A Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) gene mutation (also called a SNP) impedes your ability to convert folate into a usable form. In a nut shell, this affects how well and efficiently you’re able to methylate, but does not impair the pathway itself. Methylation is the beginning of phase II detoxification which occurs in the liver. There are two phases to detoxification – a water soluble phase which is phase I, and a conjugation phase, which is phase II. Conjugation means to “connect or grab onto”. In phase II detoxification the conjugate is a protein. There are six conjugation pathways that are connected and methylation is the beginning. Therefore, if you have a MTHFR mutation, it will not only affect methylation but also the other five phase II detoxification pathways. Methylation creates methyl groups (-CH3) which are important for over 200 biochemical pathways in the body ranging from detoxification, tissue repair, neurotransmitter balance, energy production, immunity, and hormone balance. When the methylation pathway does not work efficiently it can cause a burden on the liver leading to greater toxicity, weakened immunity, infertility, depression and/or anxiety, inability to focus, and fatigue. Over 90% of people who suffer with a chronic illness have at least one of these mutations.
How do I treat a MTHFR Mutation?
Consider people with these mutations as the “canary in the coal mine”. They are more vulnerable to environmental toxins, this includes the chemicals that are added to our foods, medications, vaccines, and poor quality supplements. We are seeing an increase in babies born with these mutations because the mutations can be “turned on” in utero when either the mom or dad carries a toxic burden. Since WWII, the amount of environmental toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis has skyrocketed and is only getting worse. People assume our government is protecting us from these types of chemicals, but just the opposite is true. One of the first steps is to greatly limit your exposure to environmental toxins. Use environmentally friendly cleaning and personal care products. Choose organic foods that have a short ingredient list. Prepare meals at home. Make sure to have some high quality animal protein every day – phase II detoxification requires protein to work properly and people with these mutations simply cannot get enough protein from a vegetarian diet. Eliminate gluten and dairy (butter, ghee, milk, cheese, and yogurt) from your diet – the gluten and casein (from the dairy) are very large proteins that are hard for the body to digest and create a burden on methylation. Avoid folic acid, as it is the synthetic form of folate and can further impede the methylation pathway.
What supplements should I take?
Take only high quality supplements free from chemicals. Avoid purchasing supplements from big box stores or a pharmacy, they tend to be of low quality and contain food chemicals.
- Active form of folate (5 methyltetrahydrofolate) – While it is a common inclination to just start taking folate, this can actually do more harm than good, especially in the beginning.
- Phospholipid supplement – One of the most important roles of the methylation pathway is to produce choline and phospholipids, this is a good supplement to include. Nordic Natural – Omega Phospholipids gel caps is of high quality and free from soy, take 1 – 2 gel caps daily.
- Turmeric – This is a large methyl donor and reduces inflammation throughout the body. Take a high quality turmeric supplement such as Organic India Turmeric, take 1 – 2 caps 1 – 2 X day between meals.
- A Green Beverage – This is also a large methyl donor and reduces inflammation. The Nano Greens or Macro Greens are two recommended brands free of gluten and dairy, take 1 scoop mixed with water 1 X day.