Get the Facts: Which Form of Vitamin B9 is Best for You - Folic Acid, Methylfolate or Folinic Acid? - Enlighten Functional Medicine

Get the Facts: Which Form of Vitamin B9 is Best for You – Folic Acid, Methylfolate or Folinic Acid?

Get the Facts: Which Form of Vitamin B9 is Best for You - Folic Acid, Methylfolate or Folinic Acid?

Vitamin B9 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods. It is also added to fortified foods and supplements. This vitamin is important for proper cell division and plays a role in the formation of blood. Read on for more information about these two forms of vitamin B9 to help you make an informed decision.



Have you ever seen beautiful garden foliage or autumn foliage? I was using the term ‘foliage’. This is an American word that stems from the Latin word folium (“leaf”). Vitamin B9 is derived from the word folium. This vitamin is getting lots of attention when people find out they have a defect in a functioning gene that processes folate called, MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase)


We now know that Vitamin B9 is stemming from foliage. We’re going to get it from those leafy greens that we consume like salads. When we eat leafy green vegetables, it helps our bodies get folate. Folate is a nutrient that is found in whole foods. This is the reason why those leafy greens are so important for you. However, sometimes people have a problem getting those leafy greens, or absorbing and utilizing them in the body. 


In a supplemental form, which Vitamin B9 is the best for you? 


Folic acid.


Folic acid is very common. It’s synthetic.. This is a form of B9 that has low bioavailability. It can slow down the MTHFR enzyme and other enzymes in your folate production process. That’s not the goal. Folic acid had its time and its place in society in the evolution of B vitamin absorption. 


Many foods are fortified with folic acid. This also may be very common for you because you’ve heard this term. Probably, you’ve looked at the bread, you look at its packaging or take a peek inside your cereal box or to some pastas. You see that folic acid has been added as a fortified ingredient. They do this because the B vitamin in general is necessary to make methylation happen. The FDA knows it’s an important vitamin and they just sprinkle it all on all these foods. 


Now let’s talk about the right form of nutrition of folic acid. They fortify it. Sometimes the folate receptors will get blocked with folic acid. You have these receptors that are waiting for folate. Now you take this synthetic form of folic acid and it actually junks up these receptors. As a result, the real folate can’t do what it’s supposed to do thus creating a problem.


There is something else that blocks these folate receptors. Cow’s milk can block the transport of folate to the brain. This is a big deal with some kids who are sensitive to cow milk. This means that they can’t absorb folate properly.


We can identify these by looking at the symptoms of abnormalities in:

  • cognition
  • brain function 
  • behavior
  • mood 
  • neuromotor development


This is a big deal. We want to make sure that you get the best form of folate in your body. Typically, folic acid is not the one that’s going to be the best bioavailable for your body.


Methyl folate


Methyl folate means that it’s methylated B vitamin. Methylated is the most bioavailable form of a folate. This is good news. You’re going to find this form in a lot of different things but very similar. You’re going to see Quatrefolic or 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) on the market for supporting that methylation process, especially supporting a dirty MTHFR gene 


This type of methylfolate is best for mental health. When we think of mental health, we think of depression, anxiety, or anything going on with the brain. There is a very common need for more bioavailable B9 vitamins for mental health issues. 


This type is very ideal if you have tissue that needs healing. Say you broke your ankle or maybe you have some issues with micro tears in your shoulder that you’re trying to heal. Or perhaps you’re trying to grow a baby, this is needed to help form the neural tube formation in a baby in the early weeks of pregnancy. It’s essential to get the Vitamin B9 in there not only for baby formation.


If you are not a woman or if you are not pregnant, B9 is still needed to help support the regeneration of new cells. We need new cells throughout our lifetime, and we want to make sure that process is supported properly. 


Folinic Acid


This particular nutrient of B9 is for those who are sensitive to methylated B9 vitamins. This is what is going to be the best replacement for those people who take a methylated B and don’t feel good afterwards. Maybe you feel a little bit more anxious, maybe lethargic or get heart palpitations that you could be reacting to a B vitamin.


When I say reacting, I mean something just doesn’t feel right and out of place intuitively with that. This folinic acid is a bioactive in the natural form that appears on the supplement labels as folate. It may be written as folinic acid or calcium folinate.


This is great for those who cannot tolerate methyl donor and those who have rapid cell division. This type of Vitamin B9 is necessary for baby development. Folinic acid and methyl folate are good forms of that vitamin B9. Folic acid, totally synthetic and manmade, is not the best of bioavailable form and can end up doing damage, blocking those receptors in the long run.


There you have it! Now, what’s the verdict? Are folinic acid and methyl folate better than folic acid? The answer is a resounding yes. Folinic acid and methyl folate are more bioavailable forms of vitamin B9 that your body can actually use, whereas folic acid is not as bioavailable and can end up blocking receptors in the long run. If you’re looking for a good form of vitamin B9, make sure to eat your leafy greens and talk to us about supplementing with folinic acid or methyl folate. We can help you determine which form is best for you and create a supplementation plan that will give you all the benefits of this essential nutrient. Don’t forget to schedule a free discovery call with us so that we can help. Thanks for reading!


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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional

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Known for her successful treatment of mystery illnesses, Dr. Emily Hecker and her team at Enlighten Functional Medicine combine an integrative, functional medicine approach with the appropriate lab testing.

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