Multivitamins vs. Folate-Enriched Foods

Word Graph for Multivitamins

Vitamins and supplements may be essential to your daily healthy living plan. Like most things in life, this isn't without its fair share of debate. Some studies show that multivitamins provide little value while others show they're of great value. Instead of chiming in on this particular debate, let's take a look at one group of vitamins, the B vitamin family.

Many B vitamins are naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. B12 is found only in animal foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy. All B vitamins are converted into folate, which plays a critical role in cell function including protecting and repairing DNA. Several laws passed in the late 1990s made producers of enriched bread flours include folic acid in their foods. The goal was to help prevent spina bifida and anenecephaly, two common birth defects related to a lack of folic acid in the mother's body.

These fortified foods are now up for debate. Several sources, including the Harvard School of Public Health, make the case for avoiding foods heavily fortified with folate and, alternatively, getting folic acid from multi-vitamins instead. Part of the reason is that a diet too high in folic acid can hide a B12 deficiency. A daily multivitamin when taken with fresh foods such as green vegetables, legumes, fruits, and nuts will provide a healthy amount of folic acid.

As with all parts of a healthy living plan, balance and moderation are essential. Your Metabolic Research Center plan will teach you where these balances lie, where to increase certain components and where to decrease others. If you're unsure about a particular supplement or food, contact your local Metabolic center to get your questions answered.


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