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How much Methylfolate should I take?

Offering our experience based on research and partnership with our doctors' clinical findings. 

How much Methylfolate should I take?

At the end of the day, L-Methylfolate dosage is not a one-size fits all approachnor is it based on age, size or weight for determining how much is optimal for someone to take.  Instead, it's much better to consider one's genetic and symptom-based needs.  


PLEASE NOTE We are not doctors and cannot provide any medical advice or recommendations. We simply offer our experience and what we’ve researched and discovered from the doctors out there who are making recommendations. Check out our Methylation Protocol page which provides four different symptom-based protocols to choose from - so you can supplement based on your specific health needs. These protocols give detailed and step-by-step instructions regarding what nutrients to take, what specific amounts to take and when, what order the nutrients can best be taken in as well as particular products that can be purchased.


Thoughts from Methyl-Life®

As with any supplement or medication you take, you will want to talk to a healthcare professional about your personal situation and maybe even a pharmacist as well to ensure there are no possible interactions with any medications you are currently taking. 

If your doctor does not know how much methylfolate you should take, don’t be alarmed, this is not terribly uncommon as many doctors are unaware of the extent to which methylfolate and/or MTHFR can affect a person’s quality of life. Everyone has different genetic challenges and disease processes that factor into the mix of symptoms they experience. It might be worth your while to find a doctor who is familiar with MTHFR, this could be an MD, but may also be a Naturopath, or you could consider consulting with a doctor or expert that knows more about methylation, nutrition and MTHFR.  If you are not sure who to contact, consider leveraging our MTHFR-knowledgeable Naturopath, Katie Stone, and one of her consulting services.

What do doctors say about how much methylfolate you should take?

Many doctors may not have much knowledge about how much methylfolate you should take, you may wonder why this is ... well, essentially, it takes about 18 years for a known medical fact to become a part of the ‘typical medical practice’ (and we are just not there yet with the genetics - and the introduction of methylfolate to the world). If you are conducting research on this topic, you are ahead of the curve and may find some early answers to several long-term health challenges you have been fighting.

In my research, I have discovered that there seems to be two schools of thought regarding dosages; specifically I have heard them through Dr. Neil Rawlins (MD – Gynecologist) and Dr. Ben Lynch (Researcher/Naturopath).

  1. The MD, Dr. Neil Rawlins, recommends the prescription-level dosages of methylfolate, which are often considered "high dose" options (3 mg, 5.6 mg, 7.5 mg & 15 mg). There is lots of research as well as clinical trials behind these dosage levels and of course they are FDA approved. Dr. Rawlins’ shares his comprehensive nutritional protocol for optimizing methylation and treating MTHFR in his very educational 4-part video seminar where you can learn many tips about how to dose methylfolate and leverage its best supporting cofactors.

  2. The Naturopath, Dr. Ben Lynch, often recommends "lower dosage" options of methylfolate, typically more like (800 mcg – 2 mg). He has found this appropriate for people unable to tolerate larger doses (due to a heavy toxic burden or over-methylation challenges related to other genetic issues).

  3. NOTE: If you have a double COMT V158M AND ALSO a double COMT H62H variants then you may discover you will not tolerate much methylfolate in general.  The SUOX mutation might also cause less tolerability for methylfolate in an individual.  You should especially consider starting with very low doses of methylfolate if either of these scenarios applies to you.  You would only know this if you've gotten results from a more thorough genetics panel (a doctor's office won't typically run a blood test for these genetic SNPs).

How much methylfolate should I take if I don't know my genetics or MTHFR status?

If you do not have any specific genetics data regarding your MTHFR or other methylation pathway SNP statuses and do not wish to spend the time or money to do a larger genetics test, then you are not alone, many folks are in the same place. After all, this is how doctors have had to "practice medicine" for centuries - it's only recently that we have discovered the genetics data in detail, but science still doesn't yet have a broad knowledge about how to use it all (it's a pretty massive learning curve that the research world has been working to better understand). 

So you might just decide to experiment on yourself with the doses of the key nutrients (methylfolate and an active B12 like hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin and/or adenosylcobalamin). This is what I did and what Dr. Neil Rawlins has recommended to patients who don't have their genetics data available. I personally knew I had an MTHFR mutation at first through a blood test from my Naturopath at the time, but I didn't know what my other methylation genetics surrounding it were - the things that might affect how well I would tolerate the methylated nutrients (i.e. COMT, CBS, SUOX, etc. SNPs). 

Dr. Neil Rawlins suggests you consider a methylfolate dosage target based on your symptom-set.  For example ... 

  1. If you are depressed or struggle with low mood, you might consider a daily dosage range that has been clinically proven to improve mood (i.e. 7.5-15 mg)

  2. If you have diabetic neuropathy, 3 mg of methylfolate might be a good daily target for you

  3. If you struggle with dementia or Alzheimer's, you might consider 5-6 mg of methylfolate each day

  4. Pre or Post natal care might have you target 1-4 mg of methylfolate a day

From these symptom targets, you'd want to consider that being your "end goal" in a perfect world if all goes well according to your genetics. The way Methyl-Life® suggests to get there is by starting off with a very low dose and slowly increasing until you reach your target or a place where you feel the dose is positively affecting your symptoms.

In 2011 I, Jamie Hope (Founder of Methyl-Life®), had my serotonin levels tested and they came back at 85 (fairly low, the normal range for the test was 125-185). I then started by taking a pretty low dose (400 mcg) of methylfolate for a couple of days, then went up to 1 mg for the next couple of days, then I went up to 2 mg after that, and then I moved to 3 mg (you’re seeing a pattern here, right?). I did this until I hit 5 mg a day and after my second day at this dose, things felt very different (in an amazing way) for me and I have pretty much stayed between 5 mg – 7.5 mg a day ever since. 3 months after I started the methylfolate dosing, I had my serotonin levels tested again and they came back within the normal range at 135 (which was not a surprise to me because I felt so much better). And after 9 months, my 12-year battle with IBS was finally over. I also tested “normal” instead of borderline anemic for the first time in my adult life. This 5-7.5 mg range is personally my sweet spot and I feel really good here (so even though my range is slightly lower than some need for mood support - it works well for me).  And that is what you want to do, find your own sweet spot, where the amount of methylfolate you take makes you feel better

It is worth noting that some people may never feel a big change like I did right away, Dr. Neil Rawlins says it may take some as many as 4 months (at a therapeutic dose - for some that is as much as 15 mg) to notice that they are actually feeling better. 

Some people may just take methylfolate because it is recommended for them and reduces their homocysteine levels as well as disease risks (i.e. heart attack, miscarriage etc.), they may not notice much of a difference in their everyday quality of life as far as how they "feel". 

Others may take it to help clear toxins/metals/BPA out of their system better (methylfolate utilizes glutathione - your body's greatest antioxidant which can help you get rid of these bad guys). 

Should I get tested for MTHFR?

It is certainly very easy to "get tested" - you can simply ask your doctor to order a genetic blood test: 

The most straightforward and affordable approach is to have your doctor run a test specifically for the 677 and 1298 MTHFR mutations. As research grows, insurance companies are becoming more willing to cover this test. Upside: Often free or at a minimal cost (like a copay). Downside: Provides very limited information, focusing only on the MTHFR 677 and 1298 status, when most need additional details (for example, if you have double mutations on each of the 2 SNPs: COMT H62H + COMT V158M, you may not tolerate much methylfolate – but you won’t get this data from the doctor’s MTHFR test).

So, what if you have other genetic factors along the methylation pathway that might make tolerating the methylated nutrients a challenge? 

Good question, and if you are serious about understanding your genetics better and you don't mind spending a bit of money, there are a few options you can consider:

  1. Get an ~$500 methylation DNA panel results set - Dr. Amy Yasko provides her own genetics test and she specializes in treating Autism from a genetics and nutritional basis.  If you want a detailed list of supplements to take, forum & online support system – &/or have Autism in your family, this may be a good test for you to consider – holisticheal.com. It takes about 12 weeks to get your results back (and there are around 15-30 genetic SNPs you receive results for). You will get a specialized protocol detailing what vitamin forms are the best for your body’s health based on each of the gene defects that is uncovered in the test.  NOTE: this option really only focuses on the methylation pathway - so it's a small subset of your entire genetic makeup. This panel requires a finger prick test (blood). Your genetics data is kept private.
  2.  Get a full genetics panel work up and nutritional consultation based on your specific DNA test results through Dr. Bob Miller (and team) tolhealth.com/consults  Your consultation will focus on the pathways that seem most concerning to the doctor/naturopath doing your test review/consultation.  NOTE: this option may tackle other genetic issues/challenges prior to considering the needed nutrients for methylation.  This option may be close to $500 which includes the testing results as well as an initial hour consultation based on those results. This panel requires a cheek swab or saliva collection. Your genetics data is kept private.
  3. Get a full genetics panel work up from testing company Nebula Genomics - this is more of a competitor to 23andme, however, they provide you will ALL of your genetics data (not just a small portion of it as 23andme has started to do more recently). They also gather the genetics data in a much more scientifically correct way which ensures the accuracy of the results. Nebula Genomics has many research reports providing you with a lot of general genetics data that intersect with health and western medicine diagnosis. They provide a lifetime membership to access their reports - new reports get generated regularly as they discover new data. Your genetics data is kept private.
  4. Alternatively, if you would like to spend less money and have already done a 23andme genetic panel, then you could use a service like the one you can find on mthfrsupport.com (I believe these folks are even reporting on COVID-19 genetics), livewello.com, geneticgenie.org or doctorsdata.com to “transform” your raw data into a much more 'readable' file. This will give you the ability to quickly understand your specific genetic SNPs (whether you have no mutation - green, a single mutation, yellow, or a double mutation, red). It may not be worth trying to get tested from 23andme at this point as I believe they are no longer reporting on many of the SNPs they used to, so the data they now return is very minimal/sparse (they have been bought out by another company who may now have a very different agenda and may NOT be keeping your genetics data private).  
We may have updated information on testing options, so check back with us or email us at support@methyl-life.com for additional details.

6 Tips & Little Known Facts About Methylfolate & B12 dosage

Methylfolate can have some profoundly positive effects on people. I cannot say what it will do for you, but I can say that if you do not know how much to take consider:

  1. Starting slow and with Bioidentical ORAL B12 - this is an important precursor nutrient you may want onboard before you start taking L-Methylfolate (as methylfolate when taken on its own could potentially mask a B12 deficiency - so some healthcare professionals recommended to start with active B12 to prevent that). Most people (especially Vegans) both need and tolerate B12 very well (consider our Hydroxocobalamin or B-12 Complete products to begin with). Hydroxocobalamin is a well-tolerated active form that metabolizes into both methylcobalamin AND adenosylcobalamin  in the body - making it one of the most versatile forms to take. It's worth noting that recent research shows sublingual oral B12 is more effective for treating B12 deficiencies than B12 muscular injections (and it's much more convenient and affordable - so find a B12 you can dissolve under your tongue).  
  2.  What if my blood tests show I have high B12 levels? - NOTE: believe it or not, there is no good intracellular B12 sufficiency test available today. Most often practitioners are currently testing B12 levels in the blood serum, but not how much of the B12 nutrient reaches your cells and is able to be used by them. So, even if your blood serum levels come back as "high", your body may not be converting the B12 for transport and use - it may be going unused in your blood and be unavailable for use in the body. MMA (methylmalonic acid) & homocysteine tests are actually better for determining a true B12 deficiency - if both test levels are high, then it's a solid indicator that you are likely deficient in B12. If you are deficient, consider one or all of the 3 active forms of B12 to make more of the B12 nutrient available to your cells (hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin. 
  3. The high dose active B12 daily dose range is between 2-20 mg (with many falling in the 2-7 mg range). Some doctors recommend 10+ mg for folks with certain health issues, i.e. Parkinson's, anemia, etc. If you have MTR, MTRR and/or COMT mutations, you might need significant doses of B12 (I personally take about 5-9 mg a day, but I also have multiple MTR, MTRR and COMT mutations). Check out our Best Form of B12 page to learn more about what B12 form might be best for you personally.
  4. After you've got the right amount of active B12 onboard (and maybe it's only 500 mcg that works for you) ... add methylfolate to your daily nutrient routine. Most find they do best changing only one thing at a time and sticking with that change for a few days to see how your body responds to it (Dr. Rawlins talks about this – it allows you to understand what your body is tolerating well or unhappy with so that you can make adjustments accordingly). We encourage our customers who are unsure about how much methylfolate to take, to start with a lower dose L-Methylfolate only product like Methylfolate 2.5 to begin. You can start with 1/2 a tablet and increase by 1/2 or full tablet increments depending upon how tolerant you feel your body is or how fast you want to try to achieve a higher dose.
  5. If you determine high dose Methylfolate is for you (those who suffer from depression or low serotonin find these therapeutic levels most helpful) or if you want to try to increase up to higher doses, the range for that is typically 3-15 mg daily (with many people falling into the 5-10 mg category). NOTE: You will want to be under the care of a prescribing healthcare practitioner if you are planning to take high dose methylfolate (7.5-15 mg) - as this affects neurotransmitter synthesis and production. 
  6. Today’s prescription dosing for depression-level adjunctive support is 7.5 mg - 15 mg of L-Methylfolate.  Again, increase slowly and hold each dose change for about 3-5 days to ensure things are going fine and that you are aware of any changes taking place in your body. As you increase your dosing of methylfolate, you should consider: 

  • also taking NAC [600-3,000 mg a day is recommended, especially for those with mental health challenges &/or high homocysteine levels] 
  • and/or glutathione [200-1,000 mg a day is helpful, and sublingual glutathione is suggested to have the highest absorption rates in the body based on recent studies]
Both are valuable cofactors that help the body detoxify and protect organs. Methylfolate encourages the body's use of glutathione and therefore taking NAC and/or glutathione can be a powerful way to replenish the nutrients as well as promote detoxification and brain protection.  

Possible Methylfolate Side Effects & What To Do If You're Over-Methylating

Remember, these nutrients (methylfolate & B12) are vitamins, so the number and type of side effects are going to typically be much lower than they would likely be with a pharmaceutical drug. But be smart, if you’re very sensitive to drugs, vitamins and supplements, then do your research, start low and increase slowly (I personally am extremely sensitive to pharmaceuticals, herbs and supplements, but I had no problem with Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin – however, give me a high dose B12 intramuscular shot with the garden variety of B12 [cyanocobalamin] and I’m sick for 24+ hrs).  

If when you're experimenting with your methylfolate dosage, you find you're feeling: 

  1. extra amped up
  2. jittery
  3. your heart is racing/pounding/palpitating
  4. like you've had too much caffeine
  5. agitated/aggravated/irritable
  6. overwhelmed
  7. over-anxious
then you may have taken too much methylfolate and are experiencing an "over-methylation" reaction. This just simply means you've gotten too many methyl donors onboard all at once and they're throwing things out-of-balance.

Don't panic, you can counteract this 'over-methylation' experience quickly with NAC (600-3,000 mg would be an effective range), as well as taking some glutathione (sublingual is the most absorptive way to take it based on research showing its uptake in the body - 200-500 mg might be a good amount, starting smaller and increasing as needed).  Also, nicotinic acid or niacin (not niacinamide) can be beneficial in reducing over-methylation side effects.  Naturopath, Ben Lynch says 50 mg of niacin every 30-60 minutes or so until your negative symptoms subside is another way to help neutralize over-methylation.

In the end, we believe it’s up to you to personally determine how much and what kind of dosage experimentation you want to try or not. You know your body best and if you leverage a program that helps you start low, go slow and take one step at a time incrementally, you will be able to find the right dose that works best for you.  

Again, check out our Methylation Protocols if you’d like to experiment with some of our suggestions. Know that any reaction you have will likely be temporary, as these B vitamins do not typically stick around in your system – what your body does not use will be peed out over time.  Moreover, if you have an ‘over-methylation’ experience, see above where we refer to you being able to take NAC, glutathione and nicotinic acid/niacin to help that reaction subside much faster

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