Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Behavioural Disorders; You May Have a Change in Your Genetic Sequencing
If you suffer from any of these symptoms then you may be one of the 50% of the population that has a change in their genetic Sequencing and have something called MTHFR.
MTHFR stands for Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase so we call it MTHFR, for short. MTHFR is an enzyme that converts the folate from the food that you eat into the active or usable form of folate (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate) that the body can use.
People with this altered gene expression have anywhere from 15% to 70% loss of function. Why is this important? Well MTHFR is needed for methylation which takes place in every single cell and organ in our bodies. Without sufficient methylation the many pathways don't function as they should.
If the neurological pathway is affected you will see symptoms of being susceptible to Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Behavioural disorders such as ADD/ADHD, Autism, Aspergers, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Addictive Behaviours such as Gambling, Smoking, Drugs and Alcoholism.
If it affects the Homocysteine pathway then you will see a family history and a tendency towards developing Heart Disease, Atherosclerosis, Elevated Cholesterol, Fat Metabolism and Weight Issues, Diabetes, Alzheimers, Dementia and Parkinson's etc.
If it affects the Histamine pathway then histamine won't be broken down sufficiently and you will see signs of Allergies, Asthma, Skin Conditions such as Eczema etc.
Children are often born with Tongue Tie, or have Delayed Speech, Bed wetting until early teens, Cleft Palate and Down's Syndrome and Spina Bifida.
MTHFR affects our immune system, our digestion and our gut function, our ability to detoxify. IT also affects our fertility and the ability to conceive or carry to full term, so you may see conception issues and miscarriages etc. You may also see PMS, Endometriosis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Bowel issues and function. Arthritis, Autoimmune Disease and Cancer.
How Can so many conditions be associated with MTHFR you ask? Well as I mentioned earlier it's because it affects every cell and organ in our body and depending what pathways are affected and what mix of genes you inherited, and how you live your life, your environment, your toxic exposure and load etc etc will determine how this will affect your health. It is important to realise that just because you have a MTHFR gene mutation, does not necessarily mean that you will have any issues, as diet and lifestyle plays an enormous role in how our genes affect us.
Pyrroles is not a separate condition it's part of the MTHFR CBS pathway and causes a person to be low in B6 and Zinc particulairy so the same blood testing are required to see how much or little it's affecting your vitamin and mineral stores.
Methylation is essentially the ON and OFF switch of the body, it allows countless molecules and processes to be activated (turned ON) or deactivated (turned OFF) which in effect allows a function or a reaction to occur in the body. A MTHFR mutation could result in insufficient or a defective activity of an enzyme to occur, this will affect methylation and may result in the body not being able to function correctly leading to symptoms and or ill health to occur.
This is because it could lead to a lack of active folate and folate conversion, it could affect our B6, B12, our iron levels, our Zinc and Copper Ratios or upset or hormonal balance, all of which are vital to good health.
So what can be done? Firstly we can test to see if you have MTHFR, this can be done via a blood spot finger prick, Saliva or blood draw. At the time of writing this blog it costs $70. However that will only tell you if you have MTHFR or not, it does not tell us how it is affecting your body, so some people decide not to have the genetic testing done. In Australia we only able to test for the 2 most common MTHFR gene mutations, if a full genetic profile is wanted or needed then you need to have this done outside of Australia.
Most importantly is to have some blood tests done to see where the imbalances are. As each case is different, it's difficult to give a definite figure but generally you would be looking at around $205 plus GST for blood testing. Doctors are generally not trained in MTHFR so therefor are reluctant to do blood testing under medicare for you, however there are always exceptions to this rule.
Once your blood tests are done, then it's a matter of rebalancing your body and giving it the vitamins or minerals that it needs. Often these cannot be obtained from the diet alone as your body may be unable to convert it in sufficient amounts.
Many people see amazing results within a short few weeks. For others with complicated genetic profiles it may take longer as it can be a bit of a balancing act as there are so many variables and compliance can also be an issue for some people.
The earlier you find out that you have MTHFR the better long them health you will experience.