Folate or folic acid??

Please could someone explain the difference to me? I know it's been discussed already on this site, but I can't make head nor tail of it (brain doesn't function nowadays......).

When I studied chemistry, we were always told that ".....ic acid" was the same as ".....ate". For example, citric acid is the same thing as citrate, glutamic acid is the same as glutamate, etc. so I'm really puzzled to find that folic acid is not the same thing as folate!

Which one should I take, as a supplement?

13 Replies

  • The choice is yours :-) Folic Acid is synthetic and Methylfolate is natural I have read....

  • Thanks, Marz. This fits in with what others have said :)

  • I don't know how true this is but I have always been told that it is better to take folate.

    Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate and apparently it can cause cancer etc. I don't know how true this.

  • Thanks, kalel - it does seem as though folate is the way to go.......


    Interesting that there's some concern these days that synthetic food additive folic acid may not be metabolized at the same rate as naturally occuring folates. Bottom line: eat lots of green leaves.

  • Thanks, gabkad - really interesting :) .

  • The reading I have done on the internet suggests that some people may not be able to process folic acid & it could build up in your system & possibly be toxic.As I understand it,taking Bs in this methyl formulation makes them easier for your body to use.

    For this reason I now take methyl folate(also called 5 MTHF) instead of folic acid

    B12 as methyl cobalamin (though I now read hydroxycobalamin may be even better)

    B6 as P-5-P.

    As I am spending so much on supplements,LDN etc I cannot afford imported american supplements.

    I buy all these bio-active Bs from an Ebay shop called "Phoenix Nutrition"

    "Oxford Vitality" is good,too.I get iron from "Bulk Powders".

    It is a tough call with brain fog & severe mental fatigue,processing all this info & deciding what to try-especially as people's responses to different medications is so individual.At the beginning,I would feel overwhelmed by panic.

    As my health improves,I am able to absorb more and more information.When I feel overwhelmed by doubt & despair,I go onto the forum & get courage & confidence from fellow-travelers who are further along the path of healing than I am.

    I can also see how far I have come-from 2 years of depression and panic disorder to chronic fatigue(brain & body)& now,trialling t4/t3 combo, onto T3 only & LDN.

  • There is also NDT.

  • Thanks Naomi8 - it looks as though methyl folate is definitely the way to go. I'll have a look at the various sources you gave and get myself some methyl folate.

    And thanks for giving me a ray of sunshine too. I get so much help from this forum and am so grateful to everyone, but I got an especially big lift from your response. It's the cruelest paradox that we feel so rough, mentally and physically, yet have to somehow trawl through loads of research and learn how to get ourselves well. I have been having a particularly bad time recently and was feeling very overwhelmed, so reading about your improvement has given me hope that at some point I will start to improve too. Thanks :) .

  • Thanks, Heloise - this is really interesting and funnily enough, I have been toying with the idea of getting tested for MTHFR defect for while now, as my sister found out a while ago that she has it. And the article is very clear about why methyl folate is important - makes sense, and I will definitely buy some now.

  • Hi life, I have thought about the DNA test, too. I see that some have a certain percentage of defect, if that's possible, so I am doing the same thing as you, just using methylfolate. You can also go to the Phoenix Rising website where they have discussions about it as well.

    You can learn something from the reviews of the product if you go to Amazon or

  • Thanks - will have a look at Phoenix Rising and at some product reviews. Hope you've had a good Sunday.


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