MTHFR is a group of letters we seem to be seeing everywhere lately! But, what do they mean, and how can they affect our health?
MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It is an enzyme that helps to process proteins in the body. If the MTHFR genes are not functioning properly a wide array of things can go wrong in our bodies and cause many different signs and symptoms. These problems can be greatly helped once we know which genes are causing our unique issues.
The types of problems that MTHFR methylation issues can cause are wide-reaching and can often seem unrelated until you look at their origin in the body. Methylation is a mechanism that affects how your genes are expressed, and dictates how your cells are formed and function. So what signs should you look out for? Here are some signs that you may have MTHFR gene issues:
Many couples experience the heartbreaking issue of infertility. Some of these pregnancy losses may be attributed to issues with the MTHFR gene. In this case, the gene interferes with the proper formation of the baby while in the mother’s womb. It can also cause issues with the proper absorption of folate in the body. The quality of folate you take just before you become pregnant and in the early weeks of pregnancy is crucial.
All women of childbearing age who choose to supplement their diet with a multivitamin should be taking a quality prenatal vitamin that contains folate NOT folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of naturally occurring folate and cannot be properly utilized in the body. Some professionals have even said that it can cause the issues it’s purported to prevent. SCARY!
You can never go wrong with consuming foods that are high in folate during pregnancy. This is an excellent way to get the nutrients your body needs in a way that nature has expertly engineered for our bodies.
If you have issues with infertility or reoccurring losses then it might be worth exploring whether or not you or your partner are having issues with MTHFR. It can affect both men and women’s ability to conceive a healthy child.
MTHFR Issues In Babies
Babies have unique signs of MTHFR issues and these can include:
- Tongue and lip-ties
- Stork bites
- Sacral dimples
- Facial dimples
- Blue vein on the bridge of the nose, or “sugar bug”
Poor Gut Function
Leaky Gut is another term that has become more widely known recently, and with good reason. It’s become a major health issue for people of all ages as our diets have become less nutrient dense and our mental stress levels have risen.
Leaky gut can be associated with:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Histamine intolerance
- ADHD and other behavioral disorders
- Skin issues like eczema and psoriasis
- Malabsorption issues where the body doesn’t properly use the nutrients you get from your food
- SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
- Autoimmune conditions
All of these things can be attributed to issues with methylation because improper methylation will lead to imbalances of our gut bacteria, and our gut bacteria is very important in helping to keep many of the above conditions in check.
Mental Health Issues
People who have issues with their MTHFR genes are more likely to have issues with their mental health. It’s been shown that mental health issues are more common these people. Issues like:
- Major depression
- Bi-polar disorder
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Oppositional Defiance Disorder
How are these conditions affected by MTHFR gene issues? All of these disorders can be associated with the body’s inability to properly absorb and utilize nutrients that are essential for excellent mental functioning. The nutrients that are affected include:
- B Vitamins
- Essential Fatty Acids (like fish oil)
All of these nutrients and minerals work together to perform various tasks in the brain to keep a person mentally healthy. If the body cannot properly utilize them due to issues with the MTHFR gene, then essentially the parts of their brain that need them become deficient. A brain that is deficient cannot function properly.
What Should You Do About It?
There is testing available to find out whether or not you have issues with your MTHFR gene. It is a simple saliva test that you can take in the comfort of your own home. A kit will be mailed to you, you fill up the container they provide with your saliva, and then you mail the sample back to them with the provided return shipping materials. Once they receive your information they will send you the raw data about your specific gene issues. You can then take this information and have it analyzed to get more details.
You can then take this information to your natural health practitioner and get help in putting together a healing plan for your specific issues. There is a lot you can do for yourself at home, too, once you are armed with this information.
Do you notice any signs or symptoms that you are experiencing that could be related to the MTHFR gene mutation?
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