Is consumption of folic acid before and during pregnancy necessary?
The supplementation of folate (folic acid) and genes
According to recent claims from a team of researchers at Palermo University who collaborated with another team of researchers at Brunel University, consuming maternal folic acid (folate) while pregnant could significantly decrease the risk of leukaemia.
Maternal folic acid is used to prevent NTDs (Neural Tube Defects), and their role is well known. The researchers conducted this study examines how folate impacted DNA methylation, cancer progression, and cancer prevention. Their goal here was to find a link between folic acid consumption and childhood leukaemia – they found the link, although they believe much more research is required before they make any significant reveals.
Folate was previously discovered to contribute to cell repair, DNA methylation, and synthesis.
Lastly, the study also determined that DNA damage can be the result of having low folate levels – the damage may occur in both the cell’s mitochondria and the cell’s nucleus. Over time, if these folate levels don’t rise, extensive damage may be inflicted on the unborn child’s cells, leading to genetic mutations and an increased risk of cancer.
While no extensive research has been conducted on this particular claim, there are several studies which claim that ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia) and AML (Acute Myeloid Leukaemia) risks significantly decreased when folic acid consumption increased. Several of these studies concluded that folic acid intake is incredibly crucial before and during pregnancy – their collected data supports these claims.
You can find out how your particular genes impact folic acid metabolism through the activity of the MTHFR enzyme from our Sport & Fitness DNA test for women