MTHFR gene can affect health

January 03, 2014 08:22 am

In our recent exploration into factors affecting your health, we have learned about genetic influences. The MTHFR gene, short for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, affects some very important body functions. If you are of the roughly 40 percent of U.S. citizens with this mutation, your health will be affected. 

Testing for mutations was discussed in the last article. Today, let’s discuss treatment. Let’s imagine you’ve been tested for two of the most common mutations, the C677C and A1298A sites. Your results may show no mutations, one mutation or two mutations. You have two copies of 677 and two copies of 1298, one from each parent. No mutations lead to no loss of function. One mutation and two mutations cause 40 percent and 70 percent loss of function, respectively.

You can begin to imagine how useful this information can be. Also, consider the importance to family members. If you test positive, what about your parents, siblings or children? When considering treatment plans, please be cautious. Your state of health today is the product of what you were born with and what you have done with it. Many factors influence your health. As with most illness, treating the MTHFR mutation should be individualized. Each person’s uniqueness influences their health. Your unique genetics, lifestyle, diet, history and exposure
to toxins should guide

When treating problems arising from MTHFR mutations, keep in mind Socrates’ wisdom: “First do no harm.” Try hard not to take two steps forward and one step back. Improving your health constitutes change, and is work for you and your body. 

Treatment will change how your body will deal with toxins, stress, heart and nerve health. It is important to start low and go slow with any treatment you choose.

Here are some points for a safe start. Avoid folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. Folic acid is poorly utilized in healthy persons and isn’t used in people with MTHFR mutation where it backs up and causes problems. Folate and folic acid are often used interchangeably, even by experts. As always, your safest bets are real, whole foods. 

Uncooked, leafy greens and berries are a good source of natural folate. Take B12 by sublingual tablet or shot. Make sure you get the methylcobalamin form. Other treatments may include
L-methylfolate, zinc, probiotics, fish oil, milk thistle and the drugs Deplin and Metanx.

Commonly used drugs that should be avoided with MTHFR are: antacids, oral contraception, alcohol and some antibiotics, to name a few. 

Dr. John Winters is a naturopathic doctor and owns Winters Naturopathic Clinic in La Grande.