What is MTHFR? A swear word? Kind of but not really. I think of it as the mother f*!#$@ gene because that's what most people feel, and sometimes even say, when they find out they have it.
In this post you will learn what the MTHFR gene is, it's function, signs of a mutation on this gene, how to test for it, and natural treatments to manage this mutation.
MTHFR GENE: The human body is made up of trillions of cells. Inside each cell is our DNA that provides instructions for how our body functions. Genes are a segment of the DNA and one of these segments is the MTHFR gene. This gene is in every cell and affects almost every function of our body.
MTHFR FUNCTION:Most simply put, the MTHFR gene is responsible for conversion. The main role of the MTHFR gene is to convert folic acid into the usable form folate or methylfolate (the best form of it). If there is a mutation on this gene, the ability to convert and use what is ingested is compromised. If methylfolate can not be made it impacts other body systems and enzymatic reactions such as SAMe (compound found naturally in the body to help regulate hormones and cell membranes; use under the guidance of a healthcare professional). This begins a vicious cycle. If the body doesn't have a proper methylation process it causes other issues. One of these is an increased homocysteine level, which causes inflammation. When homocysteine is elavated it impairs the bodies ability to produce methyfolate and process glutathione (powerhouse antioxidant). If glutathione can't be produced the cells are more effected by oxidative stress and free radicals. When glutathione and SAMe are affected the immune system, cellular repair, inflammatory response, and detoxifation process is impacted.
SIGNS OF A MUTATION:
Mood imbalances such as depression and anxiety
Elavated homocysteine levels
Digestive issues, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Hormonal issues, including PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
Autoimmune disease and thyroid issues
1) A test can be ordered through 23andme
2) Ask your healthcare provider
* It's ideal to work with a professional to ensure you request raw data
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE IT:
Eat organically. If methylation (conversion) is impaired we want to reduce the toxic burden on the body. With the detoxification process compromised the body is not able to rid pesticides and contaminants as well
Avoid supplements with synthetic folic acid. With this mutation the body is not able to convert it to folate. Instead choose supplements with methyfolate.
Avoid foods fortified with folic acid
Eat dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, eggs and avocado to get more folate
Support detoxification: Eat a high fiber diet, anti-inflammatory diet, remove all refined sugars, exerice 4-5 times per week (gets things moving internally and sweat is a major detoxification pathway), keep your gut moving and stay hydrated (pee/poop ... another detoxification mechanism), and increase antioxidants
Avoid or minimize alcohol intake
Address any underlying digestive issues
Know you're not alone. Many are affected by this mutation. Health and healing is a real option. It's good to know that every body has mutations, we literally were not born flawless. It's important for managing your long term health to know your mutations.