Chances are, if you take a multivitamin, that multivitamin contains a source of folate. Why? We know that folate, a water-soluble B vitamin, reduces the risk of neural tube defects and other congenital malformations (that’s why it’s recommended before and during pregnancy). It can also boost cardiovascular, cellular, cognitive, and bone health.
Many supplements contain a type of folate called folic acid, which the body converts for use into an active form, a “methylated folate” called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).
Here’s why we use 5-MTHF in our Oxylent formulas*:
It’s bioavailable to everyone
Most people can easily convert folic acid into 5-MTHF by way of the MTHFR enzyme. But some people have an MTHFR gene mutation, which means their bodies cannot perform this conversion. This puts these individuals at risk for a deficiency, even if they’re taking folic acid — and puts expectant mothers at risk for miscarriage or a baby with neural tube defects. Since 5-MTHF is already an active form of folate, it does not need to be converted and, as a result, is a bioavailable form for all users whether they have the gene mutation or not.
It doesn’t mask B12 deficiency
Did you know that folic acid can mask symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency? The good news is that 5-MTHF doesn’t do this. And 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.
It’s just as good as — if not better than — folic acid
Folic acid and 5-MTHF are generally comparable in physiological activity, bioavailability, and absorption, and either form is equally effective at improving folate status among the general population. Plus, some studies link folic acid to reduced immune function. And, 5-MTHF has fewer drug interactions than folic acid.
Bottom line: We’re proud to use 5-MTHF in all Oxylent formulas as our form of folate, knowing that all our customers — with and without the MTHFR gene mutation — are receiving the highest quality form of folate available.