Active Folate vs. Folic Acid: Do You Know the Difference?
Folate is the naturally occurring and metabolically active form of vitamin B9 found in foods such as liver, dark leafy green vegetables, avocados, legumes, and asparagus. It functions as a coenzyme supporting other enzymes in the body and is essential for red and white blood cell production.
Folate is important for women’s health as it helps breakdown hormones, aide’s detoxification, affects mood and promotes a healthy pregnancy. Adequate folate intake at least 3 months prior to becoming pregnant and during early pregnancy may reduce the risk of neural tube defects in infants.
Your body must convert folic acid to the metabolically active form of folate, L-methylfolate, before your body can use it. Most naturally occurring food sources of folate are already in this active form. Methylfolate is the most active form of folate in the body. It is well absorbed and can effectively raise folate levels in your blood.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 found in many multivitamins, fortified foods, and certain pharmaceuticals. Your body must convert folic acid to the metabolically active form of folate, L-methylfolate, before your body can use it. Most naturally occurring food sources of folate are already in this active form.
Taking too much folic acid may mask a vitamin B12 deficiency by preventing megaloblastic anemia (often the first sign of deficiency). A vitamin B12 deficiency may cause other symptoms like numbness, tingling, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and more.
Methyfolate supplements do not mask B12 deficiencies. Methylfolate supplements are already in the active form and can start working right away. Alternatively, folic acid requires four conversions to get to the active form and is highly dependent on individual genetics and other nutrients for an effective conversion.
L-5-methyltetratrahydrofolate as found in Health First Active Folate Supreme, is the active form of folate. It is well absorbed and can effectively raise folate levels in your blood. It is critical for supporting normal early development of the fetal brain and spinal cord and preventing neural tube defects. It is recommended that women of reproductive age supplement with folate prior to conception, during the first several weeks after conception, and all the way through pregnancy.