You a Bad MTHFR

MTHFR. I’m sure you’ve seen this buzzword acronym around, by now! It stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It’s easy to see why it’s abbreviated! So what does this mean, exactly?

MTHFR is a gene that provides instructions to the body for making amino acids in the body. Amino acids are important because they are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are important because nearly every system in the body runs on these proteins. It also converts folate into methylfolate. This expression is crucial for the body’s ability to produce glutathione – the master antioxidant.

A person can be homozygous (carrying two copies), heterozygous (carrying one copy) or both. Having one or more copies can decrease methylation (the ability to detox and manage inflammation) by up to 70%. Wow!

The claim to fame that this genetic expression has these days, is that about 40% of the population has this expression in various forms. Some say about 90% of autistic children carry this genetic trait.

This gene is responsible for causing a whole host of issues, especially midline defects, such as neural tube defects, tongue and lip ties, cleft lip, cleft palate, spinabifida, cerebrovascular issues, cardiovascular issues, inflammatory bowel issues, and other autoimmune dysfunctions.

Homocysteine blood levels can be elevated as a result, which indicate inflammation and issues with methylation.

When supplementing or ingesting synthetic folic acid, a person with MTHFR mutation has a decreased ability to convert folic acid into folate. This back up of folic acid, clogs the system, blocks the receptors and can even become toxic to the MTHFR person. Folate is important, especially for pregnant women, because it helps prevent neural tube and midline defects, among many other proven benefits.

So what do we do? Avoid synthetic folic acid at all costs. Check your genetic profile, either by ordering the MTHFR test, or checking all your SNPs and methylation genetics via 23andme or some other genetic testing. Do eat more leafy greens. Generally a methylfolate or other methyl groups can be helpful, but they can also be harmful causing overmethylation (when the body is detoxing faster than it can handle). 

Read @drbenlynch work and his book Dirty Genes.





Mandy Flanders