Methylfolate supplement

Methylfolate

Methylfolate is emerging as a new and exciting food supplement for anyone who needs to supplement with Folate (also known as Folic Acid). Methylfolate (also known as 5-MTHF and L-Methylfolate) is the most stable, safe and bioeffective form of Folate.

An adequate intake of Folate is essential for the prevention of many disorders such as anaemia neural tube defects, various forms of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, colon cancer and depression. Adequate Folate levels are of particular importance for pregnant women and women planning pregnancy.

At the end of this article we include a pertinent Cytoplan health professional pdf document titled Methylfolate v. Folic Acid.

Methylfolate-supplement
Folate is derived from the term ‘foliage’ which indicates where this vitamin is found. Some of the best natural sources of Folic Acid are in green leafy vegetables.

What is Folate?

Folate (Folic Acid) is one of the water-soluble ‘B-Complex’ vitamins and Folate is necessary for proper brain function as it is concentrated in the spinal and extra cellular fluids. Folic acid plays an important role toward the production of RNA and DNA as it helps in the formation of red blood cells and nucleic acids.

Folate and Pregnancy

Folate (Folic Acid) is of particular importance for pregnant women and women planning pregnancy. Folate is vital for the baby during early pregnancy, not only is it needed by the baby for the development of the neural tubes, but also by the mother. Suitable Folate levels contribute to ‘normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy’ and The UK Department of Health have stated:

“Women who are planning a pregnancy or might become pregnant, or who are already pregnant, should also take folic acid supplement and vitamin D supplements.”

As Methylfolate is the most natural, stable, safe and bioeffective form of Folate (Folic Acid) it is ideal as a supplement for pregnant women and women planning pregnancy. Particularly in accordance with the recommendations of the UK Department of Health.

Sources of Folate and Deficiencies

Folate is derived from the term ‘foliage’ which indicates where this vitamin is found. Some of the best natural sources of Folic Acid are in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. Also in oranges, rice, brewer’s yeast, liver sprouts and leafy greens.

Food is the major source of Folates for us. However in a large percentage of the population Folate intake from food is insufficient for good health. And as previously mentioned an adequate intake of Folate is essential.

Although insufficient Folate in the diet is the most common cause of Folate deficiency, too much alcohol and an excess of certain medications such as aspirin and antacids are common causes too as they interfere with the metabolism of Folate in the body. Certain diseases also affect Folate absorption and these include Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. It must also be noted that much folate content in folate rich foods is lost due to food preparation and cooking.

Methylfolate (5-MTHF)

Methylfolate is the predominant Folate found in such foods as leafy green vegetables and is in a form that can be used directly by the body. This is a natural Folate and very different in structure and function from isolated Folic Acid, the most commonly sold supplemental form, which does not occur naturally in foods.

If our metabolism is working correctly Folic Acid is converted to Methylfolate, (a wholly safe and beneficial nutrient) by our body. But often this process is not efficient and un-metabolised Folic Acid, which is not necessarily beneficial, remains in the body. Research has established that many of us have a genetic enzyme deficiency that prevents the efficient conversion of Folate to 5-MTHF (Methylfolate) – the required biologically active form. This enzyme deficiency will also have an impact when we seek to supplement with ‘isolated’ Folic Acid.

Hence supplementing with Methylfolate may soon become the preferred norm. Methylfolate (5-MTHF) as the bioactive form of Folate has been shown to raise ‘red blood cell folate concentration’ as compared with ordinary Folic Acid supplementation. This greater ‘bioavailability’ is of particular importance to people who have the genetic enzyme deficiency as Methylfolate requires no conversion to become metabolically active.

Methylfolate and Homocysteine

Not only does the genetic enzyme deficiency inhibit the conversion of folate to 5-MTHF leaving many vulnerable to low blood folate levels it can also increase ‘Homocysteine’ levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body and elevated levels of Homocysteine have been linked to increased risks of many common disease conditions. Elevated levels of Homocysteine are commonly caused when insufficient levels of ‘methyl group’ foods are consumed.

Methylfolate and Depression

Methylfolate supplementation is also generating a lot of interest in terms of cognitive treatments and depression. Research suggests that people with elevated Homocysteine levels have a greater risk of cognitive decline. Another important aspect of Methylfolate is that it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, unlike Folic Acid. This is especially important for people with cognitive difficulties as Methylfolate can enhance the synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is found in the central and peripheral nervous systems and is the most common neurotransmitter, and the neurotransmitter associated with memory.

Folate Benefits

  • Folate provides a role in: The reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Contributes to normal psychological functions
  • Contributes to normal cell division
  • Contributes to normal blood formation
  • Contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
  • Folate contributes to normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy
  • Folate contributes to normal function of the immune system

If you have any questions regarding Folate (Folic Acid), or any other nutritional/ health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time. I can also put you in touch with a nutritional practitioner in your area.

Amanda Williams
Cytoplan
amanda@cytoplan.co.uk
01684 310099

You can also download the PDF document with the following link: Cytoplan Health Professionals Leaflet- Methylfolate v. Folic Acid.pdf


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10 thoughts on “Methylfolate

  1. I was wondering what metabolic differences there may be between methylfolate, tetrahydrofolate, and folinic acid, and why methylfolate may be the preferred option for supplementation?

    1. Methylfolate (methyltetrahydroflate) is the form in which folate occurs in dark green vegetation. In this form it is carefully regulated by the human MTHF reductase enzyme – the amount needed at any point in time is converted to a reduced form, but no more than is needed for healthy metabolic outcome. Any other form, particularly the reduced forms of which folinic acid is one, bypass the regulatory controls that prevent more than is needed circulating as free folic acid in the blood at any point in time. The risk here, as I am sure you know, is the pro-carcinogenicity of folic acid as a growth promotor is not carefully regulated by cancer recognition factor and other intrinsic feedback protective messenging systems.

  2. Hi Amanda
    Thanks for publishing this blog, this is one of the clearest explanations I’ve found. I started researching this subject recently after having to terminate a much wanted pregnancy because a severe neural tube defect was found. I’m now taking 3 capsules of the cytoplan methylfolate supplement every day in preparation for another pregnancy, as directed by my nutritional therapist. It’s such a shame that the medical profession seem to know little this though, as my GP and fetal health consultant just wanted me to take a higher dose of folic acid.
    I’ve seen that cytoplan are now selling the ‘methyl factors’ supplement. I am considering switching from taking the methylfolate, plus the B6 and B12 to this supplement, but is the methlyfolate in this the same as in the individual supplement? (I’m aware quantities are different but the description also called it by a different name l-methlyfolate I think as opposed to 5MTHF).
    Thanks very much, I will share your blog with a few friends
    Stephanie

    1. Dear Stephanie

      Thank you so much for this comment – I really appreciate you sharing your sad story with us. The methyfolate in all our products is the same but referred to differently. It is l-methylfolate or 5mthf – same thing.

      If you have a genetic polymorphism which prevents you from metabolising folic acid methylfolate is the only form of folate that will work for you so I am really pleased you are now taking this. 3 capsules is a very high dose. If your diet is folate-rich (i.e. from dark green vegetables) then 1-2 a day methylfolate will be plenty, but I understand the reason you might feel you want to take more. Methylfolate is safe in high doses which folic acid is not always, but as it is so bioeffective you it is rare that high doses are needed..

      The methyl factors could be helpful if you have other indications of poor methylation. You would not want to take 3 methylfolate plus methyl factors as that would be too much of a good thing. I am happy to liaise with your practitioner or with you to work out the best protocol for you and to assess if methyl factors would be a good addition to your programme if that would be helpful??

      My contact details – 01684 310099 / Amanda@cytoplan.co.uk – Do please get in touch if you would like to.

      Very Best Wishes, Amanda

      Best wishes

    2. Hi Stephanie. I’m sorry to hear about your pregnancy loss. I too have been in a similar situation. Have you been tested for MTHFR? It’s a condition that means you’re unable to break down the folic acid in your body into methylofolate and it is linked to recurrent miscarriages and other pregnancy complications. I have it and am currently researching the correct tablets to take. Best wishes

  3. Hi Amanda,

    Thanks for this information. I have also suffered numerous miscarriages and had to terminate due to chromosome abnormality. My blood tests show high levels of folic acid in my blood (off the scale) after taking the basic folic acid. Would this indicate that I am not converting? Also are there any other symptoms of not converting folic acid?

    Thank you

    Sarah

    1. Dear Sarah,

      Hi. I am so sorry to hear of your misfortune, but how wise you are to look at the ways you can understand and address the problem. Yes, what You describe is indeed a sign you are not converting folic acid. It is likely that you have methylation problems but as the cause and effects can be wide ranging I would advise you to seek the help of a qualified Nutrigenomic counsellor. BANT hold a register of qualified people in this respect. But ahead of that, most definitely do not ingest any more folic acid in its isolated form and do start to take Methylfolate at around 400ug/day. Our Pregna Plan and also Foundation Formula 1 both contain 400ug methylfolate and would be a safe and wise choice for you at this time.

      Please do contact me if you would like further help with nutrition and supplements, or referral to a qualified nutrigenomic counsellor. In the meantime I would like to send you some supplements as suggested above, if you would like, please do contact me – amanda@cytoplan.co.uk

      Good luck and very best wishes. Amanda x

  4. Hi Amanda.. I’d love to talk to you please about folic acid vs folate. I have been diagnosed with MTHRF but the hospital specialists are telling me to take 5mg of folic acid but I know this isn’t correct and I need the folate. I’d be keen to discuss this with you in more detail please if possible.
    Thanks

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