Our bodies convert folate and folic acid into methylfolate for active use by our cells through a process called methylation. Many of us know folate and folic acid as the dietary and synthetic versions of Vitamin B9. If it doesn’t get converted into methylfolate, our bodies won’t be able to use Vitamin B9 for its many benefits.
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?
If you’ve been directed to start taking methylfolate orally, it’s important to know that most have little trouble with the nutrient, as it is simply a vitamin, after all. However, there are some side effects that could appear for some folks. For most people, they’ll be able to take it daily without interruption or concern. For others, they’ll have to monitor their doses and dosage to find the right amount of consumption for their specific needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the more common side effects of methylfolate usage when you get “too much” in your body specifically:
- Headaches, aches and pains, fatigue, similar to flu-like symptoms
- This is usually due to active detoxification which has been kicked off in the body by the methylfolate at a faster rate than the body can respond to (reduce your methylfolate dosage amount and talk to your doctor)
- Feeling over-amped up (like you’ve had too much caffeine), heart racing or palpitations
- This often means you’re over-methylated (reduce your methylfolate dosage amount and talk to your doctor)
- Feeling aggressive or panicky
- Again this may mean you’ve had more methylfolate than you need (talk to your doctor and try a reduced amount after you stop for a day or two and your symptoms have all gone away)
- Burning or tingling sensations throughout the body (talk to your doctor and consider stopping or reducing your intake amount to see if that alleviates your symptoms)
Some more rare but potential reactions could be due to an allergic-like reaction:
- Swelling in unusual areas, especially the face
- Reactions including rashes, excessive itching, or hives
- Blistered or red skin without any signs of a fever
- Difficulty breathing, wheezing, tightness in the chest or throat
- Difficulty swallowing and talking due to throat
If you have any of the above allergic-reaction type symptoms, it’s best to contact your physician immediately to discuss the next steps. It’s likely that they will suggest stopping the supplementation for a while, or at least lowering the dosage.
At the same time, 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
- Acne and pimples
Anytime you’re instructed to add methylfolate to your daily diet, it’s important that you monitor your symptoms and feelings throughout the process. Methylfolate will affect your cognitive function for the better, but it could have negative effects in some people -- so look at both physical and neurological symptoms when you’re considering its effect.
Will Methylfolate Actually Help?
As studies and research continue to develop across the world, we continue to learn more about how effective methylfolate can be in those with a deficiency or mutation in the MTHFR gene. Like most supplements, unfortunately, it isn’t always perfect for everyone.
Your doctor will be able to run the necessary tests to determine if you could benefit from methylfolate. They may want to monitor you, but methylfolate is known to help a variety of health concerns like depression, bipolar, 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.