Archive for the ‘Folate’ Category

About Folic Acid

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Vitamin B9, Folic Acid (Folate) is a water-soluble B vitamin that takes its name from the Latin word for leaf, folium, because it was first isolated from spinach leaves.

Folic Acid helps maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. It may aid in preventing hair loss.
Along with Pantothenic acid, may delay graying of hair.
It is necessary for DNA & RNA synthesis, which is essential for the growth and reproduction of all body cells
It is essential to the formation of red blood cells by its action on the bone marrow and aids in amino acid metabolism
Folic Acid is crucial for methylation in the body.

Biochemically, folic acid functions as a methyl donor after being enzymatically reduced to tetrahydrofolate by the enzyme dihydrofolate reductase. This biochemical reaction is the target of a number of chemotherapeutic antimetabolites such as methotrexate that bind to the enzyme and prevent the reduction.

Folic acid promotes normal red blood cell formation, helps to maintain the central nervous system, and promotes normal growth and development. Recent investigations show that folic acid deficiency may be responsible for neural tube defects, a type of birth defect that results in severe brain or neurological disorders (see Spina Bifida).

The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that women of child-bearing age take 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. Women should continue to take that dose through the first three months of pregnancy. The RDA for men is 400 mcg and women is 200 mcg.

Folic acid is effective in the treatment of certain anemias and sprue.

Folic acid is found in Brewer’s yeast, liver, fruits, leafy vegetables, oranges, rice, soybeans, and wheat, organ meats, leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains.

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Folic Acid & Folate Absorption

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods [1].

Folate gets its name from the Latin word “folium” for leaf. A key observation of researcher Lucy Wills nearly 70 years ago led to the identification of folate as the nutrient needed to prevent the anemia of pregnancy. Dr. Wills demonstrated that the anemia could be corrected by a yeast extract. Folate was identified as the corrective substance in yeast extract in the late 1930s, and was extracted from spinach leaves in 1941.

Folate helps produce and maintain new cells [2]. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. It also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer [3]. Both adults and children need folate to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia [4]. Folate is also essential for the metabolism of homocysteine, and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.

Those who have an enzyme defect may not be helped by folic acid. Folic acid may impede folate absorption on some individuals according to a study titled “The prevalence of folate-remedial MTHFR enzyme variants in humans”:

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Methylation and Hair Loss

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Notes:

  • It is good to supplement Betaine HCl, or Betaine anhydrous, (with a meal) because stomach acid will convert it into trimethylglycine (TMG). *
  • If you’re not taking real (non-synthetic) forms of B-vitamins, you might be more susceptible to androgenic alopecia (hair loss).
  • The most important B vitamins to keep strong methylation going are: Choline, Folate (not folic acid), B6 (natural form is better) and B12.
  • Both Folate and vitamin B12 stimulate methylation.
  • The occipital hair follicles in male-patterned hair loss are properly methylated, however the vulnerable MPB hair follicles are not.
  • For most people, extra methylation will help.

What is Methylation?

Methylation contributing to epigenetic inheritance can occur through either DNA methylation or protein methylation.

DNA methylation in vertebrates typically occurs at CpG sites (cytosine-phosphate-guanine sites, that is, where a cytosine is directly followed by a guanine in the DNA sequence). This methylation results in the conversion of the cytosine to 5-methylcytosine. The formation of Me-CpG is catalyzed by the enzyme DNA methyltransferase. Human DNA has about 80%-90% of CpG sites methylated, but there are certain areas, known as CpG islands, that are GC-rich (made up of about 65% CG residues), wherein none are methylated. These are associated with the promoters of 56% of mammalian genes, including all ubiquitously expressed genes. One to two percent of the human genome are CpG clusters, and there is an inverse relationship between CpG methylation and transcriptional activity.

Protein methylation typically takes place on arginine or lysine amino acid residues in the protein sequence.[1] Arginine can be methylated once (monomethylated arginine) or twice, with either both methyl groups on one terminal nitrogen (asymmetric dimethylated arginine) or one on both nitrogens (symmetric dimethylated arginine) by peptidylarginine methyltransferases (PRMTs). Lysine can be methylated once, twice or three times by lysine methyltransferases. Protein methylation has been most-studied in the histones. The transfer of methyl groups from S-adenosyl methionine to histones is catalyzed by enzymes known as histone methyltransferases. Histones that are methylated on certain residues can act epigenetically to repress or activate gene expression.[2][3] Protein methylation is one type of post-translational modification.

The Methyl group is so important that when a cell is broken down the methyl is saved inside a toxic amino acid called Homocysteine.

Homocysteine is toxic to keep bacteria and parasites away from it during the short trip to the liver where it is unpacked and the methyl gets used up by the various steps of methylation which supply compounds ranging from Tryptophan to SAMe used for DNA methylation and neurotransmitters, hormones and Serotonin.

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