Folates vs Folic acid – The difference between Folates and Folic acid

Folates vs Folic acid

“Always take sufficient quantities of folic acid during pregnanc”

This is a standard advice that you will receive from your doctor if you are pregnant. And really, folates are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. But do you know the difference between folates and folic acid? The terms folic acid and folates are often used as synonyms, but it is of the highest importance we know the difference.


Folate is the natural form of the vitamin. They can be found in foods such as spinach, lettuce, beans, liver and others.

Folic acid

Folic acid is the synthetic form of vitamin which is used in most of the supplements and in addition to the specific ingredients (e.g., flakes are often enriched by folic acid). Every other person in Serbia, due to genetics, can not fully take advantage of ordinary folic acid.

Most pregnant women however do not consider this before choosing their way to supplement folic acid. It is true that even a huge number of doctors find no difference between these two terms. Then, it is no wonder that most women do not either

Folates are a natural form of vitamins. They can be found in food such as: spinach, salad, beens, liver, etc.  

Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin that is used in most supplements, and as an additive in certain foods, (ex. cereals are often enriched with folic acid). In order to be useful, folic acid needs to be converted in the body into 4 different forms.

FolicPlus graphic

The main difference lies in its chemical structure and the way our body can utilize it. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that synthetic (yet most prescribed) supplements will not be available for tranformation into an active form the body can actually use.

Actually, studies show that every other person in Serbia due to genetics cannot fully utilize ingested folic acid. This is known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency.


What is MTHFR deficiency?

MTHFR deficiency means that your body has a reduced capability to metabolize folic acid.  Enzyme acts on a suboptimal level, with just 40% or 70% capacity, depending on the fact whether you inherited the genetic problem from one, or both of your parents.

MTHFR may cause problems in both sexes, including fertility issues, mental health problems, blood clotting  and a wide range of disorders such as depression and elevated homocystein levels in blood. We shall focus on its effect on fertility.

Preparing for pregnancy while suffering from MTHFR deficiency

MTHFR deficiency alongside other genetic and hereditary factors, my represent a special problem during pregnancy and/or reproductive period. This does not mean you should get worried if you have this deficiency; a lot of women with MTHFR deficiency have multiple successful pregnancies before they even find out they have this problem. But when aware of this genetic status, it would be very helpful to take certain special precautionary measures to ensure successful pregnancy, and a healthy baby.

What problems can MTHFR deficiency casue?

MTHFR deficiency can cause many problems, and pregancy additionally increases some of the risks.

As we all know, high levels of homocystein is usual in MTHFR deficient individuals. Pregnant women with this problem are prone to clotting that can cause preeclampsia and abortion.  Untreated MTHFR deficiency also increases risk of postpartum depression.

It has been found that folate status in father and his diet also contribute to defect prevention and prevention of other diseases in his descendants. It is therefore important to ensure father’s healthy diet before child conception.

It is important to remember that MTHFR deficiency is hereditary. Therefore, depending of what problem was inherited from which parent, it is very probable that the foetus will inherit it in some form.

  1. Your baby may inherit your genetic problems that will manifest through certain symptoms,
  2. as well as inherit and suffer nutritional insufficiencies caused by genetics passed on from mother.

Folate deficiency may cause spina bifida, wolf-jaw and harelip… Elevated homocystein levels may cause low birth weight, or pre-term labor.

MTHFR deficiency holds many risks for a wide variety of illnesses including: heart conditions, nerve damage, slowed growth, anaemia, cardiovascular diseases, heart faults, respiratory issues, leukemia and muscle weakness.

  • Provides active form of folates, immediately available for bilogical action
  • Has 7x higher bioavailability than regular folic acid.
  • Numerous pre-clinical and clinical studies have proven its safety profile
  • FolicPlus® is manufactured in accordance with GMP standards (guarantees quality)
  • FolicPlus® is a gluten-free product in a capsule of vegetable  origin