Folate is an essential water-soluble nutrient, also known as the bioactive form of Vitamin B9. Since our bodies don’t store it, we must consume enough of it on a daily basis. Although it is commonly found in the foods we eat, a majority of people won’t be getting enough of it for a variety of reasons.
If you suffer from folate deficiency, some of the common symptoms might include consistent fatigue, weakness in the body, loss of motivation or energy, hair loss, short temper, muscle & nerve pain, gut issues, migraines, and some generally unexplained symptoms. While a lot of people will misinterpret these symptoms for something else, folate deficiency is much more common than we once thought.
There are several reasons why someone might need to supplement folate and they may be explored by your doctor when running the necessary tests. It’ll often boil down to three major factors -- whether you consume enough folate in your diet, whether you consume too much folic acid, or whether you have a mutation in the gene that converts folate into its active form.
Let’s take a look at each of these factors.
Not Getting Enough Folate In Your Diet
If you don’t consume enough folate in your diet, your body won’t get what it needs because it can’t produce folate itself. While the doctor will be able to give you a clear idea of your folate consumption, you can get a rough idea by analyzing your daily eating habits.
Foods rich in folate include spinach (131 mcg), black-eyed peas (105 mcg), asparagus (89 mcg), orange juice (35 mcg), eggs (22 mcg), seafood (35 mcg), dark green and leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and nuts (27 mcg). You should aim for at least 400 mcg per day since your body won’t store it.
Consult with your doctor if you feel you aren’t getting enough folate in your diet. This could be as easy as fitting more folate in your diet or simply taking folate as a supplement if you don’t eat enough of those foods on a daily basis. Be aware, even if you eat LOTS of good dietary folate, you may still have an issue converting it into the type of folate your cells need to use to make your body function properly. And be careful, supplementing with the wrong folate can actually do more damage than good, so keep reading ...
Getting Too Much Folic Acid In Your Diet
Many people will get folic acid and folate confused, mainly because they are both considered by the FDA Vitamin B9. Folic acid is known as the synthetic form which is found in the fortified foods and most vitamin supplements we eat. But the problem is that it must go through a long process within the body before being converted into its active and body-absorbable form for use. And news flash, over half of the population on the planet cannot do this conversion properly due to mutations in the body, stay tuned, more on that in the next section.
When we consume too much folic acid, it’ll compete with the proper folate we consume (if we’re consuming it) -- which is the form of Vitamin B9 we need to be after for our body’s proper health and nutrition. Not only will folic acid take longer and decrease the levels of folate we can actually use, most of us can’t convert it. This is why we need to be careful about how much folic acid is in our diet.
The MTHFR Gene Mutation
Lastly, a mutation in the MTHFR gene can cause our body to do a poor job converting folate into its active form for absorption -- methylfolate. This mutation is more common than originally thought and will present itself in over 70 different variations (two are well-known and well-researched and the ones most often tested for, 1298 and 677). But the more variations you carry, the harder it will be to make that conversion from the folate you ingest into the folate your cells need to use, methylfolate.
If you suffer from any of the factors above, there’s a good chance a methylfolate supplement may make a world of difference to your quality of life. But don’t just take any methylfolate out there on the market today (because there’s a lot of cheap, low-quality versions out there), make sure you get yourself the very best on the planet, your health is worth it. If you’re going to put it into your body, you want to know it’s the purest, most stable and effective version available. If you’re supplementing with Methylfolate, you can find your way back to a happier version of yourself!