Essential Ingredients

MTHF Folate vs. Folic Acid: The Important Difference

2 min read

Why is folate important?

Folate is an essential nutrient best known for supporting neural tube development during pregnancy. But for everyone else, folate is still a must-have. It’s involved in multiple processes, including DNA methtylation.*

How should we get our folate?

The best dietary sources of natural folate include fresh fruits, leafy greens, yeast, and legumes, but these can easily be degraded during food prep and cooking; this means that those foods often become less nutritious sources of folate as soon as they’re manipulated, i.e. chopped or cooked. Taking that into account, supplementation is a great option to make sure you’re getting enough of this essential nutrient.*

Does the form matter?

The short answer: Yes. Folic acid is the form used in many supplements because it’s highly stable. The caveat? Once folic acid enters a cell, it needs to be converted into 6S-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF) by several key enzymes before your body can use it. And up to one-third of men and women have a genetic variation that can impact the last step of the conversion.

When formulating our multivitamins, we decided to include a more bioavailable form of folate: MTHF. Unlike folic acid itself, it doesn’t need to go through enzyme conversion—which means that it's the form that can be efficiently utilized by those of us with that common MTHFR gene variant.*