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Folate Supplements

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About Folate Supplements

Folate is a natural vitamin, and part of the B Complex group, which also includes Vitamin B12 and Riboflavin (B2). Folate performs a number of crucial functions within the human body. It is essential for the "re-cycling" of homocysteine back to the original precursor amino acid, methionine. Homocysteine is a risk marker for cardiovascular disease. Folate is also required in greater amounts during rapid growth and for red blood cell production. One well-known use for folate is for the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, premature or low birth weight babies. There are actually a few different forms of folate found in supplements, such as activated folate and semi-activated forms. You see, for folate to be utilised by the body it must first be "activated", or converted to 5-MTHF. This could be compared to a television that is not plugged into a power socket. The TV needs to be active for it to work. Activating folate in the human body is actually quite an elongated biohemical process that involves several organs and enzymatic reactions. In supplements, you may see it as 5-methylenetetrahydrafolate (5-MTHF) or folinic acid. The former is a fully activated form, while the latter is semi-activated. Some of the richest food sources for folate are dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli and asparagus.