Dear Professor Winston,
There are increasing amounts of articles online and books that say that taking Methylfolate is superior to taking Folic Acid pre-conception and during pregnancy. The reason given is that a high percentage of the population have a genetic mutation which means they cannot efficiently absorb folic acid but have no problem with Methylfolate. However, I have recently read from other sources that this is bad advice and [that] Folic Acid is the only proven supplement to help prevent neural tube defects irrelevant of any mutation. What are your thoughts/current understanding on this? I have no way of knowing if I have the mutation and previously I had reasoned to take the Methylfolate as an ‘all bases covered’ which I have been doing pre-conception (I am not yet pregnant). But I am now worried that has been a waste of time and a mistake. Do I need to switch to Folic Acid in order to help prevent neural tube defects?
I am 30 years old, non smoker and don’t drink, healthy weight, no history of neural tube defects in my family; what dosage would you say was optimal when preparing the body for conception?
I think it possibly doesn’t matter that much but folic acid is a proven medication so that is what I would normally have my patients take.