Best Folate Supplements Ranked for 2018 – Top 10 Brands

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What is Folate?

Folate is an essential vitamin, also known as vitamin B9. It’s found naturally in various vegetables and fruits, and is also added to breads, cereals and pastas in many countries. Folate is a term that can refer to natural folates found in food sources, and folic acid, which is a synthetic form of the vitamin.

No matter the source, folate is an important nutrient. It plays a key role in DNA synthesis and repair, and encourages the growth of new cells and tissues. It’s important for everyone to get enough folate, but it’s particularly important for pregnant women, as folate plays a key role in fetal development.

Uses & Benefits of Folate

Folate is used for an array of functions in the body, and has a number of documented folate benefits:

  • Deficiency: Folate is an essential nutrient. If you don’t get enough of it, you can develop a folate deficiency. This can lead to anemia, a condition wherein the body does not produce enough red blood cells. It can also cause complications with pregnancy. While most people get enough folate from food, supplements are typically recommended to women who may become pregnant and those with certain diseases and genetic mutations.
  • Pregnancy: Folate is absolutely vital for healthy fetal development. A deficiency in folate during pregnancy can cause birth defects, which can contribute to spina bifida or even miscarriage/stillbirth. Studies have found that taking folate supplements for one month prior to pregnancy through 3 months after birth can reduce the risk of birth defects by 50%. The first few weeks of pregnancy are very important for fetal development, so most doctors recommend that any woman who may become pregnant should take folate supplements daily.
  • Heart health: Folate can help normalize homocysteine levels by metabolizing homocysteine into methionine. This may help to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems, according to a 2013 study. Another Polish study in 2013 found that folic acid helped reduce LDL cholesterol levels in research participants, which could also help improve heart health. There is also some evidence, based on a 2009 study, that folate’s effects on homocysteine levels may help to reduce the risk of stroke. More research is needed.
  • Sperm viability: There is some evidence to suggest that folate may improve spermatogenesis and sperm health. Men with low folate levels (among other nutrients) have been found to have sperm with abnormal chromosomal structure. A 2012 study showed an improvement in sperm motility when participants were given nutritional supplements including folate. More research is needed.
  • Brain function: A 2010 Korean study found that among a population of elderly research participants, those with dementia had the lowest folate levels and the highest homocysteine levels. Participants that did not have dementia had higher folate levels than the dementia group. This suggests a link between folate intake and neurological health, although more research is needed.
  • Age-related macular degeneration: A group of Harvard researchers looked at a group of older women and explored the effects of B vitamins (folic acid, B12 and B6) on these participants. The group receiving B vitamin therapy showed a lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than the control group. More research is needed, particularly considering the fact that this study used a combination of supplements and therefore did not isolate the effects of folate acid alone.

How to Take Folate

Many people get enough folate from their diet alone, so in some cases supplemental folic acid may not be necessary. With that said, the proper folate dosage for supplement forms is typically 400mcg if taking folate or folic acid.

Larger doses of up to 1000mcg appear safe to take, but may not be necessary – particularly for those eating a balanced diet. The recommended folate supplement dosage also depends on the intended use – see this WebMD page for more dosing information.

Folate can be taken once per day, on an empty stomach or with a meal. Timing of the dose does not appear to have any effect on its efficacy.

Folate Side Effects and Precautions

Folate is likely safe when taken by mouth for short periods of time. Most people don’t have any side effects when taking up to 1000mcg per day.

Larger doses than 1000mcg can cause abdominal cramps, rash, sleep problems, confusion, diarrhea, rashes, stomach upset, behavior changes, irritability and more. We do not recommend taking more than 1000mcg per day unless directed by a medical professional.

There is some concern related to the long-term use of high doses of folic acid. Preliminary research suggests that doses of 800-1200mcg, taken long-term, may increase the risk of heart attack in some people. Long term use may also increase the risk of certain cancers.

Long-term use of folate supplements is not advised, with the exception of women who may become pregnant.

Those with a history/family history of cancer, heart disease, anemia, or seizure disorders should speak with a medical professional before taking folate.

What to Look for in a Good Folate Supplement

You should identify a folate product with a dose between 400 and 1000mcg. You should also pay attention to the form of folate, as some forms are more bioavailable than others.

Also, pay attention to any certifications that are important to you, such as non-GMO, organic, gluten free, etc. Lastly, pick a product from a reputable company.

Top 10 Folate Products Compared

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1. Life Extension Optimized Folate

Life Extension Optimized Folate

This is perhaps the best folate supplement on the market. It contains 1000mcg per serving and is one of the best-selling products in its class. It has earned excellent customer reviews and consistently tops best-of lists in the category.

Specs

  • 1,000mcg folate per serving
  • 100 capsules per bottle
  • L-Methylfolate
  • Metabolically active form of folic acid
  • Non-GMO
  • Great reviews
  • Good value

Who Makes It?

LifeExtension is a supplement and wellness company with a global reach. They manufacture a wide range of health products, and fund various research studies into human health and longevity.

Bottom Line

This is among the best folate supplements on the market, with an adequate dosage and the backing of a well-respected company.

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Where to Get It
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2. Solgar – Folate

Solgar - Folate 800 mcg

An effective folate supplement with 800mcg per serving. This is also gluten, wheat and dairy free, and uses vegetarian friendly capsules.

Specs

  • 800mcg folate per serving (as Metafolin)
  • 100 tablets per bottle
  • Free of gluten, wheat and dairy
  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Great reviews
  • Good value

Who Makes It?

Solgar is a well-established supplement company that strives to innovate new and useful nutritional supplements. They have been operational since 1947, and today remain a leader in the industry.

Bottom Line

This is a good folate supplement from a good company. It’s suitable for most people, since it’s vegetarian and free of most common allergens.

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Where to Get It
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3. Thorne Research – 5-MTHF Folate Supplement

Thorne-Research---5-MTHF-Folate-Supplement

A strong folate supplement with 1mg (1,000mcg) per serving. There are 60 capsules per bottle, and each serving is one capsule.

Specs

  • 1,000mg folate per serving
  • Active folate
  • Free from gluten, eggs, nuts, soy, dairy, yeast, and fish
  • Excellent reviews
  • Good value

Who Makes It?

Thorne Research is a health and wellness company that manufactures a wide range of supplements and at-home health tests. They supply sports teams, athletes and everyday individuals with high quality health products.

Bottom Line

These are good folate pills with a high dosage of active folate. The manufacturer is a trusted source that has earned high marks from consumers over the years.

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Where to Get It
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4. Jarrow Formulas Methyl Folate

Jarrow Formulas Methyl Folate

This is a simple supplement using methyl folate, a highly bioavailable form of folate. There are 400mcg per serving, and 60 capsules in each bottle.

Specs

  • 400mcg methylfolate per serving
  • 60 vegetarian capsules per bottle
  • Vegan friendly
  • 4th generation folic acid technology
  • Free of wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, shellfish and nuts
  • Good customer reviews
  • Affordable

Who Makes It?

Jarrow Formulas is a trusted name in the supplement industry, with more than 40 years of experience providing high quality nutritional supplements and health products.

Bottom Line

This is a good product with a active and bioavailable form of folate. The serving size is rather low, though.

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Where to Get It
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5. Doctor’s Best Best Fully Active Folate

Doctor's Best Best Fully Active Folate

This is a top-selling folate supplement with 400mcg in each serving, and 90 servings per bottle. It also has some added vitamin C.

Specs

  • 400mcg active folate per serving
  • 40mg vitamin C
  • 90 servings in each package
  • Top seller
  • Affordable
  • Non-GMO & gluten free

Who Makes It?

Doctor’s Best is a supplement company that was founded in 1990 by a group of physicians. They use scientific findings to formulate their line of 200+ products.

Bottom Line

This is a top-quality supplement that has earned great reviews. There is also added vitamin C, which the manufacturer claims helps to improve the product’s stability.

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Where to Get It
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6. Pure Encapsulations – B12 Folate

Pure Encapsulations - B12 Folate

A well rated supplement that combines both folate and vitamin B12, with 800mcg of each. There are 60 single-capsule servings per bottle.

Specs

  • 800mcg folate (as Metafolin)
  • 800mcg vitamin B12
  • 60 servings per package
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Hypoallergenic

Who Makes It?

Pure Encapsulations is a supplement manufacturer based in Massachusetts. They focus on creating pure, simple and effective formulas for their customers.

Bottom Line

This is a good product for those wishing to get extra B12 alongside folate. For those looking for just folate, there are cheaper options.

7. Pink Stork Folate

Pink Stork Folate 1000mcg

A popular folate supplement with 1000mcg of non-synthetic folic acid per serving. It’s very well reviewed and a top seller on Amazon.

Specs

  • 1000mcg folate per serving (from Quatrefolic)
  • Single capsule serving size (60 per bottle)
  • Very well reviewed
  • Non-GMO, gluten free and vegetarian
  • Allergy friendly
  • A bit pricey

Who Makes It?

Pink Stork is a supplement company that focuses specifically on products for pregnancy. They strive to create supplements to help improve the health of both mom and baby.

Bottom Line

This is a top folate supplement for pregnancy and should be very effective. It is on the expensive side, though.

8. Designs for Health – Super Liquid Folate with B12

Designs for Health - Super Liquid Folate with B12

This is a good liquid folate supplement with added vitamin B12. It’s one of the few liquid supplements available.

Specs

  • 400mcg folate per serving
  • 40mcg vitamin B12
  • 660 servings per bottle
  • Liquid formula
  • Vegetarian, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free
  • Independent lab tested
  • GMP compliant

Who Makes It?

Designs for Health is a supplement and health product company that makes products primarily for professional use by practitioners. They have been in business since 1989.

Bottom Line

This is a strong folate product that will last a long time, with a whopping 600+ servings per bottle.

9. Country Life Folate Organic

Country Life Folate Organic

A chewable folate supplement made using USDA organic ingredients. 800mcg per serving, and 100 servings per bottle.

Specs

  • 800mcg folate from organic lemon peel extract
  • USDA organic
  • Chewable wafers (orange flavor)
  • A bit expensive

Who Makes It?

Country Life is a well-known supplement firm that has been in business since 1971.

Bottom Line

This is a good product and an excellent choice if you’re someone who prefers organic products and/or chewable tablets over traditional pill forms.

10. NOW Foods Methyl Folate

NOW Foods Methyl Folate

A simple and powerful folate supplement with 1000mcg per serving.

Specs

  • 1000mcg folate per serving (as Quatrefolic)
  • 90 servings per bottle
  • Non-GMO
  • Metabolically active folate
  • Superior bioavailability
  • Vegetarian and vegan

Who Makes It?

NOW Foods is a massive health product company currently producing a line of over 1,400 unique products. They were founded in 1968.

Bottom Line

This is a good supplement with a bioavailable form of folate, and it’s suitable for vegans.