With all the discoveries and advances being made in the medical and scientific industries, it can be extremely difficult to keep up. The truth is, discoveries are being made every single day and the average American will be completely unaware of them.
If you’ve been on social media lately and have seen methylfolate and the MTHFR gene being blasted everywhere, you’re likely wondering what it is and why it’s so popular today. While neither of these two terms are new to the field, the way we view and study them has completely changed in recent years.
There’s a lot you need to understand about the MTHFR gene and how it could affect your child’s health. At Methyl-Life™, we’ve been on the front lines of spreading MTHFR awareness and helping others find a quality life as we have done for ourselves.
To help you better understand the powers and dangers of the MTHFR gene, we are going to break it all down for you below -- including what it is, what an MTHFR mutation is, how to tell if your child is suffering from a mutation, and what your next steps are in treating it.
Let’s get started!
What Is the MTHFR Gene?
When talking about MTHFR, many people will get confused because it acts in two different ways -- as an enzyme and as a gene. As you can likely imagine, the MTHFR gene’s main responsibility is producing the MTHFR enzyme for the body to use.
Once the MTHFR gene produces MTHFR, also known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, it has a very important job to do. Since it’s involved in processing amino acids, one of MTHFR’s main responsibilities is converting folate into methylfolate -- the active form found in the blood and used by the body.
Many of you know folate as Vitamin B9, but it can also come in a synthetic form known as folic acid. Although folic Acid is more commonly found in today’s diet, it’s the less-preferred form of folate.
Converting folate into methylfolate allows the body to properly undergo a process called methylation. From here, it will help the body function in a variety of ways including detoxification, gene expression, producing energy, regulating hormones and neurotransmitters, lowering histamine levels in the blood, improving immune cells, building and repairing RNA/DNA, and regulating mood.
As you can see, Vitamin B9 is extremely essential to a daily healthy diet. At the same time, it will need to go through a complex set of processes before being available for the body -- especially if it’s in the form of folic acid. This is why the source of Vitamin B9 is extremely important when supplementing.
What Does an MTHFR Mutation Mean?
In the late 1980s, a discovery was made that changed the way we viewed the MTHFR gene and studies today continue to learn more about how it affects the body -- and your child’s health. The discovery was made utilizing enzymatic assays of lymphocyte extracts and it showed a thermolabile variation of the MTHFR gene we’ve come to know and love.
It wasn’t long after that a second variant, also known as a mutation, was found in the MTHFR gene. Today, scientists have discovered many different variations occurring in the gene, though only two of them have been at the forefront of active studies -- C677T and A1298C.
A mutation of the gene is simply a change in genetic sequence, meaning there’s a good chance that gene underperforms, overperforms, or doesn’t perform at all. Since your body works like a domino effect, this can cause a wide variety of issues in the body.
The reason why this has caused so many questions around a child’s health is that genes are passed on from father and mother to the child. In fact, you and your partner will each give your biological child one copy of the MTHFR gene. If either one of you has a mutation, there’s a chance your child gets it too. If either of you has two variants of the mutation, your child will at least get one.
As you can imagine, the symptoms will get worse the more variations you have. Having a copy of the C677T variant can potentially cause the gene to lose 30% of its function, while two copies of it could spike that number up to 70%. Two copies of the A1298C variant could lead to a 40% loss of MTHFR function in the body.
Symptoms Your Child Is Suffering From an MTHFR Mutation
Since the MTHFR gene mutation is something we inherit from our parents, it is a lot more common than you’d think. Some ethnicities will have up to a 50% chance of being born with a mutation, while others are much lower at around 10%.
If you are one of the few out there that know they have a mutation, that could be reason enough to want to get your child tested as well. Again, there’s a very good chance you passed it down to them -- especially if your partner has a mutation as well.
Unfortunately, most adults have no idea they are suffering from an MTHFR mutation and others don’t even know what it is. This means children everywhere are likely suffering from a mutation themselves, but don’t know it. Even worse, they won’t be getting any treatment for it.
When looking for symptoms of an MTHFR mutation in your child, there’s going to be good news and bad news. The good news is there are a wide variety of symptoms that doctors and scientists have linked to a mutation. The bad news is they fall in line with the symptoms of many other health issues.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms of an MTHFR mutation in your child:
- Respiratory issues like asthma
- Allergies and issues with the immune system
- Anxiety, depression, mood swings, ADHD
- Difficulty dealing with stress, overreactions, behavioral issues
- Difficulty focusing, learning, and autism
- Cleft palate, cleft lip, tongue tie, and lip tie
- High levels of homocysteine in the blood
If you notice any of these in your child, it might be time to start considering getting them tested for an MTHFR gene mutation. Although there’s a chance it’ll hardly affect your child and will only cause minor symptoms, it could make all the difference in the world.
Can You Get Tested for an MTHFR Mutation?
If you have a suspicion of an MTHFR gene mutation, getting tested is rather easy and won’t take long. In fact, you will be extremely familiar with the process if you’ve ever had blood drawn -- that’s all it is!
An MTHFR mutation test can be ordered by a doctor if they find high levels of homocysteine in the blood or if a close relative has a known mutation, but they aren’t always necessary. A majority of the tests being ordered are done out of curiosity.
For those that want to skip having to see a doctor altogether, there are even tests you can order online. They will likely require a cheek swab or saliva sample, so be prepared to send them a sample.
Ways of Treating an MTHFR Mutation
When it comes to a mutation of the MTHFR gene, there are multiple ways to treat it. Since the mutation will likely cause your body to produce less methylfolate no matter how much folate you consume, knowing the right ways to supplement is important. Keep in mind that folate is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning any excess will be excreted by the body.
First and foremost, you should avoid consuming folic acid in any food. If you’re going to eat food with Vitamin B9, make sure it contains folate. Folic acid has a way of nudging out folate and competing for attention by the MTHFR gene.
Supplementing with methylfolate will generally be the best way to go for anyone suffering from a mutation. It’ll provide the body with the active form of folate, allowing your body to bypass the need for the MTHFR gene. This is especially important for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding.
At Methyl-Life™, we want to do much more than support and educate you throughout your journey with MTHFR mutation(s). We provide a line of supplements designed for people like you and me that need a daily dose of methylfolate, as well as other supplements related to the MTHFR gene.
We understand not everyone is well-aware of the MTHFR gene and many are confused about what to do about it. That’s why we created a bundle for MTHFR newbies like you! Before you know it, you’ll be an MTHFR pro!
The bundle comes packaged with a methylfolate chewable tablet supplement, a hydroxocobalamin (active Vitamin B12) supplement, a multivitamin, and a highly absorbable magnesium supplement. We also provide these supplements individually, as well as a wide variety of other supplements that can help you get the most out of life.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. We are always ready to assist you!
“MTHFR Newbies.” Methyl, methyl-life.com/pages/mthfr-newbies.
Checkup Newsroom. “Checkup Newsroom.” A Pediatrician Goes In-Depth Into MTHFR, Checkup Newsroom, 14 Feb. 2020, www.checkupnewsroom.com/a-pediatricians-goes-in-depth-into-mthfr/.