This one is a good read for those with Lyme and co’s and those without. It is information that could help explain a lot if you are feeling unwell. It is also not a common thing that your doctor is testing for. Studies show that up to 50% of the population could have some sort of variation of this gene in different severities, and knowing about having this mutation and addressing it can help protect you from several illnesses and diseases.
This past winter, I received an e-mail from my Lyme-literate naturopath regarding a test for genetic mutations of MTHFR. At that point, he was checking a bunch of boxes on my bloodwork, just trying to get some answers as to why I wasn’t getting any better.
I read the e-mail with the results of my bloodwork and was immediately confused. MTHFR? I immediately thought motherfucker genetic deficiency when I read it. What is a motherfucker gene? LOL He pointed out the basics of what it was, a source to provide myself some information about this, and how to see some improvements.
What is MTHFR? MTHFR is a gene that provides instructions for making the MTHFR enzyme (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase… yeah… we will stick with MTHFR ;)) . This enzyme plays a role in producing amino acids, and is needed to create a chemical reaction involving forms of folate vitamins (B9 and folic acid) and the amino acid homocysteine, to make another amino acid, methionine. Ok… did I lose you yet?
This gene plays an important, significant role in the methylation process in your body and is necessary for the production of nutrient enzymes. Methylation is a process in which your body alters the behavior of a gene and what it does, without actually changing the gene itself. Why is this necessary? With this particular gene causing these methylation pathways, it causes your body to have a very hard time detoxing, and make you have a predisposition to having many other illnesses and ailments.
There are over 50 types of this genetic variation. However, the two most common types that are problematic are C677T and A1298C.These types refer to the numbers on the gene.
Then this is where it gets even more confusing. There are many combinations of these, homozygous and heterozygous, etc. If you have two copies of a mutation, you are considered homozygous. One copy, heterozygous. If you have a homozygous deficiency, your enzyme efficiency about 30% effectiveness. Heterozygous, roughly 70% effectiveness.
Two copies does put you at a higher risk of this mutation to be problematic. For instance, you can be homozygous 677,but heterozygous 1298. This would mean that both of your parents passed down the 677 mutation, but only one parent passed the 1298 mutation to you. Kind of get it now?
What are some of the symptoms and conditions associated with having a MTHFR genetic mutation? There are different signs based off of what type of mutation you have.. or both! With the 677 genetic mutation, you are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, issues with glutathione production, and peripheral neuropathy to name a few conditions. People with the 1298 deficiency are more susceptible to schizophrenia, dementia, decreased serotonin and dopamine levels, elevated blood pressure, migraines, nerve pain, also among many other symptoms and conditions.
Deficiencies in your MTHFR genes in general can also predisposition you to colon, breast, and rectal cancers. Homocystuneria, IBS, OCD, fibromyalgia -like symptoms, heart issues, addictions, psychiatric disorders, and migraines.
Research also shows that having a mutation of this gene can lead to birth defects, pregnancy difficulty, and the ability to get pregnant. Spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, and anencephaly are now associated with having one of these mutations as well. Dr. Amy Yasko has not seen an autistic child who did not have one or more of the MTHFR gene mutation. It is believed that 98% of children with Autism have some sort of MTHFR abnormality. That’s a lot!
How can you get tested for MTHFR? The way you can be tested for MTHFR is through blood work, saliva, and an oral swab. You can easily go to your doctors and ask them to order the Methylentetrahydrofolate reductase DNA test. Or just ask him or her for the MTHFR test. Either way. 🙂 These tests generally has to be sent out and can take a few weeks for you to get your answers.
Other tests to consider if you are getting tested for MTHFR are homocysteine (an amino acid that is involved in the methylation process), Factor V Leiden Mutation ( I got this fun one too), and your vitamin and folate levels as they all intertwine with MTHFR.
Now… how does this relate to Lyme disease? As you can see, there are a lot of reasons alone to take this mutation seriously. What is important to help ease symptoms and eliminate all the toxins in your body? *you should be raising your hand to this question!* If you said detox, you would be correct.
In Lymie terms, the main issue is DETOX. Your body with this mutation does not have the process to eliminate toxins like those who do not have this mutation. Toxins from candida, toxins from die-off, toxins from your antibiotics. People with MTHFR also tend to have a heavy metal toxicity, which also hinders the Lyme treatment process.
What can you do once you find out you have a MTHFR genetic mutation? Unfortunately, you can’t change your body’s genes, but there are a ton of options to aide your body in what is called a methylation process. This means trying to get your body to properly make what it needs to, but it just needs help to get there. Many people do not need to address this issue at all, because they function at a better rate.
With Lyme disease, it attacks everything as we know, and it is a MUST to address it!
Some of the options to try include: methylfolate (Deplin prescription), b12 (specifically active methylcobalmine, intramuscular shots are a great option for this), probiotics (a given for Lymie’s!), Betaine (TMG), Riboflavin, milk thistle, NAC, nattokinase and baby aspirin (homozygous to prevent blood clotting), EPA/DHA, glutathione (needed for liver detox), flax seed, fish oil, and vitamins C, D, and E are also recommended. ** ASK YOUR DOCTOR WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU**
Is there anything you should avoid if you have a MTHFR genetic mutation? Why yes there are! Avoid antacids, as they block b12 absorption, folic acid, which can be in foods as you can not process this well, certain birth controls, and nitrous oxide that is used in most dentistry as it increases homocysteine levels and depletes your B-12 levels. You should also avoid environmental and household toxins.
You will have to work extra hard to eliminate toxins from your body. Epsom salt baths, saunas, diet (gluten, sugar, and as well as avoiding folic acid and foods high in sulphur), burbur drops, lactated ringers (if you are on IV treatments), lymphatic massage, lemon water, and green tea are some good options. Please read my “Detox” blog entry for more information about detox. 🙂
Once again, everything needs to be done in moderation. You can actually make yourself feel worse if you overdo your methylation process. Ways to tell you might be overdoing it are fatigue, shakiness, fogginess, and dizziness to name a few issues. The best way to go about a methylation process is to start SLOW… then work your way up to your doctor’s recommended dose. Too much to start this protocol can overwhelm your body.
Hope this information brought to light some information for those who have MTHFR, or should consider it as a possibility. Having Lyme disease, it could be the piece of the puzzle that is hindering you from getting well. Consult with your doctor before starting any new additions to your protocols and have a great day! 🙂
http://nwhealthcare.net/index.php?id=64, http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MTHFR,http://www.bmj.com/content/328/7455/1535, http://www.mthfr.com, https://sites.google.com/site/drjoneskids/mthfr,http://metabolichealing.com/michael-s-blog/what-is-mthfr-and-why-is-it-significant-for-your-health/, http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mthfr/,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylenetetrahydrofolate_reductase,www.mthfr.net,https://www.counsyl.com/diseases/mthfr-deficiency/, gestalrealty.com,mdjunction.com