The Folate CycleDr. Ben Lynch who has been researching this for many years has put together a new diagram showing 9 other genes involved in the folate cycle. It appears, based on my 23andme results, I have 7 of the 10 genes which I would guess is more than average so I have more of a need for folate than most. I am homozygous (double mutation) FOLR2, SLC19a1, MTHFD1, TYMS and heterozygous (single mutation) MTHFS, DHFR, MTHFR. The other three are FOLR1, SHMT1 and MTR. Even if you have a lot of these genes you could still live a healthy life by wise food choices, low stress and a toxic free environment. If one or more of those isn't right in your life than you are at a high risk of your genes becoming expressed and having to deal with health issues. It's my belief that the epoxy contact triggered some of these genes to express and start causing my health problems.
Forms of FolateIt's important to note that folic acid is just one form of folate and is the most easily found in supplements and foods we eat but it is an inactive, synthetic form and requires those 10 genes to successfully convert it into an active form so that is the last thing you should take. It's best to get your folate from food sources or active forms of folate because taking a lot of the synthetic folic acid will increase your unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA) which could cause a lot of other issues like an increased risk of cancer.
Active forms of folate:
- L-5-MTHF = 6(S)-L-MTHF
- L-Methylfolate Calcium = Metafolin = Levomefolic Acid
- Levomefolic Acid
Foods high in folate:
- uncooked leafy greens
- beans, lentils & peas
- nuts and seeds
Are you folate deficient?How do you know if you are deficient in folate and not getting enough active forms? You can't really rely on a normal folate RBC test because it tests for both active and inactive forms and if you have trouble converting folate like I do your lab test results will most likely be sky high because of all of the UMFA in your system. Metametrix happens to have a lab test that breaks out the UMFA and Active form of folate which can be helpful in determining if you are getting enough active forms and if you need to reduce your intake of folic acid. I haven't taken this test myself since I am no longer taking any folic acid but it looks to be helpful test. I have noticed my RBC Folate numbers are coming down recently (they've always been sky high in the past) which makes me believe my UMFA is going down and my body is using the active folate I've been supplementing with.
MTHFR and the other folate conversion genes are just one part of the methylation cycle that helps with detoxification, immune function, mood balancing, energy production and controlling inflammation so it is very important to your well being that it is functioning properly.