The MTHFR gene mutation seems to be on the tips of many health gurus’ tongues these days, but is this just another health industry fad?
If you're skeptical about the mthfr gene mutation, you may be surprised to learn just how much influence this one little gene can have on your health.
But What Exactly is the MTHFR Gene Mutation?
If it helps, think of the MTHFR gene like a set of instructions to a piece of Ikea furniture. And just like Ikea furniture, the protein the MTHFR gene codes for, is extremely functional because it does so many different jobs.
According to Dr. Edward Group, there are three main jobs the MTHFR gene helps the body accomplish:
1. The conversion of vitamin B9 (folate) into a form that is more easily used by the body.
2. The conversion of homocysteine into methionine, which is needed for growth and repair.
3. Detoxifying heavy metals and other toxic wastes.
Some of us were born with a defective set of instructions in the form of an MTHFR gene mutation. Instead of the nice wardrobe we were expecting, we get something more like a few pieces of plywood hammered together. Our half-completed wardrobe works, just not as well as the complete version.
Unfortunately, there can be repercussions for living with an MTHFR mutation, including higher incidences of chronic disease.
How the MTHFR Gene Mutation Can Affect You
Research has already shown the connection between the MTHFR mutation and a number of diseases including:
Heart Disease: A study conducted by The American Heart Association discovered that subjects with two copies of the MTHFR mutation experienced an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The study’s authors concluded that higher circulating levels of homocysteine were contributing to arterial damage.
Stroke: The presence of an MTHFR mutation also resulted in an increased likelihood of stroke. In one study, subjects who experienced a stroke were 22% more likely to have had one or two copies of the mutated MTHFR gene than a group of control subjects.
Cancer: The MTHFR mutation has been linked with various cancers. In one study, depending on the type of MTHFR mutation they had, premenopausal women’s chances of getting breast cancer increased by 1.9-4.5 times!
Mental Illness: The British Women’s Heart and Health Study found an increased risk of depression among women with the MTHFR mutation. Other mental health conditions linked with the MTHFR mutation include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Other conditions including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- High blood pressure
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- Glaucoma has also been linked with having the MTHFR mutation.
Forewarned is Forearmed
Although the previous information may have sounded a bit scary, it doesn’t need to be. Getting tested for the MTHFR gene mutation is the first step you need to take to determine how to keep your body healthy.
Getting tested will allow you to learn whether you have a mutation or not, and what type of mutation you have.
Although there are many variations of the MTHFR mutation, the main three are:
Heterozygous Mutation: This is the most common and least severe of the MTHFR mutations. You have one normal MTHFR gene and one mutated gene.
Homozygous Mutation: A homozygous mutation means you’ll have two mutated genes in either the 677 or 1298 position (but not both).
Compound Heterozygous Mutation: This mutation is more severe. You’ll have one mutation at the 677 position on one gene, and a mutation at the 1298 position on another gene. 98% of autistic children have a compound heterozygous mutation.
I Have the Mutation, Now What?
Maybe your test results came back positive for the MTHFR gene mutation, and you’re starting to panic!
Calm down because up to 60% of the population does too, so you’re in good company. And just because you’re at a higher risk for getting a disease than someone without the mutation, it doesn’t mean it’s your destiny to become sick.
Although you can’t change your DNA, there’s still a lot you can do to compensate for your under functioning gene.
According to Dr. Jill Carnahan, eating folate-rich foods like dark leafy greens, eating grass-fed animal protein, removing amalgam fillings, and taking key supplements to boost your detoxification pathways are just a few of the things you can do to give your MTHFR gene a helping hand.
This could involve adopting a Paleo-style diet or the GAPS diet, along with probiotic-rich foods, and candida-killing antifungals to bring your digestive system back into balance.
The Bottom Line...
Testing for the MTHFR gene mutation is an excellent tool you can use to support your body and prevent chronic health conditions.
Although you can’t change your DNA, knowledge is power. You can use that knowledge to make dietary and lifestyle changes that will keep your body in top health now, and into the future.
If you want to learn more about the MTHFR gene mutation and its impact on your health, then check out this video featuring MTHFR mutation expert Dr. Ben Lynch.
The MTHFR gene mutation is only one of several areas I look at with nutrigenomics testing .
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