TONGUE TIE - IS FOLIC ACID TO BLAME?
Breastfeeding Latch for moms that make it look easy, little thought is given to a good latch, but for those of us who have lost sleep agonizing and contorting our body into any number of nursing positions – no matter how uncomfortable (come on, how many of us have lost complete sensation in a limb but dared not move?) – the latch can become a constant source of worry and matter of intense focus. If your baby is not properly latched on to your breast, feedings may be painful, nipples often unbearably sore and baby's weight gain compromised adding frustration to an already overwhelming, vulnerable time.
Recommended read: Learn about preventing nipple confusion and our recommendations for selecting the best bottle to prevent nipple confusion.
Breastfeeding latch – the tongue is a major player.
As you can imagine, the tongue is vital to breastfeeding. It aids in pulling the breast into proper position in the mouth and helps to collect milk in preparation for swallowing. It's not surprising that conditions that compromise tongue position may also compromise the ability of a newborn to nurse effectively. Tongue-tie or ankyloglossia may be an underlying cause of latch struggles. In this condition, the lingual frenulum, the band of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth, restricts tongue movement.
Tongue tie may be considered a midline defect. A fascinating discussion is emerging on the possible role of folic acid and tongue tie.
Tongue Tie – could folic acid be at fault?
There may be a genetic predisposition to tongue tie, as they certainly run in families. However, they may also be congenital, which means present at birth, but not genetic. The cause of congenital birth defects is an emerging field of research – exploration into the role of toxic metals, chemicals and nutrient deficiencies is being given much attention.
Folic acid and midline defects
Down the centre of the body seems to be where nutritional deficiencies manifest. Cleft lip, tongue tie and spina bifida are all included in this group of midline defect conditions that may be sensitive to the nutritional status of a pregnant mother.
Does folic acid cause tongue tie?
Involvement of the MTHFR defect. Some researchers claim that tongue tie may be the result of having the MTHFR gene mutation, which affects 20-40% of the population. When we have the defect, either in one gene or both, we experience a loss of the enzyme in the liver needed to turn folic acid into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, its useable form. What's the big deal? Women may actually be deficient despite taking significant amounts of folic acid. If cellular receptor sites are blocked by the less effective folic acid we lose the ability to use real folate coming into the body via food.
Prenatal Vitamin – check for 5-MTHF, not folic acid.
Food is always a great source of usable folate for a pregnant woman. Seaweed, leeks, sweet green peppers, spinach and chicken livers are rich in folate. For those women taking a prenatal supplement, check the label! Make sure your prenatal contains "5-methyltetrahydrofolate" or 5-MTHF on the label, not folic acid. Support your baby’s neurological development by ensuring you are consuming the most bioavailable form of folate.
At Rumina Naturals, we are proud that our Womb to Grow Prenatal Vitamin contains 5 -MTHF. Complete, comprehensive nutrition – backed by science and traditional wisdom. Learn more about why our Womb to Grow is a prenatal that contains folate, not folic acid.
Are you breastfeeding? Find out why you may we recommend continuing to take a high-quality prenatal vitamin during breastfeeding. We recommend our Womb to Grow as your comprehensive postnatal vitamin