Methylation Polymorphisms are more Complicated than MTHFR

Methylation Cycle Management Michigan Naturopathic Doctor

(warning this is a very technical blog entry for those that are familiar with MTHFR)

I love reading about the methylation cycle and methyl tetrahydrofolate
reductase (MTHFR) polymorphisms. MTHFR along with some other enzymes
in your body are responsible for transferring carbons. Carbons are necessary
for building everything in your body from DNA and neurotransmitters to
proteins, fats, and cell membranes. They are also vitality important for
proper detoxification. No wonder MTHFR variations are related to diseases
like:
Autism
Addictions: smoking, drugs, alcohol
Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
Fibromyalgia
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Atherosclerosis, Heart Attack, Stroke
Multiple Autoimmune Diseases
Unexplained Neurologic Disease
Asthma
These are only a fracture of diseases related to how well your body utilizes carbons from your food at the cellular level.

Methylation Management, Functional Medicine, Holistic, Integrative, Nauropathic

Unfortunately working with people that have MTHFR polymorphisms is often over simplified. As you can see from the picture above there is much more to it than testing for a single MTHFR variation followed by supplementation with methylated folate aka methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). Also supplementing with methylated folate is not completely benign because some of the conditions above are associated with an over abundance of carbons which is called over methylation. Therefore taking methylated folate can make some people feel worse. 5-MTHF also effects gene expression by down regulating your post synaptic neurotransmitters receptor sites.

 

Folate is not the only vitamin (co-factor) used in the Methylation Cycle. Other vitamins like B6 and B12 play vital roles as well as minerals like zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Also genes like Methionine synthase reductase (MTRR), Cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), S-adenosylhomocysteine synthase (AHCY), and S-adenosylmethionine synthetase (MAT) all encode enzymes that effect how well your body transfers carbons.

 

The good news is that there is a test that looks at the SAM/SAH ratio to determine your methylation status. This test actually looks at what’s going on with your methylation in real time instead of trying to guess based off of symptoms and genes. What does this all mean? Treat the person and what they’re presenting with and not just genetic results. Inflammation and environmental exposures will completely disrupt methylation in a person with no polymorphisms. Meanwhile a person with multiple polymorphisms with few environmental exposures and a great diet might not need any intervention.

 

With all this said if you are chronically ill you might have disrupted methylation. Is it the chicken or the egg? It depends on the person and their clinical presentation. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable physician working with you that says more than here take folate because you have a MTHFR polymorphism. To learn more call for a free 10 minute consult. Otherwise I recommend following researchers/clinicians like Drs. William Walsh, Amy Yasko and Benjamin Lynch.

How do you treat lupus naturally?

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Natural Treatments

I am often asked this question and there is no single best answer. Looking at disease from a multifactorial standpoint requires a detailed history and some understanding of that individuals genes. This is essential because lupus can have many different causes. Once we have a working theory we can work on optimizing the patient’s detoxification pathways, eliminating the toxic exposures in their everyday life, improving their immune system’s intelligence, decreasing inflammation, optimizing nutritional intake, and etc.

 

There is no one size fits all approach to working with people with complex disease. What is necessary is a complex approach that that is individualized and doable. There’s a time and place for enzymes, probiotics, and vitamin D3 as well as higher force interventions like pharmaceuticals. The key is knowing when to use what because no two people are alike and in the end my job is to relieve suffering while doing as little harm as possible.