What are the best dosage amounts of Methylfolate and Methylcobalamin for me?
Thoughts from Methyl-Life
As with any supplement or medication you take, you will need to talk to a health care professional about your personal situation and maybe to a pharmacist to ensure there are no possible interactions with any medications you are currently taking. You want to do what is right for you specifically.
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. Dr. Ben Lynch has a list of doctors who claim to know about methylation and MTHFR – you can view that doctor list here.
Why doctors do not know how much methylfolate you should take?
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). If you are conducting research on this topic, you are ahead of the curve and may find some early answers to several long-term issues 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. Rawlins (MD – Gynecologist) and Dr. Lynch (Naturopath).
The MD, Dr. Rawlins, talks in terms of the prescription versions of methylfolate available today, which are high dose options (3 mg, 5.6 mg, 7.5 mg & 15 mg). There is lots of research as well as clinical trials behind this dosing and its FDA approval.
The Naturopath, Dr. Lynch, talks in terms of lower dosage over the counter versions of methylfolate available today, which are more like (800 mcg –2 mg). He has found this appropriate for people unable to tolerate large doses (due to detox or over-methylation).
Whichever school of thought you subscribe to, there is information from both the Doctors to help you take a decision. (Dr. Rawlins’ 4-part video seminar is here and his nutritional protocol can be downloaded here. Dr. Lynch’s website is here).
Do you want high or low methyl dosages?
I personally (Jamie Horn, Founder) have done well with the higher dosage of methylfolate (5 mg to 7.5 mg daily) and found it works great for me. However, I know that even though MTHFR is a big and important gene in the body’s methylation pathway, there are at least 14 other important ones.
For some people, they may have a combination of these genetic problems that causes them to be careful about how much methylfolate they take, or they could become over-methylated or experience some negative side effects (folks with COMT, CBS, or SUOX genetic defects may find over-methylation an issue).
For example, people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia often cannot tolerate much methylfolate at first because it causes such an extreme detox effect (the methylfolate promotes glutathione, which moves toxins into their bloodstream to be removed from the body, but these already-burdened systems can get overloaded).
These folks often have other protocols they need to start with in order to prepare their system for methylfolate or take very low doses of methylfolate. B12 in the form of hydroxycobalamin can be one of the supplements they may need prior to taking methylfolate (but finding a doctor who knows about methylfolate and CFS or Fibromyalgia may make the most sense for these individuals).
How can you know whether you have other problematic genetic factors along the methylation pathway?
Well, if you are serious and want to spend a bit of money, you can get a $500 full methylation panel test (Dr. Amy Yasko provides this and she specializes in treating Autism, if you want a detailed list of supplements to take, forum & online support system – &/or have Autism in your family), I would recommend this test – holisticheal.com).
It takes about 12 weeks to get your results back, but when you do, 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. Alternatively, if you would like to spend less money and do a lot of your own research, you can go to 23andme and have a much larger genetic panel run.
You will have to use a service like the one you can find on mthfrsupport.com, livewello.com, geneticgenie.org or doctorsdata.com to “transform” your raw data, which will then give you the ability to read your specific genetic SNPs. To learn more, check out our Get Tested for MTHFR page.
If you do not have the desire to spend the time or money to do the full test, then you might just decide to experiment on yourself with the doses. This is what I did. I started with 400 mcg of methylfolate a day for a couple of days, then went up to 1 mg for next couple of days, then went up to 2 mg after it, 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 for me and I have stayed between 5 mg – 7.5 mg a day ever since. This is personally my sweet spot.
How much methylfolate and/or methylcobalamin should be taken?
It is worth noting that some people may never feel a big change like I did right away, it may take some as many as 4 months (at a therapeutic dose) to notice that they are actually feeling better. Some people may just take methylfolate because it is good 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. Others may take it to help clear toxins/metals/BPA out of their system better (methylfolate boosts glutathione). Some to increase their serotonin level (normal serotonin range is 125-185) my serotonin level went from 85 to 136 in 3 months’ time 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.
Methylfolate can have some profoundly positive effects on people. I cannot say what it will be for you, but I can say that if you do not know how much to take consider:
Starting slow and with B12 as most people both need and tolerate it very well (consider our Hydroxocobalamin &/or B-12 Complete products to begin with). But, what if my blood tests show I have high B12 levels you ask? Note: there is no good intracellular B12 test available today, they are currently testing B12 levels in the blood, but not how much of the B12 nutrient reaches your cells and can be used by them.
So, even if your levels are high, your body may not convert the B12 and it simply swims around unused in your blood and unable to be transported to the cells for use. Try one or all of the 3 active forms of B12 to get the B12 nutrient into the cells (hydroxocobalamin, methylcobalamin, adenosylcobalamin – note hydroxocobalamin converts into methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin within the body).
The high dose Hydroxocobalamin (B12) range is between 2-10 mg (with many falling in the 2-5 mg and some doctors recommending 10+ mg for folks with certain health issues) – if you have COMT mutations, you might need significant doses of this (I personally take about 6-10 mg a day). The high dose Methylcobalamin (B12) range is between 2-15 mg (with many people falling into the 5-10 mg category, but some can get injections for 25+ mg) – if you have MTR & MTRR mutations, you might need significant doses of this (I personally take about 8-12 mg a day). Check out our Best Form of B12 page to learn more.
Then introduce methylfolate and/or just one ingredient/product/dose at a time and hold it for a few days to see how your body does with 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 changes accordingly) – consider our B-Methylated IIor lower dose Methylfolate only products to start.
If you determine high dose is for you (or that you want to try to increase up to higher doses), the range for methylfolate is typically 3-15 mg daily (with many people falling into the 5-10 mg category, but some taking as much as 50 mg and I even saw a colon cancer study where they were dosed with over 100 mg a day. I would NOT recommend this without being under the care of a doctor. Today’s higher prescription level dosing is 7.5 mg or 15 mg. See our prescription products page for more details).
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. As you increase your dosing of methylfolate, have Nicotinic Acid or Niacin (not niacinamide) on hand so that if you feel you have taken too much methylfolate and are having an “over methylated” experience, you can counteract it quickly with the Niacin (Dr. Lynch says 50 mg of Niacin every 30-60 minutes or so until symptoms subside works well).
Possible side effects and what you should remember
Remember, these are vitamins, so the number and type of side effects are going to typically be much lower than it would be for a pharmaceutical drug. But be smart, if you’re very sensitive to drugs, vitamins and supplements, then do your research and start slow (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 shot with the typical variety of B12 [cyanocobalamin] and I’m sick for 24 hrs.).
Also, talk to your doctor, and if you want (or do not tolerate methylfolate & methylcobalamin well) get additional testing done. 23andme.com still does SNP testing and they’re they are very affordable. Check out our Get Tested for MTHFR page for more details.
In the end, I believe it’s up to you to determine how much and what kind of dosage experimenting you want to try or not. We have a suggested Methylation Protocol here if you’d like to experiment with it. Know that any reaction you have will likely be temporary, as these B vitamins do not stick around in your system – what your body does not use will be peed out. Moreover, if you have an ‘over-methylation’ experience Dr. Lynch recommends “50 mg of nicotinic acid every 30 minutes to 1 hr.
As long as symptoms of anxiety and irritability are present due to excessive methylfolate or excessive neurotransmission – or over methylation”. He has found that people who have this kind of experience can stop the reaction in a very short amount of time with the nicotinic acid – read more on his site.