What in the world is MTHFR?

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No, it’s not a bad word.  This is a “G” rated publication after all. 

“MTHFR, which is short for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, is an enzyme which helps in numerous important processes, including processing amino acids and converting the vitamin B9 (folate) to a usable form. This affects your cardiovasular system, hormones, metabolism, and detoxification.”
(thefamilythathealstogether.com.whatismthfr)

Here is the catch. 

There is something called a MTHFR gene mutation.  Now before you start thinking of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles please know that having blue eyes is also a gene mutation…gasp!

MTHFR has been in the news the last few years and for good reason.  Even the actress Courtney Cox was talking about it publicly.  When you see MTHFR it is referring to a hereditary condition where it’s possible to have one, two or none of the variants. And, it is more common than you may think.

If left untreated, leading Holistic doctors say a MTHFR mutation can cause mental disorders, toxicity, blood clotting, heart disease, glaucoma, histamine intolerance, strokes, miscarriages, birth defects, autoimmune disorders and so much more.

“How do I know if I have it?”  I am so glad you asked.

Symptoms include but not limited to: tongue tie, heart defects, sinusitis, stork bites, sacral dimple, depression, high homocysteine levels, anxiety, stroke, headaches, chronic fatigue, foggy brain and bipolar disorder.  It is safe to say that a MTHFR gene mutation very well could be the root cause of many disorders and diseases.

People with the MTHFR gene mutation can’t process Folic Acid well, the man-made version of Folate.  This is especially important for pregnant women as it is recommend they take a prenatal vitamin with Folic Acid.  If they have a mutation this could be dangerous to the baby.  Folic Acid is also found in food that is “enriched” or processed. Natural sources of the healthy Folate are dark green leafy vegetables, beans, eggs, nuts, seeds and more.

Folic Acid can build up in the body as a toxin.  In fact people with this mutation have trouble processing all toxins including glysophate, aluminum, mercury and more. Certain anesthesia can be dangerous as well such as Nitrous Oxide.  The right methyl B vitamin is also very important as well as nutrition.    

I recently visited with a local friend of mine, Jaime Bongers, who suffered a stroke on an airplane at the age of 30.  It wasn’t until she happened to see “MTHFR” on the computer screen linked with her results at the Neurologist’s office that it all came together for her.   

Since then Jaime has had a hole in her heart repaired (a symptom of MTHFR) and changed her diet to avoid gluten, folic acid and foods that trigger high homocysteine levels.  With the help of her Chiropractor and Naturopath she has slowly added supplements to her routine and she is feeling much better and still has some health goals to obtain.   She and her family have been on a learning journey educating not only themselves but their doctors, family and friends.

“My hope is that people understand how much it can affect your life…there are root causes.  Don’t ignore the symptoms.  The depression or headaches, they are trying to tell you something.  It’s so important to share knowledge and experience with others,” she said with passion. 

It is important to know your body and your children well and be aware of symptoms. Jamie said her children’s health dramatically improved after removing Folic Acid from their diet and supplements. 

And know this, just because you have a gene variant does not mean you are destined to have an unhealthy life. Lifestyle and diet changes, supplements as well as a detoxification program can put you back on track and put YOU back in charge of your health.

To learn more visit Dr. Ben Lynch’s website at mthfr.net.  Testing can take place by mail from sites such as 23andme.com. I prefer to work with a doctor educated in gene mutations that can read the results, listen to your symptoms and put you on a personalized plan that will work for you instead of a generalized MTHFR plan.  Every person, family and situation is unique. 

Brooke DeLong, N.D.

Brooke DeLong

Brooke DeLong

Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.

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