The MTHFR Gene: 3 Things you Need to Know

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

People talk a lot about 'important' genes. Certain genes seem to come into and out of fashion every few months and there are always new claims that this gene will make or break your health. The MTHFR genetic variant has been touted as the 'next big thing', and those with underlying conditions are looking for natural ways to treat it.

MTHFR is in the spotlight now, but it's important to balance the scary headlines your getting in your feeds with a broader look at how MTHFR can affect you.

Why is MTHFR Important?

Carrying one or both variants of MTHFR will reduce your ability to convert folic acid into the 'active form' of folate (which is called 5-MTHF or L-methylfolate).

Methylfolate is vital for methylation - which is important for gene expression, detoxification, neurotransmitter production, and a whole lot more.

Many carriers of the MTHFR variant are predisposed to have a nutritional deficiency of folate and therefore can have 'naturally' lower levels of folate. This deficiency can contribute to birth defects (due to not enough folate), fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, depression, poor sleep and more.

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The Problem with the Typical Approach

To compensate for this, many people are being told by doctors, nutritionists, personal trainers and health bloggers to simply take high doses of methylated folate and B12 (B12 is usually included in these supplements as it has synergetic benefits when given with L-Methylfolate).

These high doses can be an inadequate approach and can be actually be dangerous for some people, as it can cause additional imbalances and serious symptoms.

In order for your genetic data to be truly useful, you need to look at it as a whole. Genes do not express themselves in a vacuum. There are many other detoxification genetic variants that may be affecting you even more than MTHFR.

Two people with similar genetics can have vastly different biochemical needs, identifying these needs and filling the gap between your genetic function and optimal health is the key to you being symptom free and healthy.