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The Folic Acid Phenomenon: Nature Provides Major Missing Link in HPV Treatment (Opinion)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 by: Heidi Fagley
Tags: folic acid, HPV, health news

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(NewsTarget) The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is an extremely common virus that can cause venereal warts. It is known to increase a woman's risk of developing abnormal Pap smears, and even cervical dysplasia (atypical - or abnormal - cells that signal the possible development of cervical cancer). However, one essential nutrient, the B vitamin Folic Acid, has been shown to be a key factor in whether or not a woman develops changes in cervical cells.

Unfortunately, because of the stigma attached to being diagnosed with an STD, oftentimes those that carry the virus are too ashamed or embarrassed to ask or seek out help in the early stages of a diagnosis. Yet early detection can successfully treat or, at the very least, keep the virus from manifesting into a more serious situation requiring surgery.

Most people that carry the virus do not even know they have it. In fact it can remain dormant for years with many people never showing any symptoms. The vast majority of women who have been exposed to HPV do not develop any symptoms nor do they have any trouble with abnormal Pap smears. Since there are different strains of HPV, experts don't really know who will develop abnormalities from the virus and who will not. This may have to do with the way our immune systems function.

Since viral replication is enhanced by weak immunity, it is extremely important to keep the immune system functioning at optimal levels. In many cases, viral activity and infections are halted by good immune functioning.

Folic acid has been found to reduce the severity of the infection and aid the cells in stopping viral replication. All women can support their own systems in preventing cervical dysplasia by simply adding adequate amounts of folate in the diet. If you choose to use a supplemental form of folic acid, please check with a holistic practitioner to find the dose that is safe for your specific situation. Foods rich in folic acid can help support the immune system. Some of nature's most popular fruits and vegetables that are high in this B vitamin include oranges, cantaloupe, asparagus, avocados, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, brussels sprouts, papaya, cabbage, bananas, peaches, peanut butter, and nuts (soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds enhances digestibility and allows greater absorption of nutritional content).

The raw version of these foods contains higher amounts of folic acid. Cooking can destroy most of this beneficial vitamin, so consuming fruit and veggies in their raw form as much as possible will help increase the amount the body absorbs.

Exploring other aspects of your life may also benefit your immunity by influencing your health. The following can increase the functioning of the immune system, thus supporting the suppression and possible effects of HPV:

- avoiding cigarette smoke
- reducing stress levels:
. chronic stress has been proven to change blood flow to cervical tissue and affect its secretions;
. stress can suppress the immune system, and it has been proven that folic acid tends to diminish when a person is depressed
- forgiving oneself/accepting oneself and moving forward
- avoiding alcohol
- consuming a whole foods diet including foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and selenium
- consuming a good quality beneficial bacteria - this will boost immunity at the gut level
- regular exercise

Experts suggest getting regular Pap smears to catch precancerous changes in the cervix at a stage when they are still easily treatable.


About the author

Heidi Fagley is a Holistic Nutritionist and has two culinary arts degrees - one in Raw, Living Foods and another in Natural Foods. Educating others about nutrition and the benefits of using whole foods to heal and prevent disease is her passion.

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