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MTHFR - a common health condition that looks like a curse word!

I founded Connect the Dots as a way to help people who feel like I used to - stuck, hopeless, and frustrated with their health. You might have gone to several doctors and specialists, done tests and crazy prescriptions, and still find yourself feeling terrible.

While on my own health journey, I learned something completely critical: Each part of our health is connected. Small imbalances in one area can cause big problems in another. For example, mental health can be drastically affected by nutrition and vitamin levels. Or, your digestion may be disrupted by high levels of stress and anxiety.

I’ve learned that each of us are so different, and that we all need to find what works best for us. This is why the one on one coaching I do can be so helpful! We work together to discover how YOUR body works!

So, let’s talk a little about MTHFR - what it is, how it works, and how you can use this knowledge to make changes in your personal health.

MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (and now you understand why we abbreviate it!) and it is a genetic mutation that is pretty common. This means that in certain points of your DNA, you might have one or two mutations that cause you to have MTHFR.

Some research has shown that anywhere from 30-60 percent of people have at least one of the MTHFR mutations, of which there are two. You can get genetic testing done to know for sure, but since it’s so common, I recommend making changes in your supplements no matter what, since these changes are better for everyone’s levels (more about that later!).

What does the MTHFR mutation do?

This is a great question. There is a lot of research being done to link this mutation to different health issues, conditions etc. However, one thing we know for sure is that this mutation makes it difficult or impossible to process certain types of B12 and B9 (folate). This can lead to extremely low levels of these vitamins, which may be causing symptoms.

Some symptoms of B12 and Folate deficiencies are:

  • Fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Memory issues

  • Dizziness

  • Breathlessness

  • Mood Changes

  • Headaches

  • Lack of energy

  • Pale skin

  • Heart palpitations

  • Loss of appetite

Take note that these symptoms can have many different causes, but it is so important to take every factor into consideration.

B12 and Folate are vitamins that our body doesn’t produce, but are necessary for our wellness. This means we need to be putting these vitamins in our bodies on a regular basis to keep our levels up. However, if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, your body can’t process and absorb certain types of these vitamins.

When searching for vitamins that are easier for anyone to absorb, but especially with MTHFR, you’ll need to find labels with the word “Methyl” on them.

For example, B12 is called cobalamin in our ingredient labels. When ingested, your body has to turn cobalamin into methylcobalamin before it can be used. If you have the MTHFR gene, your body won’t be able to turn the cobalamin into methylcobalamin, and it will do absolutely nothing for you. But, if you find a B12 supplement with “methylcobalamin” it can automatically be absorbed by your body, whether you actually have the gene mutation or not.

Similarly, folate (or folic acid) must be turned into “methylfolate” to be absorbed. And again, if you have the MTHFR mutation, your body won’t be able to. So the easiest thing to do is to find vitamins and supplements that contain already methylated ingredients (L-methylfolate and methylcobalamin). You might remember folic acid from taking prenatal vitamins. Folate is an essential vitamin for growth in the womb! If a pregnant mother has the MTHFR gene mutation, it is important that she take a prenatal with L-methylfolate for increased absorption. Be sure to work with your doctor to ensure you’re taking the correct amount.

This might sound a bit sciency and nerdy, but it’s crazy how many people are affected by this! Not to mention, traditional medicine will treat some of your side effects with more prescriptions or treatments, when you really just might need to change supplements!

I know for myself that I have both of the MTHFR gene mutations, and my husband has one.. so I know my kids will be affected as well. This is why it is SO important for me to be taking the right supplements, and choosing the right ones for my family as well. Here are some great options for anyone looking to improve their levels:

Please note that I use Fullscript to recommend supplements to my clients. Simply sign in and follow these links to recieve a sweet discount from me :)

Disclaimer: Connect the Dots Health Coaching achieves “habit change” (adoption of health-enhancing practices) via coaching and does not diagnose or treat disease, prescribe medication, or perform the functions of clinical occupations. Any supplements suggested are equally not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure health issues although these suggestions are backed by science and careful research. Consult your doctor. Merilee Ford and Connect the Dots are happy to work with your physician’s guidance to best support your wellbeing.

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