Whenever I look at vitamin or supplement that contains folate vitamin B9, I immediately check what type of folate the company uses. The type of folate a supplement company uses in their multivitamin or supplement tell me right away if they use premium ingredients or not.
Folate is one of the B-vitamins and is needed to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow, convert carbohydrates into energy, and produce DNA and RNA. Adequate folate intake is extremely important during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy, infancy, and adolescence.
There are different forms of folate
- folic acid (most common and inexpensive)
- fermented folic acid or folate (folic acid or folate that has been fermented to bind to glycoprotein for better bioavailbility)
- folate from lemon peel (natural form of folate)
- 5-MTHF or L-5-methyeyltetrahydrofolate
If a company uses folic acid (cheaper form of folate), then it’s a sign that that they may be looking at cost.
If the company uses a different form of folate, then it’s a sign that they take extra care in choosing their ingredients.
Look at the label.
If the label lists 5-MTHF, or L-5-metheyltetrahydrofolate, then it is the active form of folate. It is also known as the methylated form of folate.
Recent studies show that 5-MTHF provides more benefits than other forms of folate.
Why is it better for companies to use 5-MTHF (the active form of folate) over folic acid?
5-MTHF can be immediately used by the body. That is why it is considered the “active form” of folate. 5-MTHF is necessary for the multistep process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. The body uses methionine to make proteins and other important compounds.
Folic acid, on the other hand, must first be metabolized and converted to 5-MTHF in order for the body to benefit. 5-MTHF is ready to be used.
The process looks like this:
Folic Acid -> DHF -> THF -> 5,10 methylene-THF -> to 5-MTHF (active form of folate).
The body converts Folic Acid to Dihydrofolate (DHF), Tetrahydrofolate (THF), 5,10 methylene-tetrahydrofolate, then to 5-MTHF.
Humans have a gene called the MTHFR gene. It provides instructions for the body create the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) which convert 5,10 methylene-tetrahyrdofolate to 5-MTHF in the last step.
However, approximately 60% of people in the United States have a mutation with the MTHFR gene that may make it challenging for their bodies to create enough 5-MTHF from 5,10 methylene-tetrahydrofolate.
In other words, 60% of people cannot fully utilize folic acid in supplements. Everyone can utilize 5-MTHF.
This is why some supplement companies are choosing to use 5-MTHF in their vitamins and supplements even though it cost more than folic acid.
If you are looking for a daily multivitamin or supplements that contains folate (Vitamin B9), such as Vitamin B complex, make sure that the supplement is utilizing 5-MTHF over folic acid.
dōTERRA’s multivitamin Microplex VMZ contains the active form of folate 5-MTHF
doTERRA’s multivitamin Microplex VMz provides 22 essential vitamin and minerals. Microplex VMz utilizes the most beneficial form of each vitamin and minerals.
I’ve written what ingredients or forms of nutrients to look for in a multivitamin or supplement in the following articles:
Water Soluble Vitamins (B Vitamins + Vitamin C)
Fat Soluble Vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, and K)
Macrominerals (Calcium and Magnesium)