“Deplin” is a registered trademark of Alfasigma USA, Incorporated. It is classified as a medical “food” although it comes in a capsule and requires a prescription to attain. Deplin® boasts that it is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of those suffering from depression, however, the only “active ingredient” described to target depression is L-methylfolate. Unfortunately, due to the long list of other ingredients in this product, it may not be suitable for many patients with allergies. It contains milk and soy, along with artificial coloring, sweeteners, oils, and other substances. In comparison, MethylPro® offers a clean nutritional option for the same active ingredient, L-methylfolate, that is free of allergens, preservatives, food coloring and binders. Additionally, all MethylPro® products are packaged in amber glass bottles to avoid the plastic contaminants that may be found in plastic prescription containers.
The ingredient list for MethylPro®’s 15 mg L-methylfolate includes:
- Calcium salt
- Glycine provided in a vegetarian capsule.
The ingredient list for Deplin® contains the following:
Silicified Microcrystalline Cellulose, Algae-S Powder [Schizochytrium Algal Oil (vegetable source)], Glucose Syrup Solids, Mannitol, Sodium Caseinate(milk), Soy Protein, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, 2% or less: Sodium Ascorbate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Tetrasodium Diphosphate, Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin, and Mixed Tocopherols and Ascorbyl Palmitate, Pullulan, L-methylfolate calcium, Titanium Dioxide (color), Magnesium Stearate, FD&C Yellow#6, FD&C Red#40, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Povidone, Shellac. Contains Milk and Soy.
Is folate the same thing as folic acid?
The word folate is a blanket term for different forms of the same B vitamin-specifically vitamin B 9. Methylfolate and folic acid are names for specific versions of folate. For some time, folic acid was the main choice for supplementation, appearing both in nutritional supplements and in our food fortification. Folic acid is several biochemical steps away from the active form of folate in our body and the body needs to be able to perform these steps well for folic acid to be useful. Not every body performs these steps smoothly, leaving unmetabolized folic acid. Methylfolate is the bioactive form of folate, ready to be used by the body without the biochemical steps folic acid needs to be useful.
What is methylation?
Methylation is a biochemical process involved in almost all of the body’s functions. It is the addition of a single carbon and three hydrogen atoms (called a methyl group) to another molecule. The removal of a methyl group is called demethylation. A healthful diet and adequate nutrition, supported by supplementation, can improve your methylation pathways and boost your health. B vitamins are methyl donors, especially folate, B6, B12 and riboflavin, but they cannot be used efficiently by the body unless some critical enzymes are present. One such enzyme is Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.
What is an MTHFR gene mutation?
MTHFR is a gene that provides instructions to make an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is a necessary factor for a chemical reaction breaking down folate (folic acid/vitamin B9) to its active form, L-methylfolate (5-MTHF). Specifically, this enzyme converts a molecule called 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to a molecule called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. This reaction is also required to convert the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. The body uses methionine to make proteins such as the neurotransmitters; dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, and epinephrine. It has been estimated that up to 60% of Americans carry an inherited mutation in the MTHFR gene. Although there are many variations of the gene, the two most studied
taking L-methylfolate. Otherwise homocysteine cannot be broken down and transformed for neurotransmitter upregulation, even with adequate folate.
MethylPro® is offered in the following formulations:
- L-methylfolate as a standalone product, in 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10 and 15 mg options.
- L-methylfolate with a full spectrum B Complex (5, 10 or 15 mg L-methylfolate)
- L-methylfolate + Cofactors (10 or 15 mg L-methylfolate)
Deplin® only offers two products: Deplin® 7.5 mg and Deplin®15 mg.
What’s the difference between a medical food and a supplement?
Though both are formulations of nutritional products, medical foods differ from nutritional supplements in several ways including how they may be marketed and distributed, as described below.
What is a medical food?
Medical foods are specially formulated and processed for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition. They are not drugs, and so are not subject to regulations that apply specifically to pharmaceuticals. They do need to go through a research process to show that the food is beneficial for the condition for which the medical food company is making claims. This research process is costly and is added to the cost of the final product. Though a prescription is not always required, the FDA does say the medical food should be taken “under the supervision of a physician” and often a prescription is necessary.
What is a dietary supplement?
A dietary supplement is a product intended for ingestion to supplement the nutritional content of a person’s diet. Nutritional supplements cannot make claims that they can be used to treat conditions. Formulas are often based on known biochemical pathways that the vitamin or other nutritional factor is known to influence as well as studies that support the nutrient’s use for specific purposes. A prescription is not needed to purchase a nutritional supplement, however MethylPro® always recommends you check with your physician before adding anything new to your health regimen.
How do costs compare?
One benefit of getting a product certified as a medical food, available through prescription, is that insurance will sometimes cover some or all of the cost. However, many people have seen their copay for Deplin go up substantially over the last few years, and certain coverage plans do not cover Deplin at all. Out of pocket expenses can range from $58 up to $300 for a 30-day prescription. For some people, this has meant going without a product they found beneficial in supporting their mental health.
MethylPro® L-Methylfolate nutritional supplement is not covered by insurance. In some cases, health savings accounts may be used towards nutritional supplements. Offering the same active ingredient while not going through a lengthy and expensive certification process means that we can offer the same active ingredient at a much lower cost—in many cases less than what people are spending on a copay for the medical food.
As cost is one of the biggest barriers between consumers and a product that may benefit their health immensely, MethylPro® is dedicated to making supplements available at a fair, competitive price, without compromising the integrity, quality, or purity of our products. Our 30-day supply is just $30. A 90-day supply for $75 offers further savings.
Where do I purchase MethylPro®?
Although consulting a doctor is always recommended before making a change to your diet or nutritional regimen, MethylPro® L-methylfolate is available through our website (https://www.MethylPro.com/); no prescription necessary. It can be delivered to your door with no copay required, no waiting in line, and no trip to the pharmacy. Auto-pay/delivery can also be set up so that you will never have to go without your supplements.
What makes this supplement high-quality?
There has been legitimate concern leveled at the nutritional industry about quality of supplements available to consumers. Doctors and consumers have heard stories of products that contain little to no beneficial substance, or are contaminated with allergens or mislabeled. It is true, the FDA does not regulate the nutritional industry as tightly as the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, this has led to some consumer mistrust, or an overall dismissal of the potential benefit of nutritional supplements. However, there are nutritional companies making high quality products. Metabolic Maintenance follows current Good Manufacturing Practices as certified by the FDA. We make sure to source from companies that are as rigorous in their standards as we are. We send our raw materials out to a lab for third-party testing to make sure they are the correct ingredient and free of contaminants. After we blend, we send product out again to be tested to make sure our label claims are accurate.
- DEPLIN Website. Covington, LA: Alfasigma USA, Inc.; 2017. www.deplin.com
- LeBano, Lauren. “L-Methylfolate: A Promising Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression?” Psyche Congress Network. May 8, 2013. www.psychcongress.com/article/l-methylfolate-promising-therapy-treatment-resistant-depression
- Leech, Joe. “L-Methylfolate (5-MTHF): Your Must-Read Beginner’s Guide.” Diet vs. Disease. May 13, 2018. https://www.dietvsdisease.org/l-methylfolate-5-mthf/
- Papakostas, George I., et al. “L-methylfolate as adjunctive therapy for SSRI-resistant major depression: results of two randomized, double-blind, parallel-sequential trials.” American Journal of Psychiatry 169.12 (2012): 1267-1274.
- Patanwala, Imran, et al. “Folic acid handling by the human gut: implications for food fortification and supplementation–.”The American journal of clinical nutrition 100.2 (2014): 593-599.
- Stahl, Stephen M. “Brainstorms: L-Methylfolate: A Vitamin for Your Monoamines.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry 69.9 (2008): 1352-1353.