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Levomefolic Acid

Levomefolic Acid is also known by several other names or synonyms including l-methylfolate

Levomefolic acid is the biologically active form of folic acid, a b-vitamin (B9) essential to human health and function. One of its most notable functions is its role in creating key neurotransmitters or brain chemicals that regulate human mood, cognitive ability and arousal. The three primary brain chemicals are dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Chemically, these brain chemicals are referred to as monoamines. Abnormal amounts (either too much or too little) of these chemicals can cause various forms of mental illness and disease including depression, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.

Levomefolic acid has been marketed under such names as Deplin for the treatment of depression. It is usually combined with a traditional anti-depressant.

Levomefolic acid has different names. Other names that it is also known as is:

  • L-methylfolate
  • 5-MTHF
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolate
  • Deplin ( Brand name by Pamlab, LLC )
  • Metafolin ( Brand name by Merck KGaA )

Your body does not create its own supply of folic acid (also known as folate), it must be acquired from the diet by eating foods or taking supplements containing this b-vitamin.

Your body then takes the dietary folic acid and uses the enzyme MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) to transform it into levomefolic acid.  Your body can then use it to carry out a specific range of reactions and functions.

Mood Regulation

1. Dopamine :: People usually know dopamine for its ability to cause pleasure and is one of the main neurotransmitters involved in nicotine and illicit drug use. It provides the feeling of well-being and euphoria in high amounts. Levomefolic acid is used to produce dopamine. Dopamine is the brain chemical responsible for pleasure, reward and motivation / drive.

2. Serotonin :: This neurotransmitter is known just as well or better than dopamine, mostly thanks to the promotion and use of typical anti-depressants that work through serotonin pathways. Drugs like Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac work by increasing the amount of serotonin available to the brain synapses and therefore increase your mood. Levomefolic acid also is used to create this brain chemical. Serotonin is responsible for well-being, obsessions and compulsions and memory.

3. Norepinephrine :: Very similar to the parent compound epinephrine, norepinephrine has many of the same stimulating effects. It provides alertness, concentration and energy. It is involved in the sympathetic nervous system and not only has the ability to affect brain chemistry but also increase heart rate. It is also labeled as a stress hormone and spikes during the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response to stressful or fear-inducing stimuli. Levomefolic acid is used to produce the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.

Cardiovascular / Heart Potential

One of the properties of levomefolic acid is its ability to recycle the amino acid homocysteine back into methionine. Why is this important?

High homocysteine levels are associated with vascular inflammation that result in a higher incidence of heart disease.

Levomefolic acid transforms this inflammatory amino acid back into a more neutral methionine. More scientific research needs to be conducted to investigate the impact of this reduction in homocysteine and whether it does in fact reduce heart disease appreciably.

Currently, homocysteine is more accurately labeled as a “marker” for heart disease and vascular inflammation. We await more conclusive evidence demonstrating the clinical effects of lowered homocysteine levels.

Cancer

Levomefolic acid has also been looked at as a possible means to treat advanced cancers like breast and colorectal cancers. A chemo or cancer drug known as fluorouracil (5-FU) works by binding to and inhibiting the enzyme thymidylate synthetase. This keeps cancer cells from replicating. Levomefolic acid actually binds to thymidylate synthetase better than the cancer drug fluorouracil. This has warranted research into folate analogues ( levomefolic acid ) for cancer treatment.

 

About Doctor Scott Health

Dr. Scott McLeod, PharmD is an independent researcher, health advocate and author living in Santa Barbara, CA. For more information about Scott and Doctor Scott Health please visit the 'About' section, here.

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