Folate vs. folic acid: what you need to know
This is a common question among health-conscious people who want to ensure they are getting all the right nutrients. In some parts of the world, the terms folate and folic acid are used interchangeably. This leads to confusion. Here we will try to clarify the difference between folate and folic acid while sharing the benefits they provide along with the possible health consequences of their deficiencies.
Folate vs. folic acid: what are they?
First, we need to know what folate and folic acid are. Both are forms of vitamin B9 which is a crucial vitamin for the proper functioning of the human body. B9 helps our bodies to make and repair DNA. It facilitates the growth of cells and tissues. A lot of us suffer from anemia. Vitamin B9 acts as a defense against this condition. Vitamin B9 converts homocysteine into methionine which improves cardiovascular health. Vitamin B9 also promotes serotonin and SAMe which encourage optimal brain function. It is also a vital nutrient for pregnant women.
Folate vs. folic acid: what’s the difference?
We have already said that both folic acid and folate are different forms of vitamin B9. The main difference between folate and folic acid is where it comes from. Folate is natural and folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. We find folate in natural foods. But folic acid is the nutrient often added to foods that is “supposed to” reduce a folate deficiency. Natural folate is sometimes referred to as methylated folate because it’s the form of folate our cells can directly use. Our bodies cannot produce folate. Instead, we have to take it in through our diet. For this reason, we need to know the foods that are rich in vitamin B9. However, if someone suffers from folate deficiency, opting for L-Methylfolate supplements is the best solution.
What is the methylated folate supplement?
Methylated folate is considered the most effective treatment for folate deficiency and related health conditions. It has many health benefits. It can improve mood disorders, skin problems and reduce homocysteine levels. The foods that are rich in folate include citrus fruits, avocado, okra, brussels sprouts, and asparagus, among others.
But some do not have these foods in their meals regularly. In many cases, children refuse to have healthy foods offered by parents and prefer to have snacks and sweets on a regular basis. Hence, folate deficiency is a risk for children today. If an individual has a healthy MTHFR gene, then their body automatically converts folic acid into folate and uses it to tackle folate deficiency. But for those who have a mutation on their MTHFR gene and are unable to process folic acid, methylated folate supplements are a good solution. The statistics indicate up to 70% of the world’s population probably has an MTHFR gene defect. Also, people who do not like or are allergic to the foods mentioned above might consider taking a methylfolate supplement.