How does Methylated Folate Work in your Body?

How does Methylated Folate Work in your Body?

If you’re looking for a methylfolate supplement to support your health, you’re in the right place. Let’s explain what methylfolate is and what it actually does for your body.

What is Methylated Folate?

Methylated folate - better known as methylfolate - is the active form of folate that your body can use immediately.

Methylfolate is required for numerous functions in the body. It repairs and synthesizes DNA, assists in cell division, and helps the body produce neurotransmitters and red blood cells. It supports the body’s detoxification process and regulates homocysteine, an amino acid that is used to make proteins.

Methylfolate is also required for the proper development of the fetus in pregnancy.

Methylfolate is also the only form of folate that can cross the blood-brain-barrier. In the brain, it helps produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters regulate our emotions and moods throughout the day.

How Do We Get Methylfolate?

Each of us has a gene called the MTHFR gene. This gene provides instructions to your body for making methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, the enzyme that converts folic acid into the active, bioidentical folate called methylfolate.

Dietary folate and folic acid (from the food that you eat and supplements you take) must first undergo this MTHFR conversion process to become methylfolate. Only methylfolate can be absorbed and utilized directly by the body’s cells.

However, mutations on the MTHFR gene are common: around 50% of the world’s population has some form of MTHFR genetic mutation. A mutation on the MTHFR gene reduces the activity of the enzyme, which then impairs the conversion process and in turn, prevents methylfolate from being made for cellular absorption.

There are two well-known variants of the MTHFR gene mutation (C677T & A1298C) and over 80 others that are less known. It’s believed that nearly half of the population has at least one of the two well-known variants. The people most at risk will be those who have both of the well-known variants.

However, people with only one variant should not ignore the mutation because in combination with other genetic, environmental, or disease states, single variants can certainly cause health issues as well.

Who Should Take Methylfolate Supplements?

How does Methylated Folate Work in your Body?

While folate and folic acid are available in many foods, the MTHFR mutation will limit the amount of methylfolate being produced in the body. If dietary folate and folic acid can’t be turned into methylfolate, methylfolate levels can become depleted, and numerous bodily functions can’t happen as they should.

This is when methylfolate supplementation is key. Methylfolate bypasses the need for conversion, thereby directly providing the body with the bioidentical methylated folate it needs for essential bodily functions.

Health Benefits of Methylfolate Supplements

Many health-related problems have been supported with methylated folate supplements, some of which are:

Mood disorders – Methylfolate supports the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is required for balanced mood.

Cardiovascular health - Methylfolate assists with the conversion of homocysteine to methionine to support heart health and reduce the risk of arterial damage and stroke.

Prenatal supplementation – Taking a L-methylfolate supplement can help ensure you get the right amount of folate needed for proper fetal neural development. In addition, if you consume a healthy diet that contains adequate folate during your childbearing years, your risk of having children with a birth defect is highly reduced.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy – Studies have shown that patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy experienced significant improvements in their quality of life with methylated folate.

Gout – Early research suggests that methylfolate supplements might help normalize the metabolism and reduce the risk of gout.

What About Folate From Food?

How does Methylated Folate Work in your Body?

Folate is naturally present in many foods, including legumes, asparagus, eggs, beets, leafy greens, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, and broccoli.

Many foods are also fortified with folic acid, but this should be avoided as much as possible, especially for someone who has an MTHFR gene variant. If you have an MTHFR mutation, you should avoid synthetic folic acid from fortified foods and supplements whenever possible. 

Excess intake of folic acid can lead to an accumulation of unmetabolized folic acid in the body, which is also associated with health issues. Instead, consider taking a pure bioidentical folate form, methylfolate.

Where to Get the Best Methylfolate Supplements? 

There are plenty of over-the-counter supplements that contain small doses of methylfolate, such as Methylfolate 2.5mg and Methylfolate 5mg. These may be ideal for those new to methylfolate supplementation, or those with only one MTHFR genetic variant.

Those with more than one variant (and therefore weaker function of the MTHFR enzyme that generates methylfolate) may require higher doses of supplemental methylfolate to ensure their levels are balanced throughout the day.

Higher methylfolate dosages are typically between Methylfolate 7.5 mg and Methylfolate 15 mg. Many clinical studies have shown that these ranges are effective for people struggling with depression (including treatment-resistant depression) and other mood-related symptoms. 

As everyone is different, it’s best to speak to a qualified health practitioner who can assess your symptoms and recommend the dosage best suited to you.

If your healthcare professional is not sure what dosage might be best for you, consider checking out this resource: Methylfolate: What's the right dosage for me?

If you’re interested in learning more about quality methylfolate products, Methyl-Life® has plenty of options to choose from. Contact us if you have any questions!





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