Folinic Acid and Folic Acid are often used interchangeably, but are they really the same? The answer is a hard no!
Folinic Acid is the natural, active coenzyme form of Folate and Folic Acid is the synthetic oxidized form.
Let’s talk in terms of food. You can find Folic Acid in things like fortified pasta and bread. Folinic Acid is naturally found in foods like leafy green veggies, dairy, certain fruits, egg yolks, and liver.
Doesn’t one sound healthier than the other?
What is Folate?
Whoa! Did you just throw in yet another name? Yes, it happened.
Folate is a B-Vitamin (AKA B9, AKA Folacin) that your body needs to make DNA and other genetic material. Folate is derived from the Latin word, “folium,” which means leaf.
Folate is a generic name for a group of related compounds that are all different forms of Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid, Dihydrofolate (DHF), Tetrahydrofolate (THF), 5, 10-Methylenetetrahydrofolate (5, 10-MTHF), and 5-Formyl Tetrahydrofolate (Calcium Folinate), Folate (as Calcium Folinate [Folinic Acid]), and more).
It’s easy to see why people get confused over what Folate is but know this, the different forms are not all equal!
Folate is an important vitamin to take while pregnant as it prevents birth defects like spina bifida.
It’s also known to be essential in the formation of essential amino acids like tyrosine, methionine, and glutamine.
Amino Acids are often called the building blocks of protein and play critical roles in the body.
Now that we know the overarching facts, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
What is Folic Acid?
Folic Acid is a synthetic form of Vitamin B9 that is commonly used in supplements and processed foods.
One big difference between Folic Acid and Folate, is the inefficiency of Folic Acid. When you consume Folic Acid, not all of it is converted into the active form of Vitamin B9 (5-MTHF) within your digestive system–some needs to be converted in your liver or other tissues.
The act of your body having to convert all of the Folic Acid to 5-MTHF is a slow and inefficient process. Some people are affected more than others.
This study found that even small doses of Folic Acid (like 200-400 mcg per day) may not be completely metabolized until the next dose is taken. Add on fortified foods you eat and it can make the problem worse.
Unmetabolized Folic Acid build-up can lead to several health issues.
Though, this study found that taking Folic Acid along with other B Vitamins (especially B6) can improve the conversion.
Folic Acid is not all bad! It’s still a form of Vitamin B9 that is much needed in your daily diet. But be sure to pay attention to the recommended “tolerable upper limit” of 1,000 mcg per day of folic acid (that includes supplements and various foods).
What is Folinic Acid?
Folinic Acid is the natural, active coenzyme form of folate.
According to this study, Folinic Acid represented over 90% of functional folate derivatives in plasma. This is huge because humans cannot synthesize new folates.
Yana D. Gristan and Leila Moosava of the Folinic Acid study found, “Clinicians can consider Folinic Acid supplementation as superior to Folic Acid supplementation because Folinic Acid can reach higher concentrations in plasma, and it can function in the face of defective folate metabolism.”
Remember how we discussed the inefficiencies of Folic Acid? Studies like this one listed above and others are now showing the inefficiencies of synthetic Folic Acid in multiple ways.
Research is also proposing that Folinic Acid may help children affected by autism. See the study information, here.
Folinic Acid fits all of our must-haves for an ingredient: safe, effective, and natural.
Why We Need Folate (and the Best Version To Take)
The human body needs folate to perform functions like cell division, growth, and the production of new red blood cells.
Folate deficiency can cause anemia, depriving your tissues of oxygen. This might feel like fatigue, tiredness, and lethargy with muscle weakness, numbness, and more unwanted results.
Folate is important and recommended to take during pregnancy and has been found to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.*
It’s clear that we need Folate in our lives. And you can get them in your daily diet: dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, broccoli), beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, fresh fruits (juices), whole grains, liver, and seafood.
Or you can supplement with Folic Acid or Folinic Acid.
Both are effective ways to get more Folate in your diet. But if we had to choose, we would go with Folinic Acid. Not only is it well-absorbed but it also effectively raises Folate levels in your blood.
If you’re looking for a safe, natural, and effective option for Folate, check out our Prenatal Support. Made with Folinic Acid and in melt-form with an apple ginger taste.