Folate, Folic Acid What Is the Difference and Why Do I Need It?

Both folate and folic acid are forms of a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate occurs naturally in some foods and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin. The most biologically active form of folate is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF. It is the form in which the body must convert all other forms of folic acid and folate before it can be used. Poor absorption and poor utilization can be and issue with the conversion process.

Folate depletion can arise from excessive alcohol usage, a diet consisting of primarily processed and cooked foods as well as the reasons mentioned above. Sufficient folate is necessary for brain and nervous system functions, healthy mood, healthy gum tissue, normal cellular proliferation including red blood cells, and is essential in pregnant women as prevention for neural tube defects.

Foods that are rich in folate include:
Beets, broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens, bell peppers, beans, lentils, peas, cauliflower,
brussel sprouts, nuts & seeds, avocado, okra, papaya and oranges.

At ilumina we recommend to take prenatal and multi vitamins with the 5-MTHF form of folate. Our favorite brands that utilize 5-MTHF are Thorne, Pure Encapsulations, Seeking Health, and Xymogen which are available at the clinic.


By Dana Siekman-Price DOM, Dipl. O.M., L.Ac., FABORM