Studies dating back to 1960s have linked folate deficiency to depression2, 3. In fact, one-third of depressed patients were deficient in folate.
Eating a balanced diet rich in folate, also known as vitamin B9, can be effective for some individuals dealing with depression. But this only works if your body is capable of converting folate to its active form, methylfolate. Active forms of B9 can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and alter our mood.
MTHFR Mutation and Our Mood
Up to 70 percent of the general population suffers from a gene mutation in the MTHFR enzyme that hinders their ability to transform vitamin B9 to the methylfolate4. To put it simply, if you suffer from the MTHFR mutation, your body can’t utilize the folate you ingest with food.
Our body needs methylfolate to make proteins and other essential compounds, including neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Our brain uses these chemicals to function properly. If something disrupts the conversion of folate into neurotransmitters, it increases the chance of suffering from mental health issues6.
The bottom line is this - without methylfolate our brain doesn't get what it needs to function correctly. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and other health complications4.
Because of that, MTHFR enzyme plays an important role when it comes to our emotional and physical health.
What Can You Do About It?
If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, and other health complications, the first thing you need to do is to get tested for the MTHFR mutation. A simple blood or saliva test will show whether you have mutations present. It's important to do this as certain people live with the mutation for decades without knowing what’s wrong4.
The next step is to prepare a battle plan. Because you have a gene mutation, it’s extremely unlikely for antidepressants to work. Antidepressants work by balancing neurotransmitters in your brain5, and as we already explained, methylfolate deficiency robs our brain of the chemicals it needs to function properly. And if there’s nothing to work with, there’s also nothing to balance. Some doctors claim that only about 7 percent of MTHFR deficient individuals with depression react to conventional treatment1.
Supplementing with L-Methylfolate can drastically improve your response to antidepressant medications. Studies documented that around 70 percent of patients showed significant improvement when supplementing with L-Methylfolate7.
It’s crucial that you know how to supplement. There are different forms of methylfolate, and you have to make sure you’re taking biologically active forms - L forms, (6S) forms, L-5 forms, Magnafolate-C®, Metafolin®, L-Methylfolate Calcium, Levomefolic Acid, and Quatrefolic. Make sure you’re avoiding the D or (6R) isomer forms of methylfolate.
MTHFR also impacts the absorption of Vitamin B12. Because of that, it is recommended that you add supplements with a methylated form of B12 (also known as methylcobalamin) to your diet. Make sure you read the labels as most B12 supplements include cyanocobalamin which won’t be absorbed efficiently if you have MTHFR mutation6.
We have great options available for you. Getting high quality, active ingredients can dramatically improve your chances of improving your health and your mood. Try out our B12 Complete Tablets that include all active forms of B12, even the rarer ones:
And for the L-Methylfolate supplement, we recommend Methylfolate 15 which includes the most bioactive nutrient form of folate available today. This is the “already converted” form of the vitamin that is immediately ready for the body’s cells to use.
Have you beaten depression with supplements? Do you want to share your success story with us? We would love to share inspiring stories with our readers to support their health. Email us if you’d like to chat.
 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-integrationist/201409/genetic-mutation-can-affect-mental-physical-health  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3869616/