In our series on folate, we have
discussed some of the options. Folate versus folic acid, and there’s even a
folinic acid. Now, what are the differences? You’ll hear on the internet
docs talking about folic acid is not a substitute. However, you go to the CDC and
some of these other places, they tend to just lump folic acid and folate together.
The reality is they’re not the same. Let me clarify. Folate is a naturally-occurring essential
vitamin. It’s easily absorbed and metabolized. Folic acid is synthetic, easy
and cheap to make, and that’s what they usually put in cereals based on the laws
requiring supplementation with folate. It requires the enzyme dihydrofolate
reductase. That is the problem for those of us who don’t have a fully functioning
dihydrofolate reductase then that’s where you get into this issue and this
debate about. Well, folic acid is doing nothing but taking up the receptor space
and making things worse because it’s not allowing us to absorb fully. There’s some
truth to that with some people and in fact that’s why I take methylfolate.
Side effects for these can be endocrine, sleep, mood just like any of
the folate-related activities, for like for example is a precursor involved with
neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Again, folic acid is on the FDA’s
mandatory fortification list. I talked about three things at first and folate,
folic acid, and folinic acid, but only two here. Well, let’s go on just a little
bit deeper. Before we do, without dihydrofolate reductase, methylfolate
doesn’t work, and here’s the metabolic pathway showing that DHFR, dihydrofolate
reductase. But again, back to that thing I just mentioned, what about folinic acid?
Well, folinic acid is a form of folic acid that doesn’t require dihydrofolate
reductase. So why don’t we just use that? Well, here’s the problem of that. It’s
injectable only. You have to inject it right into the muscle or in the vein.
Folinic acid injectable is listed on the WHO’s list of essential medications. So
it’s interesting even though WHO lists that. And the purpose for folinic acid is
as they say for those people that have problems with DHFR. So if DHFR or
dihydrofolate reductase is recognized by the
WHO for injectibles like folinic acid, why is it not recognized in oral
supplements? Again, you’ll see a lot of debate about that in the science. I tend
to go with the more careful side of that debate. I do supplement. I
am a poor methylater. I have MTHFR problems as do about half
of us and I use methylfolate. I don’t use folinic acid.
Thank you for your interests. Well, it’s great to be here. One of the reasons why
I came is I’m a dentist so I work with patients every day and also I have
come from a history of my heart disease in my family and I have had a couple
uncles recently who had strokes. And I just feel like in the profession that
I’m in, that I’m in a position where I can help other family members and the
patients I’ve worked in public health. So I am around a lot of patients who deal
with diabetes heart disease periodontal disease and I feel like prevention is so
important in quality of life.