What is Methylated Folate?

To understand methylated folate, it is critical to first understand folate itself. Folate is a generic term
for a family of functionally- and chemically-related compounds. Essentially, it is a water-soluble B
vitamin with a well-established role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects and other congenital
malformations. As such, folate intake is recommended before and during pregnancy.1-3 Further, there
is growing evidence to support folate in most individuals, as it may maintain cardiovascular, cellular,
cognitive, and bone health.1,2

Many supplements and fortified foods will contain a type of folate called folic acid. In order for the
body to use folate or folic acid, it must be converted into its active form, a “methylated folate” called
5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).

Why is 5-MTHF supplementation necessary for some people?

For most people, folic acid is easily and naturally converted by the body into 5-MTHF by way of the
MTHFR enzyme. Individuals with an MTHFR gene mutation, however, are unable to convert folic acid
into 5-MTHF. This puts them at risk for deficiency — and puts expectant mothers at risk for miscarriage
or a baby with neural tube defects.7 Research shows that supplementing with 5-MTHF instead of folic
acid is a better choice for these individuals since the nutrient is already in its active form and does not
require conversion.4

Why can everyone benefit from 5-MTHF?

Ongoing research shows that folic acid and 5-MTHF are generally comparable in physiological activity,
bioavailability, and absorption, and that either form is equally effective at improving folate status among
the general population.2
Still, additional research shows that 5-MTHF has many advantages over folic acid:

    • 5-MTHF is well absorbed by the body, even when gastrointestinal pH is altered.5
    • While folic acid can mask the hematological symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency, 55-MTHF
      does not. This is important because research shows that a combination of high folate and low
      B12 levels in pregnant mothers may be linked to an increased risk of insulin resistance and
      obesity in their children. High folate and low B12 levels together have also been linked with
      an increased risk of cognitive impairment and anemia in the elderly.5,6
    • Folic acid has been linked with reduced immune function.5
    • 5-MTHF has fewer drug interactions than folic acid.5

Previously, Oxylent formulas contained folic acid as their source of folate. However, in light of
developments surrounding the MTHFR gene mutation, as well as research supporting the superior
efficacy of 5-MTHF, Vitalah has chosen to use the 5-MTHF form of supplemental folate in our Adult
Oxylent formula. This ensures that all our customers — with and without the MTHFR gene mutation —
receive the highest quality form of folate available.

 

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References

1. McNulty H, et al. Br J Nutr 2008;99Suppl3:S48–54. PMID 18598588
2. Pietrzik, K, et al. Clin Pharmacokinet 2010;49(8):535–548. PMID 20608755
3. FAO & WHO. Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirements. Reports of a joint FAO/
WHO expert consultation 2002;53–65.
4. Prinz-Langenohl, et al. Br J Pharmacol 2009; 158(8):2014–2021. PMCID:
PMC2807663 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2807663)
5. Scaglione, F, et al. Xenobiotica 2014;44(5):480–8. PMID 24494987
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494987)
6. Smith, AD, et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87(3):517–33. PMID 18326588
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326588)
7. Leemans, L. J Pharm Belg 2012;4:16-22. PMID 23350208
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23350208)