You may have heard of the mthfr gene mutation. Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (mthfr) is an enzyme that is named for the mthfr gene which encodes it. Studies say that at least 30% of people, and probably higher, have a mutation of the gene which diminish the amount of enzyme it makes. Here is how it works. The mthfr gene tells the body to make the mthfr enzyme for the purpose of methylation. Methylation is the process of the enzymes instructing the genes in what to do or not to do: very simply, turning the gene on or off. So what does it matter that your enzyme mthfr is not working the way it is supposed to? It matters a lot!
Depending on where on the gene the mutation is, it can be the cause of a list of issues. If the mutation is located at the C677T location (you can think of it as a place on the gene or gene address), then the person is at higher risk of cardiovascular problems, elevated homocysteine, stroke, migraines, recurrent miscarriages, and neural tube defects. If it is located at the A1298C location then the person is at higher risk of fibromyalgia, IBS, fatigue, chronic pain, schizophrenia, and mood related problems. And if at each of these locations the person inherited a gene mutation (a gene that is turned off for methylation) from both parents then the chances of issues are even higher.
We have the genes we have ---- that does not change ---- but the good news is we do not treat genes, we support methylation pathways. If methylation is working well we are good and if it is not we are prone to the issues mentioned above. So how do we support methylation?
Your methylation is supported through lifestyle, good nutrition, and removing barriers to methylation. If Methylation is supported even if your genes have a mutation, the chances of it causing problems is diminished greatly.
Here is a list of ways your methylation may be disrupted and how to support Methylation:
1. Make sure the body has the co factors needed for methylation, especially zinc, magnesium, choline, B2, B6 and B12. The best source of these is a whole food diet. If you know you have the mthfr gene mutation your body needs more support so it is important to take a supplement with already methylated folate in the form of methylfolate instead of folate or folic acid.
If you are trying to get pregnant and have the mthfr gene mutation I would love to talk to you about the appropriate supplements for you. As a prenatal I recommend Baby and Me II which has folate in the form of 5mthf which is the methyalfolate.
2. Methylation needs the building blocks on which it works in order to do its job. These building blocks are amino acids from protein, primarily methionine and homocysteine. It is important for methylation to get enough protein and be able to use it by having adequate stomach acid.
3. Some medications, such as antacids, metformin, or nitrous oxide, can block methylation. If someone has diminished methylation pathways, such as with the mthfr gene mutation, taking nitrous oxide could cause serious issues because your body cannot detox it from the system the way it is supposed to.
4. High levels of some nutrients can deplete methylation, such as high doses of niacin or folic acid which may block receptors.
5. Environmental toxins block methylation such as heavy metals, and chemicals. It is important to support your body’s detox ability. One way to do this is by taking Liposomal Glutathione. Infrared saunas are also amazing for detoxification.
6. Too much of the end product of the methylation in the body (such as having too much of certain neurotransmitters or too much homocysteine) signals the body to stop methylation.
7. Genetic mutations can slow down methylation, which is why it can be useful to learn about your DNA. I recommend the test 23 And Me and then using Straight Gene to understand your results. A word of encouragement, even with mutations, if the methylation pathways are supported and working the mutations will not be as damaging. You can use my affiliate link to order 23 and Me from Amazon.
8. Stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep can depress methylation, so it is important to make sure we have healthy lifestyle habits.
9. Receptors sites can be blocked by antibodies (in the case of autoimmune disorders) or by inflammation, so it is important to rule these out by doing some health investigation with functional tests. If you are interested in functional testing find out causes of autoimmune conditions or inflammation make an appointment with me.
10. High levels of some hormones, such as cortisol or estrogen can block methylation, so it is important to find the root of hormone issues, lower stress, and balance hormones.
So as you can see, methylation is often disturbed by various mechanisms, but they are all able to be supported or treated with the right knowledge, lifestyle, testing, nutrition, and supplements. If you have an mthfr mutation the first step is supporting methylation pathways. If methylation is working well then mthfr gene mutation should not diminish quality of life. We cannot treat genes, but we can support the body function by supporting methylation.
If you know you have mthfr gene mutation or your have had recurrant miscarriages or infertility issues I would love to work with you to find answers for your health.
Maternal and Pediatric Implications due to MTHFR and Methylation Dysfunction. Dr. Ben Lynch. https://www.drbenlynch.com/product/prenatal-conference-course/
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