5 Formyl Tetrahydrofolate - Folinic Acid and IBS

Folinic Acid is an active form of a group of vitamins known as folates.  Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that is naturally present in some foods.  As an active form of folate, folinic acid doesn't require enzymatic conversion to be used by the body (1). Folinic acid is the most commonly used form of the vitamin used for folate deficiency.  Folate deficiency is associated with food processing, poor food selection, and intestinal disorders (2).

Folinic Acid is responsible for important metabolic functions and benefits including: 

  • The formation of purines and pyrimidines needed for synthesis of nucleic acids DNA and RNA  
  • The formation of heme, the iron-containing protein in hemoglobin
  • The interconversion of the 3-carbon amino acid serine for histidine
  • The formation of the amino acid methionine from homocysteine to make the important amino acid s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) which is known to be helpful in depression
  • Synthesis of choline from ethanolamine
  • The formation and maturation of red and white blood cells
  • The conversion of nicotinamide to N'-methylnicotinamide (3)

People with IBS may be at higher risk for folate deficiency.



  1. Yetley EA, Pfeiffer CM, Phinney KW, Fazili Z, Lacher DA, Bailey RL, et al. Biomarkers of folate status in NHANES: a roundtable summary. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(1):303S-312S
  2. Carmel R, Shils M, Shike M, Ross A, Caballero B, and Cousins R. Folic Acid. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2005:470-481
  3. Folate. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated 2018. Accessed March 27, 2018.