MTHFR is the short form of methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The substance a gene variation that impacts the process your body metabolizes folic and folate acid. Folate and folic acids are forms of Vitamin B9 necessary for critical bodily functions.
MTHFR is a gene that instructs the body to create an enzyme necessary for the breakdown of the amino acids. It converts folate to its active form as it circulates in your blood, helping in the process of lowering the levels of homocysteine in your body.
How is this important?
It is vital to keep homocysteine at appropriate levels because it prevents the body from chronic diseases like autism, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and coronary artery disease. MTHFR gene mutation may make it less effective in converting folate, leading to increased levels of homocysteine.
MTHFR mutation symptoms
A variant is the part of a person’s DNA that is different and varies from one person to another. There are two variants of the MTHFR mutation, the C677T, and A1298C. Unless you get tested for MTHFR mutation, you will never know your mutation status. For most people, any risk associated with MTHFR variants is very rare and small even to effect change in treatment. This advantage makes having the MTHFR tests seem very unnecessary unless tests reveal that you have abnormally high levels of homocysteine. Insurance does not cover MTHFR tests. The tests can be quite expensive, especially the mutation test. The cost associated is why there that MTHFR home test kit is available.
Conditions associated with the MTHFR mutation gene include:
1. Bipolar disorder
3. Chronic pain and fatigue
4. Acute leukemia
5. Neural tube defects
7. Colon cancer
10. Nerve pain
Treatment for MTHFR health-related concerns
If the tests confirm the presence of the MTHFR mutation gene, it does not mean that you are sick and need treatment. Your body probably just needs vitamin B supplements. But when you have high homocysteine levels, it can be because of other health causes and not MTHFR mutation. Your doctor should be able to identify the probable cause which may include
*Chronic conditions of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
*Dietary deficiencies of vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12.
*Medications like fenofibrate, methotrexate, nicotinic acid and atorvastatin
To lower the risk of homocysteine when diagnosed with MTHFR, you need to change your lifestyle choices to include lots of
*Getting enough exercise
*If you are a smoker then you should consider quitting
*Always eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Foods that are rich in folate will naturally support the levels of the vitamins necessary for your body, but in some cases, supplementation may be required.
Dietary foods rich in folate include
*Proteins from cooked beans, lentils, and peas.
*Vegetables like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, and corn
*Fruits like honeydew, banana, raspberries, strawberries, grapefruits, and cantaloupe
*Juices like pineapple, tomato, orange, grapefruit, and vegetable juice.
The presence of MTHFR may or may not affect your health. More research is needed to get the real impact that variants have if any.