What is MTHFR?

What if you could correct a genetic defect in your DNA that was leading to all kinds of unexplained illness? Such is the subject of a MTHFR mutation, and seriously, that’s not an acronym for cursing, but a real mutation in some people’s genes that doctors can work with.

MTHFR is an enzyme used in combination with vitamin B9 that the body uses to convert homocysteine (a non-protein amino acid) into methionine (an α-amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins) which is needed for proper metabolism and muscle growth. A genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene could be the cause of autoimmune disease and cause problems eliminating toxins from the body.

Persons with a MTHFR gene mutation have problems converting folic acid into a usable form.

Deficiencies in Folate, B6 and B12 cause elevated homocysteine levels, which have been linked to inflammation and heart disease, birth defects, difficult pregnancies, and an impaired detoxification process.

Fatigue, anxiety, sleep issues and the overall feeling of sluggishness could be a result of an MTHFR mutation. Stress in the body causes a normal breakdown of the detoxification process, and with the mutation it becomes even more difficult. As an example, the liver is a major detoxification system. If you consume an excess of alcohol, your liver uses methylation to clean itself out, but if your nutrients are depleted or you are stressed, your liver will not be able to get the job done, leading to a toxic hangover.

Identifying a potential MTHFR defect is especially important for women, as the defect can increase the risk of birth defects, including folate related disorders like Spina Bifida. The most common forms of MTHFR mutation involves various combinations of genes being passed on from both parents.

There are many symptoms that can be associated with an MTHFR mutation, and they can vary widely from person to person. A simple test (blood or saliva) can verify a gene defect and the exact issues you are dealing with. It’s important to note that you can’t (yet) change a gene mutation, but there are things you can do to alleviate the symptoms that come along with one.

Now that we know what a MTHFR gene mutation is, and what it can do, the next step is to avoid certain toxins and add natural nutrients and supplements. That will be discussed in my blog next week.

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