Twenty-six previously infertile couples were able to conceive after four months of ingesting a novel folate ingredient called Quatrefolic, according to a recent study.
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Twenty-six previously infertile couples were able to conceive after four months of ingesting a novel folate ingredient called Quatrefolic, according to a recent study.1 It’s news that could shake up the market for folic acid supplements.
The nutrient folate is important for embryo development, DNA repair, and other biological functions. For these reasons, women (and their male partners) are encouraged to consume folate-rich foods and folic acid supplements during and when planning for pregnancy. Men can fall back once pregnancy is initiated.
Unfortunately, a genetic mutation in some women and men can limit the conversion of folic acid into its bioactive form, called 5-MTHF, leaving excess and potentially dangerous un-metabolized folic acid in the body. The condition is known as un-metabolized folic acid syndrome, or UMFA syndrome.
Quatrefolic, an ingredient manufactured by Gnosis S.p.A. (Desio, Italy), has emerged as a promising alternative folate ingredient because it’s already present in the 5-MTHF form and has been shown to increase plasma folate levels more so than folic acid.
For four months, 30 couples were instructed to take a 600 mcg daily dose of Quatrefolic, B vitamins, and chelated zinc before attempting conception. All couples had a history of infertility or miscarriage for at least four years prior, and many of the women reported having previously used folic acid supplements but with no success.
At the time of the study’s publication, 13 couples conceived naturally, 13 couples conceived through assisted reproductive technology (e.g. in vitro fertilization), and 11 babies were delivered. Some couples were still in the middle of their pregnancies when the study ended. One couple had a miscarriage, and three couples failed to conceive through assisted reproductive technology.
With an 86.7% success rate, the researchers concluded that 5-MTHF is effective and should be sought by couples affected by 5-MTHF genetic mutations and who are trying to conceive. Recurrent miscarriages may be a sign that both partners should get screened for potential genetic mutations.
For the general population where folic acid metabolization is not a problem, the researchers say folic acid is still acceptable for use in small doses (100 to 200 mcg/day) but large doses such as 5 mg/day should be avoided for the aforementioned potential health risks. Numerous folic acid products are, however, currently being sold with a recommended daily dosage of 5 mg/day. Perhaps that will change if the science continues to point to large folic acid doses as being unsafe.