genetics for health
MTHFR, The Holy Grail or another Fad?
When a new idea enters the landscape, the idea starts out as a thought and then we do a google search to find out what the heck the fuss is about. The google search shows little and you have to keep asking and listening to others that are leading the way. A few more people feel that this new idea will change their life forever and the word starts to launch. This is what happened with MTHFR. It was only a few years ago we hadn’t heard of it. Now everyone wants to know, and they believe it is the holy grail. Truly nothing is the ”Holy Grail” to life – not one simple thing. Yes, MTHFR can help many people in understanding more about their health, however believe me if it was a matter of taking an activated-B supplement everyone would do it and we would have no further health issues. Let’s put this into perspective. MTHFR – significant? Yes, you definitely want your pathways to be working well (I will explain more soon) however your body is a complex interplay of biochemicals with nutrients feeding organs and glands etc.
Fast track a few years and most people that come to visit me have MTHFR tested before they arrive and some have other genetic SNP’s results as well. They understand more about the underlying mechanisms working within. What next? Now they ask, “How do I manage my MTHFR?”
In Australia, as things become popular supplement companies get on the band wagon and develop new products. Of course, this happens all over the world. When something exciting and leading edge appears in the health industry new products come out. In Australia we now have many products based on the MTHFR gene and genetic testing available. It can become confusing as there is much information out there and many different products to choose from.
I remember an article I read a few years ago where a person discussed how their anxiety subsided after taking folinic acid. From this everyone wanted to take the activated forms of folic acid. Folic acid is the synthesized (chemically produced from of folic acid that is placed in many processed foods as mandated in many countries including breads, cereals, cakes and supplements as it prevents neutral tube defects). On my journey as a practitioner, I went to Dr Ben Lynch’s Seeking Health Conference in 2015, which was fantastic learning. After that I put almost all MTHFR clients on 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF) and after 3 months several reported increased irritability and being over-energised. I needed to know more and set about learning. Since then I know there is so much more to MTHFR than taking an activated-B supplement. If only it was that simple! There are many people who take supplements based on google searches however now I am finding more people who want to the best approach to taking supplements (if needed) for MTHFR, in other words based on their individualised health condition (along with testing if required which is often the case in more complex cases).
What is MTHFR?
It is more prevalent in the Spanish, Italian and Chinese populations and affects approximately 55% of Australians. Yes, that is very high, which means the person sitting next to you potentially has an MTHFR mutation.
How do I manage my MTHFR?
My recommendation is to gain an understanding of what is occurring beneath the surface through a full holistic approach to health with a practitioner who understands many different aspects of complex issues and uses testing as a tool to gain your full holistic picture if needed. The type of testing depends on you – what is occurring for you individually; the signs and symptoms you have, and the journey you have been with your health. And if you do not want to test that is also okay, afterall it is your body! the testing provides further insights.
Most commonly people treat MTHFR using activated B-vitamins. Placing MTHFR into perspective helps with understanding. Believe me it’s not about treating the SNP’s (gene mutations), we have to dig deeper than that. We need to TREAT THE PERSON. Treat you as a whole. I know it is easier to take one pill that will fix everything for you. Your body is more complex than that. We need to find out what is causing the MTHFR SNP potentially not function as well as it could and look at all aspects that are influencing this including yeast/candida, bacterial infections, heavy metals, gut issues etc that affect your genes.
MTHFR (methyltetrahydrofolatereductase) is an enzyme in the body that is responsible for converting one form of folate (5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate), into the activated folate (5-methyltetrahydrofolate). It is then activated and can be used. This process (folate cycle) requires vitamin B2 and B3 for it to function well – so that the road opens (so to speak) and allows things to move through.
The folate cycle then connects to the methionine cycle (which is termed methylation). This process also needs a variety of nutrients to ensure this and other enzymes are able to work properly. These nutrients include: vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12, zinc, choline, magnesium, energy, and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). The methionine cycle then connects to the transulfuration cycle and the folate cycle connects to the biopterin cycle. All of this requires numerous nutrients and enzymes to function correctly for the super highways (so to speak) to function correctly. The enzymes of all pathways can be inhibited by substances as well – including high levels of vitamins, deficiency of vitamins, heavy metals, unwanted bacterial infections, yeasts and inflammation. The system is complex and an issue in one area potentially impacts the next. Your body really is about a balance of everything (maintaining equilibrium and homeostasis is the key).
If we use too much of one thing it can impact the next. This is where it is important to learn to understand your body and what is occurring. If you use one nutrient in excess, it can ‘’push’’ others ‘’out’’ or push too ‘’hard’’ against the cycle affecting enzymes and their ability to do their job effectively. A perfect example of this is our electrolytes. If we push hard on one of them for example calcium then this will push out the balance of magnesium.
An Activated B-Complex often has many B vitamins within it and sometimes other nutrients as well. It is important to support your pathways however over time you will find that an individualised approach is needed. You need to be assessed based on your holistic picture – what is expressing in your body and treating that along with the underlying issues occurring. When viewing genetic SNPs (23andMe or Ancestry.com) it often becomes highlighted in a profile which ones are the ‘’main’’ areas that require ongoing support. It is much more than taking a supplement. There are aspects of a person’s life that often need attention – i.e. environmentally mould in a house, a diet needs some attention, blood pathology signals problems with thyroid function or perhaps a person is not sleeping due excess stress. These are all aspects that require a skilled practitioner to look at and understand holistically and then the impact MTHFR is having. We need a holistic well-rounded view of our health and life (not pointing to one gene as the cause to our health issues – a reductionist view it is called). MTHFR is definitely here to stay. Learning how to manage this with more than activated-B vitamins is the key. Tuning in and getting to know yourself is part of that journey.
Special Discounts until end Jan 2019
Your Methylation Kit – 1 (For those with High blood pressure use this kit. Those with normal blood pressure can also use this kit).
- BioActive B – 60 Caps
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- TraceMins – 90 caps
- Cost – includes GST – $59.95
Your Methylation Kit – 2 (for those with Normal blood pressure)
- Basica Active Alkalising Mineral Formula – 300gm
- BioActive B – 60 Caps
- Cost – includes GST – $63.50
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If postage required the cost is – approx. $12.00-$15.00 – depending on where you live
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Genetic Testing – Toward better Health