Why Active Folate 5-MTHF is an ally in sports nutrition

Published: 30-May-2019

The active folate 5-MTHF has a direct role in the synthesis of new cells and in the building and repairing of body tissues, including those injured due to physical activity

The global sports nutrition segment grew to $14 billion in 2017, and is predicted to reach $24 billion by 2022, according to data from Euromonitor International. Sports nutrition is a constantly evolving field with hundreds of research papers published annually1.

Sport supplements, when formulated to fit the natural functions of the body, may help to promote adaptation to training, improve performance and recovery, prevent injury and can result in a more consistent and intensive workout, without altering the physiological and normal body functions2.

Very recent trends propose personalised sport nutrition and the design of tailored nutritional recommendations to improve direct and indirect factors that influence athletic performance linking genetic variation to nutritional or supplemental needs. For example, individuals with a polymorphism genotypes of the enzyme involved in folate metabolisation, the methylentetrahydrofate reductase (MTHFR) - or a low dietary folate intake - may be at a greater risk of hyperhomocysteinemia, which may also increase the risk of skeletal muscle malfunction, including muscle weakness and muscle regeneration3,4. Elevated plasma homocysteine level is an independent and recognised risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Methylentetrahydrofolate reductase is the MTHFR rate-limiting enzyme in the methyl cycle that allows the body to transform food folate and folic acid in the active folate the body cells can use, the 5-Methylfolate (5-MTHF). Significant functions of the active folate 5-MTHF, such as Quatrefolic, for people who practice sports is therefore emerging.

Several studies conducted in older adults have found a significant association between elevated plasma homocysteine concentrations and declined physical function3,5,6 which may be mediated by a reduction in strength6.

In 2016, Dinc et al found that the baseline Hcy and cardiovascular fitness levels of healthy young males with the polymorphism of MTHFR (TT genotypes) were strongly correlated with their levels of Hcy. The studied groups consisted of randomly selected soccer players and sedentary male students. Soccer players and sedentary individuals without the polymorphism have been shown to have more favourable body composition and performance measures such as aerobic and anaerobic threshold rates, compared to carriers of the T allele7.

The active folate 5-MTHF has a direct role in the synthesis of new cells and in the building and repairing of body tissues, including those injured due to physical activity. Energy production, control of oxidative stress, cellular repair and immune system support: these are just some of the many benefits that athletes can have with a good source of folate such as Quatrefolic.

Lorena Carboni, Product Support Specialist of Gnosis by Lesaffre, commented: "Whereas it is really known that folate plays an important role in human growth and development, and people need to maintain an adequate intake of folate during all stages of life - pregnancy, lactation, childhood and aging, but also for infertility and mood - the significant function of folate for active people who practice sports should be better known. Athletes often do not assume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folate, with potential nutritional impairment8. To increase knowledge on this topic we have just issued a specific digital magazine which is totally focused on Quatrefolic and Sport."


1. Ordonez, C. "Asia Pacific is Sports Nutrition's Next Hot Spot", Nutritional Outlook, http://www.nutritionaloutlook.com/sports-energy/asia-pacific-sports-nutritions-next-hot-spot, (April 23, 2018).

2. Beck KL et al., "Role of nutrition in performance enhancement and postexercise recovery", Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, (2015).

3. Guest NS et al, "Sport Nutrigenomics: Personalized Nutrition for Athletic Performance", Front Nutr, (2019).

4. Veeranki S, Tyagi SC, "Defective homocysteine metabolism: potential implications for skeletal muscle malfunction", Int J Mol Sci, (2013).

5. Swart KM, et al., "Homocysteine and the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677C->T polymorphism in relation to muscle mass and strength, physical performance and postural sway", Eur J Clin Nutr, (2013).

6. Vidoni ML et al., "Relationship between homocysteine and muscle strength decline: the baltimore longitudinal study of aging", J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, (2018).

7. Dinç N. et al. J Hum Kinet, "The effect of the MTHFR C677T mutation on athletic performance and the homocysteine level of soccer players and sedentary individuals", J Hum Kinet, (2016).

8. Baranauskas M. et al. Medicina (Kaunas), "Nutritional habits among high-performance endurance athletes", (2015).

You may also like