Quatrefolic® is the glucosamine salt of (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) and is structurally identical to the reduced and active form of folate found in our bodies.
Developed by Gnosis by Lesaffre, Quatrefolic® is the fourth-generation folate, and provides greater stability, higher water solubility and multiple ingredients formulation flexibility compared to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate calcium salt, therefore guaranteeing an improved bioavailability.
As the next-generation solution that bypasses the need for the bioconversion of folic acid in the body, the innovative dietary ingredient functions as a nutrient in all applications where folic acid and active folate supplementation are recommended.
Folic acid vs active folate: what's the difference?
While often used interchangeably, folic acid and folate are not the same.
Folic acid is the inactive precursor to active folate, but has historically been used in dietary supplements and fortified foods.
However, to become biologically active, folic acid needs to go through several transformation steps in the body. These conversion steps change folic acid into active folate (known as 5-MTHF) as found in Quatrefolic®.
For a long time, fortified foods and supplements were made with folic acid as the only source of vitamin B9 because it was shown that folic acid is more stable and bioavailable than the forms of folate found in foods.
But new research in the last 10 years has shown that not everybody can convert folic acid to active folate in the same way - meaning that taking supplements containing folic acid can be ineffective for some people.
These people have a specific genetic make-up which means they cannot produce enough of the enzyme that helps convert folic acid into active 5-MTHF folate. This is known as MTHFR polymorphism.
Because the conversion into active folate is not required for reduced and methylated folates like Quatrefolic®, it is a more effective form to take folate than folic acid, which requires conversion. It is also very beneficial for people with MTHFR polymorphism, since they have a lower ability to transform folic acid into the active form of folate.