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David Kariuki, Author

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Types of Methylfolate and Their Difference


According to Methyl-Life
“Folate is one of the forms of vitamin B; our body needs it
to function effectively and grow properly. It is a synthetic (manmade) form
used in vitamin supplements or processed foods. To produce red blood cells, our
body needs folate. Lack of folate can cause anemia or less red blood cells
production and lead to high amino acid levels in the blood, which is known as
hyperhomocysteinemia.” L-methylfolate is used as a supplement for people
deficient in folate. It is also used to treat patients with major depressive
disorder or schizophrenia.

Types of Methylfolate and Their Difference

Methylfolate is available in
various types, and each type differs in its delivery and uptake method. It is
imperative to know which types are best for your needs. Stress, MTHFR gene
mutations, and other biological
mutations can limit the ability of your body to
convert synthetic folic acid into folate's active form. It can cause
non-metabolized folic acid accumulation in the body and disrupt the metabolism and
transport of natural folates. Unlike folic acid, L-methyl folate does not mask pernicious
anemia and passes the blood-brain barrier.

The most biologically active
folate supplements contain -5-MTHF or 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. They can be
referred to as calcium salt of L-methyl folate and -5-methyl-tetrahydro folic
acid, 5-methyl-tetrahydro folic acid, glucosamine salt, monosodium salt, or L-methyltetrahydrofolate.
It is folate’s naturally occurring predominant pure form. This type of vitamin
B is vital in central metabolic pathways, such as cell division and repair. Any
methylfolate form that does not specify methylfolate’s L isomer form cannot be
99% pure biologically active methyl folate. They may be labeled 5-Methylfolate,
5-Methyltetrahydrofolate, DL-5-MTHF, and 6RS-5-MTHF. These forms will contain more
than 1% of the 6R isomer form of methyl folate (mostly 50% of the synthetic form
of D).

Some compounds may have the
same sequence and molecular formula of bonded atoms but differ in three
dimensions known as stereoisomers. Two common forms of stereoisomers are enantiomers
and diastereoisomers. Enantiomers are mirror images of each other. Their
physical characteristics are similar but differ in biological effects.
Diastereoisomers are not mirrored images of each other. Their physical
characteristics are rarely the same and may differ in biological effects.

Methylfolate contains
stereoisomers in diastereoisomers form. The "L" or "6S"
isomer is methylfolate’s active form. It is also called L-methyl folate,
Levomefolate, (6S)-5-MTHF, (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate, L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate.
L-Methylfolate includes major internationally registered brands such as
Metafolin®, Extrafolate S®, Quatrefolic®, and Magnafolate® PRO.

Metafolin® is L-methylfolate’s
calcium salt and primary component of the anti-depressant prescription 'Medical
Food' Deplin®. Metafolin® is a stable and patented crystalline form of the L
isomer of a specific type of calcium salt. The patent for this form has already
expired or is about to expire. Extrapolate S® is another type of calcium salt methyl
folate. Extrapolate-S® is commonly labeled as -5-methyltetrahydrofolate.

Quatrefolic® is L-methylfolate’s amorphous glucosamine salt with limited
stability. Studies have shown that this form has more bioavailability than
L-methyl folate calcium salts. Magnafolate® PRO is the same as Metafolin®
because it is also a form of calcium salt, a pure isomer of the methyl folate
type with a crystalline structure for high stability.

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