What Is the Difference Between Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin?

What Is the Difference Between Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin?

You know that vitamin supplements can be great for supporting your health, but it can be hard to know how one supplement differs from the next. The two nutrients that cause the most confusion are from the B vitamins family: methylfolate and Methylcobalamin. Both are essential for maintaining good health, but they have quite different roles in the body. 

Methylfolate (vitamn B9) is critical at all stages of life as it's required for DNA synthesis and repair, healthy homocystiene levels, neurotransmitter production, and the methylation process. It's also essential during  pregnancy to assist with normal fetal development.  

Methylcobalamin (B12) also participates in methylation, as well as supporting nerve function and blood cell production. Understanding the roles of these two vitamins can impact your health management strategy.

Let's take a look at how each contributes to bodily processes and what you need to know to select the right supplement for your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin are the active forms of vitamins B9 and B12. They each play different roles in the body. Methylfolate aids in DNA repair and fetal development, while Methylcobalamin supports nerve function and red blood cell production.

  • Taking both supplements together can be beneficial as they support essential processes like methylation. However, during certain life stages such as pregnancy, your body may need more of one vitamin than the other.

  • Methylfolate is particularly important for pregnant women to prevent birth defects. Methylfolate is also essential for those with certain genetic mutations affecting folate metabolism as it bypasses the conversion process. Methylfolate is required for numerous cognitive functions.

  • Despite their similarities, methylfolate and methylcobalamin have distinct molecular structures that influence how they function in the body. 

Is Methylcobalamin The Same As Methylfolate?

Methylcobalamin and Methylfolate may sound similar, but they serve different roles in the body. Methylcobalamin is the active form of vitamin B12. It produces red blood cells and keeps your nervous system functioning as it should.

 L methylfolate is the bioactive form of folate or vitamin B9. It's necessary for DNA synthesis and repair, including proper cell division and growth.

These two are key players in methylation, which underlies every bodily process from detoxification to hormone regulation. They're often combined in dietary supplements to effectively support these essential functions.

For pregnant women, methylfolate is especially important as it can help prevent birth defects by assisting with neural tube development during early pregnancy stages. 

The brain and nervous system are both highly dependent on methylcobalamin, which plays an important part in converting homocystiene into useful compounds within the body.

Can You Take Methylfolate And Methylcobalamin Together?

Methylcobalamin and methylfolate are both essential for good health, and supplementing with both nutrients can have fantastic benefits. Both compounds are pivotal in maintaining optimal body functions, especially when genetic factors like MTHFR mutations affect folate metabolism.

Taking L-methylfolate alongside methylcobalamin is competely safe, as they complement each other's actions within the body.

Both vitamins work together in DNA synthesis and repair. They are also both essential for the methylation process —a biochemical pathway essential for maintaining healthy homocysteine levels and supporting cardiovascular health.

Those with MTHFR genetic mutations are often advised to supplement with methylfolate as they have difficulty converting folic acid into its active form. Unlike folic acid, methylfolate readily crosses the blood-brain barrier without the need for further converstion. Combining l-methyl folate with methylcobalamin can optimize the methylation process, which in turn can support cognitive function, immune response, and energy production.

For those with folate deficiency or requiring addition support to manage symptoms linked to depression may also find this combination useful under guidance from healthcare professionals.

When taken together, vitamins B9 and B12 can maintain healthy folate levels and proper functioning of neurotransmitters critical for mood regulation. 

What Are The Structural Differences Between Methylfolate And Methylcobalamin?

Methylfolate is a form of folate, also known as vitamin B9. Its structure includes carbonhydrogennitrogen, and oxygen atoms. It has a single carbon atom linked to three hydrogen atoms and one nitrogen atom, forming a methyl group. 

This makes it active and ready for the body to use.

Methylcobalamin is a type of vitamin B12 with a more complex structure. It has a cobalt ion at its center, surrounded by a corrin ring. Attached to this metal ion is the methyl group that makes it similar to methylfolate supplement in function but not form.

Comparing these two on structural grounds:

  • Methylfolate's simpler makeup allows it to participate in metabolic processes easily.
  • Methylcobalamin's larger molecule size means it takes longer for the body to utilize.

The key differences lie in their molecular composition:

  1. Central elements: folate's central element is carbon, while cobalamin has cobalt.
  2. Complexity: Methylcobalamin's corrin ring adds complexity compared to methyl folate's straightforward structure.
  3. Size: B12 molecules are generally larger than those of folate.

Understanding these variations helps us grasp how they work separately or together after absorption into our system.

When To Choose Methylfolate Over Methylcobalamin

Methylfolate should be prioritised for individuals with fertility issues or those with folate-deficient diets. Supplementation with methylfolate is effective in reducing plasma Hcy levels, including in couples facing fertility problems.  In fact, methylfolate is often included in fertility supplements and prenatal vitamins.

Methylfolate also assists with restoring low folate levels more effectively than taking high doses of folic acid, which can have adverse effects.

When determining whether to take a L-Methylfolate supplement over methylcobalamin, consider your specific health needs and seek professional advice.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Methylfolate And Methylcobalamin?

Methyl B12 and methylfolate are two of the most important drivers of one-carbon metabolism, the process that regulates methylation reactions.

Both play crucial roles in generating methyl groups for use in DNA synthesis and repair, generating antioxidants, and methylation.

Methylfolate alone is required for numerous functions of the brain and nervous system, as well as cardiovascular health and cognitive function. It's required for the metabolism of homocysteine to methionine, neurotransmitter production, nervous system maintenance, healthy fetal growth and development, immune system maintenance and more.  Taking a L methylfolate supplement may be beneficial for women undergoing assisted reproductive technology.

Methyl B12 (methylcobalamin) is essential for red blood cell production, nervous system maintenance, and the re-methylation to methionine.

Methylcobalamin is essential for nerve function and the production of red blood cells. It supports brain health and may help reduce the risk of certain neurological conditions. Methylcobalamin also plays a crucial role in energy production and overall immune function.

Which is Better: Methylfolate or Methylcobalamin?

Methylfolate has a crucial role in DNA synthesis and repair, making it vital for cell division and the healthy development of new cells.

Additionally, methylfolate's ability to cross the blood-brain barrier allows it to participate in neurotransmitter synthesis, supporting mental health and cognitive function. As explained above, it has many other essential contributions to overall well-being.

Supplementation with active forms of folate like 5-MTHF has shown significant benefits in various aspects of health, especially when associated with fertility problems or maternal folate status deficiency.

Incorporating these active forms into daily supplementation may offer a universal advantage for individuals seeking optimal physical and mental wellness. With its far-reaching impact on different bodily functions, methylfolate can provide comprehensive support for overall health.

What Are the Roles of Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin in the Body?

Methylfolate is crucial in converting homocysteine into methionine, which supports cardiovascular health and neurotransmitter production. It also contributes to the body's DNA synthesis and detoxification process.

Methylcobalamin is essential for nerve health and red blood cell production. It also assists with converting homocysteine into methionine while supporting the creation of SAMe, an important component in neurotransmitter production. Methylcobalamin is therefore a key player in promoting neurological function and overall vitality.

Together, these two active forms of B vitamins are vital for sustaining methylation processes within the body, particularly in terms of cognitive function and overall well-being.

When is Methylfolate Supplementation Advised?

Methylfolate supplementation is often necessary when a folate deficiency is present. Symptoms can include fatigue, mouth sores, and changes in hair, skin, or nail color. If you notice these signs, consulting with a healthcare provider is important. They might suggest methylfolate supplements.

During pregnancy, folate is crucial for the baby's development. Doctors usually advise pregnant women to take folic acid or methylfolate supplements. This helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.

Some people have genetic mutations that affect folate metabolism. The most common one is called the MTHFR mutation. It can lead to low levels of folates in the body despite adequate intake from food sources alone.

Here are key reasons for considering methylfolate supplementation:

  • Persistent symptoms suggest a deficiency
  • Pregnancy and fetal health
  • Genetic factors like MTHFR mutation

In these cases, taking methylfolate over regular folic acid may be beneficial because it's already in the most active form your body can use immediately.

People on certain medications might also need extra folates for better results or fewer side effects – especially those on antidepressants or diabetic patients with neuropathy issues.


Understanding the difference between methylfolate and methylcobalamin is essential for making informed choices about supplementation. 

When selecting any supplement or treatment plan, be sure to explore credible sources to understand how these vital B vitamins can impact overall health.

Proactive wellness management can lead to improved quality of life. When looking for the best methylfolate supplement, check out Methyl life's collection of methylfolate and start with L-methylfolate 15 mg.


What is the main difference between methylfolate and methylcobalamin?

Methylfolate is the bioactive form of vitamin b9. It is the only form of folate that can cross the blood-brain barrier, aiding brain health and cell growth. Methylcobalamin is a form of vitamin B12 that helps with nerve function and works alongside methylfolate to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Why do our bodies need active forms like L-Methylfolate rather than folic acid?

Our bodies require L-Methylfolate, an active folate found naturally in food because it's ready for use without conversion by methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), an enzyme some people lack due to genetic variations.

Can patients with the MTHFR enzyme mutation take regular folic acid supplements?

Patients with MTHFR mutations may not effectively convert folic acid into usable form; therefore, they might need medications or supplements containing L-Methylfolate.











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