Last reviewed 01/2018

Tetrahydrofolate is the main active metabolite of dietary folate. It is vital as a coenzyme in reactions involving transfers of single carbon groups.

Examples of pathways in which tetrahydrofolate has a role include:

  • purine synthesis
  • pyrimidine synthesis
  • amino acid conversions:
    • histidine to glutamic acid
    • homocysteine to methionine
    • serine to glycine

As nucleic and amino acid synthesis is affected by a deficiency of tetrahydrofolate, actively dividing and growing cells tend to be the first affected.