How Does the MTHFR Gene Affect Your Child's Health?
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.