Kirkman, an Oregon-based nutraceutical company, just introduced a new product, Advanced Adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral with 5-MTHF – Hypoallergenic. This new formulation offers the same excellent blend of nutrients that are in Kirkman’s original Advanced Adult Multivitamin/Mineral product, but with some key improvements: the folic acid form used is 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). Additionally, the vitamin B-12 concentration has been increased to ensure the proper absorption rate of the 5-MTHF.
Generally, nutritional supplements utilize a synthetic form of folic acid, which is not biologically active until the body converts it into 5-MTHF and 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (folinic acid).
For the conversion process to occur, a particular enzyme, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, must be functioning normally. However, 10 to 25 per cent of the general population has one of several variants of the MTHFR gene. In such cases, the enzyme cannot complete the necessary conversion.
There are no known disadvantages of using 5-MTHF as your folic acid source. The advantages, however, are clear: those patients who have a known MTHFR gene mutation require this form in order to meet their folic acid requirements; those who have not been tested, and therefore do not know if they possess one of the problematic gene variants, will be ensuring their supplements are effective; and for those who have no problem converting folic acid, 5-MTHF will be as effective as a synthetic folic acid.
Folic acid (also known as vitamin B-9) is present in leafy green vegetables, fruits, beans, peas and nuts. Additionally, enriched breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid. Still, it is very difficult to get enough solely from one’s diet.
While everyone needs folic acid, this nutrient is especially important during pregnancy. Doctors almost universally recommend supplementation for women intending to get pregnant. Inadequate levels of folic acid before and during pregnancy may negatively impact pregnancy outcomes.