MTHFR stands for the methyltetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme. Now that’s a mouthful, but what does it mean? It is actually part of your genetic material, in all of your chromosomes, and in every cell in your body. And, it is responsible for producing enzymes to help you utilize folic acid, an important B-vitamin. It was inherited by you from your parents and you will pass on your genetic ability or inability to use folic acid to your children. Often (in up to 35% of the population), this gene is mutated and your body cannot use the folic acid eaten in your daily diet because of this genetic mutation.
There are different types of MTHFR genetic mutations. You can either have a heterozygous (1 copy of C677T) or a homozygous (2 copies of C677T) MTHFR mutation depending on the actual genes which are mutated. If you are heterozygous, you can only utilize about 30% of the folic acid you consume on a daily basis and if you are a homozygous, that number drops to 10%.
Why is MTHFR important?
If your body cannot go through the massively important steps of taking normally eaten folic acid and making usable folic acid in your body, you will be more susceptible to a number of health ailments, including the items listed below by Dr. Ben Lynch (www.MTHFR.net):
- Addictions: smoking, drugs, alcohol
- Down’s syndrome
- Pulmonary embolisms
- Depression in Post-Menopausal Women
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Spina bifida
- Esophageal Squamous cell carcinoma
- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
- Vascular Dementia
- Bipolar disorder
- Colorectal Adenoma
- Idiopathic male infertility
- Blood clots
- Rectal cancer
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Infant depression via epigenetic processes caused by maternal depression
- Deficits in childhood cognitive development
- Gastric Cancer
- Migraines with aura
- Low HDL
- High homocysteine – a biomarker for increased cardiac risk
- Post-menopausal breast cancer
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Decreased telomere length
- Potential drug toxicities: methotrexate, anti-epileptics
- Cervical dysplasia
- Increased bone fracture risk in post-menopausal women
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Essential Hypertension
- Prostate Cancer
- Placental Abruption
- Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
What To Do and Why It’s Important to Know if you have a MTHFR genetic mutation?
Don’t be afraid to find out! If you or a genetically linked family member have struggled with any of the things listed above, you owe it to yourself to find out the truth. It’s a good thing and will empower you to find real help and treat the problems. Testing can be done at our medical office, Sneed Medical, and in many cases is covered by your medical insurance. Then, we can advise you on a particular vitamin or medication to take to combat this inability to utilize regular folic acid.
GET TESTED – MAKE SLIGHT CORRECTIONS – LIVE MORE FULLY
Sharon M. Sneed, Ph.D.