Folic Acid or Folate?

Did you know that there are 13 vitamins that are vital — essential — to your survival? Among them is the lineup of B vitamins with names like thiamin (for Vitamin B1), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and niacin (vitamin B3). Then there’s folate, incredibly important for our health no matter our stage of life. The folate vitamin group is most active when converted into MethyFolate (MF).

What is Folate?

Folate is a group of chemically complicated substances that supply the body with chemically simple methyl groups. The body needs folates but can’t make them from scratch and therefore must get from foods or dietary supplements. Folate is vital at every life stage, from early development in the womb through birth and all the way through adulthood. But for many people lifestyle factors, popularly used medications or common gene mutations deplete their folate stores. For these individuals AND for the rest of us, methylfolate is the best dietary form of folate.

MethylFolate (technically methyltetrahydrofolate) is the body’s most active form of folate. ALL our cells need MF to drive specialized enzymes that make the DNA, genes, and chromosomes. All our cells also need MF to repair damage to their DNA (which is occurring all the time, even in healthy cells). Methyl coming mainly from folate is also very important for epigenetics — turning genes on and off using methyl — as well as to enable cells to grow, maintain their structure and make new cells.

Our 200 billion brain cells need MF for all these reasons. But also, they need MF to enable them to make nerve cells’ electrical insulation, important neurotransmitters, even a major hormone. Yet MF is not commonly found in foods and very rarely provided by dietary supplements. Active Plus Prenatal Vitamin’s main active ingratiate is methylFolate.

Lifestyle, Medications Deplete the Body’s Folate Supply

The body’s stores of MF and other methyl resources are in danger of depletion by alcohol abuse, smoking, and by high usage of drugs such as antacids, antibiotics, painkillers, certain diuretics, estrogen replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, anticonvulsants, and SSRI psychotherapeutics. Poor diet, poor digestive and absorptive function, and suboptimal kidney function all can deplete the body’s folate stores.

During pregnancy, the demand for folate becomes greatly increased due to the needs of the developing baby. Supplementing with MethylFolate from BrainMD Health helps provide your brain and body with optimized folate, to improve your chances of maintaining health and wellbeing.

What’s the Difference Between Folate, Folic Acid and MethylFolate?

Many foods are being “fortified” with folic acid (FA) to help consumers maintain good nutritional folate status. Also, dietary supplements that include folate typically provide it as FA. Yet this substance is a manufactured folate that is known to be poorly utilized by the body’s folate enzyme system. The body has to use an enzyme to make FA usable, and this enzyme’s conversion capacity is limited. Consequently, many people have unconverted FA in their bloodstream, which studies have linked to negative health effects.

MethylFolate is the folate form most naturally preferred by the body, so much so that the intestinal lining has “transport proteins” that bind to it and selectively absorb it into the blood. Similar proteins also move MF from the circulation into the brain tissue. But MF utilization can be blocked by the FA coming from fortified foods or poorly formulated dietary supplements. Folic acid is not just poorly effective — it actually interferes with the enzymes that are tasked with using MF and the other folates coming from our foods. Folic acid consumption is a serious health issue.

Bottom line: always choose supplements with MethylFolate instead of folic acid.

MethylFolate Bypasses Common Folate Mutations

Unlike folic acid (FA), MethylFolate, when consumed, does not have to be converted into active folate—being already the body’s most active folate form, it can be immediately used by our folate enzyme systems. One of the most common human gene mutations is the C677T mutation in the enzyme MTHFR (Methylene Tetrahydrofolate Reductase), whose function is to produce MF.

More than 40 percent of individuals in some ethnic groups have this mutation, which is associated with impaired folate utilization. Taking MF by mouth bypasses this mutation: as premade authentic MF it doesn’t need to be produced by MTHFR. For people with C677T or various other, less common MTHFR mutations MF is a health breakthrough!

Benefits of MethylFolate

Here are a few of the numerous health benefits of MF:

  • Fundamental to the growth, renewal, and total functioning of our cells, tissues and organs.
  • Clinically proven for healthy mood, memory and other cognitive functions, and behavior.
  • Enhances the clinically proven mood benefits of SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine).
  • Essential for the brain to make the key neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
  • Promotes the brain’s healthy production of melatonin, our major sleep hormone.
  • Enhances the body’s regulation of homocysteine, a potentially toxic human metabolic product.

Promotes healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes.