L-Methylfolate (also known as levomefolic acid, 5-MTHF and 5-methyltetrahydrofolate)
What it is:
L-Methylfolate is the biologically active form of folic acid (also known as folate and Vitamin B9).
What it does:
Folic acid is vital for good health. In part, it supports:
- healthy brain function;
- mental and emotional well-being;
- the production of DNA and RNA (the body's genetic material); and,
- making new red blood cells (1).
Folic acid is especially critical when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, like during pregnancy, infancy and adolescence. Deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to anemia and peripheral neuropathy for the mother and congenital abnormalities in the fetus (2). Proper folic acid intake during pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), preterm birth and congenital heart disease (2).
Why we use it:
Folic acid’s conversion into L-methylfolate, its active (usable) form, is dependent on an enzyme called methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) (2). Yet, about 40% to 60% of the population have genetic variances that impair or prevent this conversion due to inadequate MTHFR activity (2). Most people don’t even know they have the genetic variance, so they could be taking a folic acid supplement but reaping little to no nutritional reward. L-Methylfolate is a bioavailable format independent of the MTHFR enzyme (2).
Since this nutrient is so vital to healthy fetal development, you can find it in both of our prenatal supplements – our Whole-Food Based Prenatal and our Multi Complete Prenatal Once Daily. Based on the bioavailability of L-Methlyfolate, we’ve also chosen to include it in many of the products in our Health and Wellness lineup including Baby + Toddler Multi Powder, Women's Once Daily and more.
- Vitamin B9 (Folic acid). (n.d.). Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b9-folic-acid
- Greenberg, J. A., & Bell, S. J. (2011). Multivitamin supplementation during pregnancy: emphasis on folic acid and l-methylfolate. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 4(3-4), 126.