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Understanding the Potential Side Effects of Methylfolate


Methylfolate supplements are among the top-selling health products in the US. But why? And are there any side effects?

Normally, methylfolate is produced naturally in the body with the conversion of folate and folic acid. Dietary folate is present in foods such as leafy green vegetables and legumes, while folic acid is made in a lab. 

But if your body is unable to convert these forms, you won't be getting the methylfolate you need. 

Supplementing with methylfolate continues to be the preferred method among researchers and doctors for people with certain issues that prevent the production of methylfolate in their bodies. Many people will struggle to make the conversion from folate to methylfolate (due to MTHFR gene variants, dietary, lifestyle, or even pharmaceutical issues), which is why supplementing with straight methylfolate is preferred. 

What Are the Side Effects of Methylfolate?

If you’ve been advised to start taking methylfolate supplements, it’s important to know side effects are generally rare. However, they can happen. 
Most people can take methylfolate daily without any issues. Others may find they have to try different dosages before their needs are met.  

More Common Side Effects

Let’s take a look at some of the more common side effects of methylfolate usage, or what can happen when your dosage is too high:

  • Headaches, aches and pains, fatigue (similar to the flu) 
    These symptoms can occur when the methylfolate enhances methylation reactions including major  detoxification processes. The "clearing out" of accumlulated toxins may occur at a faster rate than the body can respond to. 
    The best way to deal with these symptoms is to reduce your methylfolate dosage amount and talk to your doctor. 
  • Feeling jittery, hyperactive (as if you’ve had too much caffeine),  with a racing heart or palpitations
    Again, the sudden increase in methylfolate can mean that your body is now methylating at full speed.  
    Reduce your methylfolate dosage amount and talk to your doctor.
  • Feeling aggressive or panicky 
    This may mean that you have exceeded the methylfolate your body requires for adequate methylation. Talk to your doctor about pausing your methylfolate dosage. You may be advised start with a smaller dosage after your symptoms have resolved.
  •  Burning or tingling sensations throughout the body
    Talk to your doctor and consider pausing supplementation until your symptoms clear. 

Some more rare but potential reactions could be due to an allergic-like reaction:

  • Swelling in unusual areas, especially the face
  • Skin reactions including rashes, excessive itching, or hives
  • Blistered or reddened skin without any signs of a fever
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, tightness in the chest or throat
  • Difficulty swallowing and talking due to throat swelling

If you have any of the above allergic-reaction type symptoms, it’s best to contact your physician immediately. It’s likely that they will suggest stopping the supplementation for a while, or at least lowering the dosage. 

Less Serious Side Effects

Like most other supplements, you could experience some less-serious side effects that may be short term. These won’t typically be cause for concern, but it’s always best to seek help either way. Here are some of the other symptoms you might experience with methylfolate:

  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Acne and pimples

As with taking any supplement, it’s important that you monitor your body's response. Methylfolate has been shown to support healthy cognitive function and numerous other bodily processes, but it can also have negative effects in some people. Consider both your physical and neurological symptoms. 


Will Methylfolate Actually Help Me?

Research into the benefits of methylfolate is continuing. However, numerous studies show that for those with a folate deficiency or a MTHFR genetic mutation, methylfolate certainly has many advantages. But it isn't for everyone. 

Your doctor will be able to run the necessary tests to determine if you could benefit from methylfolate. Methylfolate is known to support a variety of health issues including depression,  schizophrenia, dementia, pregnancy health, neuropathy, fatigue, cardiovascular health, and more. 

If you would like to learn more about what to expect when supplementing with methylfolate, you can contact us with any questions you might have. 


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