The buzz term running through many Naturopaths is MTHFR. Many consider it to be the cause of everything from acne to bad breath. Whilst not quite true, correct functioning of this enzyme is essential.
There are many names for the vitamin known as B9, and because folic acid is very different to Folinic acid, I will use the term B9 for the active vitamin and specific names where required.
While there are many body functions that require vitamin B9 to perform correctly, having the MTHFR polymorphism is not the same thing to all people. It really depends on what position the genetic abnormality occurs. The 2 positions anyone is paying attention to are 677 and 1298. It also depends on whether you got a bit of defective genetic code from 1 or both parents – the terms heterozygous or homozygous. Taking all these criteria into account determine the degree of reduced function of the MTHFR enzyme – from 10% to 70%.
Latest information is indicating about 45% of the population have the C677T polymorphism.
So why is it suddenly a big deal? Modern life is why this genetic abnormality now matters. In days not so long ago, diets were much higher in raw leafy foods – or foliage to use the botanical term. Getting B9 from this source bypasses the MTHFR enzyme. In our modern world, food is heavily processed and subsequently fortified with vitamins to make up for has been lost in the manufacturing process. The folic acid used in the fortification process can cause a lot of issues in anyone with the MTHFR abnormality, the exact impact depends on which gene position is affected and how much folic acid is consumed. There is also a trend to not consume much in the way of raw green leafy vegetables. The best many do is some lettuce on a burger!
B9 is also essential for cellular repair and correct nervous functioning. You may not be aware of it, but we are undergoing a lot of repair work every second of every day. We replace the lining of our digestive tract about every 7 days and our skin about every 21 days – just as part of normal function, and every single new cell that is made needs B9. Put that into the modern world where our unhealthy lifestyle has an increased need for tissue repair and stress from all sides and we start to see the perfect storm for MTHFR problems – reduced intake of an essential vitamin coupled with an increased need.
Putting it all together, we need to be aware if you carry the genetic abnormality as it can have profound impacts on numerous health conditions and the effects of various drugs and supplements.
*This is an extremely brief overview of the MTHFR enzyme and polymorphism and should in no way be considered comprehensive. Impacts vary from individual to individual and will be discussed in a clinical setting.
Products we have that can assist with this condition are BioEnhanced methyl B, Hydrozyme.