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Supercharge Your Fertility With This Nutrient

Supercharge Your Fertility With This Nutrient
Folate (vitamin B9) is key for dozens of biological processes throughout the body, but not all folate is created equal. The active form of folate is naturally occurring in certain foods (see below for a list) and this is the active form that the body can use easily. The synthetic form, known as “folic acid,” is found in the majority of supplements, including prenatals, as well as many fortified foods like bread, cereals, pasta, and rice. Getting synthetic folic acid is a concern because research shows that as many as 60% of people have a difficult time processing the synthetic form due to at least one variant of their MTHFR gene.

MTHFR stands for methyltetrahydrofolate reductase which functions as an enzyme to convert folic acid to L-methylfolate. Some of the major functions of L-methylfolate include: 

  • Proper DNA replication
  • Production of healthy red blood cells, especially important during times of rapid cell division and growth such as pregnancy and infancy 
  • Regulation of homocysteine
  • Production of monoamines (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine)

It has been well established that methylfolate plays a critical role in fertility for both mom and dad. Genetic factors and/or low dietary folate can lead to deficiency which increases the risk of pregnancy loss, even if it is only dad who has the deficiency or genetic variant. Deficiency has also been linked to increased risk of maternal anemia, preeclampsia, neural tube defects, preterm birth, congenital abnormalities, and may even increase risk for congenital heart disease and oral clefts. Due to L-methylfolate’s role in monoamine production, low levels may play a role in postpartum depression. 

While it would be ideal to check every mom and dad’s MTHFR gene for variants before trying to conceive, this is not always realistic.Therefore, we recommend that at least 3 months prior to conceiving, both partners take a prenatal supplement that contains the active form of methylfolate (5-MTHF is the active form you will find in WeNatal for Him and Her) and continue through the duration of pregnancy and breastfeeding for mom. Due to a high number of unexpected pregnancies each year, it is ideal to take a prenatal with methylfolate throughout your childbearing years. 


In addition to taking a prenatal with methylated folate, we suggest you incorporate plenty of folate-rich foods into you and your partner’s diet every day. It is recommended that men and women get 400mcg daily and women get at least 600mcg daily during pregnancy, yet more is often advised especially in individuals with the MTHFR variant. Here are some of the best sources to enjoy together:


Food | Serving Size | Folate (mcg)

  • Beef liver | 3oz | 185
  • Black eyed peas, boiled | ½ cup | 105
  • Spinach, frozen and cooked | ½ cup | 100
  • Great Northern beans, boiled | ½ cup | 90
  • Asparagus, cooked | 4 spears | 85
  • Spinach, raw | 1 cup | 60
  • Broccoli, raw  | 2 spears (5 inches long) | 45
  • Avocado, raw | ½ cup | 45

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Lisa Dreher

Lisa Dreher

Lisa is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health. She has been practicing for over a decade and works full time at Dr. Mark Hyman's UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.

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