Along with other vitamins in the B group (most notably B-6 and B-12)
folate has been shown to reduce levels of homocysteine, the amino acid
that promotes plaque buildup in arteries. The result: Folate began to be known to help keep the heart healthy while also reducing risk of stroke and cognitive decline.
L-methylfolate (Metafolin), is the primary biologically active isomer of folate and the form of folate in circulation. It is also the form which is transported across membranes into peripheral tissues, particularly across the blood brain barrier (that selectively permits some of blood constituents to enter into the brain). In the cell, Metafolin is used in the methylation of homocysteine to form methionine and tetrahydrofolate (THF). THF is the immediate acceptor of one carbon units for the synthesis of thymidine-DNA, purines (RNA and DNA) and methionine. About 70% of food folate and cellular folate is comprised of Metafolin. Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, must undergo enzymatic reduction by methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) to become biologically active. Genetic mutations of the enzyme MTHFR result in a cell's inability to convert folic acid to Metafolin.
There have been some supplements that are formulated according to these
principles to be used for the nutritional requirements of individuals under a physician's treatment for neurovascular oxidative stress and/or hyperhomocysteinemia, with particular emphasis for those individuals diagnosed with or at risk for mild to moderate cognitive impairment1, vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease and/or recurrent or ischemic stroke.
Lastly, researchers from the University of Bonn found that Metafolin is
more bio available than a standard folic acid supplement.More recently researchers at Belgium's Katholieke Universiteit Leuven found that Metafolin alone significantly raised folate levels for four hours. But when vitamin C was added, these levels stayed elevated for six hours. Each of the two vitamin C doses produced about the same effect.
The University of Sheffield in the UK is currently conducting a study
that will compare folate levels in subjects receiving a folate-rich
diet, folic acid supplements, or Metafolin supplements. Results will be
reported next year.
The best dietary sources of folate include spinach and other dark green
vegetables, citrus fruits, broccoli, wheat germ, brewers yeast, Lima
beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, brown rice, peas, sprouts, poultry,
shellfish, pork, and liver from organically raised animals. Talk to
your doctor before taking folate or Metafolin supplements.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
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