Methylfolate is one of the most interesting supplements you’ve never heard of, but we’re here to help you better understand the beauty of what this nutrient does for our bodies. Methylfolate is the active form of folate -- the fully converted and absorbable form of Vitamin B9. Our bodies have to convert the folate we eat into methylfolate so our cells can use it throughout the day.
This conversion occurs thanks to the MTHFR gene, but more and more people are starting to learn that they have a polymorphism (or mutation) on this gene. As a result, their body isn’t making this conversion nearly as effectively as it should be. This can lead to some unwanted health concerns like mental disorders, migraines, cardiovascular and digestive issues to name just a few.
For those with a mutation, supplementing with folate or folic acid -- the synthetic version -- won’t do much good if your body can’t convert it. In fact, this can lead to even larger problems when excess builds up in our bodies. This is why doctors will recommend the supplementation of methylfolate, to bypass the effects of the mutation.
Methylfolate in Low Doses
There are two well-known variants of the mutation that are well-researched and understood, 1298 and 677. There are a number of combinations that are talked about in regards to these two SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). A single mutation means you have one mutation out of two on one of the SNPs (either 677 or 1298). A double mutation means you have two mutations on one of the two SNPs or you have a single mutation on both SNPs. Some unlucky few folks actually can have triple mutations, meaning 2 mutations (or a double) on one of the SNPs and 1 mutation on the other SNP. You can learn much more about the specific MTHFR SNP and mutation types here. Those with one variant of the mutation who don’t necessarily feel symptoms may be fine with a low-dosed methylfolate product. And theoretically those with more mutations can benefit from a higher dose of methylfolate. However, these are general guidelines, and are only based on the two well-known SNPs for MTHFR. There are actually over 70 different mutation SNPs for MTHFR (or folate metabolism), so the guidelines are less strict and many doctors suggest people should pay attention to how their body responds to the methylfolate amount (and adjust accordingly).
The low dose products will often contain 1 mg or less of methylfolate and that may be plenty to give your body the extra boost it needs. These are available over-the-counter, so anyone can purchase them. But be sure you’re getting a quality methylfolate that only contains the fully active 6S isomer, otherwise your methylfolate may be cheap, but not nearly as active or effective either.
Methylfolate in High Doses
When it comes to high-dose methylfolate products, they will often come in two sizes -- a 7.5 mg option and a 15 mg option. Before seeking a high-dose product, you may want to talk to your doctor to determine if it’s right for you or not. These two dosage sizes are often based on the studies produced by the prescription version, Deplin.
The 7.5 mg option will be viewed as a rather high dose compared to what our recommended daily intake is. It will typically be encouraged for those who experience symptoms like depression, gut issues, inflammation, migraines, fatigue, or loss of interest.
The 15 mg option will often be suggested for those with two or more variants of the mutation, as they are at the most risk of experiencing health issues. But even so, those with more mutations sometimes need to go slow and build up to higher doses because one thing methylfolate does when you start taking it is boost your glutathione levels and this kicks off the detoxification process in your body. And for some who have a significant toxic burden, detoxing too fast can be very uncomfortable.
Some companies will offer different-sized methylfolate products to give the consumer more options. At Methyl Life, we offer methylfolate-only tablets in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg sizes. We also have a few products which combine methylfolate along with an active B12 to ensure you don’t find yourself dealing with a B12 deficiency down the line, sometimes methylfolate only products can mask B12 deficiencies if we don’t include that supplement in our routine along with the methylfolate. At Methyl-Life we offer these multi-nutrient products as well as methylfolate mixed with multivitamins to give you even more methylation support and absorption benefits.
If you’re interested in learning more about methylfolate and the MTHFR gene mutation, we have a variety of resources available for those that are just getting started with the supplement. We understand it’s a complex subject, but we’ll break it down for you. After all, ensuring you use a quality methylfolate supplement properly is our top priority.