If you haven’t heard about the MTHFR gene mutation by now, you will in 2019. As a matter of fact, its referred to as the “Mother Freaking Gene” and for a good reason…
In this article you will read:
- What MTHFR actually is
- What the methylation process has to do with MTHFR
- Signs and symptoms of this mutation
- Who should be tested and what the treatment looks like
- How to take back your health
Even though we have thousands of genes, this one is pretty important and essential for good emotional, mental, physical and overall health.
Please share this article with anyone you know who has experienced any miscarriages or has been diagnosed with pulmonary embolisms, fibromyalgia, cancer, autism, ADHD, or anyone who suffers from migraines, addictions or mental illnesses.
Everything I just listed has been linked back to the MTHFR gene. In fact, there are over 60 more!
I decided to write this article after finding out 2 of my friends were recently diagnosed with the MTHFR Mutation Gene.
Disclosures: This post contains affiliate links. LEARN MORE HERE (but basically it just means that if you purchase the item through the link on this page, we get a small commission and are super appreciative!)
1. What is MTHRF
This article is intended to optimize our understanding of this genetic error. MTHFR mutation is something still being researched so it is complex and complicated so I am explaining the important aspects of it in the simplest way possible.
Here we go…
MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. I’m sure you understand why we just call it MTHFR.
The MTHFR gene produces an essential enzyme that plays a role in processing amino acids. MTHFR is important for methylation function.
Rewind back to high school for a minute.
(In your high school chemistry teachers voice) Today class, we will talk about Genes. Genes are pieces of our DNA that controls what we look like.
Each gene is made up of 2 alleles and together they determine what traits we get from our parents and grandparents. Some of these traits are visually seen like our eye and hair color or if we will have freckles on our faces.
Some are not so obvious like diseases you might inherit or if you will appreciate the taste of sweet potatoes. These are eventually seen but takes time to surface.
2. Methylation Process
MTHFR provides folate to methylation which is required for every function in our body. Inadequate amounts of folate lead to health issues.
Once Folic Acid enters a cell, it needs to be converted into MTHFR before your body can use it. Here is the problem… when you have a mutated gene, it can hinder the last step of the conversion.
Meaning, when you eat foods containing folic acid, MTHFR can not convert the folic acid into the active form or methyl-folate. In fact, the folic acid actually gets gunked up and sluggish because it can’t fully convert into Methyl-Folate.
Every cell and tissue in your body involves the MTHFR gene in some way. This gene has important roles and responsibilities that require us to function as healthy people.
Methyl-Folate responsibility’s includes
- Protects and repairs damaged cells
- Optimizes cell function
- Processes toxins and hormones
- Metabolizes B vitamins
- Regulates neurotransmitters
- Controls overall mood, health, and behavior
- Helps you sleep
Wow! I had no idea it plays such a huge role in practically everything our body does. When you have the MTHFR Mutation Gene, all of the responsibilities listed are compromised and it will have negative effects on some of these areas.
Believe it or not, mutations are common. In fact, 50% of the population carries at least one MTHFR mutated gene. You may have it and there is a good chance you don’t even know it.
I listed a few at the beginning of this article but here are a few more.
3. MTHFR Symptoms:
- Bladder Cancer
- Blood CLots
- Breast Cancer
- Chronic Fatigue
- Down Syndromes
- Gastric Cancer
- Heart Disease
- Heart Murmurs
- Heart Attack
- Mental Illness
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neurological Disease
- Prostate Cancer
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Just to name a few…
The severity of your symptoms depends on how many mutated alleles you have.
4. Take the MTHFR Mutation Test
Finding out if you have this genetic mutation is the first step to optimizing your health. If you have one or more of these symptoms, your issue could stem from having this small defect in your DNA.
Ask your doctor to test you specifically for the MTHFR testing. It is a simple test that can be done in the office.
Ask your health insurance company and ask if they cover this test. The cost is around $200 out of pocket.
The only way to know if you have the MTHFR mutation it to be tested specifically for the gene by your doctor.
Over half the population has at least one mutation from two of the most important alleles.
C677T – Leads to high homocysteine and has a greater impact on your health
A1298C- No effect on homocysteine levels but has a big effect on cardiovascular and neurological systems including neurotransmitters.
You can have a mutation in only one or both of these.
Both of these alleles are at risk for reduced methylation so our bodies are unable to fully convert Folic Acid to the Folate.
5. Folic Acid vs Folate
There is a difference between Folic acid and Folate you need to be aware of to understand methylation.
Both are forms of water-soluble B vitamin. Folate is consumed through the foods you eat, and folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin.
The word Folate is Latin for “folium,” which means leaf. In fact, leafy vegetables are the best sources of folate.
Folate is an essential nutrient and is responsible for supporting neural tube development in pregnancy.
It is also involved in a number of life-sustaining processes. Without the proper amount of folate, the neurotransmitters that regulate your mood get lazy. Folate created red blood cells which encourage increased energy levels.
It naturally contains the B9 vitamin.
Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate or B9. It is added to supplements and processed foods.
The issue with folic acid is that the body does not convert it into active vitamin B9 very well, so it can build up in the bloodstream.
Un-metabolized folic acid can lead to negative effects on your health. This build-up happens very easily and you probably do not realize how much of it you consume daily.
As I mentioned before, it is found in process foods like cereal and flour. When you eat bread, pasta, breakfast cereal or anything containing flour, you are getting folic acid.
Folic acid is itself is not the worst thing. It was obviously “made” to supplement certain deficiencies. The problem arises if your MTHFR gene is compromised and most of us don’t know if that is us or not. It’s actually doing the opposite effect on your body and making you sick instead of healthy.
6. MTHFR Treatment
It’s kinda a bummer that there is not a cure for MTHFR mutation. However, having it isn’t a death sentence. There are many ways to help the methylation process and take back your life! Please try to do as many of these listed below.
- Optimize your diet. Eat foods high in folate. These include beans, lintels, beef liver, tropical fruits, oranges, asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, and leafy greens. Try as much as possible to eat organic products to reduce the number of toxins and pesticides you intentionally put into your body since you can not fully detox because of the MTHFR mutation.
- Keep your gut healthy with bone broth. 80% of your immune system is in your gut along with 90% serotonin. Your gut is unable to produce certain nutrients, you need to supplement these important nutrients. Bone broth contains what your gut needs. By keeping your gut healthy, it will be ready to absorb all of the foods rich in folate and it will absorb all of the nutrients from your supplements. I wrote an entire article about how amazing bone broth is and why we should all drink a cup a day. You should READ IT HERE after you finish this one.
- Eliminate toxic chemicals from your home. Try using nontoxic and natural cleaners. Use organic cosmetics. There are over 200 chemicals in makeup. If possible, install a water filter system in your home. Tap water contains over 100 chemicals. I add this because our skin is the biggest organ in our body and toxins easily absorbed this way.
- Choose a supplement or two slowly at low doses. For some people, supplements are an easy way to make sure you are getting enough B9/folate. When choosing a supplement, make sure it DOES NOT contain folic acid. Swap out your folic acid with a methylated form of folate. Look for supplements that contain 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) because by supporting your methylation and detox pathways you can reduce the risk associated with MTHFR mutations!
- B12. You will need to take a methylated form of B12. This vitamin is good for mental health. If you have the MTHFR Mutation, your body will also have a hard time absorbing regular B12.
- Avoid processed foods or supplements with folic acid added to them. There is an app called NxtNutrio. You can scan barcodes and the app will tell you if the product contains GMO and gives your information about that product.
- If you are pregnant and have tested positive for MTHFR, you should consult with your doctor about what regimen you should be on.
- Exercise regularly. Research shows that exercising on a regular basis can change DNA methylation. Try working out 3-5 times a week for long term changes to take place.
- Educate yourself. You will need more than this article to fully understand the entirety of the MTHFR Mutation. However, this is a good place to start! When you get your lab results, you will also find out the severity of your diagnosis. Meaning, do you have one or two mutated genes.
7. Take control of your life and optimize your health.
I wanted to make people aware of this genetic mutation since it is associated with over 60 illnesses that could impair us as well as our children from living an optimized life.
Why isn’t this simple test recommend for everyone?
This should be a standard test given to us by our healthcare physician at an early age. By knowing if we carry this genetic mutation, it can allow us to make better healthcare decisions so we can live a quality life.
Over the last few months, I have had two friends get diagnosed with MTHFR mutation. One suffered from depression and anxiety and the other had two miscarriages before getting a diagnosis. Both friends are now on a regimen and so far feeling much better! They are able to enjoy their life and family without the symptoms of this incurable condition.
Don’t try to treat yourself. This is very complex and even your doctor might not have all of the answers. Find a healthcare professional that specializes in MTHFR.
In the meantime, there are a few supplements you can try that are safe and effective.
Here are a few safe and effective supplements we highly recommend
B12 & Folate in one pill
In general, vitamins are safe for people to use, though you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new supplement. CLICK HERE to read the disclosure.
Now it’s your turn
I hope you enjoyed this post intended for optimal health.
Now, I would love to hear from you:
Which supplement from this post are you excited to try?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you enjoyed this article, you should read some of our others!