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MTHFR and your health
Ever wondered why your health is so compromised without being able to get real relieve from any treatment? Well, you might have MTHFR mutation and that could be the root cause of your heath issues. Please read further to find out more.
What is MTHFR?
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. This enzyme is also important for converting homocysteine into methionine, which the body needs for proper metabolism and muscle growth and which is needed for glutathione creation. The process of methylation also involves the enzyme from the MTHFR gene, so those with a mutation may have trouble effectively eliminating toxins from the body.
The MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme plays a role in processing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is important for a chemical reaction involving forms of the vitamin folate (also called vitamin B9). Specifically, this enzyme converts a molecule called 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to a molecule called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. This reaction is required for the multistep process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. The body uses methionine to make proteins and other important compounds.
Those of us with a MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into a usable form. Research estimates that as much as half of the population may have an MTHFR gene mutation, though there are many variations of the mutation, depending on how the gene was passed down from the parents.
Problems From an MTHFR Gene Mutation
Individuals with low activity of the MTHFR enzyme may present with elevated homocysteine levels, which have been associated with inflammation and heart disease, birth defects, difficult pregnancies, and potentially an impaired ability to detoxify.
More conditions that have been associated by research with the MTHFR mutation are:
- Down syndrome
- Spina Bifida
- Pulmonary Embolisms
- Depression & Anxiety
- Vascular Dementia
- Neurologic Diseases
- Chronic Fatigue
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Heart Disease
- Blood clots
- Gastric Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Essential Hypertension
- Heart Attack
- Prostate Cancer
- Heart Murmurs
- Bladder Cancer
- Stroke in Children
- Deficits in childhood cognitive development
- Chemical Sensitivity and more…
Nutrient deficiencies in Folate, B6 and B12 have been associated with elevated homocysteine.
Individuals with the MTHFR gene actually have a difficult time processing folic acid that is present in most cheap supplements and added to processed foods. Some professionals claim that this type of folic acid may even cause a build-up in the body leading to toxicity. Studies have been done that showed folic acid supplements increased cancer risk…
Activated folate (named 5MTHF) goes on to give its methyl group to other nutrients and substances – a process called “methylation.” It is required for the creation of every cell in your body, so if it is not activated properly, you can imagine what a significant issue it would be. 5MTHF, along with several other nutrients, is also used to create and process neurotransmitters (messengers in the nervous system like serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine); create immune cells and process hormones (such as estrogen); as well as to produce energy and detoxify chemicals.
Stress, in all its forms, inhibits this “methylation” – the transfer of methyl from 5MTHF to other substances. So when you are under stress, it is especially important to provide the nutrients necessary for these processes.
To clarify in more detail, the liver is a major processing system, involving countless enzyme pathways, including methylation, which turn one nutrient into another and toxins into non-toxins, preparing them all to be used and/or expelled by the body. When you drink alcohol, it is your livers job to process it using methylation, but if your nutrients are depleted or you are stressed, your liver will not be able to complete the process effectively, leading to symptoms associated with a hangover.
Identifying a potential MTHFR defect is especially important for women of childbearing age, as this defect can increase the risk of many problems in an unborn child, including folate related disorders like Spina Bifida.
Types of MTHFR Mutation
There are many different possibilities when it comes to MTHFR gene mutations and science is still working to understand them all.
The reason for all the types of mutations is variations in the specific genes passed on from each parent. In other words, if both parents pass on a healthy gene, a person won’t have a mutation at all. If one parent passes on a healthy gene but the other passes on a mutated gene, several variations can occur. If both parents pass on a mutated form, there are many more scenarios that can occur.
The two most problematic mutations that can occur are C677T and A1298C, which denote the placement of the mutation on the gene. The most common forms of MTHFR mutation involve various combinations of these
- Homozygous: the same gene passed on from both parents- can occur if both pass on the 677 mutation, or the 1298 mutation.
- Heterozygous: one parent passed on the 677 mutation or the 1298 mutation but the other parent passed on a normal gene.
- Compound Heterozygous: one parent passed on the 677 mutation and the other passed on the 1298 mutation.
- Other more advanced and rare mutations.
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 homocysteine. High homocysteine 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.
Get Tested for MTHFR Gene Defects