Methylfolate is a type of folate that is essential in supporting the methylation pathway. This pathway regulates detoxification, your feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, energy levels, and creating new DNA. So what foods are high in methyl folate?

Methylfolate is the purest form of vitamin B9 (folate), found most abundantly in leafy green vegetables, beets, nuts and seeds, legumes, eggs, liver, wheat germ, and citrus fruits.

One of the most common symptoms associated with folate deficiency include:
• Feeling stressed
• Agitated
• Moody
• Euphoric
• Depressed
• Linked to autoimmune disease
• Linked to megaloblastic anemia, neural tube defects (NTD), and cardiovascular diseases

*Nutritiongenome provides a great list of what folate deficiency can manifest into.

Is B12 and Folic Acid The Same Thing?

B12 and folic acid are both b vitamins but still serve different purposes in the body. However, what may appear to be a folate deficiency may be a vitamin B12 deficiency or both. This happens because both B12 and folate work together as the gateway for the methylation cycle. If either one of these vitamins is deficient, or even scarce in your diet, the methylation cycle will struggle as these are the vitamins that kickstart the entire process.


What is your folate status?

During the warmer months, you require more folate because ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure proportionately affects folate levels in the blood. This can be especially important for those that are pregnant to prevent congenital disorders in newborns. Therefore, one may need to increase their folate consumption from greens, other folate-containing vegetables, or supplementation if they are in the sun more frequently.

You can test your folate levels with a blood draw and those that are under or around 4 ng/mL may be low or functionally low. If you have low folate levels, work with your healthcare provider to increase your folate levels as B9 is crucial for cell growth and division.

What Is The Methylation Cycle?

Essentially, you can look at the methylation cycle as an influencer. The methylation cycle produces not only methyl groups but also molecules that influence other cycles in the body to work optimally.

Folate is the neighboring cycle that picks up those methyl groups to assist in another cycle called Biopterin that produces the essential dopamine and serotonin hormones for the brain and the starting point for producing DNA, also known as nucleotides.

Folic Acid Supplementation Or Food Sources?


Our bodies cannot produce folate naturally and must be obtained from food or supplement. Choosing to get your folate from food sources rather than folic acid supplements helps consume a variety of folate such as folinic acid and methylfolate rather than an isolated form. Below I list what foods contain methylfolate and break down how they support the body.

What Foods Are High in Methylfolate?


Dark Leafy Greens

Your dark leafy greens are a go-to when trying to increase your folate levels. They are also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin which are fat-soluble vitamins that assist with oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is a normal byproduct of human metabolism but excessive amounts in our cells cause tissue damage, inflammation, and premature aging.


On top of that, they are a great source of calcium, vitamin C, Vitamin K1, and B6.

Eggs and Beets

Are a great source of trimelthylglycine (TMG) for those that have elevated homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine levels have been connected to cardiovascular health, beta-amyloid plaque in Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and increased risk of blood clots. Those that have high homocysteine levels are having a hard time converting it to methionine. This conversion requires folate and B12.

However, if one can’t get sufficient folate or B12 related to insufficient levels or genes related, the trimethylglycine acts as a side door to keep the methylation cycle moving. So you get a win-win with these food ingredients. Trimethylglycine is known as betaine in beets and spinach, and choline in egg yolks.

Benefits of Methylfolate Recap

Methylfolate affects our mood because it can cross the blood-brain barrier to help facilitate the BH4 (tetrahydro bioptrin) cycle to form neurotransmitters or ‘neurotalkers’ that influence your hormone soup. The hormone soup includes the fight-or-flight hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine and feel-good hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. Some studies suggest that the higher ones methylfolate levels are, the lower one’s level of depression (BMI D: 20841559).

Other systems that require methylfolate include detoxification to remove toxic chemicals and hormones, energy, and creating new DNA by purines and pyrimidines that are byproducts from the methylation cycle.

What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin B1, B6, and B12?

So we talked about the benefits of B9 on the methylation cycle but what about the other Bs? They too are important for the methylation cycle to operate. Such nutrients include vitamins B2, B6, B12, Folate, and the other minerals zinc and magnesium. And as mentioned before, betaine and choline are also essential for the methylation cycle to perform.

There you have it! We reviewed how B vitamins, specifically methylfolate, can influence your body’s operating systems. Next time, we’ll discuss how to cater a meal with detox foods while traveling.


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