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6 Methylfolate Benefits to Breastfeeding Moms

You know that vitamins are an essential part of a healthy diet, but did you know that your vitamins' form can influence just how much of their power your body can harness? Folate, or vitamin B9, is an essential nutrient for everyone.

For new moms and mamas-to-be in particular, folate is of special concern for its importance in the development and growth of your little one. This vitamin is also a great example of just how important the form of a vitamin can be.

Read on for information on methyl folate vs. folic acid and other forms of vitamin B9 and several reasons to consider supplementing your diet with methyl folate even after delivery.

What Is Methylfolate?

Methylfolate is the natural and pure form of vitamin B9. When you take in different forms of folate – such as the synthetic folic acid used to supplement many grain-based foods or the dietary B9 vitamins found in veggies – your body must expend energy to convert it into methyl folate.

Only in its pure form, methyl folate, can vitamin B9 reach the cells that need it and positively affect the body.

Taking vitamin B9 in the form of methylfolate is one way to bypass the significant process of metabolizing other forms of folate. This makes methyl folate the most bioavailable form of vitamin B9 supplementation.

For people who are concerned with optimizing their folate consumption, methylfolate can be a great way to maximize the benefits of vitamin B9.

Why Is Folate Essential For New Moms?

Moms-to-be are advised to start folate supplementation as soon as they discover their pregnancy – or, even before their pregnancy begins.

Even after delivery, folate supplementation can be beneficial for new moms. Ensuring that you consume the appropriate variety of B vitamins will ensure that your breast milk contains the nutrients required to support the continued development of your little one.

In addition, folate can help you recover from birth by promoting cell growth and turnover.

What Are the Benefits of Methylfolate Over Other Forms of Vitamin B9

Natural Form of Folate

    Folic acid, also known as supplementary folate, is the synthetic form of vitamin B9 often added to enriched foods like pasta, flour, and processed corn.

    While this is a great way to enhance your diet with folate, methyl folate is the form of the vitamin that occurs in nature. This helps make it more usable by the body.

    Immediately Bioavailable To The Body

    Unlike other forms of folate, methyl folate does not need to be processed through multiple enzymatic reactions to be usable by your body’s cells. Taking methyl folate directly ensures that you get maximum benefits from your supplement.

    Helps Reduce Deficiency

    As important as folate is, many people actually suffer from a lack of this vitamin. As many as 30 to 40 percent of the American population suffers from genetic defects in the MTHFR gene. This gene encodes an enzyme essential for folate metabolism.

    Those with MTHFR defects are unable to turn less-pure forms of folate – such as folic acid or dietary folate from other sources – into the bioavailable form of methylfolate.

    For individuals with MTHFR gene defects, consuming all the folic-acid-rich foods and supplements in the world would not have an effect on their vitamin B9 levels. Without the ability to metabolize folate into its usable form, dietary folates build up in the body, leading to potential health problems.

    One of the ways around this result is to consume pure methylfolate, which the body can readily access even without the MTHFR enzyme.

    Promote Recycling of Nutrients and Healthy Metabolism

    When taken alongside other B vitamins, methylfolate vitamin supplementation helps your cells break down nutrients to make other chemicals needed by your body. One of these nutrients is the amino acid homocysteine.

    Without adequate methylfolate, homocysteine can build up in the body, leading to dangerous side effects. Additionally, proper B vitamin intake can help you eliminate this risk.

    Boost Mental Wellbeing

    The months – and, sometimes, years – that follow the delivery of a new baby can be an intense and challenging time for mothers around the world. It is very common for new and experienced moms alike to experience fatigue, low moods, or even postpartum depression during the time after the birth of a new baby.

    These are serious conditions. Your doctor and your support network of friends and family are essential resources to help you move through this time.

    With an increasing interest in the use of folate to help support mental health, methyl folate helps women with low folate levels reduce the risk of potential health malformations. Thus, the CDC recommends that all women of childbearing age consume about 0.4 mg of folic acid per day.

    This makes methylfolate supplementation a route worth exploring for women suffering from low moods or depression postpartum, especially if you suspect that you may also have an MTHFR gene mutation.

    Increase Folate Concentration in Breast Milk

    Just as folate is an important nutrient for you, it’s just as essential for your growing baby!

    Ensuring that your folate intake is sufficient during breastfeeding will translate into healthy vitamin content. Folate will continue to support the development of your little one’s nervous system and circulatory system, as well as the rapid growth of all their cells!

    Supplementing with folate during breastfeeding can help you be confident that your baby is getting the vitamins they need to thrive.

    Considerations During Folate Supplementation

    It is essential to be cautious with dosage when taking methylfolate directly. This is because, unlike with other forms of folate which are regulated by the metabolic steps required to make them accessible to the body, the level of methyl folate ingested directly cannot be easily regulated by your body.

    To lower the risk of overconsuming folate, get your methylfolate primarily from healthy, organic foods in which it occurs naturally. These include leafy greens, legumes, cauliflower, beets, and other veggies. Always consult your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen.

    There are some side effects that can accompany a methylfolate regimen. These include muscle soreness, skin rash, head and neck tension, and irritability. If you experience these symptoms, stop supplementation immediately and speak with your doctor.

    So what are you waiting for? Stay hydrated with Greater Than.

    Look For Natural Sources of Methylfolate For Healthy Breastfeeding

    At Greater Than, we aim to provide you with the support you need to stay hydrated before, during, and after your pregnancy. Whether you’re a lactating or expecting mom, Greater Than is the hydration hack your household can rely on.

    Following a diet high in natural sources of methylfolate can help your cells rejuvenate and recover after the difficult work of growing and caring for a baby. Methylfolate can also help you stay healthy and happy during the often tiring but so-special months postpartum.

    Methylfolate is a natural, pure, and highly bioavailable form of the essential vitamin B9. Optimizing your vitamin intake can help you achieve wellness for you and your baby alike.

    Sources:

    Recommendations for the Use of Folic Acid to Reduce the Number of Cases of Spina Bifida and Other Neural Tube Defects | CDC

    Postpartum depression | APA

    Levels, Tests, High Homocysteine Levels | Cleveland Clinic

    What the MTHFR Is Up with this Fancy Folate? | Psychology Today

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