Essential Ingredients

Meet Dr. Putignano from Gnosis, our Folate Producer

5 min read

What’s the difference between Folic Acid and Folate?

Folic Acid is synthetically produced, and used in fortified foods and supplements because it can be converted into Folate in the body. However, Folic Acid is a synthetic oxidized form, not significantly found in fresh natural foods. To be used, it must be converted to tetrahydrofolate (tetrahydrofolic acid). Increasing evidence suggests that this process may be slow in humans, especially people with a particular genetic mutation (more on that shortly). Conversely, folates occur naturally in many foods and are especially plentiful in dark green leafy vegetables, and they work directly in the body. Our Quatrefolic® is already in the biologically active form, so it’s easily absorbed, even by people who have the gene mutation.

It’s estimated that roughly 40 percent of people have the gene mutation that makes them unable to absorb Folic Acid. Can you tells us more about it?

Some people have a genetic mutation, polymorphism, that hinders their body from properly and efficiently converting dietary or supplemental Folate to its usable form, methylfolate. They are known as “poor methylators.” If you test positive for MTFHR, the solution is for your Folate supplement to be in the active form so your body does not have to convert it – called L-methylfolate.

For the general population, why is Folate so important?

The human body needs Folate to synthesize DNA, repair DNA, and methylate DNA as well as to act as a cofactor in certain biological reactions. It is especially important in aiding rapid cell division and growth, such as in infancy and pregnancy. Children and adults both require Folate to produce healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia.

Why do we find Folic Acid in so many government recommendations and supplement ingredient lists?

Because Folate deficiency is a very common problem across age groups. Folic Acid is a water-soluble vitamin. It dissolves in water and is not stored in your fat cells. This means that you need to keep taking Folate as your body cannot develop a reserve. And unfortunately, there are a lot of ways people can fall short--diets low in fruits and vegetables, excessive alcohol consumption, certain medications, and diseases such as celiac. Folate deficiency can result in many health problems, the most notable one being neural tube defects in developing embryos. Common symptoms of Folate deficiency include diarrhea, anemia, nerve damage, pregnancy complications, mental confusion, forgetfulness or other cognitive deficits, tiredness, depression, and more.

What makes Quatrefolic® different from other Folate?

In humans, the gut has limited ability to reduce Folic Acid that reaches the liver in the non-active form. Quatrefolic® is absorbed mainly in the small intestine by a carrier mediated mechanism. The carrier is not saturated and this enables Quatrefolic® to ensure a higher Folate uptake. There are big variations in how efficiently Folic Acid and Folate is converted to the bioactive form in different people due to the MTHFR defect I mentioned. Quatrefolic® completely bypasses the "damaged" MTHFR conversion step and delivers a "finished" Folate the body can immediately use at the cellular level without any kind of metabolization.