Levomefolate is an artificial form of folate, which is necessary for good health. A lack of folate in the diet can cause health issues, but it also can affect the development of the spine in unborn children. For these reasons, levomefolate might be taken as a supplement, but it might also be present in combination medicines.
Folate is one of the B vitamins, and it is essential for the body to make healthy cells. Red blood cells, in particular, require folate. Although natural folate is found in food, artificial folate can also perform the same role. Artificial folate chemicals are known as folic acids. Levomefolate and another folic acid called L-methylfolate are biologically active and do not need to be processed by the body to be ready for use.
Supplements of folic acid are particularly important for women who are pregnant, or those who might become pregnant. If the developing baby does not receive enough folic acid, then he or she might not have a fully formed spinal cord and could suffer from spina bifida. On the other hand, levomefolate might also be part of a contraceptive pill, along with the hormones ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone to prevent pregnancy.
The presence of levomefolate in a combination hormone contraceptive is to reduce the risk of spinal cord birth defects in the event of pregnancy while taking the contraceptive. As well as prevention of pregnancy, the combination pill might also be beneficial in treating women who suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition that causes extreme premenstrual symptoms such as mood swings. The combination pill with levomefolate might also be able to improve the appearance of acne in women.
Some people can suffer from folic acid deficiency for various reasons. One is a simple lack of folate in the diet. Among the medical conditions that can result in low folic acid levels are problems with the liver or the kidneys. Some gastrointestinal problems can also reduce absorption of the vitamin. Patients who are suffering from alcoholism can also be low in folic acid. These groups of people might benefit from supplementation with an active form of the vitamin such as levomefolate.
This form of folic acid does not commonly cause side effects. Allergic reactions are possible, and they can manifest themselves in facial swelling or problems in breathing. As part of a combination contraceptive pill, more side effects are possible, ranging from headache to problems with the circulatory system.