No, not those mutants.
It’s not often that I have the privilege of sharing information that may save a life, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do today. Despite the goofy title to this post (the reason for it will become clear), this is the real deal and I urge you to take the time to read it and share it.
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional and I’m not providing medical advice. I’m sharing information from personal experience that I hope will shed light on a very important health-related discovery. So, here goes.
A close member of my family* has struggled with a number of health issues for several years, including food allergies and sensitivities, anxiety and just plain not feeling well. He/she sought help from a number of medical professionals and tried a variety of treatments, with very little improvement. More recently, he/she consulted with an integrative doctor (an M.D. who takes a more holistic and nutritional approach).
The new doc whipped out a big chart showing a complicated set of biochemical processes. He explained that through the Human Genome Project, researchers have discovered a common but not yet widely known genetic mutation that has far-reaching implications for dozens of health conditions. It can’t be “fixed” but it can be treated. Treatment can improve or prevent all sorts of health problems.
So, while I have about a 3rd grade understanding of all things scientific (for which I place a large part of the blame on my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. L., who came to class stoned every single day), I’m going to give you the basics and point you toward resources for more information.
What’s the mutation?
We all have 2 copies of the MTHFR** gene. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The purpose of this gene is to produce the MTHFR enzyme, which the body needs for a myriad of functions including production of neurotransmitters, immune system function, cardiovascular health and much much more. It does this through a multistep process that converts folic acid and vitamin B12 into methyl folate and methyl B12, which are the forms required to make the enzyme. (This is often called the methylation process or methylation pathway and there is much more to it than this one gene, but the MTHFR gene is critical.)
There are many variations of the mutation and since we each have 2 copies of the gene, there are a number of possible combinations. For instance, you can have 2 healthy MTHFR genes, one healthy copy and one mutated copy or 2 mutated copies. Generally, people with 2 mutated copies will have more significant health problems than people with one mutated copy. Overall, some studies suggest that as much as 40 percent of the population has an MTHFR mutation.
What health issues are related to MTHFR mutations?
Are you ready for a truly astounding list? Here’s an abbreviated list (more available at www.mthfr.net):
- Autism (a whopping 98% of autistic children test positive for the MTHFR mutation)
- Addictions, such as smoking, drugs, alcohol
- Depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
- Down’s syndrome
- Pulmonary embolisms
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Spina bifida
- A variety of cancers, including colon, rectal and gastric cancer
- Vascular Dementia
- Blood clots
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Deficits in childhood cognitive development
- Migraines with aura
- Low HDL
- High homocysteine
- Post-menopausal breast cancer
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Potential drug toxicities including methotrexate, anti-epileptics
- Cervical dysplasia
- Increased bone fracture risk in post-menopausal women
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Prostate Cancer
- Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
- Nitrous Oxide Toxicity
- Heart Murmurs
- Impaired ability to detoxify heavy metals and other common toxins
I suspect you or someone close to you has one or more of these conditions. If not, then you are clearly from a genetically superior pool and we would like to begin cloning you immediately.
How do I know if I have an MTHFR mutation?
A simple blood test will tell you if you have the mutation. It will tell you if you have one or two copies of the mutation and identify which variation(s) of the mutation you have. The test is sometimes covered by health insurance and sometimes not.
The bad news is that it’s likely your doctor has never heard of MTHFR and if you ask about it, you will risk getting that I-wish-my-patients-would-stop-reading-crap-on-the-internet-and-think-they-know-more-than-me look. If that’s the response, you have a few choices: insist on being tested; find a more open-minded doctor; or get the test on your own (details available through the resources listed below).
What’s the treatment for an MTHFR mutation?
The basic approach to treating an MTHFR mutation is to simply supplement with l-methyl folate and methyl B12, which are available without a prescription. This by-passes the conversion process that is impaired by the MTHFR mutation. The dosage you’ll need will vary, but it’s generally a good idea to start small and work your way up to higher doses. (IMPORTANT: Taking folic acid, which is a synthetic form of folate, can make the condition much worse.)
Of course, nothing in the world is THAT simple. There are many other factors at play. For instance, if your digestive system is a mess, you may need to fix that before the supplements can help or you may need to take additional steps to detoxify an accumulation of heavy metals from your body.
There are many other supplements that may be helpful depending upon your individual health issues. The best case scenario is to work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about MTHFR, but they are few and far between. If you can’t locate one near you, the resources below include doctors who will consult with you by phone.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
The family member I referred to above tested positive for one copy of the MTHFR mutation. He/she began treatment about a month ago, using a supplement that comes in the form of a topical cream.
Within days of starting the treatment, there was a noticeable reduction in anxiety symptoms and an improvement in mood and energy levels. However, there continue to be some episodes (lasting several days or more) when he/she feels pretty bad. I believe this is a sign that his/her body is detoxifying. Overall, however, he/she has shown more improvement during the past 4 weeks than he/she had in the previous 4 years.
Since this is a close family member, there’s a good chance that I have the mutation as well, along with other family members. While we have not yet been tested, we have begun supplementing with l-methyl folate, methyl B12, and a variety of other supplements (there is no downside to doing this, even if you don’t have the mutation).
Want to know more?
If you have any of the health conditions listed above, have chronic health issues that doctors have been unable to help you resolve, or are just curious to know more, here are some places to start:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA8GUIRqIkE (4 part lecture from Dr. Neil Rawlins, about an hour total, well worth watching from beginning to end)
http://www.neurobiologix.com/category-s/12.htm (very informative videos and also a great source for supplements to treat MTHFR)
I’m tired of reading – is there more?
My apologies for the lengthy post, but after immersing myself in all the information about MTHFR and seeing first-hand that it’s the real deal, I genuinely believe that identifying and treating people with this genetic mutation will save lives and improve health tremendously.
The biggest challenge is to spread the word and educate people, especially doctors, about the condition. Please share this information in as many ways as you possibly can.
*I’m not identifying this individual because while some relish the opportunity to over-share personal information, there are still a few people out there who prefer not to reveal their personal information to the world.
**Bet you thought that was a vowel-less expletive, didn’t you?