The Best Way to Support Your MTHFR Enzyme & Methylation - Lakeside Natural Medicine

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The Best Way to Support Your MTHFR Enzyme & Methylation

ByKatarina Meister, ND June 11, 2024

The widely known genetic polymorphism or snp is the MTHFR enzyme. Methylene-tetra-hydro-folate reductase (MTHFR) is an enzyme that converts folic acid into the active form of folate (methyl-folate). This process is called methylation, where the body adds a methyl group to folate creating methyl-folate, or active folate. Methylation is involved in several processes in the body: neurotransmitter synthesis, DNA repair, turning genes on and off to fighting infections, etc. About 56-85% of people have some sort of MTHFR genetic snp and may need greater folate requirements than others.

MTHFR Gene Mutation Genetic Weaknesses:

  1. Folate deficiency
  2. Reduced neurotransmitter production for serotonin and dopamine
  3. Increased homocysteine levels and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  4. Increases cancer risk

Symptoms & Health conditions associated with a MTHFR gene mutation (low MTHFR enzyme activity)

  • Autoimmune conditions (Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer (colon, breast)
  • Cognitive disorders (ADHD)
  • Diabetes
  • Hormone imbalance (Estrogen dominance)
  • Insomnia
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Mental health disorders (Anxiety / Depression)
  • Migraines
  • Miscarriage
  • Osteoporosis
  • PCOS
  • Persistent HPV infections
  • Pre-eclampsia

How much folate should I take?

Request that your doctor order you a homocysteine test, and/or a MTHFR genetic test.

Homocysteine optimally should be less than 10. If your level is higher than this, it can indicate a greater need for active folate.

During pregnancy, there is a greater need for folate. Generally, folate is best if taken at least 1 month prior to conception and through the fourth week of pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.

Other benefits of folate during your pregnancy include:

  • Protects against congenital heart defects (Ex: cleft lips, limb defects, and urinary tract anomalies).
  • Reduces the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and fetal growth restriction.
  • Reduces the risk of spontaneous abortion, placental abruption, and preeclampsia.
  • May actually protect the fetus from disease when the mother is ill, taking medications, or smoking during pregnancy.
  • Reduces the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

How to support your MTHFR Enzyme?

  1. Increase dark leafy greens which are high in folate. I continually advocate for all my patients to aim for 2 cups of leafy greens every single day. It’s an easy practice especially if you add them to a smoothie. Raw greens are best, as cooking can destroy folate. Other high folate foods: grass-fed red meat, eggs, broccoli, avocado, seeds, nuts, and beans.
  2. Take folate as a supplement: Avoid folic acid, it is best to take folate in active form. Instead, look for Methyl-Folate around 400-800mcg/day. I typically recommend first supplementing with a B-Complex so that you have all of cofactors needed for methylation including folate. Consult with your doctor to see if you need additional folate on top of the B-Complex.
  3. Avoid antacids – they block the absorption of B12 and other nutrients to support methylation.
  4. Reduce your toxic load. Avoid toxin exposure, such as cigarette smoke and pesticides (buy organic). Minimize alcohol consumption (no more than 4 drinks per week) and use clean household products.
  5. Support your foundations for health: staying active, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and eat a colorful diet rich in nutrients.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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