A question I get asked almost weekly is what exactly is MTHFR or I have this mutation what does it mean?
MTHFR is an enzyme that adds a methyl group to folic acid to make it usable by the body. The MTHFR gene produces this enzyme that is necessary for properly using vitamin B9. If you have the defective gene, your body can not process multiple things correctly or detox properly and it can lead to multiple health issues. If you have a double mutated gene, you most likely received it from BOTH parents and your siblings will be highly likely of having the defect as well. I tested positive for double mutation and so did my son, which means his dad also has it and quite possibly those on his father’s side. My family definitely has it but no one has jumped in to exploring like I have. This is something you should take action against as it will wreak havoc and can be the hidden issue behind so many other disorders and diseases.
What Happens When the MTHFR Gene Is Defective?Those with a defective MTHFR gene have an impaired ability to produce the MTHFR enzyme (estimates range from 20%-70% or more). This can make it more difficult to break down and eliminate not only synthetic folic acid but other substances like heavy metals.
Since folic acid can’t be converted into the usable form, it can build up in the body, which can raise levels of homo-cysteine. High homo-cysteine levels are associated with a higher risk in cardiovascular disease. This also affects the conversion to glutathione, which the body needs to remove waste and which is a potent antioxidant.
In short, we are just learning the extent to which this can affect health, but there is strong evidence that because of the affect on methylation, it can increase cancer risk, cardiovascular disease risk, risk of fetal development problems and more. It can also possibly contribute to or exacerbate other problems like autoimmune disease, mental issues and more.
What are some things I can do if I have the MTHFR gene mutation?
Here’s ten tips for you!
- Avoid taking folic acid blocking or depleting drugs, such as birth control pills or Methyltrexate
- Avoid taking proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec or Prevacid or antacids, like Tums, which may block essential Vitamin B12 absorption
- Have your homocysteine measured, which if elevated may indicate a problem with methylation or a deficiency of B12 or folate. If your homocysteine is elevated, limit your intake ofmethionine-rich foods
- Avoid eating processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid. Instead eat whole foods with no added chemicals or preservatives. Avoid ENRICHED foods and everything that says Folic Acid. You want to eat natural folate.
- Get your daily intake of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard or arugula, which are loaded with natural levels of folate that your body can more easily process.
- Eat hormone-free, grass-fed beef, organic pastured butter or ghee, and eggs from free-range, non-GMO fed chickens.
- Remove any mercury amalgams with a trained biologic dentist. Avoid aluminum exposure in antiperspirants or cookware. Avoiding heavy metal or other toxic exposure is important.
- Make sure you supplementing with essential nutrients, like methyl-B12, methyl-folate, TMG, N-acetylcysteine, riboflavin, curcumin, fish oil, Vitamins C, D, E, and probiotics. If you are double homozygous for MTHFR mutations, you should proceed very cautiously with methyl-B12 and methyl-folate supplementation as some people do not tolerate high doses. Introduce nutrients one by one and watching for any adverse reactions. Use extreme caution when supplementing with niacin, which can dampen methylation.
- Make time for gentle detox regimens several times per week. These could include infrared sauna, epsom salt baths, dry skin brushing, and regular exercise or sweating.
- If you have a known genetic mutation, share the information with parents, children and other family members and encourage them to be tested, too! The easiest way is to order through 23andMe for only $99 online.