MTHFR: Understanding the ADHD-Genetics Conundrum
According to The Human Genome Project, every human body is home to anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000 genes -- though this number is subject to change as research continues. We will actually carry two copies of each gene throughout our lifetime -- one from each parent.
Genes are short sections of DNA that provide your cells with instructions for making certain proteins. These proteins will help instruct your cells on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. As a result, your body will grow, develop, and function properly.
As you can see, there’s a reason genes have earned the nickname the “blueprint of all life.” At the same time, many people will suffer from certain gene mutations and genetic disorders that may decrease their quality of life. Since we inherit our genes from our parents, it’s possible your children will also experience effects from these mutations.
One gene mutation has gained popularity in the medical community as a potential threat to people everywhere and that is the MTHFR mutation. It’s believed that over half of the population suffers from at least one variant of the MTHFR gene and you’d be surprised at how much this mutation can negatively affect your life -- as well as your children’s life.
In fact, the MTHFR gene has often been linked to ADHD in children and could be one of the main contributors to the disorder.
If you’ve stumbled upon this article, then you likely have an interest in learning more about the MTHFR mutation, the potential causes of ADHD, and how people everywhere are finding relief when they need it most.
What Is MTHFR?
The MTHFR gene provides your body with instructions to make a certain protein called the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme plays an essential role in converting Vitamin B9 to its active form in the body, as well as a wide range of other functions in the body.
Without converting folate or folic acid into methylfolate, your body won’t be able to fully make use of the Vitamin B9 you consume on a daily basis. Since we need this vitamin to function properly, a deficiency could lead to a variety of health issues in both children and adults.
There have been several variants of the MTHFR gene found over the past few decades, but only two have been well-studied and understood to pose a serious threat to adults and children -- they are known as the C677T and A1298C variants. We all carry two copies of each one of these MTHFR gene SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). This means we can carry one or two copies of either one or both of the variants, or in the best-case scenario, no variants on either of these SNPs at all. 677 can have one or two variants on it (this is referred to as a single or double mutation - C677T is a single 677TT is a double). For 1298, the single variant or mutation is denoted as A1298C and the double mutation is 1298CC..
Since the MTHFR gene is important to the methylation process in the body, low levels of it could potentially lead to blood clots, stroke, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, leukemia, chronic fatigue, and much more.
In addition to that, an MTHFR mutation is known to cause high levels of homocysteine in the blood. This is a major concern as it could lead to further damage of the arteries and blood vessels.
What Is ADHD?
ADHD, also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that commonly affects children. Most cases will lead to adulthood if not treated properly. Believe it or not, there are nearly three million reported cases of ADHD in the US alone each year.
There is a wide range of symptoms that may refer to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but some of the more prominent ones include: impulsive behavior, difficulty staying organized, poor time management, difficulty focusing and multi-tasking, excessive activity, irritability, a high-temper, and trouble dealing with stress or anxiety.
While these are symptoms most people will experience at certain times of their life, they shouldn’t happen frequently and shouldn’t affect your overall quality of life for too long. Though the causes of ADHD aren’t 100% known, most of the science we have today points towards genetics, environment, and issues experienced during development.
Due to the symptoms experienced, many ADHD patients will find themselves making poor decisions in life, getting in trouble with the law, abusing drugs or alcohol, finding it hard to maintain relationships or a job, and struggle to manage their financials properly.
Also Read: Nutrigenomics, Epigenetics & MTHFR
Can MTHFR Contribute to ADHD?
Dopamine and serotonin help the brain regulate mood, as well as digestion and sleep patterns. When these two neurotransmitters aren’t synthesized properly, it’ll throw off the balance in your body. Many studies done on ADHD patients have found lower levels of both dopamine and serotonin in most.