Following my three-week summer trip through Europe, during which I may have indulged a tad too much in delectable croissants, pasta, gelato, and more, I was astonished by the absence of the usual bloating and lethargy that typically accompanies such feasts back home in the USA. Contrary to my expectations, I felt surprisingly light and normal. Even more astonishing was the fact that, despite my culinary escapades, when I returned back home, I hadn’t gained a pound – in fact, I had shed a few. This led me to ponder: What sets apart the food in the US from that in Europe? The answer finally unfolded as I tuned in to Gary Brecka, a longevity expert, sharing insights on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Brecka’s longevity tips are a treasure trove of knowledge, and today we we’ll discuss tip #1: eliminate folic acid from your diet. The revelation about the impact of folic acid came as I reflected on my European experience and its contrast with the usual aftermath of consuming grain-based foods in the US.

Folic acid, a wholly synthetic chemical, stands as the most prevalent nutrient in the human diet, synthesized in labs rather than found naturally on Earth’s surface. In 1993, the federal government inked a deal to spray all grain crops with folic acid, a practice still ongoing. This includes all white flour, white rice, and any grains, often labeled as “fortified” or “enriched” on the back of nutrition labels – a misleading indicator of health.

A staggering 44% of the population struggles to convert folic acid into the usable form due to a genetic mutation, resulting in a deficiency in the needed form and an excess of the unprocessable form. Methylfolate, the converted form, plays a crucial role in down-regulating neurotransmitters, enhancing gut motility, and breaking down catecholamines in the human body. Consider the common consumption of white bread, pasta, and cereals, often fortified or enriched, with many unaware that nearly half the population cannot effectively process these additives. 

Recent research also suggests a link between folic acid and postpartum depression, affecting 44% of women with the same genetic mutation. Despite doctors recommending high doses of folic acid during pregnancy for preventing birth defects, a significant percentage of women face depression as their bodies cannot process it. Oftentimes the pregnancy is blamed for causing the depression, when in reality, it was the folic acid. 

Consider the dietary choices we make for children in the morning, where the typical American breakfast comprises items like pop tarts, white bagels, and cereal. We overload the kids with folic acid first thing in the morning, which can cause those 44% who are unable to process it to act with energy as though they are on some kind of stimulant. These children are often labeled as “troublemakers” due to their inability to sit still, pay attention, or follow directions. The immediate response is to diagnose them with ADHD, leading to the prescription of medications such as Adderall or Ritalin. However, the reality is that ADHD is not solely an attention deficit disorder; rather, it manifests as an attention overload disorder. Individuals, both children and adults, grappling with this condition struggle not because they find it hard to pay attention but because they are concurrently attending to multiple stimuli. Within our minds, a delicate balance exists between creating and dismantling thoughts. The ability to dismantle neurotransmitters of thought is as crucial as the capability to generate them. When the creation of thoughts outpaces their dismantling, a plethora of simultaneous mental conversations ensues. Contrary to addressing this balance, contemporary medicine tends to favor amphetamines to accelerate the central nervous system’s pace, aligning it with the rapidity of the mind. A more holistic approach involves introducing essential amino acids, allowing the brain to naturally attain a state of tranquility.

While genes may be unchangeable, supplementation can address their deficiencies. The key lies in understanding the intricacies of our diet, unraveling the impact of synthetic additives, and making informed choices for a healthier, more balanced life. In the coming weeks, we’ll delve deeper into Brecka’s longevity tips to unravel more insights into fostering well-being.