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The Role of Methylfolate in Postpartum Recovery: How it Supports Healing and Overall Health

The Role of Methylfolate in Postpartum Recovery: How it Supports Healing and Overall Health

The Role of Methylfolate in Postpartum Recovery: How it Supports Healing and Overall Health

The first six to eight weeks after giving birth is known as the postpartum period, and it can be challenging for both mom and baby. During this period, the mother recovers from the birth physically and psychologically. Her body is changing in many ways, and her hormones will be adjusting, and she returns to the “non-pregnant” state. [1]  For many moms, this means juggling the care for a newborn with sleepless nights, exhaustion, pain, breastfeeding difficulties, and other potential issues. 

Good postpartum nutrition postpartum is just as important as taking prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. A balanced diet forms the basis of long-term health and well-being for both mother and child. While it is well-established that folate is necessary for the normal fetal spine, brain, and skull development during pregnancy, folate can also assist in postpartum recovery.


How does methylfolate support postpartum recovery?

Promotes tissue repair and healing

Animal studies have found that folate supplementation can stimulate DNA synthesis, which may help to speed wound healing. [2]

Further studies show that folic acid supplementation can accelerate granulation tissue formation, the proliferation of fibroblasts, and tissue regeneration, which are the processes involved in repairing damaged tissues. Folic acid was also found to significantly decrease levels of lipid peroxidation, inflammation, and glutathione depletion in certain wounds, indicating that supplementation may improve impaired wound healing by suppressing oxidative stress. [3]

In addition, folate may prevent endothelial damage by regulating homocysteine levels in the body. [4]

Reduces inflammation and supports immune function 

Emerging evidence suggests that folate’s role in one-carbon metabolism has a crucial impact on developing and maintaining inflammatory responses. Optimal folate levels are important for supporting healthy vascular function and DNA stability. 

Low folate levels are common in chronic inflammatory diseases, which may be because inadequate folate increases the risk of disease or because chronic inflammation increases the body’s need for folate. [5]

Folate and vitamin B12 both play a crucial role in healthy immune function, and low levels of either nutrient can severely alter immune responses by impairing protein synthesis, inhibiting immune cell function, and interfering with methylation.  [6]

What Does it Mean to be the “Best” Methylfolate

Supports overall health and wellbeing

Folate is an essential nutrient for nucleotide synthesis and methylation processes and also contributes to healthy growth, development, and reproduction. Pregnancy dramatically increases the body’s demand for folate, and supplementation is advised over dietary intake. Low folate levels have been linked to mood disorders, elevated homocysteine, and an increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. [7]
Supplementation with folate during pregnancy is shown to reduce symptoms of maternal depression for up to 21 months postpartum, including in women with MTHFR genetic mutations. [8]

How to incorporate methylfolate into postpartum recovery

Active folate is available in various fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats. 

Dietary sources of methylfolate

Leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, turnip greens)
Legumes (lentils, mung beans, chickpeas)
Fermented foods (sauerkraut, miso, yogurt)
Berries (blueberries, strawberries)
Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruit)

Methylfolate supplements and dosage recommendations

A healthy, balanced diet is necessary for any mother during and after pregnancy. However, food cannot support the body’s demand for specific nutrients, especially folate, which means supplementation is essential. 
Although most doctors readily prescribe folic acid, methylfolate may be a superior form of folate for several reasons: [9]

• Methylfolate gets well absorbed even if the digestive function is poor due to altered gastrointestinal pH.
• Bioavailability is not affected by metabolic defects such as an MTHFR genetic mutation.
• Unlike folic acid, methylfolate does not mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.
• Methylfolate does not interact with drugs that inhibit dihydrofolate reductase, such as some antibiotics.
• Methylfolate is already in its active form, so it will not result in unconverted folic acid in the circulation (also known as unmetabolized folic acid [UMFA] syndrome)

Dosage varies between individuals, and it’s important to consult a health practitioner before starting any supplement regimen. 
Depending on the product, methylfolate dosages can range from 2.5 mg to 15 mg. Those with severe folate deficiency or needing mood support may supplement with a higher dosage. Methyl-life’s® B-Methylated-II, for example, contains 3 mg methylfolate plus 3.75mg active B12, which is an ideal dosage for postpartum women or those new to methylfolate. 

Precautions and potential side effects

Methylfolate is unlikely to cause any side effects or adverse reactions. It is safe to take while breastfeeding. However, postpartum women are advised to speak with their health practitioner before taking any supplements, especially alongside other medications or supplements. 

Other strategies for supporting postpartum recovery 

Along with adequate nutritional support, other healthy lifestyle habits for recovery include: 


Exercise and movement

Exercising during the postpartum period can improve mood, maintain cardiorespiratory health, support weight management and weight loss, and reduce depression and anxiety. [10]

The World Health Organization also advises that postpartum women consult their health practitioner before starting an exercise program. The United States Department of Health and Human Service recommends that healthy postpartum women who are not already highly active should aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity at moderate intensity throughout the week. [11]

Recommended types of activities include: 

• Aerobic exercise (cycling, swimming, using an elliptical trainer, rowing)

• Pelvic floor exercises

• Weight lifting

• Stretching

• Walking 


Sleep and rest 

Lack of sleep during postpartum can lead to increased stress and fatigue, which in turn can impact mental health, interpersonal relationships, postpartum weight retention, and even the baby’s development. [12]

Some tips for getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep during this time include:

• Implementing a schedule for regular wake and sleep routines. No parent can manage a perfect schedule, but there are techniques to help the baby get into a normal sleeping pattern.

• Taking naps when the baby sleeps. Even short rests can help support mood and energy levels.

• Exercising when possible. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and daytime alertness. [13]

• Practicing yoga or meditation to assist with relaxation and help reduce stress.

Nutrition and hydration

A healthy postpartum diet should include protein, fresh fruits, vegetables, and fiber. If breastfeeding, mothers require an estimated 500 extra calories per day to support milk production and energy. Additional nutrients required for supporting healthy function and infant growth through breast milk include iodine, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. [14]

Caring for a newborn may make it difficult to eat well and/or regularly. Supplementation of specific nutrients or with a comprehensive multivitamin - such as the highly regarded Methyl-Life® Chewable Methylated Multivitamin - may help fill any nutritional gaps during this time. The Methyl-Life® range is ideal as it provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients to support immune function and postpartum recovery. 


Hydration is also important, especially when breastfeeding. Breast milk is around 87% water and mothers must replenish fluids regularly to maintain hydration. [15] Drinking plenty of water also helps to support energy levels, maintain bowel regularity and prevent constipation, and help the body to flush out unwanted toxins and waste. 

All adults should drink 1.5-2 L of water daily, but breastfeeding mothers are advised to drink an additional liter (2.5-3 L of water each day).

The takeaway

Postpartum women face considerable stress while caring for a newborn and need to support their health and recovery through balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits. Along with stress management, regular exercise, and adequate rest, postpartum women are advised to consume a range of macro- and micronutrients – particularly methylfolate. Methylfolate supports tissue repair, healthy mood, and overall well-being.

Women are also urged to speak with a qualified healthcare provider before commencing any new supplements or exercise routines, especially if breastfeeding.

















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