With your first impression of me, you may not realize that I have been battling with a genetic mutation. I appear to be a healthy and normal woman, a super mom, and rumor has it that my husband even says I'm still attractive after all these years. Unfortunately, living with MTHFR has never been easy, and the more I learn the more questions I have. I am homozygous for C677T, which means I have two copies of the mutation and neither of my receptors that should process folic acid and folate work correctly. Simply put, I can only process up to about 30% of the folate I consume each day. (Folate is the form found in fruits and veggies. Folic acid is synthetic and produced in a lab.)
Now that doesn't seem so bad, right? An everyday person like you or me would just simply avoid the consumption of folic acid and only eat folate. But, thanks to the FDA, companies can use these terms interchangeably, despite the new research coming out that folic acid may not be so great for a large group of people. On top of that, just about everything is "enriched" with folic acid. Our flour, cereals, breads, multivitamins…it's everywhere, and even if the box says folate on it, you still feel as if you have to contact the company just to verify that they are using the form you need. Put yourself in my shoes for a moment and really think about that. Awful, right?
And then to make matters worse, we have companies that produce multivitamins that have even more misleading labels, and right now, it's completely legal. They can say that their vitamins are sourced from whole foods under the law even if synthetic folic acid is present in them.
Above is a food-based multivitamin from Publix. If you look among the ingredients, you'll see Folic Acid plain as day. As mentioned before, folic acid does not come from food and is made in a lab.
As you can see above, Publix is in good company with those that think that this type of misleading label is okay. In fact, when I talked to Juice Plus on social media, they informed me that they were well within their legal rights to label their vitamins this way, and also told me that MTHFR patients should be just fine taking them (my doctor says otherwise). Could they be sued for this? Well, you can be sued for just about anything.
The bottom line is that there IS a difference, and together as The People, we need to demand that products are labeled correctly without any misrepresentation. If you're a company that uses folic acid in your products, fine, but make it clear to us because it makes us very ill when we consume it. Don't dance around when you're asked about your products either. It is very irritating. And while you're at it, post your labels online. Not doing so just makes it look like your company has something to hide. (To read my full exchange with Juice Plus about their products, go here: Juice Plus Facebook.)
Update: A commenter below informed me that you can find Juice Plus labels as well as their ingredients online. I was unable to find them using my mobile phone, but they can be found by accessing their site via desktop computer for those interested in their products.
In the meantime, my kids and I will be sticking to our vegan Shakeology. It may be more expensive, but they don't use folic acid, fancy words, or argue with you on social media.