Specific Form of Two B Vitamins is Crucial for Proper Absorption
Chris D. Meletis, ND (with permission from cpmedical.net, access pin: 587556)
Many of my patients inquire as to why the methyl form of vitamin B12 and folic acid are important, compared to other available forms of those vitamins. The methyl form of B12, called methylcobalamin, is the bioactive form. The body has to transform B12 from the diet into methylcobalamin or another form called adenosylcobalamin in order to have the most bioactivity.
Adequate B12 levels serves many roles, not the least is to help ensure that red blood cell size, called MCV, is not too large. My patients target MCV readings of 90, with the range being 80-100. Generally, as patients MCV levels go up it can point to either a B12 or folic acid insufficiency, although there are other causes. Sufficient biologically active B12 is also important for neurological health, mental performance and maintaining balanced levels of homocysteine. When homocysteine levels are imbalanced it can affect bone, heart and cognitive health. Other nutrients critical to support balanced homocysteine levels also include folic acid and B6 in particular.
When it comes to folic acid, just as with B12, it needs to be converted to a more bioactive form for the body to have the full capacity to utilize it to support biochemical pathways. In the case of folic acid, this bioactive form is MethylTetraHydroFolate (MTHF). It is reported that 1 in 20 individuals may have a genetic metabolic defect that contribute to less than optimal conversion of dietary folic acid into MTHF.
There could literally be books written on the topic of why the body desires methyl-forms of certain supplements, such as B12 and folic acid. Methylation processes are important for the body at a multitude of levels.