What is Folinic Acid, Folic Acid, and Activated Folate
- Folinic acid is a natural form of folate easily converted in the body, while activated folate is the most bioavailable and usable form.
- Folic acid can block natural folate absorption and is converted slowly in the body, leaving cells depleted.
- Activated Folate is design particularly for women with genetic variations that impair folic acid metabolism.
All You Need To know About Folic Acid, Folinic Acid and Activated Folate
In simple words:
Folic Acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin essential for many bodily functions, often added to food and supplements. Unfortunately, Folic Acid is of no benefit unless converted to a usable form. The problem with folic acid is that it can block folate receptors, preventing absorption of natural folate and leaving cells depleted. In addition, the body converts folic acid to a usable form very slowly (only 200mcg at a time) which can mean that cells don’t have sufficient folate when they need it. Also keep in mind that folic acid conversion is blocked by certain medications such as the oral contraceptive pill, aspirin and cholesterol lowering medication.
Folinic Acid is a naturally occurring form of folate easily converted in the body from food sources, and which can be readily found in supplement form. It bypasses several conversion steps and is therefore much more bioavailable to the body when compared with folic acid.
Activated Folate or 5-MTHF, is the most metabolically active form of folate, which the body can use directly without needing any conversion. It’s the most bioavailable form recommended for general use and particularly for people who have a genetic variation in the MTHFR gene that makes it difficult for their bodies to convert folic acid to its active form.
Is Activated Folate Better Than Folic Acid?
Most certainly! Activated folate is a natural form, which is more usable by the body. Folic acid is a poorly utilised synthetic form which the body converts inefficiently (if at all). Some research suggests that activated folate may have a greater impact on preventing neural tube defects and may be more effective for women with genetic variations.
Ultimately, the best way to ensure adequate folate intake during pregnancy is to speak with a healthcare provider about dietary sources and take a high-quality prenatal supplement that contains bioavailable forms of folate forms, such as folinic acid or activated folate.
There are many options available on the market, such as the Preconception Activated Folate & B Vitamins supplement offered by Perdays, which contains a combination of activated folate and other key nutrients beneficial for preconception and early pregnancy. By working with a healthcare practitioner and choosing the right supplement, women can support a healthy pregnancy and give their babies the best possible start in life.
So, Why Activated Folate?
Active forms of folate are well absorbed and therefore the preferred choice for the general population. As previously mentioned, some women have a genetic variation that severely hinders the ability to convert folic acid to a usable form, due to a mutation in the MTHFR gene. This mutation disrupts the body’s ability to convert folic acid into its active form, resulting in a deficiency of folate.
Routine blood tests may indicate good folic acid status, but may only measure folic acid in the blood rather than folate in the cells (which is where the folate needs to be). For most individuals, taking activated folate is shown to be more effective than taking folic acid.
Additionally, some studies suggest that activated folate may be more effective at reducing the risk of neural tube defects compared to folic acid.
Activated folate is a form of folate that is already in its active form and does not need to be converted by the body. Folate is a vital nutrient for overall health, but it plays an especially crucial role in supporting a healthy pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women should consume at least 400-800 micrograms of folate per day, as it can help prevent serious birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
While folic acid is still widely used in prenatal supplements and is considered beneficial, some experts suggest that activated folate may be a more effective form of folate for pregnancy. This is because it is more bioavailable and therefore beneficial for everyone, particularly women with genetic variations that impair folic acid metabolism.
Studies have shown that supplementation with activated folate can lead to higher levels of folate in the blood (and cells) compared to folic acid, even in women with genetic variations.
What is the Difference Between Activated Folate and Folinic Acid?
Activated folate and folinic acid are both natural forms of folate, but they differ in how they are metabolised by the body.
Activated folate, also known as 5-MTHF, is the active form of folate that can be used directly by the body without conversion. (It is the primary form recommended for individuals who have a genetic variation which makes it difficult for their bodies to convert folic acid to its active form.)
Folinic acid is also a natural form of folate but one which requires some additional conversion in the body. Fortunately for most women, folinic acid is rapidly and efficiently utilised by the body. Unfortunately, folinic acid is not commonly added to “fortified” foods and few supplements use this form.
In summary, both activated folate and folinic acid are active forms of folate that are readily utilised by the body, but activated folate is the crème de la crème!
Do I Need to Take a Folate Supplement Past 12 weeks of Pregnancy?
The recommendation is for women to take a natural folate supplement before pregnancy (at least 3 months) and throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After that, it’s generally not as crucial to continue taking folate but consult your healthcare professional to determine your individual needs.
Some sources suggest that women who are at higher risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect may benefit from taking folate throughout their pregnancy.
Looking for a folate prenatal that all women can absorb?
Perdays Preconception Activated Folate with B Vitamins is specially formulated for mums who prefer or require activated folate to support their preconception and pregnancy health.
Pregnancy Key Essentials Contains 250 mcg of Folinic Acid
We recommend taking 2 capsules of Perdays Pregnancy Key Essentials & DHA to ensure a daily intake of at least 500mcg of folinic acid. It also contains DHA and 12 essential vitamins and minerals to support optimal preconception and pregnancy health.