If you haven’t heard of the MTHFR gene mutation, it’s because it’s a fairly new discovery. Currently, this is a trending topic in functional medicine and anti-aging circles.
There is new research into the MTHFR gene mutation and its link to depression, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and recurrent miscarriages. Let’s look at how to find out if you have the mutation and how you can protect your body from the effects of its influence, if you do have it.
What is the MTHFR gene mutation?
Your body has trillions of cells that all have their own DNA instructions. Short segments of DNA are called genes. Your body has around 20,000 genes and these genes have the code from specific proteins. These proteins are vital to creating your body’s organs and tissues.
One of those genes is the MTHFR gene, and most people have two copies. The gene is known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, or MTHFR, and when you eat foods with folic acid, MTHFR converts the B9 into methyl-folate. This is the active form of folate, and the conversion is essential because it plays a role in almost every bodily function.
You need methyl-folate to keep your body running through methylation, which is involved in:
- Keeping inflammation under control
- Proper immune system function
- Helping the liver process fats
- Keeping homocysteine (an amino acid that damages blood vessels) in check
- Manufacturing neurotransmitters that are responsible for memory, mood, behavior, sleep and cognitive regulation
- Repairing cells and tissues
- The regulation of protein function and gene expression
- Mitigating the effects of heavy metals and other toxins on the body
As you can see, methylation is extremely important for health.
People with the MTHFR gene mutation have a faulty MTHFR enzyme. If you have the mutation, your body generally produces less methyl-folate than someone who does not have the mutation. This can lead to reduced quality of life and put you at a higher risk of developing a variety of diseases. The good news is, you can increase your methylation and keep your body running at its best.
You can look at the MTHFR gene mutation as an opportunity to eliminate your risks for disease, maximize your body’s methylation and optimize your nutrition.
Testing for the mutation
Your first step is to be tested to see if you have the gene mutation and, if so, which variations are affecting you. At the biostation, we are experienced with testing for the MTHFR gene mutation and we can help you determine an effective course of action for your needs, if you have it.
If you have the mutation, there are several things you can do to make the most of your situation. The following are steps you can take in addition to working with a qualified healthcare provider:
Optimize your digestive system flora
Repairing the digestive system is essential. You’ll need to treat any candida issues you have because it releases toxins that hinder proper methylation.
Stop taking supplements with folic acid
Your body cannot process the folic acid and it can build up in your system.
Don’t eat processed foods that are enriched with folic acid
This is for the same reason as avoiding supplements with added folic acid.
Get folate from natural sources
You’re going to want to eat at least one cup of dark, leafy greens every day. The best choices are bok choy, Swiss chard, spinach or kale.
Have your homocysteine levels checked
If these levels are high, you could have a B12 or folate deficiency, or you could have a methylation issue. If this is the case, you should supplement your vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, and 5-MTHF.
Check your dental fillings
If you have mercury amalgams, have a dentist replace them. You should also avoid aluminum exposure through your antiperspirants and cookware.
Make time during your week for detoxification
You can do Epsom salt baths, sit in an infrared sauna, or get in a good sweaty exercise session. You should also avoid household toxins, such as toxic cleaning products, as much as possible.
If you think you could be dealing with the MTHFR gene mutation, contact the biostation for more information or to make an appointment to be tested for the gene mutation. If you do have the mutation, we can work with you on a treatment program for optimal health.