnecessary medications, such as Adderall, which aims to address the symptoms without targeting the root cause of the issue.

Brecka argues that rather than medicating children for attention deficits, it is crucial to examine their diet and address any potential nutrient imbalances, such as those caused by excessive folic acid intake.

Addressing Folic Acid Deficiencies

To mitigate the potential negative impacts of synthetic folic acid and address folic acid deficiencies, Gary Brecka recommends a two-pronged approach: removing folic acid from the diet and supplementing with methylfolate.

By eliminating sources of synthetic folic acid, such as fortified processed foods, individuals can reduce their intake of this potentially problematic nutrient.

However, simply removing folic acid from the diet may not be sufficient to address the underlying deficiency in the biologically active form of folate.

This is where methylfolate supplementation comes into play. Methylfolate is the usable form of folate that the body can readily utilize without the need for conversion.

By supplementing with methylfolate, individuals can bypass the conversion process that is hindered by the MTHFR gene mutation, ensuring that their bodies receive the necessary nutrient in a form that can be effectively utilized.

Brecka suggests that providing the body with methylfolate can help to correct the course of various conditions associated with folate deficiencies, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, ADD, ADHD, and OCD.

By providing the body with a usable form of folate, individuals can bypass the conversion process that is hindered by the MTHFR gene mutation.

Personal Experiences with Methylfolate Supplementation

Many individuals on Reddit who have tried methylfolate supplementation after discovering their MTHFR gene mutation have reported positive results.

Some have experienced improved energy levels, better sleep, and more stable moods after just a few weeks of supplementation.

These anecdotal reports suggest that addressing folate deficiencies through targeted supplementation can have a significant impact on overall health and well-being.

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About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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