Folate – Vitamin B9

Folate (or B9) is a key nutrient for many critical functions. Folate plays in many of our emotions. We sometimes feel angry, depressed, anxious or at times we have trouble concentrating or sleeping or feeling weak and tired. All this can be depend on folate.

Folate and Methylation

Folate supports a system known as methylation, a biochemical process that takes place within our body. By methylating certain genes, we can turn off your genetic tendency to many disease. This process of turning genes on and off is known as epigenetics

Methylation is crucial for more than 200 of our body’s functions!

  • Methylation makes our mind more flexible.
  • Methylation of histamine reduces the severity of skin allergies and allergy-like symptoms.
  • Methylation is needed to make creatine. Athletes take this as a supplement to support bigger and stronger muscles. But creatine also reduces depression, and it supports digestion, eyesight and skin health.
  • Methylation protects against fatty liver, supports the digestion of fats in our diet, helps contract your muscles, and supports sustained, focused attention.

These are all functions where folate is involved and required!

  • Folate also helps us calm down, stabilize our blood sugar, maintain healthy skin and strong bones, and get deep, restful sleep every night by conserving glycine.
  • Folate also prevents anemia, which keeps us feeling energized and keeps our brain in tip-top shape.

Folate deficiency is usually associated with anemia, where we have fewer red blood cells than you should, and where they are bigger than they should be. This can result in feeling tired, weak, or cause our heart to skip beats or beat irregularly.

How much folate do we need

A lot of other nutrients support folate so the amount can vary but the RDA is set to 400mcg for adults.

  • Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12 all help support folate in the methylation process.
  • So do iron, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
  • Choline reduces folate needs
  • Consuming creatine in meat reduces the need for folate.

How do we get all the folate we need

Liver is the best sources for folate

Folate is most abundant in “the three L’s.” Liver, legumes, and leafy greens.

  • In general, you want three servings per day, where a serving is 100 g.
  • Liver is the best source. Any kind of liver will do, but should only be eaten once or twice a week.
  • Rest of the days look for greens. Actually it’s the “green” part that matters, not the leafy part. Look for leeks, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Good legume sources are chickpeas, or any of these beans: kidney, lima, black.

Important notes

  • Folate is stable in liver during cooking, but in plant foods some is destroyed by heat and some is lost in the cooking water.
  • Buy veggies as fresh as possible and use them within 3-5 days.
  • Avoid canned legumes since they have been pre-heated.
  • Folate is lost during the rinsing of veggies. It’s the cut surfaces that lose folate, so always rinse before you cut or dice, not after.
  • Sprouted legumes have 4-6 times more folate than raw legumes.
  • If you go on a keto lifestyle be aware that refined grains like white bread, are fortified with folic acid. So ensure you eat plenty of liver and fresh greens.
  • Alcohol and cigarette smoking affect folate absorption and utilization.
  • There are many genes involved in folate metabolism, such as SLC19A1 which hurts your ability to get folate into your cells and MTHFR, MTHFD1 which may increase the risk for anemia.


Folate has no known toxicity, however the upper limit for supplemental folate is set at 1 mg/d.

  • Folic acid is usual supplement, but try to avoid it not only as a supplement but in any source of food. It is a common additive in many proceessed foods. It is not found naturally in food.
  • Folinic acid is one of the forms of folate found in food. It may be better at supporting anemia.
  • Methylfolate is an active form of B9 which will also support from Methylation.

Key Takeaways

  • Folate support many critical body function, prevents anemia and supports mental, emotional, and physical health.
  • Best sources are liver, sprouted legumes, fresh leafy greens.

Further reading

Benefits of prolonged fasting

A prolonged fasting has amazing benefits and everyone should be trying a 2-3 day fast once in a while. This might sound like an impossible mission to many but your body will thank you after it. Let’s see why!

Free your mind

Intermittent fasting for 16-20 hours is great daily practise, but going deeper into a fasted state will greatly enhance some of the benefits.

But before talking about the science of fasting, let’s talk about the first and main benefit of a prolonged fast. It is freedom of mind. Staying away from anything for a period of time can be liberating. Habits can be addictive since they are low-key activities we do day-in day-out. And our mind likes things staying the same. Take food for example. We mostly eat at the same times every day and our mind reminds us of the fact every single time. You need to eat! This can apply so many other things as well. A coffee fast would also be a good idea and that is why we have it as a challenge in one of our series

Fasting Benefits

If you choose to start fasting, you will have great benefits, so keep an open mind and don’t worry even if you have to stop early.

  • Growth Hormone secretion can increase by up-to 400% for a 2-day fast, . GH is important for growth, cell regeneration, repairing healthy tissue in the brain and other organs. It speeds up healing, muscle tissue repair and protcts the joints.
  • Autophagy is the process of removing accumulated toxins and recycling old cells. The process is triggered in an energy deprived state (with the absence of insulin, mTOR )
  • Inflammation (both acute and chronic) will reduce by giving a chance to your body to focus on healing. Eating and digesting takes up-to 60% of the bodys energy leaving little time for any other process to kick-in and be be effective.
  • Stem cells provide new cells for the body to replace old or damaged ones. As we age stem cells reduce and/or become less potent. A lot of research and investment is going into this field recently, but fasting is a natural way to enhance our stem cells.
  • Mitochondria are increased. Mitochondria are the power plants in our cells responsible for the energy we have. Fasting gets rid of the old mitochondria and at the same time stimulates new growth. This process of renewing your mitochondria may play a huge role in the prevention of many of the diseases we currently have no acceptable treatment — diseases of excess growth.
  • Brain cells growth especially in the hippocampus involved with memory cells.
  • Andioxidants increase.
  • Cell resistance increase to stress.


  • Fasting benefits change depending on the duration. With a prolonged fasting you trigger autophagy and create new stem cells. 

How to prepare for your fast

Starting a fast can seem like an intimidating task if you haven’t done this before. But realise this is mostly a mind game and that  should always take it to your level of comfort, There are enourmous benefits of doing a fast independent of the duration. 

  • It is important to be already in ketosis so your body is already effective in using its own fat for energy in the absense of food. Ketones are muscle sparring and in this way we avoid losing any muscle tissue which might be the case if you start your fast while being in a high-carb diet.

What to drink during your fast

Starting a fast can seem like an intimidating task if you haven’t done this before. But realise this is mostly a mind game and that  should always take it to your level of comfort, There are enourmous benefits of doing a fast independent of the duration. 

  • Drink black coffee and green tea.
  • Drink water with some salt and lemon to get some electrolytes and sodium.
  • During the fasting your body will start releasing toxins. To support the detoxification process take activated charcoal.

How to break a fast

After a couple of days of fasting your gut has adapted to the abstinence of food, by preserving digestive processes. So you need to be careful to not put too much stress on your body which will cause excess inflammation. Refeed slowly. Additionally consuming high amounts of carbohydrates may result in an abrupt weight gain due to sodium retention. While fasting you excrete a lot of water and refeeding on carbs will get you bloated and you may also have an energy crash of insulin.

  • Drink first some water with ACV to trigger your bodies digestive enzymes.
  • Then break your fast with some bone broth. Bone broth is amazing because it has a ton of electrolytes but it’s also packed with collagen. Bone broth will also help you to absorb the other electrolytes and minerals a lot better. Your gut has been cleaning house for a while and is now ready to utilize the nutrients you’ll be consuming afterward.
  • After 30 minutes have a relatively small meal and low glycemic, no matter what diet you’re on. This will keep you in a semi-fasted state because of the non-existent rise in blood sugar. Aim for around 500 calories. Eggs are a great option since they are easy to digest and carry a lot nutrients.

When to stop early

Although a three day fast is not considered a long fast, there are some occasions that you might need to consider breaking your fast early. Always listen to your body and the signs it sends.

  • If you painful hunger which does not go away. Try some MCT Oil if this happens.
  • If you have strong dizzyness and you can’t stand-up or keep your balance. Some light headiness is normal and goes away by adding salt to your water.
  • If you have insomnia and can’t sleep. Your sleep might be affected during your fast but we still need respect the quality of our sleep.

Key Takeaways

  • Fasting is a powerful tool to use for your health and longevity.
  • Doing a 3-day fast once every 4-6 months is sufficient to get all the benefits when combining with a daily intermittent fasting protocol.
  • Further Reading

    Season’s Pick – Radish, the nutrient-rich veggie !

    Spring is in full bloom and so are Red Radishes in the farms !!! Ever thought this tiny spring summer vegetable could offer a bundle of health benefits? What is double exciting is the fact that Radishes are quickly becoming the Keto’s substitute of a Potato. So lets deep dive into its rich nutritional benefits.

    Red radish (Raphanus sativus) is a small annual plant native to Europe and southern Asia that belongs to the Brassicaceae family

    Here’s our pick of the top benefits why this root vegetable should become a part of your  meals

    High on Nutrients

    With high levels of vitamin C and B9, fiber, potassium and magnesium, red radishes play a part in keeping the immune system and nervous system up and running.

    Radish Nutrition Facts (Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw)

    Nutrients Amt. Per Serving % Daily Value*
    Calories 16
    Calories from Fat 1
    Sodium 39 mg 2%
    Total Carbohydrates 3 g 1%
    Dietary Fiber 2 g 6%
    Sugar 2 g
    Protein 1 g
    Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 25%
    Calcium 2% Iron 2%
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories

    Relieves Respiratory Disorders

    Radishes are an anti-congestive, meaning that they decrease congestion of the respiratory system including irritation of the nose, throat, windpipe, and lungs that can come from colds, infections, allergies, and other causes. They are a great disinfectant and are rich in vitamins, which further protects the respiratory system. They also eliminate excess mucus in the throat.

    Lowers Blood Pressure

    Radishes are a very good source of potassium, which contributes to a large list of health benefits.  When potassium interacts with the arterial supply of vascular beds, it can relax the blood vessels, and therefore promote blood flow. It also reduces the blood pressure by widening the flow of the blood, instead of forcing it through narrow, constricted channels. Radish is known to control damage to our red blood cells, and in the process also increases oxygen supply to the blood.

    Helps Fight Jaundice

    Radish and radish leaves have been used as a home remedy against jaundice, especially in Indian, Greek-Arabic, and Unani branches of medicine.  Eating radishes can help in the removal of bilirubin, a condition evidenced by a yellow tinge in the skin, mucous membranes, or eyes, often present in newborns. This type of jaundice occurs when bilirubin builds up in bile faster than the liver can break it down and excrete from your body.

    Guards the Heart

    Radishes are a good source for anthocyanins that keep our hearts functioning properly, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Plus they are high on vitamin C, folic acid, and flavonoids too.


    Radishes contain fiber, which keeps your system flushed and functioning with regularity and aids in maintaining a healthy weight. Ironically, these naturally heated veggies may help put an end to any burning sensation experienced during urination. That may be because radishes are a natural diuretic, purifying the kidney and urinary systems and relieving inflammation.

    Good for our Skin and Hair

    If you drink radish juice every day, you’re giving your skin special boosters to stay healthy, and that’s mostly because of the Vitamin C, zinc, and phosphorus The high water content in radishes also helps to maintain healthy moisture levels and hydration of the skin.  And if you apply it on your hair, it helps to remove dandruff, prevent hair loss, and strengthens the root too.

    There are plenty of ways how you could use Radishes be it Salads, Soups, Dips or Juices.

    Our #KetOntrackKitchen is coming up with some interesting inhouse recipes based on Radishes and many more Season picks. Stay tuned !!!

    My experience with the series – first 4 weeks

    How it all started – Into the practitioner series

    By chance finding out about this initiative, and as a colleague of Panagiotis, interested to understand more about the program. After a first chat, unfortunately as a Video call, instead of over a nice coffee in our canteen due to COVID-19, I found myself confirming to Panagiotis that I’m up for the challenge.. What did I get myself into 🙂

    Actually I was not really looking to lose more weight, as I’ve went through a considerable weight loss some years ago (and yes staying up to the mark!), however due to the home office situation noticed my motivation and energy levels going down and not able to do my sport (running) in the same speed/length as I’ve done before…

    …So I knew it was time to adapt, also to not return to older routines. So I actually started intermittent fasting myself before getting started with Ketontrack. But back to the chat with Panagiotis, he mentioned ‘your luck has changed’, as he was doing the 20 day fitness challenge, and I was more than welcome to join. Again.. what did I get myself into…

    Long story short, we agreed to start the program, and I would give the fitness program a try to see if I get more energized to do my runs again..

    Now for my experiences:

    The nutrition – Getting into Intermittent Fasting and Keto

    Before we started, Panagiotis suggested I would track one week for what I ate, not knowing that it resulted in my trying to empty my fridge/freezer to get ready for the program, I believe he almost got a heart attack seeing the amount of Carbs I had eaten. It was obvious that this was causing the hunger feeling at the end of each fast.

    So we started, and as I have done low-carb / high-protein adaptation before to lose weigh, but with 5-6 eating moments per day to overcome the hunger feeling, I was not so scared of renouncing carbs and sugars. And as I managed to do 2 weeks of IF already (even up to 20 hours), also here I was confident I could make it happen!

    And so it was, even with some cravings in the first weeks, I managed to keep it up without too many issues, and with the well managed program, adding something new to consider each new week. This way it’s not too much to worry about. I believe that working from home helps in organizing better the eating moments and habits, so somehow I can consider this as a benefit, although I would rather be in the office..

    The fitness – Getting active (again)

    As Panagiotis offered to join the challenge he started on Facebook, I decided I give it a try. Little did I know that it was, at least from my perspective, a quite advanced Yoga training, and unfortunately it made me lose my motivation. So I decided to end this and focus a bit more on running and some basic exercises myself. With the change of diet, I was getting back some more energy and enjoyed more and more doing something again.

    Luckily there was the new chance, in this case the beginner fitness course, and I wanted to have another attempt. Now in the 2nd week, it is for me still quite a challenge, but manageable, I wouldn’t go as far as enjoyable just yet 🙂

    6 days/week is quite heavy, but a good way to change habits and ensuring you move. The downside is that I’m not running, as 2 hours/day sport is a bit too much..

    The sleep – Getting it right

    Although it comes at a later stage in the program, I was already interested in looking into my sleep patterns. Initially of course to understand if I sleep well. In one of our weekly alignment meetings, Panagiotis showed me the Ouraring, which is a nice lightweight device to keep track of your sleep. I recently purchased the ring to start tracking. My first night sleep was by the books, but during the week there are some variations – so definitely something to focus on, maybe even more important than starting exercising?

    Conclusion – my key takeaways

    So, while writing this I have completed 43 days of IF and 4 weeks of the program, now fast-tracking week 5&6 together.

    I’m happy that I decided to join the series, even if it controls my time/mind more that I initially might have expected, but all positive. I truly believe that it’s all about changing habits and routine, taking it almost to the extreme in the beginning – of course not ‘overdoing it’ . However it needs to fit also into the ‘normal’ life, especially on social occasions with friends and family.

    As you might have seen, I’m also quite active in finding interesting recipes, and where possible sharing them on this website. The risk I otherwise see is that it might become to tedious/boring, which might demotivate anyone trying to keep up with the program

    Going forward I’m keen on getting into the next stage of the series, especially curious in moving from 16×8 to 18×6 to 20×4, the occasional 24 hour fast and ultimately the 3-day fast!

    Satiety & hunger effects of a ketogenic lifestyle

    A typical weight loss diet can leave us with a constant sense of hunger since the day to day restrain of food, impacts us both psychological and physiologically. Experience and research show that a ketogenic diet does not seem to follow this paradigm. Most of the ketOntrack participants as well as people from numerous studies, felt less hungry living the keto lifestyle.

    So why is the ketogenic diet so efficient in better satiety and reducing hunger?

    There are several effects that are playing a vital role here:

    • Protein and Fat intake are important factors of keeping a balanced diet, resulting in the production of ketones. Proteins are satiating macronutrients that can be consumed in higher amounts in a ketogenic diet. Fat especially including a good source of fatty acids, can be a good source of fat-soluble vitamins and micro nutrients enabling the necessary nutrient dense diet that supports long term satiety.
    • Reduction of carbs and processed foods can help with longer windows between meals, so feeling hungry later. Soda’s, high fructose foods and fruits, as well as refined carbs, are causing an energy dis-balance, where the metabolism adapts to the short-term energy boosts provided, resulting in a higher threshold to reach satiety. This results in a quicker demand by the metabolism for more energy, hence hunger is signalled.
    • Ketones that are produced and converted by the metabolism from fatty acids. Once that a ketogenic lifestyle is established or achieved, ketones are an energy source that can reduce hunger, as the ketones itself are fueling the body in absence of glucose available to be burnt.
    • Low energy diets can cause satiety due to reduced hunger. Such diets are adapted to the BMI and check to not go beyond the daily maximum of calories to be consumed. Many of such diets are of ketogenic nature. You do not necessarily need to count calories, when you eat only until you are full / satisfied and satiety is achieved. However, supporting the habitual change to interpret the right level of satiety, starting into a ketogenic lifestyle, we advice counting calories for the start.
    • Hormones are having an effect as well, as a result, the more balanced and nutrient dense a ketogenic diet is, the better our body signals satiety after eating. Read more. The hormom Ghrelin is produced in the GI tract, it is the hormone that stimulates appetite, causing you to feel hungry. The hormom Leptin is produced in the fat cells and is responsible for sending a signal to your brain that you are satiated.
    • Appetite to consume foods that you even might create cravings for, is often a result of having an unbalanced diet forcing an abstinence of certain food types. Cravings can result in hunger, or being not satiated after a meal, as something might be missing from your diet. Whilst in a ketogenic lifestyle this is definitely (refined) carbs and processed foods containing i.e. sugars, we believe that a good and balanced ketogenic diet with a nutrient dense profile, can absorb some of these cravings. As a positive side effect, we have often noticed that appetite for certain food types signal the absence of some vital macro or micro nutrients and thus creates appetite for specific foods. Over time there is a chance to listen to your body and translate the craving or the appetite into needed nutrients at that very moment. For example, somebody wanting to desperately eat Banana´s is most likely not really missing the starches included, but potassium or Vitamin B6, which Bananas are providing. As a result, it would be good to search for an alternative including these nutrients, i.e. Lemons, Meat, Fish or Nuts.

    Key Takeaway

    Summarizing, yes, a keto lifestyle while eating whole and fresh foods can support a better control of satiety and balance of feeling hungry. Give it a try!

    Bone Broth

    As my batch of beef broth was gone, decided to make a big batch of beef stock. I thought I would take some pictures along the way and share in this post. Although it’s not much effort, it takes a lot of cooking time and quite some dishwashing is needed during and after preparing.

    I’ve reduced the stock, so I can have a bigger portion in the freezer, as all you take out is the liquid, which makes the reduced stock having a very strong taste. Once done, you either cool them in icecube-holders or after cooling down cut in small cubes (due to the gelatine from the bones it will turn into jelly).

    I’ve listed the ingredients I’ve used, but you can add some herbs/flavours you like. Also you could add some beef


    • 2 kg beef bones (you should be get them from your butcher)
    • 4-6 liter of water (you need to make sure all ingredients are covered in water while cooking)
    • 1 leek
    • 1 large onion
    • 100 gr celeriac
    • 2 pcs of celery
    • 1 large carrot
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • thyme
    • parsley
    • mace
    • bay leaves
    • juniper berries, crushed
    • peppercorns, crushed
    • salt (quite a bit)
    • tomato paste or fresh tomatoes


    Let’s start with the bones

    Preheat the oven to 250°C – place the bones in an oven tray and roast in the oven for 45min to 1 hour – keep an eye at the end so the bones don’t burn.

    After the bones are ready, transfer in a soup pan (don’t transfer the fat!!), and fill with cold water. Bring the pan to the boil and let it boil for some minutes. After some time you see some foam at the surface, scoop that off until you have clear water.

    Adding the vegetables

    Don’t bother peeling the vegetables, but quickly wash them to rinse of all soil. Cut them in pieces. Cut the onion in half, and fry them in a frying pan until they are caramalized. Together with skin this will give a nice color to the stock.

    Let’s cook

    Now we add the vegetables, spices, herbs and tomatoe paste to the water with bones and bring them close to the boil (I actually had to distribute of 2 pans, it doesn’t need to be exactly 50-50 as in the end it all comes together again..

    Lower to heat to low and let it simmer for a long time (I usually leave it overnight as I have induction cooking it’s safe from my point of view).

    Time to finish

    All the flavours are now infused in the water, and it got a rich color. Remove the bones and vegetables from the stock. If you like the marrow you can scrape it out of the bone for later used. Pass the soup through a sieve, if you want a very clear stock you can also pass through a cheesecloth. As you cooked a long time, don’t rush this part!

    Almost done….

    You now have a nice stock, which could be used as base for a soup or sauce. But in order to save it for later use I suggest to take one more step, which mostly will some of your time, mainly waiting time.

    Let’s reduce

    Now let’s get rid of some excess water, intensifying the taste of the stock. In this case it will take up less space in your freezer.

    The only thing left to do is cooldown, portion and freeze for later use. As you removed a lot of water, when using it, add enough water to have a good tasting bouillion. If you added too much water, you can of course another portion of stock.