Methylation defects are relatively new genetic disorders and they are thoroughly being studied and treated around the world. Methylation is a vital part of our bodies’ natural process of detoxification. Methylation also regulates neurotransmitters and hormones. Individuals with a methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) mutation have a decreased ability to convert folate–or folic acid–into a usable form. According to research, over half of the population may have an MTHFR gene mutation. There are many variations of this mutation that all point to the same general problem, an incorrect conversion process of folate within the body.
Symptoms of MTHFR mutation can include anxiety, depression, blood sugar problems, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart issues, and more.
The problem: metabolizing folic acid
Folic acid is the primary supplement for treating problems such as B-vitamin deficiency, reducing the occurrence of neural tube defects and lowering homocysteine levels.
Folic acid is so effective that its addition to wheat flour is compulsory in Canada, Australia, the United States, and many other countries. However, proper metabolizing of folic acid is the major problem as most people don’t metabolize it fully, whether from alcohol blocking it, an interfering pharmaceutical medicine or from low MTHFR activity. Folic acid accumulating in the blood can potentially result in a dangerous condition referred to as “unmetabolized folic acid” (UMFA).
The solution: L-Methylfolate
In addition to limiting your daily intake of fortified wheat flour, you should replace any folic acid supplements with the active form – L-Methylfolate or 5-MTHF. It bypasses MTHFR defects and is helpful in reducing homocysteine concentrations, as well as increased plasma folate levels.
Furthermore, L-Methylfolate is also absorbed better, does not result in UMFA, and interacts with fewer medications when compared to folic acid.
Supplementing with L-Methylfolate gives one the ability to bypass the entire cycle of folic acid metabolism, which is great news for individuals having an MTHFR mutation. However, one size does not fit all. Sufficient research is required before supplementing for MTHFR defects. Don’t take vitamin supplements that your body can’t convert properly. You will need to learn about them and adjust dosages according to your metabolic changes.
There are some key factors to consider before taking vitamin supplements such as 5-MTHF or L-Methylfolate; for example, it may be important for you to find out if you have the mutation and to check your vitamin B12 levels. That’s why proper guidance from a doctor or dietitian who specializes in this field is so important.
Methyl-Life.com is helpful in guiding you in this regard. You can find over-the-counter, affordable L-Methylfolate supplement suggestions there, which can help you get your quality of life back. Although most L-Methylfolate supplements are soy, dairy, and gluten-free, it is recommended to always check with your doctor before taking such supplements.
The treatment of an MTHFR mutation can be complicated. Correctly identifying the type of mutation you have might be a good the first step. Once you have identified the mutation; using vitamin B12 and methylated forms of folate are your primary treatment options. As mentioned above, when it comes to dosing, one size does not fit all. L-Methylfolate amounts can vary from person to person; therefore it is important that you check with your doctor before taking supplements and regularly and carefully monitor your response to supplementation.