Folate - MTHF5
THE IMPORTANCE OF 5-MTHF: METHYLATION AND YOUR BODY
Methylation is a hot topic lately, but it’s not necessarily an easy one to understand.
To simplify: methylation is a biochemical process that involves the transfer of four atoms—one carbon and three hydrogen atoms (CH3)—from one substance to another. In practice, this seemingly simple process plays a crucial role in DNA and neurotransmitter production, detoxification, histamine, and estrogen metabolism, energy production, and more.
5-MTHF is the most active form of folate, or vitamin B9. Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9, also known as pterolymonoglutamic acid, which must be converted to 5-MTHF by several key enzymes. A vast majority of people cannot convert folic acid into 5-MTHF effectively, and unmetabolized folic acid is linked to serious health problems.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women, those experiencing high levels of stress, and those interested in longevity and normalizing inflammatory pathways, supplementing with 5-MTHF is worth considering and discussing with your practitioner.*
You can think of methylation as the continuing evolution of how we understand longevity long-term health and wellness in the body. It is essential for the proper function of almost all body systems, including the cardiovascular, reproductive, neurological, hormonal, and detoxification systems. This complex biochemical process can be considered the on or off switch for a myriad of crucial functions.
For methylation to function effectively and efficiently, it requires optimal levels of certain nutrients and compounds, including B vitamins. The body is provided CH3 via a universal methyl donor called SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). The system responsible for producing SAMe relies on 5-MTHF, and without it, methylation can go awry.
Without sufficient SAMe and effective methylation, a domino effect occurs: the body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of vital molecules like glutathione, melatonin, serotonin, coenzyme Q10, norepinephrine, epinephrine, taurine, L-Carnitine, and cysteine.
WHAT DOES 5-MTHF DO FOR THE BODY?
While faulty methylation is linked to a host of health issues, it can be easily missed in conventional medicine.
5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) is the methylated form of folate, folate is essential for healthy conception, fetal development, prevention of neural tube defects, DNA formation, cell growth, and other vital bodily functions.
For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or looking to conceive, folate supplementation might be worth discussing with your integrative provider. It may also be helpful for people undergoing high levels of stress or for those hoping to maintain normal inflammatory pathways.
However, supplementing with folate isn’t always enough, as it circles back to whether or not you are properly methylating. That is where 5-MTHF comes in. To understand the importance of 5-MTHF, you also need to understand a specific type of gene and its common variations.
Can everyone take 5-MTHF?
Actually no. There are some genes that if not working correctly, will create an environment whereby methylfolate is not a good step to take. Instead, people who are sensitive to methylfolate are encouraged to instead take Folinic Acid (not to be confused with Folic Acid).