methylfolate questions

I've been taking Jarrow methylfolate for quite some time now, and only just now realized that it's not Metafolin (the one patented by Merck), but rather Quatrefolic (patented by Gnosis). In any case both are the (6S)-5-MTH form, with the former being a calcium salt and the latter a glucosamine salt. I suppose both would react equivalently in the body. (I have one of the mthfr snps indicating potential need for m-folate).

But I'm just curious, what brands of methylfolate do people here use? Have you noticed differences between brands?

Also, saw this on the Merck website: "Metafolin® does not mask a vitamin B12-deficiency" -- now THAT is interesting, wish I understood the mechanism!

Fbirder, am especially curious about your feedback. :)

9 Replies

  • Hi,

    Thank you for sharing your very interesting observations.

    I use "Solgar Folate 800 MCG (as metafolin)". They are pleasant to take and work well for me.

    Does the glucosamine part of the Jarrows one have any independent value, eg in the joints, like glucosamine sulphate would do?

  • Does the glucosamine part of the Jarrows one have any independent value, eg in the joints, like glucosamine sulphate would do?

    Leaving aside the question of whether glucosamine sulfate actually does any good for the joints - No.

    Your typical methylfolate tablet is 400 ug. Your typical glucosamine sulfate tablet is 1,500,000 ug.

  • Ah, good point! Thank you!

  • The salt form doesn't really make much difference. Different companies will use different salts to avoid patented manufacture processes.

    Which SNP do you have? It's really only people who are homozygous (two copies) of the C677>T mutation that may need to use methylfolate instead of folic acid. If you're heterozygous then folic acid will do just as well (and it's cheaper - and has higher bioavailability).

    "Metafolin® does not mask a vitamin B12-deficiency"

    Sounds like something written by a marketing droid. Further poking around on their site reveals - that they also say.

    It has been suggested, that Metafolin® lacks the ability of masking symptoms of B12 deficiency.

    One wonders who has been suggesting that! They're wrong.

    If one has a B12 deficiency then taking folic acid can mean that a B12-caused macrocytosis (large cells) can be hidden because the folic acid makes the cells smaller - just like Metafolin does!

    Later that same piece says that metafolin will not result in the 'folate trap' that one can get by taking large amounts of folic acid when methylfolate synthesis is impaired. And that's correct - but not what they said and not really that big a deal.

    So - if you're homozygous for C677>T then take methylfolate (any type - whichever is cheapest) otherwise save the money and use folic acid.

  • Thanks fbirder! I have no mutation for C677T but homozygous for A1298C, so I think that's why at the time Methylfolate was suggested. This was 3 years ago, so perhaps the understanding has evolved in the meantime?

    Part of my reasoning was also that it looked like I had the 'folate trap', since supplementing with a B complex with 400mcg folic acid sent my folic acid values over range.

    The jarrow methylfolate is only $4 for a bottle of 60, so not overly expensive. B12 complexes with methylfolate, on the other hand, do seem more pricey. As demand for methylfolate goes up (marketing, not need, likely!) prices should go down. ;)

    It has been suggested, that Metafolin® lacks the ability of masking symptoms of B12 deficiency.

    I realize that they probably avoid issues by saying "Not evaluated by the FDA" etc etc but to blatantly lie like that?? I wonder if somehow they're equating the folate trap with what happens in B12 deficiency, somehow...? I suppose they have zero studies or science to back that up. If I have some energy I might write to them.

  • I've not been able to find any proper studies on the A1298>C mutation. Plenty of supposition, but only by naturopath-types selling snake-oil, books or advertising. And those suppositions tend to be along the lines of how being heterozygous for both A1298>C and C677>T is just as bad as being homozygous for the latter.

    As for Merck's comments. Like I said, it was probably written by a marketing-type. As they're not selling a health cure, but a nutritional supplement there's zero requirements for them to back up any of their claims.

  • Many thanks again for your insight. :)

  • I haven't had genetic profiling done but folic acid does not work for me and methylfolate does, in repeated trials. Would this suggest I may have the genetic problem or are there other things that may produce the same results?

  • It does sound like you're one of the minority that has a genetic problem and benefits from methylfolate.

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