Focus on Folate

Happy Monday everyone! I apologize for my brief hiatus. I started a per diem dietitian job at a hospital and have been training, so I haven’t had much time to write.  This is the post from a week and a half ago. I just wanted to refresh your memory on the importance of folate before I share with you the best sources of vitamin B9 and some new recipes.

Over the past two weeks, we have discussed some important updates on some of the key nutrients that help improve ADHD symptoms, including, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.  This week we will turn our attention to a new nutrient and the role it plays in ADHD.  Folate is a water soluble B vitamin that plays an important role in ADHD.

Functions of Folate:

  • The synthesis and repair of DNA
  • Co-enzyme in the synthesis of amino acids
  • Co-enzyme in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine
  • Essential for the formation of red and white blood cells

As you may remember, neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine play a critical role in ADHD.  By maintaining adequate levels of these neurotransmitters, it is possible to improve the symptoms of ADHD.   The active form of folate is L-methylfolate.

Research suggests that supplementing with folate may not increase the active levels of folate in our bodies due to a polymorphism (genetic mutation) of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reducatase gene.  This gene is responsible for converting the different forms of folate to the active form L-methylfolate.   Some studies have shown that individuals with ADHD are more likely to have a MTHFR deficiency, but this is something that should be discussed with your doctor.  This means that some individuals with various mental health disorders like ADHD, autism and depression may benefit from adding a L-methylfolate supplement to their daily routine.  For most individuals with ADHD, you should be able to meet your daily folate needs through diet and boost your neurotransmitters for improved ADHD symptoms.  If you are looking for a folate rich dish, try my favorite lentil recipe.  1 cup of boiled lentils provides 358 mcg of folate, which helps you meet at least half of your daily needs.

I would love to hear from you! Do you monitor your folate intake? Leave a comment and share.

For more information on how to meet your folate needs, be sure to read my next post on the sources of folate featuring a brand new seasonal recipe!  Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,

The Distracted Dietitian


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