The 6 Best Books for People with MTHFR According to a Naturopath
Understanding MTHFR isn’t easy. The MTHFR genetic variant was only identified in 1988, and it is only in the past few decades that scientific research has come to light.
The internet is a minefield for making sense of health issues, and not every source or “expert” can be trusted. However, a good many books have been written on the topic of MTHFR by medically qualified authors. Some of these books provide insight into what having an MTHFR polymorphism might mean for you, the associated concerns, and how best to support your overall well-being through nutrition and lifestyle changes.
This article will review the six best books for people with MTHFR as chosen by a naturopath with actual quotes from readers on how each book helped them on their journeys.
1. MTHFR Basics by Dr. Ben Lynch
“Great (and quick) little read for info on MTHFR. If you know you have this mutation or think you might, here is a good place to start.”
- Joann, via Goodreads
MTHFR Basics is a simple introduction to the MTHFR genetic variant. It is written by Dr. Ben Lynch, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine with a special interest in epigenetics and genetic dysfunction.
MTHFR Basics provides a good starting point for understanding MTHFR and how it may affect your health. Dr. Lynch explains what these genes are and what they do, and how the MTHFR gene can compromise normal function. He also lists some basic lifestyle tips to help readers manage their health challenges.
The book is easy to follow and can be digested in one sitting. It is also a helpful introduction to Dr. Lynch’s following book, Dirty Genes (described below).
2. Dirty Genes by Dr. Ben Lynch
“Dr Lynch breaks down gene mutation into an easy to understand reference book. This book has helped me understand how my methylation process relates to toxicity in my environment, how to cleanse these toxins, foods to avoid (such as folic acid), and how to get essential vitamins back into my body (such as folate). It has been one year and I have never felt better.”
- Tina C., via Goodreads
Dirty Genes is a national bestseller and one of the most well-known books on MTHFR. Also by Dr. Ben Lynch, Dirty Genes is a more in-depth examination of how we can be “contaminated” by the environment, diet, or lifestyle habits and eventually how this “pollution” leads to chronic health issues or diseases.
He also explains how to explore the raw data provided by genetic tests and the many “downstream” ramifications caused by MTHFR, COMT, DAO, and other SNPs.
“You don’t see it, but your genes are dirty. We humans tend to fix what we see and ignore what we don’t. But your headaches, rashes, weight gain, and insomnia are all results of one or more dirty genes. Popping a pill or a supplement doesn’t fix anything. It just tells your genes to shut up.”
- Dirty Genes, Dr. Ben Lynch
Dr. Lynch then explains how readers can identify their own “dirty genes” and restore their health through a targeted “Soak and Scrub” protocol. This involves healthy eating, improving sleep patterns, focusing on stress relief, and enhancing detoxification pathways in the body.
3. The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First by Mark Hyman
“Dr. Hyman convincingly argues that maintaining the body’s health is essential for the brain’s well-being and that many mental and psychological disorders can be rooted in physical, biochemical derangements in the body’s health & metabolism.”
- Gina, via Goodreads
Dr. Hyman helps the reader identify these imbalances and describes how they may be the result of deficiencies, allergens, toxins, and stress. He then explains how it is possible to balance hormones, boost energy metabolism, and calm the mind through diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes. He describes some key nutrients—such as B complex vitamins, Vitamin D3, and magnesium—and explains how these (among others) can help reduce inflammation and the risk of disease, enhance detoxification, and improve overall well-being.
Using the Seven Key Areas of UltraWellness, Dr. Hyman outlines a six-week plan for restoring good health and optimal cognitive function, with the goal of achieving a calmer, happier mind.
4. The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: A No-Stress Meal Plan with Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System by Dorothy Calimeris and Lulu Cook
“We’ve been taught to eat as conveniently, quickly and cheaply as possible at the devastating expense of our health. We consume far too many processed foods that contain unnatural and artificial additives. If we paid more attention to where ingredients come from and how they get to us, we would be able to recognize and avoid a lot of what is not healthy for us in the first place."
- Allison, via Goodreads
Chronic inflammation is one of the main contributors to poor health. It has been shown to play a role in nearly every major illness, from cancer and heart disease to depression and dementia.
The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners is the combined efforts of food blogger/chef Dorothy Calimeris and registered dietitian/nutritionist Lulu Cook. The authors explain the dangers of chronic inflammation and how we can use foods to consciously redirect our eating patterns and reduce inflammation over time.
A basic introduction to the clinically proven anti-inflammatory diet, the book includes lists of foods and ingredients known to cause inflammation, along with handy grocery lists of anti-inflammatory superfoods. It then outlines a simple 2-week meal plan of meals, snacks, and smoothies. The recipes are varied and easy to follow, with many requiring just five main ingredients that can be found at most grocery stores.
Throughout the book, Lulu Cook provides tips and encouragement, explaining that changing eating habits is a process that must be adapted to one’s lifestyle.
5. The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Astonishing Dialogue Taking Place in Our Bodies Impacts Health, Weight, and Mood by Emeran Mayer
“The most up to date medical ideas about “gut feelings.” A first-rate if detailed book: you might want to be sure you know your cytokines from your serotonin before you tackle it. But you will learn what those butterflies in your stomach are really telling you.”
- Mary, via Goodreads
Dr. Emeran Mayer is a gastroenterologist, neuroscientist, and executive director of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress. In this book, he explains the developing science of the mind-gut connection and how we can use it to change our health.
The Mind-Gut Connection helps the reader to understand that the gut has capabilities that surpass all your other organs and even rival the brain. He uses recent research alongside patient case studies to offer simple, evidence-based recommendations for supporting communication between the brain and gut.
Some of the topics covered include:
- stress and the hypersensitive gut
- The role of the microbiota in depression and stress
- Positive emotions
- Understanding intuitive decision making
- The lure of comfort foods
- Maximizing gut microbial diversity
Dr. Mayer provides guidelines for healing the gut and balancing the microbiome with whole foods and probiotics. The ultimate aim is to boost immunity and reduce the risk of neurological diseases while also generating a happier emotional state with less anxiety and depression.
6. The Epigenetics Revolution by Nessa Carey
“The concern is the deception of the body in addition to the unknown effects on health. The molecular structure of food resembles that of real foods, but is often artificially manufactured. The body is deceived and incorporates these elements everywhere, as if you were using other, new building material for a structure. The effects it might have over the generations and on genetic stability is an open question.”
- Mario, via Goodreads
Biologist Nessa Carey explains epigenetics in simple form and the incredible discoveries made over the past few decades. Epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in regulating gene expression (by turning “off” and “on” genes) such as stable transcription complexes, modification of histones in chromatin, and methylation of DNA. It is the study of influences on human evolution and how this can affect gene activity.
The book helps the reader to understand how our genes have changed over time and among different populations. It also provides a fundamental understanding of how our genome contributes to health and disease. Carey covers how different substances in the body interact with each other, particularly how the environment or changes to our diet cause unpredictable reactions and side effects.
While much of the information is somewhat technical, Carey provides comprehensive explanations using everyday anecdotes.
The above list is far from exhaustive, but it can be a good starting point for those with MTHFR or anyone else looking to improve their overall health and well-being. These books are geared towards optimizing nutrition, enhancing cognitive function, and reducing the inflammatory factors that can lead to imbalance and/or chronic diseases.
As with any general health advice, the reader may have to adapt the recommendations to suit their own lifestyle and circumstances.
has a variety of resources for you to explore.