Folate, or folic acid, is usually something we associate with pregnant women, but might it have important consequences for you too? The role of folate in red blood cell production and tissue repair makes it a particularly important vitamin for athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Folate deficiency can also increase homocysteine levels in the blood, which is an indicator of certain health issues. Your FitnessGenes result tells you whether you carry any genetic variations which affect the folate pathways in your body.
Vitamin B9, commonly known as folate, is an essential B-vitamin that performs several important functions in our bodies, from DNA repair and methylation, to keeping our nervous system healthy. You might be more familiar with the term folic acid than folate. These are often used interchangeably and are essentially the same nutrient. The only difference is that folate is the natural form found in foods and folic acid is the synthetic form you find in supplements and fortified foods.
The folate-related genetic variants we analyse impact on a number of steps in the folate and methionine cycles, which can have a direct impact on important muscle-building processes such as DNA synthesis, methylation and red blood cell production. They can also lead to the build up of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine in our bodies are not good for optimal health. As such, it is important that we preserve healthy levels of this amino acid by maintaining the right balance in the folate and methionine cycles.