We have seen what folate is. But what about folic acid? Well, both are one and the same – except for a distinct difference.
Folate and folic acid are the different forms of vitamin B9.
Only that folate is the natural form of vitamin B9. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the synthetic form of vitamin B9. It is used in supplements and added to certain food products like breakfast cereals or flour.
The digestive system converts folate into the biologically active form of vitamin B9, called 5-MTHF.
But this is not the case with folic acid. Folic acid is converted into 5-MTHF in the liver or other tissues, and not in the digestive system.
Which is why the process is not as efficient.
Hence, when you take a folic acid supplement, the body takes time to convert it into 5-MTHF.
This is where the actual problem arises.
Even a small dose of 200 mcg of folic acid a day doesn’t get completely metabolized until the next dose.
This results in higher levels of unmetabolized folic acid in the bloodstream, which can cause severe complications.
This is where we answer the question we asked before. When it is folate (naturally occurring), there is no question of it going unmetabolized. Of course, it’s natural.
It is metabolized in the digestive system. Hence, no complications.
Now that we have seen which form of folate is better, let’s take a look at the best folic acid rich foods.