What is the MTHFR gene?
Besides looking like a dirty word the MTHFR gene is responsible for a pathway in our bodies that is used for chemical breakdown impacting our health in so many ways.
The MTHFR gene is in every cell in our body. It’s also terribly complicated. It’s such a crazy hard thing to understand and that’s why I’m writing this post. I’d also like to understand it better myself. I’ve tried to simplify what it does in this post with the help of Marc Ryan at hashimotoshealing.com , Wellness Mama and stopthethyroidmadness.com
MTHFR produces an enzyme to help convert one form folate into another form of folate (methylfolate) that is most active and usable in our bodies. (Marc Ryan, L Ac.) The enzyme is responsible for using B9 in our body correctly, for proper metabolism and muscle growth and is needed for glutathione creation (an antioxidant) and the process of methylation so we can eliminate toxins from our body (Wellness Mama). Methylfolate also converts tyrosine into active thyroid hormone. The enzyme is also responsible for lowering homocysteine levels which if high are responsible for things like heart disease, inflammation, difficult pregnancies, birth defects and the list goes on.
Low Methylfolate levels cause:
Too little t3 and t4, thyroid hormones
- Which in turn cause a depletion in neurotransmitters. So you start to feel anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia or a host of other emotional and behavioral breakdowns.
A SAMe deficiency making our bodies produce too many antibodies which:
- Causes our methyl pathway to not make enough methyl groups which causes histamines not to break apart so we get allergies. This creates a histamine intolerance. If the Paleo and Aip diets don’t work for you this may be why.
- Creates a weakened immune response.
- keeps your brain heathy by keeping the myelin (which coats our nerves) healthy. If your body isn’t doing this well it can cause poor memory or severe loss of function in the body.
- Produces glutathione which gets rid of toxins and helps with inflammation.
The process and effects are much more complicated than this but this is the gist of it. My suggestion, if you are concerned is to read Marc Ryan’s or Wellness Mama’s post in-depth. They are much more detailed in their descriptions of the process and both are easily read. Both articles have links to references as well.
After reading all the information if you suspect you may have the gene, you’re not getting better or the AIP and Paleo diets don’t seem to help the best thing is to ask your doctor to get tested. You can also get tested through an independent testing company:
If you have this gene there are several things you can do:
- Take care of your Thyroid by eating organic meat and vegetables, getting sleep, avoiding gluten, GMO and processed foods, sugar, soy and dairy and taking supplements recommended for Hashimoto’s
- Take Methylcobalamin B12, glutathione and Vitamin D.
- Don’t take anything with folic acid.
- Wellness Mama recommends helping your body to detoxify: detox baths, sauna use, drinking enough water, dry brushing your skin and exercising (sweating).
- Eat lots of dark leafy greens
- Avoid heavy metals and environmental toxins
This information can be overwhelming and yet important in your journey to better health. It pays to read all you can to better understand your Hashimoto’s.
Take care and be informed!