Although it looks like an acronym for a naughty word, MTHFR stands for methyletetrahydrofolate reductase--an enzyme that converts folic acid (vitamin B9) into its usable, active form—called methyl-folate (5MTHF).
Active methyl-folate is important because it plays a crucial role in a biochemical process called methylation.
Methylation is heavily involved with your body’s ability to detox itself, as well as enzyme, hormone and neurotransmitter production, and it even affects your DNA!
Methylation is going on non-stop, every single second in your body. As a matter of fact, it occurs inside of you over a BILLION times a day!
Here are some examples of methylation in action:
Methylation helps your body’s enzymes work efficiently, and this is crucial. Your body has over 3,000 different enzymes that are catalysts for most of its systems and processes—including your digestive, circulatory, lymphatic, neurologic, endocrine, renal, hepatic, and reproductive systems.
Your body’s hormones are also dependent on methylation. There have been over 200 hormones identified so far, and they choreograph pretty much ALL of your body’s processes. For example:
- Hormones trigger your digestive organs to secrete enzymes needed for digestion.
- Your metabolism is active because your thyroid is cranking out hormones.
- Your ability to deal with stress depends on hormones secreted by your adrenal glands.
- If you do not have diabetes that’s because your pancreas is secreting enough insulin.
- And if you sleep soundly at night your pineal gland is ensuring you have enough melatonin.
Methylation is involved in your body’s detox efforts. It enables your body to convert the harmful amino acid homocysteine into the benign amino acid methionine.
This is essential because if homocysteine is instead allowed to build up in your bloodstream, it can cause damage to your arterial walls and increase your risk of heart disease.
Methylation also indirectly affects your body’s ability to clear dangerous heavy metals (like mercury and aluminum). Heavy metals are associated with many health challenges, especially impaired brain function.
Methylation also affects your body’s ability to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin.
So as you would expect, problems with methylation can mean an increased risk of depression!
The gene genie
Methylation affects your genes too—in fact, methylation can turn genes on or off, which can be good or bad, depending on the gene.
Many people don’t know this, but not all your genes are actively firing away 24/7. Some are lying dormant and only become a problem if they are “awakened.”
This is the reason, for example, that having a BRCA-1, BRCA-2 or p53 gene mutation is not a guarantee you will get breast cancer. The mutated gene must be triggered into action.
MTHFR gene mutation and methylation
Clearly you want to keep methylation banging away over a billion times a day in your innards, because as you can see, your health and quite probably your life depend on it!
As such, this very important series of events has to take place--the MTHFR enzyme must convert vitamin B9 (folic acid) into its “preferred” form methyl-folate, then the methyl-folate can in turn help carry out methylation!
MTHFR enzyme-->Converts folic acid (B9) to methyl-folate-->Methylation
But the problem arises when someone has a mutation in the MTHFR gene. Then their bodies can’t produce enough MTHFR enzyme…
So in turn, folic acid doesn’t get converted like it should, and as a result your body’s methylation ability drops through the floor!
Unfortunately, it’s believed that between 30 to 50 percent of people carry a mutation in the MTHFR gene, which is inherited and passed down from parent to child.
What to do?
A simple blood test can determine if you have a MTHFR gene mutation, so you can ask your doctor to run a test for you.
But don’t despair if it comes back positive, because there is a lot you can do to help your body compensate!
And even if you don’t have an MTHFR mutation, it’s still crucial to help support your body’s ability to effectively carry out methylation!
Here are 4 ways that can make a huge difference in your body’s level of methylation:
Get food sources of folic acid (folate)
Getting more folate in your diet can help support methylation.
Some of the best dietary sources of folate include:
- Beans and lentils
- Leafy green vegetables
- Oranges and mangoes
Supplement with vitamin B12
Vitamins B6 and B12 also assist in your body’s methylation efforts, especially in the conversion of homocysteine.
While a healthy diet that includes proteins, nuts and beans can help provide the B6 your body needs, B12 is trickier because many people can’t assimilate and absorb the B12 in their foods.
This is especially true of people who use acid reducers, people who have had gastric or gallbladder surgery, and the elderly. Plus vegetarians and vegans are at a disadvantage because B12 only comes from animal sources.
But you can ensure your body has the B12 it needs by supplementing with Hydroxaden 2.5 oral B12 spray!
Unlike B12 tablets or pills which can have limited absorbency in the GI tract, Hydroxaden is sprayed right under your tongue so the B12 can get absorbed easily through the mucus membranes in your mouth!
And as an added bonus, Hydroxaden 2.5 also provides vitamins B2, B3 and B6—which further support your body’s methylation efforts and your energy level!
Encourage a healthy gut microbiome
A healthy gut microbiome is crucial for several reasons.
First, people with MTHFR mutations are more prone to digestive problems and leaky gut, so it’s crucial to have a strong intestinal flora population to protect the integrity of the intestinal wall.
Your gut microbiome also supports sound, regular bowel movements, which in turn helps your body clear heavy metals and other substances that it’s detoxing out of you! Without regular BMs, these harmful substances can instead be reabsorbed into circulation and trigger sickness and disease.
Also, a healthy intestinal environment is vital for proper nutrient absorption, including the B vitamins your body needs for methylation!
In addition to eating lots of fresh vegetables and probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, a full-spectrum probiotic formula like Super Shield is your ticket to a healthier intestinal environment.
Super Shield’s carefully designed blend of 13 potent, feisty probiotic strains provides a health- supporting variety of both Lactobacillus bacteria (which live in the small intestine) and Bifidobacterium (which colonize in the colon), so your entire intestinal tract is covered!
Support your body’s detox efforts
You can further support your body’s methylation and detox efforts in these ways:
- Drinking fresh vegetable juices
- Drinking at least eight 8 oz glasses of filtered water a day. Try adding a splash of fresh lemon juice for an added boost.
- Doing infrared saunas
- Getting regular exercise—meaning working up a sweat
- Using home and personal products that are natural and free of harmful chemicals
To your health,
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I have homozygous C677 and many health issues. My homocystiene level is triple the norm. Us tgere any way to lower it?