FOLATE - What does folate do for the body? -

FOLATE - What does folate do for the body?

Posted by The Tenth Co on

The word Folate comes from the Latin folium meaning leaf. It's found in Green leafy vegetables, potatoes, sprouts. 

Folate is a common group name for folic acid and its derivatives –they are water soluble vitamins in the B group.

Most people don't know that Folate is essential for our mental health, another surprising fact is that folate also helps with our energy levels - it relives the feeling of fatigue too.

It works synergistically with Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 and folate perform several important functions in the body, including keeping the nervous system healthy.

A deficiency in Folate can cause a wide range of problems, including:

Fatigue, headache, nausea, hair loss, insomnia, diarrhoea, depression, irritability, extreme tiredness, a lack of energy, shortness of breathe, mouth ulcers. 

What does Folate do - Cell maturation – without folate living cells cannot divide. Folate is essential for synthesis, methylation and repair of DNA. It also essential for production of active form of Vitamin B12.

what does folate do to the body


In addition supplementation with folate may help reduce depressive symptoms, a swell as the feeling of fatigue. Folate, a naturally occurring B vitamin, is needed in the brain for the synthesis of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. (1)

Three forms of folate are commonly used: folic acid, 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) (also known as methylfolate and l-methylfolate), and folinic acid. 

Food preparation and processing can destroy up to 100% folate, why supplementation is essential. 

 Does the type of folate matter? YES.

Doe the type of Folate matter


Why should people with normal levels take folate - studies suggest that some individuals with normal folate levels may also benefit, especially since peripheral folate levels may not reflect Central Nervous System folate levels (2, 3, 4, 5)

The above results suggest that some people with normal folate levels, including those who live in countries where there is voluntary or compulsory fortification of food with folate, may benefit from folate supplementation. Homocysteine levels can be lowered by folate supplementation, even when folate levels are normal, so it is not necessarily possible to distinguish the patients with depression who may benefit from folate by measuring folate levels. Further, some subgroups may require more folate than others. For example, people with the relatively common thermolabile variant of MTHFR have an elevated incidence of depression and require higher levels of folate.(4,5)

The main concern relevant to the short-term use of folate supplements in depression patients is the possible masking of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. For this reason, it might be essential to add a vitamin B12 supplement to the folate, like we have done in our Flow State supplement.


1-2. Folate in Depression: Efficacy, Safety, Differences in Formulations, and Clinical Issues, Maurizio Fava, MD, and David Mischoulon, MD, PhD. The Journal of Clinical Psychology, November 15, 2009

3. Simon N. Young, Folate and depression—a neglected problem, J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Mar;32(2):80-2.

4. Reif A, Pfuhlmann B, Lesch K-P. Homocysteinemia as well as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase polymorphism are associated with affective psychoses. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2005;29:1162-8. 
5. Lewis SJ, Lawlor DA, Davey Smith G, et al. The thermolabile variant of MTHFR is associated with depression in the British Women's Heart and Health Study and a meta-analysis. Mol Psychiatry 2006;11:352-60.

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