Longevity Articles

Looking for a Better Folic Acid? Discover the Most Bioavailable Folate Supplement Available

Looking for a Better Folic Acid?  Discover the Most Bioavailable Folate Supplement Available

Folate — also known as vitamin B9 — is an essential nutrient needed in the diet to perform various cellular and biochemical processes critical for human life. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the synthetic version of folate. Although folic acid is easier to manufacture, this form of the vitamin is poorly absorbed by approximately half of the population.

Based on the importance of this nutrient and the low bioavailability of folic acid, researchers are instead looking towards an easily absorbable supplement containing the biologically active version of folate — and they created it with Magnafolate®. 

In this article, learn more about the functions of folate, the basics of methylation, and why Methylfolate with Magnafolate® is a superior supplement for meeting your folate needs. 

Functions of Folate

The primary functions of folate in the body are to make DNA, synthesize genetic material, and act as a cofactor for cell division.  These crucial processes are why folate deficiencies during pregnancy are known to cause neural tube defects. 

Folate deficiency may also increase the risk of several significant health problems. Adequate folate intake is necessary for maintaining brain, cardiovascular, and metabolic health.  

folate, also known as vitamin b9, is known as folic acid when in its synthetic form

Folate Vs. Folic Acid

While folate is found naturally in foods — the highest amounts are in green leafy vegetables, beans, and liver — folic acid is added to bread, cereals, and other refined grains via a fortification process.

As folic acid is inactive in the human body, it needs to be converted into its bioactive form. It does this by first converting into dihydrofolate, then tetrahydrofolate, followed by a final conversion into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). 

This form, 5-MTHF, is considered biologically active and makes up 95-98% of all folate found in the blood. Also, 5-MTHF is the only form of folate that can cross the blood-brain barrier.

However, many people — estimates range from 40 to 60% of the population — have a variation in the gene that codes for the enzyme needed to complete the final stage of conversion from tetrahydrofolate into 5-MTHF. 

Let’s take a look at what this genetic variation does and why methylation is so essential for human health. 

The Basics of Methylation and the MTHFR Gene 

Methylation is a critical process that creates normal genome development, protects DNA, develops the early central nervous system, differentiates immune cells, and helps with detoxification. 

When methyl groups are added to DNA, genes are transcribed or expressed differently. Methyl groups act as signals along the DNA strand, causing some genes to turn on and some to turn off.  For example, methylation can benefit health by inhibiting a tumor-causing gene from turning on. 

Methylation is a basic function of epigenetics, which refers to the external and heritable changes in DNA that do not affect the actual DNA sequence.

 Folate is a top source of the 1-carbon group needed to methylate DNA. The active 5-MTHF acts as a methyl donor in many biochemical reactions.

However, methylation can become less efficient in people with the MTHFR gene variant. MTHFR, which stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, is an enzyme needed for methylation and folate metabolism. Someone with an MTHFR gene variant will not properly convert folic acid into 5-MTHF, especially if they have two copies of the gene variant. 

Essentially, about half of the population cannot complete the conversion of folic acid into the biologically active version of folate, leading to a reduction in methylation ability and a buildup of unmetabolized folic acid in the body. A dysfunctional methylation system is linked to a variety of health issues and accelerated aging.

Although the MTHFR gene variant is prevalent, there is a simple way to get around it, which is supplementing with the biologically active form of folate rather than folic acid. 

folate is crucial for dna methylation

The Benefits of Magnafolate® 

Magnafolate® is a superior form of supplemental folate because it contains the biologically active form of folate, 5-MTHF. Specifically, Magnafolate® uses a calcium salt form of L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate with a patented C-effective Crystal that increases the bioavailability, stability, and dissolution of the nutrient. 

1. Better Bioavailability 

Bioavailability refers to how well the body can absorb or utilize a compound. Magnafolate® is almost seven times more bioavailable than folic acid. As this form is already biologically active, there is no need to go through the steps of converting it from folic acid into 5-MTHF.

Another benefit of using Magnafolate® is that individuals with the MTHFR gene variant will not run the risk of being unable to convert folic acid into 5-MTHF, as they would with a synthetic folic acid supplement.

2. Does Not Mask Vitamin B12 Deficiency

When there is a buildup of unmetabolized folic acid — as would occur in people with the MTHFR variant — or in cases of excessive folic acid supplementation, vitamin B12 deficiency can be masked. 

With vitamin B12 deficiency, megaloblastic anemia occurs. Megaloblastic anemia is characterized by abnormally large red blood cells with a low ability to carry oxygen. However, an excessive folic acid intake can shrink these large blood cells, causing them to return to normal size even without adequate vitamin B12 intake. Therefore, a vitamin B12 deficiency could still be underlying — despite normal blood cell labs — leading to the neurological and cognitive symptoms that manifest with a vitamin B12 deficiency. 

Older adults are especially vulnerable to vitamin B12 deficiencies, as the ability to absorb the vitamin decreases with age. This masking of vitamin B12 deficiencies that occurs with excessive folic acid cannot happen with 5-MTHF supplements, making it a safer option.

3. Better Stability, Dissolution, and Particle Size Distribution 

The main ingredient in Magnafolate® has shown better stability, at 36 months at room temperature without any degradation or increases in contaminants, compared to 30 days in competing folate products.

Based on its C-Crystal formulation, Magnafolate® has increased dissolution rates and symmetrical particle size distribution, indicating better absorption capabilities. In lab testing, Magnafolate® was able to reach the peak dissolution rate in less than 10 seconds, whereas other folate supplements still had not reached the full dissolution after one minute. 

As the dissolution of a compound is crucial to its therapeutic effectiveness, these results show that Magnafolate® is an unmatched choice for a biologically active folate supplement.

Key Takeaway:

  • Folate is necessary for maintaining brain, cardiovascular, and metabolic health; the vitamin is also used as a methyl donor in DNA methylation.  
  • Magnafolate® contains the biologically active 5-MTHF, making it a highly bioavailable folate supplement. 
  • As about half of the population cannot complete the conversion of folic acid to 5-MTHF due to a genetic variant, using a biologically active form that doesn’t require conversion is a better choice. 
  • Magnafolate® also will not mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, as a folic acid supplement could, and it has improved stability, dissolution, and particle size distribution. 


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