Co-authored by Amber Moss, Pharm.D. Candidate 2015
It seems like every day we are hearing something about our genetics. Much research is being done to understand the reasons some of us are more prone to diseases and some are not. The latest in medicine is coming from biotechnology. We are starting to see research in medications custom made to fit your specific genetic fingerprint. What I will be discussing is a genetic mutation of the enzyme methtetrahydrofolate reducatse (MTHFR). To discuss this I must start with the B-vitamin Folic Acid.
Here are two major reasons that you need folic acid
Prenatal care to prevent neural tube defects (see marchofdimes.org)
Heart to prevent elevated Homocysteine (Strokes, hardening of the arteries, and blood clots)
So, all of us need folic acid, Right?
Due to our genetic makeup some of us have a weakened ability to convert our folic acid into a useful form of folate. The genetic mutation does not allow the enzyme Methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) to be formed appropriately. The malformation on this enzyme prevents the enzyme from converting folic acid to the active form folate. Low levels of folate can disrupt a process called methylation which is necessary for the body to work properly. We have been working for years with patients that do not methylate efficiently. Some of these are listed below.
Attention Deficit Disorder Click here for more Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Fertility issues/Frequent Miscarriages Autism Spectrum Seizure Disorders Alzheimer’s Dementia Insomnia Depression/Anxiety Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Diabetes Bi-Polar Hashimoto’s (Low Thyroid) Click here for more
There are two most common types of MTHFR mutations. The C677T mutation is the result of the amino acid cytosine being switched for thymine. The A1298C mutation is the result of the amino acid adenine being switched for cytosine. The C677T mutation is associated with lower enzyme activity than the A1298C mutation. This means that those with the C677T mutation will have more issues related to high homocysteine.
If you feel that you might be a mutant and would like to do something about it, you have two options.
Get tested for the MTHFR mutation (contact me to discuss how a simple blood test can determine if you are a mutant)
Supplement with the proper nutrients (see below)
These supplements are recommended to reduce homocysteine and to improve methylation
Methylfolate (the active version of folic acid) B-12 as Methylcobalamin (the active version of B-12) Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (the active form of B-6) Riboflavin-5-Phosphate (the active form of B-2) Glutathione or N-Acetyl-Cysteine – to improve glutathione levels Trimethylglycine (TMG) helps to form methionine which lowers homocysteine Probiotic-5
Before you say “no way am I going to take all of that,” let me tell you that we have a Multi-vitamin that has 4 of these nutrients in one capsule. The other 3 come in easy to swallow capsules that you will have no trouble taking.
In summary, our mission is to solve medication problems. Testing for the MTHFR mutation can give answers to many individuals that are not sure why they may be suffering. Treating the body for the MTHFR mutation can have a major impact on the life of a child, a mother that has had multiple miscarriges, a patient with fibromyalgia, and many other common issues. This is what we do best, solve medication problems by customizing medications. We look forward to hearing from you.
Please leave a comment below if you have questions. If you have been tested and you have a MTHFR mutation what treatments have you tried? What has worked? What did not work? We all would like to hear your story.
What does your pharmacist recommend?