Folinic acid, also known as 5-formyl tetrahydrofolate, is one active form in a group of vitamins known as folates. In contrast to folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, folinic acid is one of the forms of folate found naturally in foods. In the body folinic acid may be converted into any of the other active forms of folate.
Folate coenzymes are responsible for important metabolic functions, including:
Formation of purines and pyrimidines which are needed for synthesis of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. This is especially important during fetal development in the first trimester in preventing birth defects, such as neural tube defects
Formation of heme, the iron-containing protein in hemoglobin.
Interconversion of the 3-carbon amino acid serine from the 2-carbon amino acid glycine.
Formation of the amino acids tyrosine from phenylalanine and glutamic acid from histidine.
Formation of the amino acid methionine from homocysteine (Vitamin B-12 as methylcobalamin also is needed for this conversion). Elevated levels of homocysteine have been implicated in a wide range of health disorders including atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. In the reconversion of homocysteine to methionine the body uses the methionine to make the important amino acid s-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) which is known to be helpful in cases of depression.
Synthesis of choline from ethanolamine.
Formation and maturation of red and white blood cells.
Conversion of nicotinamide to N'-methylnicotinamide.
Other conditions possibly benefiting from folinic acid supplementation include AIDS/HIV, celiac disease, cervical displasia, cleft palate, colon cancer, Crohn's disease, diarrhea, gout, high cholesterol, increased fracture of chromosomes, malabsorption and gastrointestinal inflammation, megaloblastic anemia, restless leg syndrome, postpartum depression, sprue, ulcerative colitis, and vitiligo.
When taking folate it is recommended that you take adequate amounts of Vitamin B-12 as methylcobalamin.