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.
Don’t worry; we’re going to break it all down for you below so you can eliminate any assumptions about the topic. Let’s get started!
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.
Can MTHFR Contribute to ADHD?
There have been several studies linking the MTHFR gene mutation as one of the possible causes of ADHD. This is largely due to the fact that methylfolate plays a heavy role in dopamine and serotonin synthesis, two neurotransmitters that are often linked 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.
What Else Can an MTHFR Mutation Cause?
We’ve mentioned some of the dangerous health concerns associated with the MTHFR mutation, but that’s only the beginning of what this mutation can cause in the body.
An MTHFR mutation will especially pose a threat to pregnant women and is a large reason why they will be directed to supplement with Vitamin B9 before, during, or after childbirth. Without proper folate levels in the body, your baby could experience birth defects such as spina bifida, cleft lip, cleft palate, or a tongue tie.
Of course, it could also halt the growth and development of the baby -- which is what typically leads to depression, anxiety, behavioral issues, and ADHD.
In addition to that, an MTHFR mutation can lead anyone to suffer from homocysteinemia, ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, microcephaly, scoliosis, anemia, cardiovascular diseases, and other mental or behavioral disorders.
How Do We Treat MTHFR Mutations?
Anyone suffering from an MTHFR gene mutation will likely have low levels of folate and cobalamin in the body. Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, and cobalamin, also known as Vitamin B12, are both involved in the body’s process of converting homocysteine to methionine.
If you have low levels of these vitamins, your body won’t make this conversion and you’ll be stuck with high levels of homocysteine in the blood.
This is similar to the way folate needs the MTHFR enzyme in order to be converted into methylfolate. Without the conversion, you’ll have low levels of methylfolate (which is the form your body needs for direct absorption and use) and high levels of folate (an unconverted form that cannot be directly used by the body until the proper enzymatic conversions take place) -- and this is bad. Likewise, high levels of homocysteine and low levels of methionine lead to problematic health symptoms (this is a typical consequence when folate can’t be converted into methylfolate).
When doctors find high levels of homocysteine in the blood, they will generally start with a folic acid supplement. Unfortunately, this won’t do any good for someone struggling with an MTHFR mutation because they won’t properly convert folic acid into methylfolate. For this reason, methylfolate is usually the best-supplementing option -- it allows you to bypass all of the required conversions.
If you were interested in getting tested for the MTHFR mutation, it’s as simple as having a blood sample drawn by a doctor. They’ll even be able to tell you which variants you have and any specific ways you can reduce the symptoms.
Methyl-Life™ Pledges to Help
Since 2011, Methyl-Life™ has been dedicated to spreading awareness and providing relief throughout the MTHFR community. We stay up-to-date on the latest news regarding the MTHFR gene, methylfolate, and everything else that comes with it.
If you’re suffering from an MTHFR mutation, one of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to make sure you get a healthy intake of methylfolate on a daily basis. Also, avoid folic acid like the plague, it is the synthetic, man-made form of Vitamin B9 and turns into unmetabolized folic acid (UMFA) within the bloodstream when not converted (most typically because of a faulty MTHFR gene), and this has been linked to cancer in some studies. Lastly, ensure you’re getting a good active form of B12 into your body (methylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin - the most well-tolerated, and adenosylcobalamin) - these are not available through plant sources, so if you’re vegan or vegetarian, are low on an intrinsic factor or have any B12 metabolism mutations like MTR, MTRR, COMT, etc. your B12 status will be compromised. These three things will put your body in a much better position for success. Of course, there are other important methylation co-factor nutrients you will want to consider if you’re having some health or quality of life challenges related to MTHFR. Check out our Methylation Protocols to see if you can find one that will help you live a more symptom-free lifestyle.
Since the mutation will hinder the conversion of folate to methylfolate, you’ll also need to provide the body with a boost. This is where methylfolate comes in to save the day -- as well as hydroxocobalamin, the rarer but most well-tolerated active form of Vitamin B12.
Your body won’t need to convert these nutrients, making them readily available to the body for immediate use. They’ll also have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier -- which is excellent for ADHD symptoms.
For anyone that’s new to the MTHFR community, we recommend starting off with one of our methylfolate-only formulas. They come in various different dosages -- 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, and 15mg -- and come in a small, tasty chewable tablet form, making them easy and fun to take. We also provide hydroxocobalamin-only lozenges for the added synergistic B12 benefit.
If you want to take things a step further, especially those suffering from ADHD, we recommend you take a look at our cognitive-enhancers which include powerful brain nutrients like Magnesium L-Threonate, Phosphatidylserine, Citicoline, and PQQ. Our Magtein and Focus & Recall supplements are fantastic additions!
Finally, we have our various bundles that give you a variety of products for maximum methylation benefit. Our Beginner’s Bundle features a methylfolate-only tablet, hydroxocobalamin-only tablet, a specialized Magnesium capsule, and a non-methylated multivitamin capsule with supporting co-factors. This provides the body with the perfect balance of nutrients to help fight MTHFR mutations.
And that’s just the start of what Methyl-Life™ has to offer. You can view a full list of our supplements in our online shop. Of course, you can always contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns you might have -- one of our highly trained professionals would be happy to assist you!
Gokcen, Cem, et al. “Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Gene Polymorphisms in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” International Journal of Medical Sciences, Ivyspring International Publisher, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3167178/.
“What Is ADHD?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 Apr. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html.