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MTHFR Gene Mutation: What Is It and How Can It Lead to Health Disorders?

Although all human beings have the same set of genes, there are many variations that can occur and lead to drastic differences in health and wellbeing. There has been increasing interest lately in one type of gene mutation called MTHRF, which is an abbreviation for Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase. MTHRF is an enzyme that is connected to the conversion of folate and folic acid into usable forms in the body and triggering the production of other necessary enzymes.

It has been estimated that 30 to 50 percent of people carry a MTHRF gene mutation that is hereditary, However, most people never have any symptoms or even know that they have the mutation. Yet it is possible that this mutation is responsible for causing increased risks of disease and vitamin deficiencies.

Here is some basic information about MTHFR gene mutations and the types of issues they can cause in the human body.

Photo credit: Mayberry Health and Home

One major issue with MTHFR gene mutations is that they can make it more difficult for the body to naturally eliminate toxins. A build-up of folic acid that can’t be processed in the body may be to blame for high levels of bodily toxicity. Since people with low MTHRF enzyme activity often have higher-than-normal homocysteine levels, these individuals may experience more inflammation and heart conditions. Difficult pregnancies are also more likely among women.

Some doctors believe that unexplained symptoms of fatigue, sleep problems, anxiety, and mental fogginess could be due to a MTHFR gene mutation. People with this mutation may have higher risks of blood clots as well.

Individuals who have a MTHFR gene mutation should avoid processed foods and low-quality health supplements because they often contain high levels of folic acid that cannot be processed due to the mutation. Women who are of childbearing age may want to get tested for this defect to decrease the risk of Spine Bifida, neural tube defects, and other folate-related disorders in babies.

Happy diaper baby

The only true way to determine whether you have this type of gene mutation is to have a genetic test conducted. These tests tend to be quite pricey and are often not covered by insurance, so many people choose to use personal genetic testing companies like 23&Me. Saliva and blood tests can reveal if this defect is present and help people adjust their diets and plan ahead for future offspring.

There haven’t been enough research studies about MTHFR gene mutations to determine exactly how connected this gene is to common health conditions. But some of the conditions studied in connection with MTHFR so far include heart disease, Alzheimer’s, tongue and lip ties, depression, and recurrent miscarriage.

In general, it is a good idea for people who test positive for a MTHFR gene mutation to support good gut health with lots of leafy green foods and some fermented foods in the diet. Talk with your doctor about whether hormonal contraceptives are interfering with folate levels, and avoid as many environmental toxins as possible in daily life.

Natural remedies for this condition include consuming more vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, as well as high folate (not folic acid) foods like broccoli, beans, spinach, and avocado. To help toxins flow out from the body naturally, it is beneficial and recommended to use digestive detox aids, sit in saunas, drink lots of water, and exercise regularly.

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