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UMFA - Serum

Unmetabolized Folic Acid (UMFA) - Serum

Found in leafy green vegetables, natural folates are the group name for related members of this B-vitamin family. A synthetic form, folic acid (FA), is used in fortified foods and most dietary supplements. In fact, looking to combat birth defects such as cleft palates and spina bifida, the U.S. government began mandating the use of synthetic FA to fortify the national food supply in 1988. However, new research indicates that the increased intake of synthetic FA, combined with the slow and variable effects produced by the enzyme Dihydrofolate Reductase (DHFR), can lead to an accumulation of Unmetabolized Folic Acid (UMFA) in the blood.

Why should you measure UMFA?

  • Reduce Risks for Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): UMFA is associated with enhanced development and progression of certain cancers; Low levels of 5-MTHF have been linked to elevated homocysteine (increased risk for CVD)
  • Improve Vital Functions: UMFA is very important in making red blood cells, proper nerve function, bone health, and cell production (especially in skin and the digestive tract)
  • Detect Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Vitamin B12 deficiency can be masked by high levels of UMFA, and in turn, cognitive function can become compromised and Anemia* can also develop
  • Boost Immune Function: Excess folic acid or UMFA can weaken immune function and impair natural killer cells

What forms of folic acid do we measure?

  • Pteroylmonoglutamic acid (UMFA) With the increased consumption of supplements and grains fortified with folic acid (based on the US Recommended Dietary Allowance), folic acid excess and UMFA are an emerging concern.
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (5-MTHF) In addition to UMFA, levels of the most predominant active folate in serum, 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid (5-MTHF), is measured. Low levels are indicative of folate deficiency and are associated with a separate set of health conditions.
  • Low levels are indicative of folate deficiency and are associated with a separate set of health conditions, particularly neural tube defects, such as cleft lip/palate and spina bifida.

UMFA is also available as an add-on in our TRIAD, Fat-Soluble Vitamins, and ION Profiles!

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