We have thousands of genes within our body that play a variety of roles. One of these genes is known as MTHFR. It is responsible for creating an enzyme named methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The job of this enzyme is to convert folic acid, a vitamin, in the foods we eat into methylfolate the form of folic acid that is used by our body. Folic acid is found in foods like spinach and other leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, and beans.
If you have a mutation in this gene your body will have difficulty or be unable to use the folic acid properly which is important for many body functions including hormone regulation, DNA production, and elimination of toxins. There are two different types of MTHFR gene mutation C677T or A1298C. It is estimated that between 40-60% of the population have some sort of mutation of this gene.
The C677T mutation is linked with increased homocysteine levels in the body. High levels of homocysteine can put you at risk for a number of conditions including migraines, miscarriage, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, pre-eclamspia, neural tube defects (spina bifida, lip ties, tongue ties) or pulmonary embolism. It is also suggested that it may play a role with autism, ADD, ADHD, and infertility. In addition, the A1298C mutation may result in more mental health diseases due to problems with imbalances in neurotransmitters.
It is possible for you to have the C677T mutation, the A1298C mutation, or both. You may also have one copy of a mutation or two determined by if your mother, your father, or both parents passed it to you. If you have two copies of the gene the enzyme in your body could be functioning at 30% or less than what it should be. Genetic testing using a blood test can be done to determine whether or not you have a mutation. Other useful tests that can confirm a mutation of MTHFR are hormone levels, microbiome labs, and homocysteine levels.
You may have this genetic abnormality if you experience any of the above mentioned issues with migraines, heart issues, clotting problems, mental health issues or gut issues as these are all related to the enzyme working ineffectively.
- Increase your intake of foods that contain folic acid; dark leafy green vegetables, avocado, lentils, beans, and nuts.
- Monitor your diet and remove foods that contain high homocysteine levels such as conventional meats, processed foods, dairy, sugar, and alcohol.
- Get rid of medications that may further deplete folate levels.
- Get rid of vitamins that contain folic acid. This is the incorrect form. You need methylfolate otherwise you are wasting your money because your body can’t use it properly.
- Supplement with S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) and Methylmelonic Acid (MMA).