Methylfolate is an essential part of our human body and plays a major role in a variety of bodily functions. One of the main responsibilities of methylfolate is to increase the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells help transport oxygen throughout the body, as well as transport carbon dioxide to the lungs.
In addition to that, methylfolate has access to cells and tissue in the brain since it can cross the blood-brain barrier. Inside the brain, it helps produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters regulate our emotions and moods throughout the day.
Outside of those two main functions, methylfolate l also helps repair DNA, assists the detoxification process in the body, and regulates homocysteine -- an amino acid that is used to make proteins.
There are people all around the globe who have a deficiency in methylfolate and a majority of them don’t know it. You can get tested to check your methylfolate levels and discover you might need to supplement with it if your levels are low.
How Do We Get Methylfolate?
Methylfolate is a product of the MTHFR gene. This gene l takes folate or folic acid -- the dietary and synthetic form of Vitamin B9 -- and converts it into methylfolate so our body can use it. Without this conversion, the folate we consume will go to waste or result in build-up.
Since our bodies don’t produce folate on their own, we must get it through the foods we eat. Legumes, asparagus, eggs, beets, leafy greens, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, and broccoli are some of the more common sources of folate.
We also consume foods that are fortified with folic acid, but this should be avoided as much as possible, especially for someone who has an MTHFR gene variant. Folic acid requires a much longer process before being converted into methylfolate, and actually can’t happen at all if one has an MTHFR defect. If you have an MTHFR mutation, you should avoid synthetic folic acid from fortified foods and supplements whenever possible, otherwise, excess incorrectly formed enzymes clog up your receptors and complicate the issue. All this really makes taking methylfolate directly the easiest way to get the proper form of active folate into the body’s cells.
When Is It Time To Supplement?
While most people won’t have any issue consuming enough folate in one day, it’s much more common for people to have a mutation in the MTHFR gene that can limit the amount of methylfolate being produced in the body. This can cause some major health concerns when you aren’t getting enough methylfolate.
There are two well-known variants to the MTHFR gene mutation (and over 60 others that are less known) and it’s believed that nearly half of the population has at least one of the two well-known variants. The people most at risk will be those with both of the well-known variants, but people with only one shouldn’t ignore the mutation completely. Especially because of all the less known variants as well which could be plaguing someone just as badly, without them even knowing it.
There are plenty of over-the-counter supplements that contain small doses of methylfolate. These are perfect for those with one variant, but it also depends on the symptoms you’re feeling.
Those with more than one variant may have to rely on larger doses of methylfolate to ensure their levels are balanced throughout the day. These doses can typically be between 7.5 mg and 15 mg (and you may find those dosages targeting depression and mood-related symptoms). But as we are all individuals, there are plenty of exceptions and a wider range of dosages that work optimally for some vs. others (some will need much smaller doses and others may even need larger doses). So pay attention to your body and how it reacts to what you put in it, and be sure to talk to your healthcare provider and go from there if you need some additional options. Don’t forget that the co-factors for such a profound nutrient are vitally important as well.
If you’re interested in learning more about quality methylfolate products, Methyl Life has plenty of options to choose from. Contact us if you have any questions!