What is all the hype about methylfolate, isn’t it just folic acid? 

It’s a question many have and not everyone is explaining it in easy-to-understand terms.  We’ll step you through the simple but important explanation of difference between the two.  You’ll learn about the chemical differences, how they both work in the body, as well as the effects they have on your overall health.  You might be surprised to learn that folic acid might not be as healthy for you as you think. 

Our Customer Success Story: 

"I have been studying methylfolate since 2011, long before most people had ever heard of it.  I learned about it through a doctor who was able to save his son’s life using the nutrient.  I was convinced not only by the science I learned from Dr. Rawlins, but also by my own personal journey as well as the overwhelmingly positive responses my customers had with the nutrient.  Many have sent testimonials telling us how powerful this specific form of folate has been for their mood levels and pregnancy needs.  The right kind of folate totally changed my life and that’s why I became a methylfolate expert and am obsessed with ensuring the methylfolate I take every day has the best chemistry, quality, and purity on the planet."

So how is Methylfolate really different from regular folate or folic acid? 

Believe it or not, all folates are not the same:

  1. there’s dietary folate you get from the foods you eat  
  2. there’s synthetic folic acid you get from vitamins and fortified foods
  3. and then there’s various converted forms of folate, like 5-formyl-tetrahydrofolate (or folinic acid)

But none of these are the fully active version of folate that when connected to the folate receptor can unlock some significant chain reactions within the body, such as: 

  • reducing homocysteine levels
  • boosting SAMe which promotes serotonin in the body
  • promoting glutathione, the body’s greatest antioxidant which allows the body to detoxify the big bad guys like heavy metals, BPAs, phthalates and environmental toxins
  • it also protects pregnancy and lessens the likelihood of birth defects as well as
  • helping repair myelin sheath damage supporting nerve health. 

The unique and special folate that can do these powerful activating functions within the body is L-5-Methylenetetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF) or Methylfolate for short.

Theoretically in a body that’s working perfectly, one would eat some folate (a nice spinach salad, let’s say) and the dietary folate would start its conversion process in the body to become 10 formyl-tetrahydrofolate, then it would become 5 formyl-tetrahydrofolate (or folinic acid), then  10, 5 methylenetetrahydrofolate, and finally the active form that’s going to go kick off many of the necessary down-stream enzymatic processes we just talked about which help us maintain our health more optimally, methylfolate. 

So in a perfect world, all one would need is folic acid and a body that converts folic acid properly.  The challenge is we have many reasons why our bodies can’t achieve that optimal methylfolate form and amount of that form which is needed to help keep us healthy.

Over half of the population has a genetic mutation that does NOT do this final conversion very well (from 5, 10 methylenetetrahydrofolate to methylfolate) – some have single MTHFR mutations, some have double MTHFR variants, and some rare folks have a triple mutation on this gene SNP called MTHFR. 

If you’re one of these people like I am, then you can’t convert folic acid into methyl folate to give you enough serotonin to feel ‘optimally good’ throughout the days/weeks/months and to keep your stomach from tying itself in knots, you may have cardiovascular challenges that are lingering because your folate isn’t getting converted into the form your receptors need to make the magic happen (and reduce your homocysteine levels).

But it’s more than just the mutation, some drugs can gum up your folate pathway from working properly.  Alcohol is a very common one that reduces folate in the body, methotrexate is another one that shuts down the methylation pathway where this specific form of methylfolate works. Things like metformin and warfarin are a few others that make it hard for the average individual eating right to get the folate they need in their diet to bring about the healthy chain reactions needed in the body.  

Smoking can also reduce the amount of active folate getting to your body’s vital health systems. 

So you can see that it’s pretty easy for even the average individual to likely be struggling with folate metabolism.

If you think you might be one of these folks struggling with folate metabolism, and there is a laundry list of symptoms that folks whose methylation pathways are blocked up a deal with – like:

  • a toxic burden resulting in chronic illness (heavy metals, BPAs, chemicals, toxins, etc.)
  • symptoms resulting from neurotransmitter imbalance (Depression, OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, IBS, ADD/ADHD)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fertility / Miscarriage / Birth Defects
  • Cardiovascular episodes
  • Autism
  • hormones & thyroid issues
  • headaches/migraines
  • Anemia
  • Immune problems and many more

The great news is that you can take methylated folate or methylfolate directly and give your body some much-needed help by not requiring it to convert folic acid into the activated form – especially if it already has a fair amount of trouble doing so because of any of the reasons I already mentioned. 

Please note that synthetic folic acid is harmful if you have the MTHFR gene where your body does not convert folic acid into methylfolate well, for the main reason that your body makes a wonky enzyme that is floating around in the bloodstream and it blocks up the folate receptors, then they are not allowed to do their jobs and promote the enzymatic changes needed to provide optimal health.  When there is excess synthetic folic acid or wonkily-converted folate in the blood stream, it’s been suggested that cancer can be an issue. 

So if you know you have MTHFR, make it easy on yourself, cut out all synthetic folic acid wherever you can (don’t take vitamins with folic acid in them and try to eliminate folic acid fortified foods).  Then consider taking a quality methylfolate supplement like the one we make.

A quick plug about our methylfolate – it’s the purest version on the planet - 3 times more pure than the other leading brands (as tested by a former 35-year chemist from Merck who is in Switzerland now). Impurities measured at 0.3%.

It’s internationally patented and also the most identical to today’s pharmaceutical version, which means it’s built on a crystalline calcium salt molecule for maximum stability and therefore potency.

We have only the 6S active isomer in our methylfolate – be careful not to get a racemic version of methylfolate that’s ‘cheap’, because there are plenty of ‘cheap’ methylfolates out there, however, they will be tainted with half of the nutrient including the ‘inactive’ form (the 6R isomer) and it won’t be pure or high-grade quality. 

The cheap methylfolates are often much less potent/effective as well.  If you’re going to go with methylfolate, go with a company who has been living, breathing and personally taking it themselves since 2011 – not just a company who is trying to make a quick buck by making you think you got a ‘good deal’ on your ‘cheap’ methylfolate. 

Don’t risk quality when it comes to your health and what you put into your body. Consider Methyl-Life and start living your best life!



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