According to Psychology Today, 30-50% of all people carry a gene mutation called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and don't even know it1. An MTHFR gene mutation may change the way you metabolize and convert nutrients from your diet into active vitamins, minerals, and proteins your body can use. This genetic mutation may also affect hormone and neurotransmitter levels, brain function, digestion, cholesterol levels, and more.
The MTHFR gene instructs your body to make an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. MTHFR plays a central role in converting folate into the active form (vitamin B9) that is found circulating in your blood. This form of folate is then utilized in the process of lowering homocysteine levels in your body. Maintaining appropriate levels of homocysteine is important in the prevention of chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, Alzheimer’s, and autism.
Common Symptoms of MTHFR Gene Mutation
MTHFR mutations affect everyone differently. Symptoms may vary from long-term health issues to hardly any noticeable change in overall health. Here are some common symptoms to look for:
High Homocysteine Levels: Poor methylation leads to high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid. High levels of homocysteine are linked to increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Folate Deficiency: If you suffer from chronic fatigue, feel light-headed, or forgetful, it could be due to a folate deficiency. MTHFR enzyme is vital to convert folic acid to folate in the body. A folate deficiency may be due to an MTHFR mutation2.
Fertility Issues: Folate metabolism is crucial for ovarian function and embryo formation throughout pregnancy. If folate levels suffer, it may affect your ability to conceive a baby. If you suffer from unexplained infertility problems MTHFR mutation may be one of the reasons3. Women with a history of more than one miscarriage may have an MTHFR mutation problem.
Check with your doctor if you are concerned about having MTHFR gene mutation.
Folate in Supplements
Regular folic acid supplements and folate from foods are not biologically active. Your body needs to convert folate into its metabolically active form (5-MTHF) for use, a process that involves many steps and enzymes. This conversion is more difficult for those with the MTHFR gene mutation, making low folate levels a common problem.
To raise your folate levels, you need a supplement that provides folate in its naturally active form: 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). This form is easy for your body to recognize and use and doesn't require conversion, making the folate readily available for your body.4 We always use active, MTHFR-friendly folate (5-MTHF) in our multivitamins, as well as our B Complex supplement.
1. A Genetic Mutation That Can Affect Mental & Physical Health, Sep 05, 2014
2. Homocysteine Metabolism Gene Polymorphisms (MTHFR C677T, MTHFR A1298C, MTR A2756G and MTRR A66G) Jointly Elevate the Risk of Folate Deficiency, 2015 Aug 10;7(8):6670-87. doi: 10.3390/nu7085303
3. Folate Metabolism and Human Reproduction, 2014 Sep; 74(9): 845–851
4. Folic acid and L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate: comparison of clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, 2010 Aug;49(8):535-48. doi: 10.2165/11532990-000000000-00000