11 Ways the MTHFR Mutation Can Affect Your Child’s Health
In the late-1980s, scientists discovered the first variant of the MTHFR gene through enzymatic assays of lymphocyte extracts. Over three decades later, scientists have now discovered many different variations of the MTHFR gene, also called an MTHFR mutation.
Although we understand how common an MTHFR mutation is, most people will go their entire life without ever knowing they suffer from it -- even if they’re showing obvious symptoms. Because of this, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding what an MTHFR mutation is and why we should be protecting our children from it.
To help you better understand how the MTHFR mutation can affect your child’s health, we’ll be discussing 11 of the most prominent ways it has affected people in the past. Of course, we’ll also want to go over what the MTHFR mutation is before we get into all of that.
What Is An MTHFR Mutation?
The MTHFR gene is responsible for providing a set of instructions, also known as code sequencing, for a particular enzyme in the body. Believe it or not, this enzyme is called the MTHFR enzyme. Together, the MTHFR gene and MTHFR enzyme play a role in a variety of different processes in the body.
One of the main processes in the body is converting folic acid (Vitamin B9) into its active form, methylfolate. Without this conversion, the Vitamin B9 you consume on a daily basis goes often unmetabolized and unused in the body and eventually gets excreted out of the system. Be aware of UMFA (unmetabolized folic acid) when taking folic acid, especially if you have an MTHFR mutation. Some have actually connected UMFA to cancer.
When an MTHFR mutation occurs, the MTHFR gene can’t provide the MTHFR enzyme with the right coding. This can obviously lead to the wrong instructions being given to the MTHFR enzyme, meaning it creates an incorrectly shaped enzyme that can’t be nearly as effective as it should be. This reduces or prevents the conversion of folic acid into methylfolate, which disrupts a variety of other important downstream functions in the body.
Since we also know methylfolate is a large player in the methylation process, an MTHFR mutation has often been linked to a reduction in methylation. This can lead to a wide range of health concerns and is the main source of the symptoms your child might face when suffering from an MTHFR mutation.
So, how is it possible to have MTHFR in children? Contrary to popular belief, this is something that gets handed down from one parent -- or both parents -- to their offspring.
Every living person has two copies of each MTHFR gene SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism), one that comes from the mother and one from the father. If you have one copy of an MTHFR mutation (or a single mutation), there’s a chance your children will get it as well. If you have two copies of it (often referred to as homozygous or a double mutation), you will definitely give one of them to your child. In addition, your partner can give them one as well, which is how your child might be diagnosed with two copies.
Now that we understand a little background behind the MTHFR gene, the enzyme it creates, and some of the mutation SNPs which can occur around it, let’s look at the various effects it can have on your child’s health. We’ve broken it down into the 11 most common effects (in no particular order). This should allow you to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms so you can manage your child’s mutation from an early age.
1. How your child reacts to vaccines and drugs.
Some studies have shown that a child suffering from MTHFR mutations could experience adverse reactions to certain vaccines, drugs, and medications. This can be extremely dangerous to a child’s health and can even result in the child developing autism. It’s worth noting that a high percentage of people who are on the autism spectrum actually have MTHFR and other methylation cycle related SNPs.
This was largely seen after testing was done on smallpox vaccines, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of research since. Considering this can put your child at risk, it’s definitely worth considering and worth the extra studies to prove it.
2. How well your child’s body can repair DNA.
When the body converts folate to methylfolate, it’s responsible for a wide range of functions in the body -- one of which being DNA synthesis, repair, and methylation. When there’s a disruption in this conversion, your child will have a difficult time repairing DNA and could experience irreparable DNA damage.
Many scientists credit DNA repair to longevity, growth, and development. Without it, your child won’t age properly and will likely face a wide range of delays in their normal development. Difficulties repairing DNA can also lead to cancer in some individuals.
3. Detoxification in your child’s body.
Detoxification in the body is primarily carried out by the liver; however, scientists have discovered that methylation plays a large role in phase two of the natural detoxification process. This primarily happens through the boosting of glutathione levels in the body - glutathione is your body’s greatest antioxidant. And Methylfolate, the active enzyme MTHFR genes create, increases glutathione in the body. Of course, any issues with methylation in the body can produce a weaker detoxification process.