But first, a folate refresher
For starters, folate is a nutrient we should all aim to get on a daily basis: It supports DNA synthesis and methylation, along with red blood cell formation. But this nutrient becomes all the more essential when we’re pregnant or trying, thanks to its important role in supporting neural tube development and cell division. And while folate can be found in foods like leafy greens and citrus fruits, diet isn’t always a reliable way to meet our daily folate needs.*
That’s where supplementation can come in handy. The caveat? Many supplements use folic acid, the synthetic form of folate. To process folic acid, we require the help of the MTHFR enzyme. The concern is that up to one-third of the population have a genetic variation which can make it difficult to efficiently utilize folic acid. It’s why we opt for methylated folate in our multivitamins—to bypass the MTHFR genetic variation.*
The latest science
Why is this background important? Because the folate levels in our Essential Prenatal were chosen with genetic variations and other recommendations in mind–we wanted to make sure that even those with the MTHFR gene were supported throughout their pregnancies, and previous research had indicated a potential health benefit for a higher dosage. But the latest research from our Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Marie Caudill, PhD, who is one of the world’s leading experts on prenatal folate, confirms that going well above and beyond where this nutrient is concerned might not actually be necessary.*
In other words, Dr. Caudill and her team concluded that staying relatively close to the RDA for folate is sufficient for people with different MTHFR makeups. “There is no evidence (I am aware of) that they would benefit from high dosages,” she says.
So why do we still go a little higher than the RDA (600 mcg DFE) in our newest formulation? “Since a proportion of people, especially those who possess the MTHFR genotype, still showed low normal levels following the RDA, we identified the 1000 mcg DFE per serving as an optimal dose,” says Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, Ritual’s Senior Director of Scientific Affairs. “Also, The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a daily supplement of 400–800 µg folic acid for all women† who are planning or capable of pregnancy.” (400-800 µg of folic acid is the equivalent of about 667 to 1333 mcg DFE—making our dose of 1000 mcg DFE right in the middle.)* (1)
So yes—we dialed it back to be more in line with the latest research and those recommendations, while still keeping those with genetic variations in mind. A win-win.*
What it means for you
The truth? We’ll always see these kinds of formulation tweaks as a positive thing, and we hope you do, too—it just means that we’ll always continue to rely on the latest science when it comes to putting nutrient needs first. Your newest Essential Prenatal deliveries will feature these latest updates, so all you need to think about is continuing to take the Ritual you love.*
†As a health company that adheres to standardized nutrition research—which is often reliant on assigned sex at birth—we face some unique challenges regarding our gender-specific messaging. Our decision to use gendered terms is, unfortunately, a result of these limitations in nutrition research. In cases where complying with the binary distinction is necessary for scientific accuracy purposes, we want to make it very clear that we recognize a person’s gender identity might differ from their assigned sex.
- Recommendation: Folic Acid...: United States Preventive Services Taskforce. (2017, January 10). Retrieved from USPST