Is a Genetic Defect Affecting Your Health?

Could You Have a Genetic Defect That’s Affecting Your Health?

Stacee Akins, who does my nutritional counseling, has suffered for years with a genetic defect known as MTHFR, but didn’t know what was causing her symptoms until she was recently diagnosed.  Her good plant-based diet along with juicing helped her a great deal, but wasn’t the total answer.  Taking methylated folate and supplemental B12 has helped her health a great deal. As we talked, I thought you should know about this condition since many people suffer from this genetic defect and have no idea they have it.

MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), is a gene with a genetic polymorphism, or what is seen as a genetic variance or flaw. One in every two people may have this variance — about half of the population. Knowing what this gene is and how it could affect you is the knowledge you need when seeking to protect your health. The MTHFR gene instructs the body to make an enzyme necessary to convert vitamin B9 (folate) into a usable form. This enzyme is also important in the process of converting homocysteine into methionine — an amino acid the body needs for growth and metabolism. Methylation, a process involving a methyl group activating an enzyme, is also associated with the MTHFR gene. Proper methylation enables the body to detoxify toxic metals, toxins, and other wastes.

The process of methylation and the conversion of homocysteine to methionine play an important role in protecting both physical and mental health. Methionine is essential for producing glutathione, the body’s primary antioxidant. The liver also converts methionine into SAM-e, a chemical that helps metabolize brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. Therefore, it is possible that a defect in the MTHFR gene may promote high levels of homocysteine levels in the blood, negatively affecting mental health and mood.

An inability to process folate (vitamin B9) can have serious effects. A developing fetus can suffer defects like spina bifida or anencephaly if the mother has a severe defect in the gene. Folate deficiency can also result in lethargy, impaired cognitive function, and mood disorders. It can cause an abnormally high level of homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine are associated with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, ischemic stroke, some cancers, and atherosclerosis. Research links migraines and mental disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression), chronic pain, and fatigue to inadequate methylation resulting from variances of the MTHFR gene.

If you have this condition, here’s what you can do to heal:  Consume a diet with folate-rich foods such as spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, beans, and broccoli. Avoid exposure to environmental toxins, which can tax the liver, and cleanse the liver periodically to facilitate the removal of toxins and wastes. Methyl folate and vitamin B12 are important supplements to implement daily if you are suffering from MTHFR genetic mutation.  If you think you might have this genetic defect, speak to your doctor about getting tested.  If you don’t have a doctor that can do this, go to the website and take the DNA test.  I would also recommend you schedule a nutrition counseling appointment with Stacee who can truly help you design a healing diet.


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