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Methylated Vitamins – Who Should Supplement Them?

By Jiri Kaloc

Methylated vitamins play a key role in many aspects of health. If you’ve been following this series, you know how beneficial they are compared to their non-methylated counterparts. But are they for everyone? Let’s take a look at who would benefit the most from supplementing methylated vitamins.

Should you take methylated vitamins?

Methylated vitamins are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body than non-methylated forms, which need to be converted to their active forms in the body. It can seem like everyone should be able to benefit from supplementing with methylated vitamins. And if you don’t experience any side effects after taking them, you can certainly can. But it’s good to keep in mind that healthy adults can turn non-methylated vitamins to methylated ones without issues. So, whether you should do it depends on whether one or more of the following characteristics apply to you.

People with MTHFR gene mutations

The most important group of people who have to consider supplementation with methylated vitamin are those with mutations in the MTHFR gene. This is because this condition reduces their ability to convert folic acid, a non-methylated version of vitamin B9, into its active form, methylfolate. Since methylated vitamins are already in their active form, they bypass this conversion step, making them easier for individuals with this genetic condition​ to get enough of B9.

Those with poor absorption

Anyone who is suffering with a gastrointestinal condition such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or any other malabsorption issues should give methylated vitamins a try. People with poor absorption typically have difficulty absorbing vitamins in their inactive, non-methylated forms. Methylated vitamins are more readily absorbed and utilized by the body, making them a better choice in this scenario.

Older adults

As people age, the efficiency of vitamin absorption and conversion tends to decline. This is why older adults are also a group that may benefit from methylated vitamins because they are more bioavailable and require less metabolic processing​.

Individuals with high homocysteine levels

Another group of people who could benefit from supplementing with methylated vitamins are those with elevated homocysteine levels, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Methylated vitamins, especially B9, B12, B6, and B2 help convert homocysteine into methionine in the methylation cycle. Lowering homocysteine levels this way is one less risk factor for cardiovascular disease​.

People with neurological issues

Individuals struggling with neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy or cognitive decline, may benefit from supplementing with the methylated version of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, which has been shown to support nerve health and cognitive function more effectively than non-methylated forms​.

Pregnant women

Pregnant women require higher amounts of folate, vitamin B9, to support fetal development. Getting enough vitamin B9, whether through diet or supplementation is key. There is good reason to think that even supplementing with the inactive version of B9 should be enough. But the methylated version of vitamin B9, methylfolate, is more readily utilized by the body which could be beneficial in some cases. Definitely consult with your doctor whether methylated vitamin supplementation would be right for you if you’re pregnant.

Side effects of methylated vitamins

One more important reason to consider when deciding whether to supplement with methylated vitamins are the side effects. Methylated vitamins are generally tolerated well and most people have no issues when supplementing them. But some unfortunately do. The most commonly reported ones are digestive issues, fatigues, headaches, and anxiety, especially in people with pre-existing anxiety disorders.

If you think supplementing may not be for you, there’s another way. You can get methylated vitamins straight from your diet. We will take a look at that in the next article.

Next up in Methylated Vitamins series