MTHFR is an enzyme that adds a methyl group to folic acid. The process of adding a methyl group is known as methylation. For some people, who have a mutation in this gene, methylation is not properly done. This mutation is known as MTHFR mutation. For those with the mutation, it can be hard or even impossible to convert folic acid into the necessary active form. So why is this important to you? Well, because active folate is important for many processes including fertility. Low MTHFR activity also leads to elevated homocysteine levels, which has been associated with inflammation, heart disease, birth defects as well as difficult pregnancies, to name a few. This mutation has also been linked to unresolved fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, and even insomnia.
So how do you know if you are one of many affected by the MTHFR mutation? The answer is a blood or saliva test. Identifying a mutation in the MTHFR gene is extremely important in all patients but especially important for women of childbearing ages. Once the gene mutation is identified, as naturopathic doctors we can create a treatment plan to help promote methylation and protect you from the harmful effects of the mutation. It is important to work with doctors who are up to date on the effect of the MTHFR mutation as it is not typically a routine blood test performed by most doctors. It is however a routine test completed here at SNC.
Things to remember if you have the MTHFR mutation include not taking anything with folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that cannot be used by those with the mutation. It can actually be extremely dangerous. So make sure to check your supplements to make sure you are not taking folic acid if you have the mutation. For more information about MTHFR testing, call SNC to schedule your next appointment.