MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is an enzyme involved in the metabolism of folate (vitamin B9) and the production of a crucial molecule called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). Certain variations or mutations in the MTHFR gene can impact the activity of this enzyme, potentially leading to altered folate metabolism and potential health implications. This article aims to provide an overview of the MTHFR gene mutation, its association with health conditions, and current understanding of its management.
The MTHFR gene mutation refers to genetic variations in the MTHFR gene that affect the enzyme’s activity. The most common variations include C677T and A1298C, which can result in reduced enzyme efficiency and altered folate metabolism. These variations can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine, a potentially harmful amino acid, and reduced levels of 5-MTHF, the active form of folate.
The MTHFR gene mutation has been associated with various health conditions, although the impact may vary among individuals. Research suggests that MTHFR mutations may contribute to an increased risk of certain psychiatric disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder, and potentially other chronic conditions.
Folate is essential for DNA synthesis, repair, and methylation processes. Methylation is a biochemical process involved in regulating gene expression, neurotransmitter synthesis, detoxification, and other important functions. Altered folate metabolism due to MTHFR mutations can disrupt methylation processes and potentially impact various physiological processes, including mental health.
Genetic testing can identify MTHFR gene mutations, and specific variations can be determined through blood or saliva samples. However, it is important to interpret the results in the context of an individual’s health history and in consultation with a healthcare professional experienced in genetics.
The MTHFR gene mutation has different variants such as being homozygous and heterozygous. MTHFR can have significant reductions in methylation and people could benefit from supplementing with activated forms of folate, such as methyl folate, methylcobalamin B12, B6 as P-5-P, and other methylated nutrients such as TMG or SAMe.
If you have the homozygous MTHFR gene mutation you may benefit from methylation support for your mental health condition.
May Come with Side Effects
It is important to get accurate testing done before you decide to supplement with these nutrients. Methylated nutrients are very powerful and may produce unwanted effects such as irritability, anger outbursts, and deterioration instead of improvement. That is because not everyone can tolerate methylated vitamins and that is especially true for people suffering from mental health conditions. People suffering from mental health conditions need methylation balance, but most of what you find on the market for MTHFR and homocysteine are in high potency dosages.
Taking high doses of methylated vitamins and supplements can lead to overmethylation. These are commonly found in most multivitamins and Homocysteine formulations. This can make symptoms worse and create a sense of overdrive in some individuals.
If you still think you need methylation support for your MTHFR genetic mutation, then try a formulation with split and divided capsule doses. This way, instead of one capsule once a day, you can try a formula that is 4 capsules a day for example. Instead of taking your entire daily dose, try 1/4 of the dosage and supplement with only one capsule for the day. Please be advised to start slow and work with a qualified practitioner that can assess your individualized needs.
Common side effects and symptoms of too much methylation include:
Itchy, crawly skin
If you are still unsure and want genetic testing done – I suggest seeking a Nutritionist to get this SNP testing. You can schedule this anytime online 24/7 at mytelemedicine.
This is the option for inexpensive laboratory testing for those who are without insurance, who have high deductibles, want to have confidentiality, and/or whose doctors won’t prescribe them the lab testing they want to have done.
Bralley, J. A., & Lord, R. S. (2008). Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine (2nd ed.). Metamet
Fabbri C, et al. (2014). Genetics and epigenetics of psychiatric diseases. Neural Plast, 2014:463784.