Folate is a water-soluble essential B vitamin found in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. Research has established that supplementation with folate before and during the first two months of pregnancy can support proper neurological development in the fetus. Additionally, folate plays a key role in the metabolism of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a sulfur containing amino acid that is created in the body from methionine, an essential amino acid derived solely from dietary intake. High plasma levels of homocysteine appear to injure the vasculature, impairing the functional abilities of endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Metafolin® folate is a patented, natural form of (6S) 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). 5-MTHF is the naturally occurring, predominant form of folate commonly found in cells and is essential for overall health, as it participates as a cofactor in a reaction that involves the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine. Unlike synthetic folic acid, 5-MTHF can be used directly by the body, without the need for an additional conversion via the enzyme 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR).
In certain populations, the body™s ability to convert folic acid to 5-MTHF by use of this enzyme may be compromised due to genetic differences. Metafolin® contains only the S isomer of 5-MTHF and has been shown to be the only form of folate to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Metafolin® does not appear to mask the anemia associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency and presents no risk of an accumulation of unmetabolized folic acid in the body.