What Are Methylation and the MTHFR Genotype?
3/16/2015 4:28 PM
We could write an entire book and devote a conference to this most important subject, but for the purpose of this blog I will keep it short and sweet.
Methylation is a process that occurs in the body millions of time per day. In this process, a single carbon plus three hydrogens known as a methyl group is applied to facilitate many crucial functions in the body.
Methylation is critical in repairing DNA, removal of environmental and metabolic toxins plus boosting your immune system just to name a few.
Methylation defects are associated with estrogen related cancers (breast, ovarian, prostate etc.), stroke, cardiovascular events, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, autism and many autoimmune disorders. Defects in methylation reduce your ability to detoxify.
Neurotransmitters such as adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin need to be broken down and eliminated. Methylation defects such as the C677T and the A1298C regardless if homozygous or heterozygous needs to be addressed.
This is an overlooked health crisis in mainstream medicine. Why? I hate to sound cynical, but if there were a drug to address the genetic polymorphisms and treat elevated homocysteine then everyone would know about it. For a minimal amount of money, one can address their genetic uniqueness with a personalized protocol.
Whenever I perform an initial blood workup on my Functional Medicine clients I always include this genetic profile. Once it is determined which genotype you express, we then customize an individual protocol. The good news is, this test is covered under most insurance plans including Medicare.
Glutathione levels are always evaluated on traditional blood work and confirmed with Functional testing. If levels are low we would then treat. Low levels of glutathione are often associated with the MTHFR genetic trait. Low levels of glutathione can contribute too many disorders including Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The most important nutrients to address the MTHFR genotype with or without elevated levels of homocysteine are:
B6: Pyridoxal 5’ phosphate
Folate (The body uses 5-Methyltetrahydrofolic acid not folic acid)
Probiotics (high quality)
Once the methylation pathway is turned ‘on’ with proper functioning, your ability to detoxify increases and your symptoms should improve.
Genetic polymorphisms are very common. When you know your genotype you now have the ability to modify that genetic expression with the correct nutritional and lifestyle intervention. Just because you have the genes does not mean you will get a specific disorder. Genes are pleomorphic meaning they can express themselves differently based on how well you treat them.
Coming soon, Dr. Banks Functional Medicine Solutions!!