Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is folinic acid?
This is the “active” form of folic acid (an essential vitamin like substance found in most food) that is required by the body to methylate various substances. In simple terms methylation is like putting a yellow flag on a chemical in the body so that it can be recognised by the rubbish collection system and then safely removed from the body. Further information can be found here:

2. How is it different to folic acid?
Folic acid has 7 molecules on one end (glutamates) and folinic acid only has 4.

3. How does this gene mutation affect this?
The gene mutation stops the body from either completely producing or reducing how much folinic acid it can make from folic acid. (It stops the body from making an enzyme that splits off 3 glutamic acid molecules)

4. What is the gene mutation called?
The MTHFR gene polymorphism.

5. How does it affect weight?
The gene defect prevents the body from getting rid of oestrogen (female hormone) down a pathway that ultimately affects how your body converts its food into energy.
In absolute terms it makes the body convert most of your glucose (which ALL your food other than oils is converted into), into Free Fatty Acids rather than Glycogen.
This means your body is converting the sugar into fat. This means you have less energy and feel tired all the time. This means you are making fat, and because most of this is occurring in the blood vessels around the bowel then the fat is deposited centrally. If the oestrogen levels are high, then this accelerates the process, and if you have the gene defect then this will also accelerate that process.
The Cell that lines all the microscopic blood tubes in your body is where this happens. If these cells fill with FFA’s (Free Fatty Acids) then its ability to take in more sugar is slowed. The body responds to this by making more insulin in an attempt to give you more energy. This will cause a sudden rapid loss of blood sugar - this is that profound weakness that overcomes your body occasionally when your legs feel like tree trunks and you just want to sleep. The oestrogen levels are making you store fat and so you do not get anymore energy when this happens – just fatter and fatter and craving more and more sweet things.

6. Will this folinic acid pill make me lose weight if i just take that and do nothing else?
No! It must be used to full advantage as an additive to a proper diet (in my opinion this should be a low carbohydrate diet) and a gradual increase in exercise as you begin to get more energy.

7. How does folinic acid stop this?
Giving folinic when you have this gene defect essentially provides the body with what it can't make. It thereby “bypasses the biochemical deficit. It therefore allows a better metabolism of oestrogen and stops the body from converting too much of the food into fat. It essentially negates having the gene defect anymore relative to what it stops from happening in the biochemistry of the body.

8. Has folinic acid been tested for this?
Yes it accepted for the replacement of folic in people who are taking a drug used to block folic acid (a breast cancer drug) Because giving people high doses of folic acid would negate the effect of the drug (methotrexate) in treating the breast cancer, then the TGA has allowed it use to enable the methionine pathway (folic acid) to continue to work in the absence of folic acid. This drug methotrexate for all intents and purposes, is simulating what happens all the time in people who have the MTHFR gene defect. The mechanisms of how folinic acid works has been carefully examined and its use in folate deficiency is well understood.
It has been passed to be marketed as an S2 drug that does not require a prescription and can be purchased over the counter.

9. Where can I get some?
It can be compounded in a compounding pharmacy or available over the counter in selected pharmacies

10. How much should I take?
Between 500 mcg to 1000mcg a day.

11. Does this MTHFR gene mutation have any other effects on the body?
It has been associated with clots in the legs and lungs and in certain cases with an increased risk of miscarriage.

12. Should I get it checked?
The blood test under Medicare is available only for those that have clot in one of their veins. But it can be ordered to be done through your Doctor as a private test in most Pathology Labs.