MTHFR? Why you should care...
I was 20-something and falling apart. I used to joke that I’d been dealt a bad hand genetically. Little did I know that was technically the case. It wasn’t until almost a decade later that I started hearing about genetic mutations that hindered the body’s natural defenses by impairing processes called “methylation” and detoxification. I decided to put that raw data from Ancestry to really good use and run methylation and detoxification reports based on my own DNA to discover the ways my body wasn’t performing optimally. (Check out where you can do the same HERE and HERE) That is when I really got to know the bad boy of genetic mutations called MTHFR. It is the gene that provides instructions for the production of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme. What is this mouthful responsible for?
One of the main reactions is to convert vitamin B9 (or folate) into a usable form, known as methyl-folate. Methyl-folate is critical in the process I mentioned earlier, called methylation.
Methylation protects your body by;
repairing damaged cells
optimizing DNA cell function
processing toxins and hormones
metabolizing B vitamins
regulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which control mood, behavior, sleep and your overall mental health.
One of the most important tasks methylation performs is turning homocysteine into methionine. Methionine, is a veritable powerhouse – building proteins, repairing and regenerating cells, detoxifying, controlling inflammation, and helping your liver to process fats, among many other functions. Most importantly, methionine produces glutathione, your body’s most potent detoxifier. When these processes are not occurring like they should or are impeded, the results are the MYRIAD of Autoimmune diseases and other issues that plague so many of us! It is estimated that 60% of the population have at least one version of the MTHFR gene mutation impairing their ability to detox the heavy metals, toxic chemicals, medications, pesticides, etc. that they are exposed to.
So, what are some of the common issues associated with the MTHFR gene mutation that this large percent of the population carries?
Mental health conditions like Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar disorder, & Schizophrenia
Autoimmune diseases like Alopecia Areata & Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis,
Cardiovascular & Thromboembolic diseases (Stroke, Blood clots, Embolism, Heart attacks)
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Post-menopausal breast cancer
Chronic pain & fatigue
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
pregnancies w/ neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly
Lip & Tongue tie
Post partum depression
Type 1 Diabetes
JUST TO NAME A FEW!!!!!!!!
Are you paying attention yet? Does this sound like anything you or your loved ones could be dealing with?
So, what if you DO have this genetic mutation, like my ENTIRE FAMILY DOES? What does this mean for you? The GOOD news is that genetics are not fixed. We have learned about epigenetics, which are all of the environmental factors that control gene expression. This means that getting an autoimmune disease has only about 25% to do with your actual genetics and 75% to do with these environmental factors, which can be altered or controlled! Think of the gun and bullet analogy… your gun is loaded with whatever you are genetically predisposed to. My gun would likely have Thyroid disease, Diabetes, Blood Clots and Stroke bullets inside (based off my family history), but it would be my diet, toxin exposure, and nutrient support that will either keep the safety on my gun or pull the trigger. Follow me here? Want to keep the safety on your genetic gun? Then you HAVE to reduce the toxic burden on your body.
Want a hint at what can even further complicate this important process in someone that carries the MTHFR genetic mutation? FOLIC ACID, which is the synthetic lab generated version of the whole food FOLATE. Synthetic Folic acid, actually inhibits those of us with the MTHFR mutation from absorbing folate. Guess what some well meaning person insisted be pumped into EVERY processed grain, every loaf of bread, every bag of pasta or rice!?!?!? SYNTHETIC FOLIC ACID. Does that bag of flour or rice say “Enriched”. Well, it is now toxic to anyone that carries the MTHFR genetic mutation (and remember… that is at least 60% of us!) So, do we really have a gluten intolerance? or do we have MTHFR and can’t tolerate Folic Acid? How about those multivitamins you’ve been taking for your benefit… does the label say “Folate” or “Folic Acid”… if the latter, toss them in the garbage! No joke!
When I first started learning about this, I started getting ANGRY! Why isn’t every man, woman and child tested for this methylation mutation (and all of the others)? Why are we all becoming so chronically ill? Because if we cannot properly detoxify our bodies of all the yuck and we keep inundating our bodies with them… think heavy metals (like metal cavity fillings, preservatives and adjuvants in Vaccines, Mercury in seafood, etc.), pesitcides (think any non-organic produce item you consume regularly), medications, caffeine, anesthesia, toxic chemicals in our personal care products, skin care, candles, air fresheners, conventional cleaners, etc. then we will accumulate all of that nonsense in our bodies and it will wreak its havoc!
So, let’s decrease that toxic burden on our bodies. Let’s clean up what we CAN control between the products we use, the medications we take, and the food we ingest. Be sure to check out one of my favorite resources for all things MTHFR, MTHFR.net by “Dirty Genes” author Dr. Ben Lynch. His diet recommendations and other research are so eye opening!
I was so thankful when I looked at my vitamins and supplements from Young Living and found that they only use the whole food appropriate forms of folate and B vitamins in their products, compatible with MTHFR. My Young Living personal care products and their Thieves cleaning products are completely toxin free and entirely plant based, therefore reducing that burden on my body. My Young Living Essential oils have replaced the use of OTC or prescription medications to further alleviate the burden that pharaceuticals have on my body. It is why my Progessence Plus made such a HUGE difference in my preconception, pregnancy, and post partum periods! It has been a crazy ride, but I am SO beyond thankful that before I could explain exactly why I wasn’t thriving that I was led to these solutions. They have profoundly blessed my entire family. We are working hard to keep the safety on our genetic gun. So, how about you? Are you ready to run your Ancestry or 23&Me raw data through these reports? Reach out to me if you do! Let’s talk about what you discover!