Vitamin B9, better known as folate, is a collection of compounds that is essential to the health of all humans.
It’s best known for its role in protecting infants from neural tube defects, such as seen in conditions like spinda bidida, but it also reduces the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and congenital heart disease.
Women who are currently pregnant or trying to conceive within the next 6 months should ensure that they consume a high enough concentration of folate each day in the form of methylfolate (NOT folic acid) in order to optimize neonatal outcomes and also support their own health.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at the 4 best methylfolate supplements for pregnancy. Our list includes a folate-only option along with 3 folate-containing supplements for your review.
TL;DR: What is the Best Methylfolate Supplement for Pregnancy?
- Beli Fertility offers the best prenatal multivitamin with methylfolate. Both the female and male versions contain 1,000mcg+ of folate along with several other vitamins and minerals that are essential for enhancing folate metabolism and methylation.
- Smart Folate by Best Nest offers the best methylfolate supplement. Each serving provides women with 1,200mcg of folate which is WAY more than practically all of its competitors.
- Fairhaven Health’s Myo-Folate Drink Mix is the best folate supplement for women with PCOS. Each packet is unflavored and contains 333mg of folate along with 2,000mg of myo-inositol.
- Mary Ruth’s Organics offers Biotin Gummies which contain methylated folate along with other nutrients that boost the immune system and improvement the health of hair, skin, and nails.
Comparison of the 4 Best Methylfolate Supplements of 2021
Best Prenatal with Methylfolate – Beli Fertility
Beli Fertility offers by far the best prenatal multivitamin that contains methylfolate.
The company has even created 2 separate versions for women and men respectively.
Each product is formulated with folate as l-5-methyltetrahydrofolate calcium, with the women’s version containing 1,000mcg and the men’s version containing 1,020mcg.
Let’s take a closer look at each multivitamin’s other major ingredients and intended health benefits!
Beli for Women was created to support women throughout all stages of their journey to motherhood.
Not only can it be used before and during pregnancy but it can also be taken while breastfeeding as well.
Beli Prenatal contains 20 essential vitamins and minerals which include the following nutrients that are essential for methylation and folate metabolism:
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) – 30mg
- Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) – 16mcg
- Choline (VitaCholine) – 400mg
- Magnesium (Di-Magnesium Malate by Albion) – 100mg
In addition to their roles in folate synthesis, vitamins B6 and B12 are also highly effective in reducing hyperhomocysteinemia which often places women at a much higher risk for having a miscarriage.
Additionally, the inclusion of choline is extremely helpful for women who are MTHFR carriers as people who suffer from this condition require greater levels of choline and have an increased risk for neural tube defects.
- Contains 1,000mcg of folate
- 100% vegan friendly
- 20 essential vitamins and minerals
- Iron content may be low for some women
- Missing selenium and riboflavin
- Each serving is 3 capsules
Did you know that folate is just as essential for men when it comes to boosting fertility?
Beli for Men was crafted with 8 vitamins and minerals along with a supplement and herbal blend that work synergistically to improve sperm parameters, promote cellular health, ward off harmful toxins, and naturally boost testosterone levels.
Similar to Beli for Women, Beli Vitality provides men with 2mg of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) and 14mcg of Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) to enhance folate synthesis and folate-dependent processes.
It is recommended for men to take 2 capsules daily starting at least six months prior to trying to conceive.
- Contains 1.020mcg folate
- 100% vegan friendly
- 8 essential nutrients + vitality supplement blend
- Does not contain magnesium
- Missing herbs such as maca and ashwagandha
- Contains somewhat low dosages of vitality blend ingredients
If you’re looking for a folate-only supplement then this is the perfect product for you!
Smart Folate by Best Nest provides women with 1,200mcg of folate per serving in the form of L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate Calcium.
Most folate-specific products tend to contain around 400-800mcg of folate so Best Nest greatly surpasses its competition in respect to total concentration.
Smart Folate is 100% vegan-friendly and ideal for women who have the MTHFR gene variant.
It is recommended for adults to use 1 capsule daily.
- Contains 1,200mcg of methylated folate
- 100% vegan friendly
- Easy-to-take capsule form
- Lacking nutrients that further enhance folate metabolism
- Dosage may be overkill for general health purposes
- Cannot split dosages as easily as tablet or liquid form
If you’re someone who’s looking to conceive within the next 6 months or has struggled with fertility issues in the past then you should consider taking Myo-Folate Drink Mix for Reproductive Health by Fairhaven Health.
This fertility support supplement contains a combination of 333mg of folate as 5-methyltetrahydrofolate calcium and 2,000mg of myo-inositol in an unflavored drink mix form.
Countless studies over the last decade have shown that this combination of ingredients had led to major fertility improvements in women who suffer from PCOS or other have other risk factors for poor egg quality including obesity or low insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, thousands of women who relied upon assisted reproductive technique (ART) for conception have reported that the use of myo-inositol and folate supplements in conjunction with treatment resulted in successful outcomes compared to previous attempts without supplementation.
It is recommended for women to take one packet daily with at least 8 ounces of liquid.
- Contains myo-inositol and folate
- Easy-to-mix packet form
- 30 servings per container
- Some women may prefer a flavored mix
- Women with MTHFR gene variant may require a higher folate dosage
- Missing other nutrients that enhance folate metabolism
Some women have difficulty with swallowing supplements in capsule form or want to use a product that has a favorable taste.
Thankfully, Mary Ruth’s Organics offers folate within its fruit-flavored Biotin Gummies!
These delicious, sugar-free gummies provide women with generous portions of essential nutrients including methylated folate, vitamin B12, biotin, zinc, and sodium along with a Fo-Ti 12:1 root extract that support the health of hair, skin, and nails.
This product also provides women with the immune support they need to fight off infections while simultaneously aiding cellular development and health.
We absolutely had to include these gummies on our list is it’s nearly impossible to find ones that contain folate in its optimal form while also having low sugar.!
It is recommended for women to take 1 gummy daily.
- 100% vegan-friendly
- 5 essential nutrients + Fo-ti 12:1 root extract
- Contains erythritol
- Contains nightshades allergen (goji berry)
- Only provides 250 mcg of folate
What is Methylfolate?
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a collective body of essential compounds that we rely upon for numerous bodily processes.
It has been reported that there are over 150 forms of folate that exist in nature, however, the most common form is 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF).
In fact, 5-MTHF can be found in up to 98% of total folate content within our red blood cells and serum.
It’s well known for its roles in energy production, cognition, neurodevelopment, heart health, detoxification, and DNA formation.
However, its most critical functions in women who are pregnant or are currently planning to conceive are to assist with neural tube development, reduce the risk of congenital heart defects, support a healthy birth weight, and prevent preterm birth.
Its ability to support the above functions is mostly due to its support of methylation which is required by cells to form DNA and enhance the biosynthesis of certain amino acids, such as methionine and glycine.
In respect to women who are planning to conceive or
Our bodies cannot produce folate on their own so we must obtain it from food and supplementation.
Folate can be found naturally in foods such as vegetables, legumes, and meat whereas its synthetic version, called folic acid, is often added to fortified foods including pasta, cereal, and bread.
Let’s now discuss the major differences between folate and folic acid and why certain brands may choose to use folic acid within food products or supplements.
Methyl Folate vs Folic Acid
If methylfolate is found naturally, then why do companies use folic acid instead?
The answer’s simple – cost of production.
Although 5-MTHF is the biologically active form of folate and is superior in respect to utilization, folic acid is typically 200X less expensive and is much more heat-stable, thus making its use ideal for cutting overall costs associated with production.
However, some of its major drawbacks include:
- potential drug interactions
- risk of excessive build-up leading to toxic effects
- poor absorption in the presence of altered gastrointestinal pH
- low bioavailability in people with metabolic defects
Unfortunately, the market is flooded with products that contain folic acid so it’s incredibly important to keep an eye out for this ingredient while shopping for food and supplements.
Some of the most common products that contain folic acid include low-quality nutritional drinks, protein bars, bread, pasta, and cereal.
Dr. Aviva Romm recommends limiting consumption of folic acid from fortified foods to 200 mcg per day in order to lower the risk of altering folate metabolism.
What’s alarming is that most women in the US consume at least 300mcg of folic acid each day due to their reliance on processed foods.
Unmetabolized Folic Acid
Women who consume more than 200mcg of folic acid from their diet while also supplementing with a prenatal multivitamin that contains folic acid place themselves at a much higher risk of health problems associated with unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA).
Most low-quality prenatal multivitamins contain around 800mcg of folic acid per serving. Combine this with the average American diet and you’ll come to find that women may consume over 1,000mcg of synthetic folate each day which exceeds the tolerably upper limit of folic acid!
Since some women cannot properly metabolize folic acid due to having metabolic disorders or using certain medications, this surplus of folic acid is left unmetabolized and has the potential to interfere with folate-dependent processes.
This may lead to negative health consequences including:
- impaired fetal neurodevelopment
- delayed psychomotor skills
- neonatal jaundice
- infant asthma
- vitamin B12 deficiency in both mother and baby
- higher levels of inflammation
Along with the numerous reasons above as to why 5-MTHF is superior to folic acid, there’s an additional concern for the use of synthetic folate – MTHFR polymorphism.
While some people can synthesize folic acid, others possess variations of the MTHFR gene which prevents their bodies from creating the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase that’s required for transforming folic acid into folate for further use.
When the body cannot process folate correctly, additional homocysteine is left to circulate which leads to major inflammation and impairment of critical bodily processes.
Women who have excess levels of homocysteine in their bodies typically experience higher rates of miscarriage and fetal abnormalities due to its impact on placental health and uterine tissue.
Additionally, people who possess the gene variants of MTHFR A1298C and C677T have a much greater requirement for dietary folate and will often need to consume between 800-1,000mcg of folate per day to restore their serum folate levels for optimal health.
Recommended Folate Intake During Pregnancy
It is recommended for women who are currently pregnant to consume at least 600mcg of folate per day.
Based on the tolerable upper limit set for folic acid, it is generally advised to not exceed the use of 1,000mcg of folate in supplement form per day.
Women who do not have the MTHFR gene variants of A1298C and C677T should aim to supplement with 400-600mcg of methylated folate for at least 6 months leading to conception.
In contrast, women who have these variants should use supplements that contain a higher concentration of methylfolate between the ranges of 800-1,000mcg to restore serum levels.
Women who have already given birth and are currently breastfeeding should consume between 600-1,000mcg of folate per day to offset the additional folate passed onto their baby through breastmilk.
Folate for Men
Not surprising, folate is also essential for male health and fertility!
Folate is central to spermatogenesis and optimal paternal folate status has been associated with better sperm health parameters and pregnancy outcomes.
On the other hand, studies have shown that men who overconsume folic acid typically have greater sperm abnormalities including reduced sperm motility, lower sperm count, and impaired sperm morphology.
It is recommended for men to consume at least 400mcg of methylfolate daily.
Men who possess the MTHFR gene variants should aim to consume a concentration of folate between 600-1,000mcg per day.
Foods with Folate for Pregnancy
Although supplementation is extremely helpful for meeting dietary folate requirements for pregnancy, women can also obtain folate through multiple food sources.
Some of the richest sources of folate include foilage-like foods such as spinach, lettuce, arugula, and most other vegetables.
Folate can also be found naturally in meat, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, and brewer’s yeast.
If you’re trying to meet your daily folate requirements through food alone make sure to limit the overall processing associated with food preparation.
When it comes to preparing vegetables in particular, you should limit processes such as chopping, soaking, boiling, frying, and microwaving as much as possible.
As seen, consuming enough folate both before and during pregnancy is crucial for both you and your baby.
When selecting a folate supplement make sure to avoid those that contain the synthetic version of folic acid and try to select a product that provides at least 400mcg of methylfolate.
Our #1 pick for the best prenatal multivitamin with folate is Beli Fertility. Both its female and male versions contain optimal levels of folate along with essential vitamins and minerals required for methylation and folate synthesis.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a folate-only supplement then we highly recommend Smart Folate by Best Nest Wellness as each serving contains 1.2mg of folate.
Finally, if you’re searching for folate in a drink mix or gummy form we suggest trying Myo-Folate Drink Mix by Fairhaven Health or Biotin Gummies by Mary Ruth’s Organics.