L-methylfolate is the biologically active form of the B-vitamin folate. It is also known as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF. The pharmaceutical definition of L-methylfolate is a dietary supplement that is used to treat or prevent low levels of folate in the body, which can lead to various health problems such as anemia and birth defects.
L-methylfolate has several characteristics that make it an important nutrient for human health. It is involved in DNA synthesis and repair, as well as in the production of red blood cells. It is also important for brain function and mood regulation. L-methylfolate is particularly important during pregnancy, as it can help prevent birth defects in the developing fetus.
The molecular structure of L-methylfolate consists of a pteridine ring, a p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) group, and a glutamic acid residue. The chemical formula of L-methylfolate is C20H23N7O6, and its molecular weight is 459.44 g/mol.
L-methylfolate is particularly important for individuals who have a genetic variation (called MTHFR polymorphism) that impairs their ability to convert folic acid (the synthetic form of folate found in many supplements and fortified foods) into its active form. L-methylfolate supplements can help compensate for this genetic variation and improve folate status.
L-methylfolate, also known as levomefolic acid, is a biologically active form of folate that plays an important role in various biochemical reactions in the body. Here are some of the applications of L-methylfolate:
Depression: L-methylfolate is used as a dietary supplement to support the management of depression. It helps in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are essential for regulating mood.
Cardiovascular disease: L-methylfolate is used in combination with other medications to manage high levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It helps in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Pregnancy: L-methylfolate is recommended as a dietary supplement for pregnant women to support fetal growth and development. It helps in preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Cognitive function: L-methylfolate has been found to improve cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nutritional deficiency: L-methylfolate is used to treat folate deficiency, which can lead to anemia and other health problems.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): L-methylfolate has been found to improve insulin resistance, which is a common problem in women with PCOS.
Migraine: L-methylfolate has been found to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.