MTHFR Treatment involves a Key Nutrient, Methylfolate, & Eliminating Folic Acid from Your Diet
Below in the illustration, you can see the conversion process the body goes through to make folate available for absorption and use at the cellular level. If someone has an MTHFR defect, that mutation interferes with the folate’s ability to be directly available and used for its many important tasks within the body. Methylfolate promotes both SAMe and BH4 (or Tetrahydrobiopterin) which helps make & balance our neurotransmitters (i.e. serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine). Methylfolate also helps our bodies produce glutathione, which detoxes our system from things like heavy metals, environmental toxins, plastics (BPAs and phthalates) and more. Methylfolate works to reduce homocysteine in the body, which when too high can wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system.
It’s VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE that Methylfolate is not the same as Folic Acid. And if you have an MTHFR mutation, folic acid is actually a bad thing for you to take. Mainly because it is a synthetic, man-made substance that can lead to a buildup in your body referred to as UMFA (basically unmetabolized folic acid). This UMFA can bounce around in your bloodstream for months with no purpose except to fight with the important nutrient that you really need, methylfolate). Your body only has so many folate receptors available to use methylfolate and this UMFA can actually tie up or clog those receptors (which then makes them unavailable to bind with and utilize the methylfolate). When the body’s folate receptors get tied up with UMFA, then the body actually gets less methylfolate to absorb and actively use, even though you may be taking a good amount of methylfolate with a supplement. So before you take folic acid supplements or eat foods that are fortified with folic acid, be aware that the folic acid will compete with the methylfolate for receptor binding (and may actually block the methylfolate from being absorbed and used by the body).
MTHFR is only one gene out of thousands in your body. It would be unwise to think of treating it in a vacuum, without considering other genes along the methylation pathway that may be negatively affecting your health as well. There are many other methylation genes like COMT, MTR, MTRR, CBS, etc. that need other important nutrients to help you achieve your optimal health goals. Some people may find huge improvement with this nutrient alone, but most need other key vitamins to go with it. Another big nutrient to consider is B12, check out what form of B12 might be best tolerated by you. See the Dosage and Methylation Protocol pages to learn more about some doctors’ recommendations and a suggested protocol to start. For those not following a doctor’s orders with specific products or dosages, you might consider our starter pack which can be purchased here.