Last Updated on January 14, 2024 by Umer Malik
We often hear about folic acid and folate interchangeably but there is a big difference between them.
In this article we will talk about the difference between and folate folic acid and why methylfolate supplements are superior to folic acid.
Table of Contents
Let’s start with the folate. Our body needs folate to function it. Folate is the metabolically active and naturally occurring form of the vitamin B9. Folate is present in many foods like liver, dark leafy vegetables, legumes, avocados and asparagus.
Whereas folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 or man-made form of vitamin B9 and found in many fortified foods and multivitamins.
Conversion Of Folic Acid To Methylfolate
When you take folic acid, before your body uses it, your body must convert it to metabolically active form of folate called L-methylfolate. This l-methylfolate version of folate is active and useful for your body and your body absorbs this vitamin really well. It’s a huge process in which folic acid converts into the methylfolate. When folic acid starts break down through the enzymes its first stage is in which it converts is “dihydrofolate” then “tetrahydrofolate (THF)” then “5, 10 methylene THF” and the last one is L-5 methylfolate which is the active form.
What Does Folate Do In Your Body?
The function of the folate is just like an enzyme. It means, it helps other enzymes in the body to do their jobs.
Folate converts homocysteine to an essential amino acid called methionine. If your body doesn’t have enough folate, homocysteine will be raised that is not good for the health. Elevated homocysteine can cause infertility and recurrent miscarriages. It has also been found that women who have the disease of PCOS and early miscarriages are also more likely to have raised homocysteine level.
Additionally, folate is also indispensable for haem production as well as white and red blood cell production. haem is the iron-rich molecules attached to red blood cells, this is the reason the deficiency of folate leads to megaloblastic anemia.
Furthermore, folate plays an important role with the health of women as it breakdown hormones, affects mood, aides detoxification and promotes a healthy pregnancy etc.
Why Is Folic Acid In The Multivitamins?
Well, folic acid is the least expensive formula that’s why many companies prefer folic acid to folate to make high profit. Folic acid as compare to folate is much cheaper to put into a vitamin. So this is the reason most companies put folic acid into multivitamins and fortified foods.
Why Methylfolate Supplement is Superior?
Well methylfolate supplement is superior because of its active form as well as it bypasses methylene enzymes and directly absorbs in your body. They are good for those people who are MTHFR gene mutation. In studies it has been showed that there are up to 50% people have at least one gene mutation called MTHFR gene. This gene deliver instruction to our body to make an enzyme that converts folic acid into the methylfolate (active form).
Women with gene mutation may have a high risk of infertility, neural tube defects in pregnancy and migraines. You can bypass defective enzymes by taking methylfolate instead of folic acid.
L-Methylfolate is a blessed supplement for those who have MTHFR gene mutation. Folate is an essential vitamin that has a significant role in our body. Without folate, we can get many diseases.