Q: Why is the MTHFR gene important and what should I know about MTHFR mutation?
A: If your odds of winning the lottery were 1:2, would you buy a ticket?
Most likely right? 50% odds are quite good!
Now let’s switch that around.
If you had a 50% chance of not being able to utilize folic acid very well, and in fact, did more harm then good, would you continue to take it?
45% of the population here in the USA have a defect in one of their genes, called the MTHFR gene, which reduces ones ability to utilize folic acid.
If folic acid doesn’t get transformed properly into the body’s most active form of folate, called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), then it can clog up your biochemistry causing a vast array of negative issues.
This MTHFR genetic defect especially affects Hispanics, Chinese and Italians. These three ethnic groups have a 70% reduced ability to produce 5-MTHF.
If you are not able to produce 5-MTHF from folic acid, then you won’t be able to lower your homocysteine very well, reduce histamine levels, sleep well, carry a baby to term without birth defects, be calm and focused or eliminate cancer forming estrogens.
This is only a partial list.
That’s pretty serious.
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Toss out your folic acid supplements and instead obtain ones that contain forms of folate that your body can use. Look for 5-MTHF and also calcium folinate. These two forms of folate are readily used by your body and get right to work. Those with MTHFR genetic defects need more 5-MTHF than calcium folinate; however, both are important, especially if there is a B12 deficiency or methylation block (more on that some other time).
NOTE: It is very important to take B12 as methylcobalamin when taking L-5-MTHF. If taking just 5-MTHF without B12 as methylcobalamin, then the 5-MTHF may get ‘stuck’ and not do anything for you. Your body needs both to work properly.
If your family has a history of cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, cancer, chronically ill, autoimmune disorders, autism, down syndrome, depression – then the likelihood is very high that you, your parents and your relatives have one or more defective MTHFR genes.
Test for the MTHFR genetic defect. How? Consider testing through your doctor. Ask your doctor to order the MTHFR genetic test through Spectracell Labs, Molecular Testing Labs or 23andMe.
Eat leafy greens.
Learn all you can about how to be proactive about this very common and very potentially damaging genetic defect. If your doctor doesn’t know about it, they need to. Learn more at www.MTHFR.Net and also read our other articles here at ProHealth.
Does having the MTHFR genetic defect ruin my ability to live a long healthy life?
If you do nothing and ignore the possibility – yes – absolutely.
However, if you are proactive, test for it, avoid folic acid, supplement with 5-MTHF and calcium folinate, eat leafy greens and do what it takes to live healthfully, then having the MTHFR genetic defect is not an issue at all.
Being proactive here is what is needed.
There is no reason to be scared getting tested for the MTHFR genetic defect.
There is every reason to be scared if you choose NOT to test for it.
Be informed and take charge of your health.
Dr. Ben Lynch, ND
Benjamin Lynch, ND received his Cell and Molecular Biology, BS from the University of Washington and his ND from Bastyr University. His passion for identifying the cause of disease directed him towards nutrigenomics and methylation dysfunction.
Currently, he researches, writes and presents worldwide on the topic of MTHFR and methylation defects. You may learn more about Dr Lynch and his work at www.MTHFR.Net. Dr Lynch is also the President & CEO of www.SeekingHealth.com, a company oriented towards disease prevention and health promotion. He lives in Bothell, WA with his wife, Nadia, and three boys, Tasman, Mathew and Theodor.