Alright, here is the follow-up MTHFR post as promised! A little more on actually living with the dang thing, and less on the actual science, geeking out part of it.
First things first, I think there are so many people out there worrying about MTHFR genetic mutations. While there are benefits to knowing that you have a genetic mutation, know that there are thousands of genes, and possible SNPs, and they all interact with each other. All that to say, there are things to be aware of when it comes to having this particular SNP, but let’s make sure we are just making ourselves aware, and not inciting fear or anxiety over this.
Some things to know, no matter what kind of MTHFR mutation you have (if you don’t know what I mean, read this):
This is in many supplements, but you also need to pay close attention to the labels of processed/packaged food. It is the synthetic form of folate (a water-soluble B vitamin), which the methylation process transforms into methylfolate (very basic explanation) for our bodies to use. MTHFR genetic mutation affects your methylation pathway, so if you have a mutation, your methylation pathway could be slowed or get easily “clogged up”. Just be aware that we don’t really know how your methylation is fully affected without a genetic SNPs panel since there are so many cofactors, nutrients, and other genes involved in methylation and biotransformation, but I digress. It is especially important for pregnant women or if you are trying to become pregnant to be aware of folic acid because you will want to get a prenatal with folate or methylfolate instead of folic acid. Honestly, I venture to say any woman should be getting folate vs folic acid. I’m definitely not an expert, but I can’t think of a reason why you would want the synthetic form, when you could have the natural. If you want to learn more about avoiding folic acid and why, I recommend reading this.
The goal here is to limit the oxidative stress placed on your body, meaning don’t knowingly make your body work harder than it already has to. Methylation is not your body’s sole way of detoxing, but it contributes. Honestly, anyone and everyone should be aware of this regardless of your genetic status simply because our world is absolutely inundated with toxins that our bodies have to filter through every minute of every day. The United States is simply not on its “A” game when it comes to regulating chemicals we are exposed to. Not that they can control everything or purify everything, that’s simply not possible as our air and water are so polluted. But they are not controlling what they can as well as they should be (you can see a glimpse of what I’m talking about in this article ). That is why I work closely with my health coaching clients to make the switch to cleaner living as smooth, stress-free, and sustainable as possible. It can get so overwhelming with the number of toxins you discover when you start looking - where to even begin??? Fear not - I’m here for you, I’ve been doing this whole cleaner living thing for a few years now, and have some tips and tricks to keeping it simple and sustainable.
I believe many people in the health space get a little too crazy with supplements. Do I like supplements? Sure! They are a great tool for your health. Do I think everyone needs an entire arsenal of 50 different supplements? You can read more about what I think here. So, how can you support methylation with food? Leafy greens, organ meats, and avoiding folic acid as we mentioned above are great ways! I am not a nutritionist or registered dietitian, so please discuss any dietary changes with your medical team before implementing, but here is an article that shows you a wide variety of leafy greens that are out there.
As far as supplements go, you do need to be careful. Some research has shown that some MTHFR mutations can actually be negatively effected by supplementing with methylfolate depending on what other genetic mutation or nutrient deficiencies are at play. Like I have suggested before, I truly think starting with the book, “Dirty Genes” is a very good idea for everyone!
In summary, I don’t think anyone and everyone needs to have genetic testing done. If you feel it would bring you more anxiety than peace of mind in creating an action plan, then please feel free to reach out to me for a free consultation to come up with a different plan. If you are completely healthy, experiencing no symptoms of any kind, and don’t want to test - then don’t! You do you!
If you do want to work through this info, are having issues like autoimmune disease, miscarriages, or cardiovascular issues, then please feel free to sign up for a free consultation to see how I can best serve you in your health journey. As always, let’s focus on keeping health simple, so it’s something you can love.