What is the big deal about MTHFR genetic mutation?

MTHFR seems to be popular topic of discussion in the health field right now, and it is one of the main drives of methylation, and makes methylfolate. Methylation is important in helping to maintain the integrity of the myelin, and a healthy nervous system. The way methylation affects our DNA is extremely important. MTHFR is an enzyme necessary for an important metabolic process called methylation. In the process of converting folate and folic acid into a form the body can use. The MTHFR gene produces this enzyme, but a genetic mutation can inhibit its function.

Common signs of poor methylation include fatigue, from low cellular energy output, obesity, infertility, and recurrent miscarriage. There is some research linking poor methylation to autoimmunity. Also, with methylation being an important role in the nervous system you may see signs of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and even some of the more severe neuropsychiatric disorders.

The two most problematic mutations that can occur are C677T and A1298C, which represent the placement of the mutation on the gene. The most common forms of MTHFR mutation involve numerous combinations of these genes being passed on from each parent:

•   Homozygous: the same gene passed on from both parents

•    Heterozygous: one parent passed on the mutation, but the other parent passed on a normal gene

•   Compound Heterozygous: one parent passed on the mutation and the other passed on alternative combination of the gene mutation

•   Other more advanced and rare mutations

Here are some things you can do to manage the MTHFR genetic mutation:

•   Avoid taking folic acid blocking or depleting drugs, such as birth control pills or Methyltrexate

•   Avoid taking proton pump inhibitors

•   Have your homocysteine measured; which if elevated may indicate a problem with methylation or a deficiency of B12 or folate

•   Avoid eating processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid

•   Get your daily intake of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard or arugula, which are loaded with natural folate that your body can more easily process

•   Eat hormone-free, grass-fed beef, and eggs from free-range, non-GMO fed chickens

•   Avoid heavy metal exposure

•   Make sure you supplementing with essential nutrients, like methyl-B12, methyl-folate, fish oil, Vitamins C, D, E, and probiotics

•    Make time for gentle detox regimens several times per week.  These include infrared sauna, epsom salt baths, Torf Natural Moor Mud bath, and regular exercise


By: Charlene Hagner M.Ac., Dipl. O.M., L.Ac.