Lung infections and MTHFR; Chiropractic can help!

It has been widely reported that individuals with MTHFR are more susceptible to asthma and other lung infections. In the winter, particularly in New England bronchitis and pneumonia is rampant, even among our kids. Conventional medicine offers little to support these kids and usually leads them down a road of more steroids and antibiotics, increasing susceptibility.

Sadly, we know that many classes of antibiotics given to individuals with MTHFR can leave kids with more symptoms than when they were initially seeking treatment. Steroids, lifesaving in many cases, are often over- prescribed, assaulting immunity in our youth, and leading them down a road that requires steroids as their only treatment.

Chiropractic has been a mainstay in medicine for nearly 150 years. However in many cases, families believe that chiropractic is for “back pain” or “after a car accident”, yet the research shows us that chiropractic is very effective for many, many acute medical conditions as well!

hippocrates

The lungs have an extensive supply of nerves that communicate with them.  What would happen if there was interference with communication to the lungs? It may lead to respiratory problems, bronchitis or respiratory infections.  Several studies demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic care and improved respiratory function, breathing difficulty and bronchitis.

The premise of chiropractic is wellness and true prevention. So, the idea is we don’t get sick at all when under chiropractic care; however, stress, mal-adaption and dis-ease can set in to all of us!

Studies have shown chiropractic care is safe and effective, meaning proper adjustments can restore health sooner and more effectively than other modalities.  Especially in the presence of shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, coughing and hiccups!

One of the biggest symptoms that young children experience with pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis is air hunger. Air Hunger is the feeling that “you are running out of air”, it is part of the process of healing the lungs after an infection and it can last a few weeks! There is little conventional medicine can do     for this symptoms, but chiropractic can make a big difference.   In discussing such cases, the term “somatic dyspnea” is suggested to denote air hunger or shortness of breath related to somatic dysfunction.  Somatic dyspnea is a condition, which may accompany other causes of dyspnea (lung pathology, psychogenic or “functional” causes etc.)or can exist alone. There are multiple studies that prove, this symptom of air hunger was alleviated or abolished following the correction of vertebral subluxation complex or other somatic dysfunctions, aka, a chiropractic adjustment.  The response to chiropractic adjustments is sometimes so dramatic and rapid that patients may have an emotional response to taking their first FULL breath in a while!

The take home message is, first of all conventional therapies are useful in acute life threatening conditions or episodes. Secondly, individuals with MTHFR are likely more sensitive to everything; drug dosages, dis-ease, imbalance and environmental change. Thirdly, chiropractic is more than just for back pain; it’s useful in many acute conditions and can restore health and balance safely and effectively. Lastly, take care of your body, watch for signs of dis-ease, imbalance and illness and address them immediately!

Don’t make chiropractic or holistic medicine your “last resort “make it your first stop to better health!

asthma-and-chiropractic-upper-cervical-14

 

 

 

 

Chiropractic adjustments of the cervicothoracic spine for the treatment of bronchitis with complications of atelectasis.  Hart, D.L. Libich, E, Ficher R. International Review of Chiropractic, 1991; Mar:31-33.

Chiropractic management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Masarsky CS, Weber M. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1988; 11:505-510.

Adjustive osteopathic manipulative treatment in the elderly hospitalized with pneumonia: a pilot study. Noll DR, Shores J, Bryman PN, Masterson EV. Journal Of The American Osteopathic Association 1999; 99(3): 143-6

Somatic Dyspnea and the orthopedics of respiration.  Masarsky CS, Weber M Chiropractic Technique, 1991; 3:26-29

Specific upper cervical chiropractic care and lung function.  , R Abstracts from the 13th annual upper cervical spine conference, Nov 16-17, 1996 Life College, Marietta, Georgia.  Pub in Chiropractic Research Journal, Vol. 1V, No.1, Spring 1997 p.27 (also Kessinger R; Changes in pulmonary function associated with upper cervical specific chiropractic care J Vertebral Subluxation Research 1997; 1(3):43-9.

 

Torticollis and MTHFR

left-torticollis-in-infant

Torticollis, or wryneck, literally means “twisted neck” in Latin. A common transient condition found often, in individuals who have slept in the wrong position. A chiropractic adjustment or extra minerals can typically alleviate this type of torticollis. In newborns, torticollis can happen due to positioning in the womb, after a difficult childbirth or because the infant is trying to compensate for a tongue tie while nursing. This is called infant torticollis or congenital muscular torticollis. The use of forceps or vacuum devices to deliver a baby during childbirth also makes a baby more likely to develop torticollis, as in a    C-section delivery, an emergency, or precipitous delivery. Also having the genetic polymorphism, MTHFR can prone a baby to have a congenital tongue or lip tie, and increase the incidence of torticollis; this causes the baby to develop “compensation” to allow for nourishment through breastfeeding. Compensation may be in the form of a neck twist in order to develop a proper latch, for nourishment.

Torticollis is relatively common in newborns. Boys and girls are equally likely to develop a head tilt, the most common visible sign, along with tongue tie and a diagnosis of MTHFR.  Torticollis develops in utero or over time due to pressure on a baby’s sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM). This large, rope-like muscle runs on both sides of the neck from the back of the ears to the collarbone. Extra pressure on one side of the SCM can cause it to tighten, making it hard for a baby to turn his or her neck.

torticollis-and-chiro

What to look for:

  • The head tilts in one direction
  • Preference to looking at you over one shoulder instead of tracking with the eyes
  • Difficulty breastfeeding on one side (or prefers one breast only)
  • Frustrated when unable turn the head completely
  • Positional plagiocephaly (flattening of the head one side) from lying in one direction all the time
  • Does not tolerate tummy time or gets stuck in the same position
  • Development of a small neck lump, which is similar to a “knot” in a tense muscle.

Even though over 45,000 infants are born with congenital torticollis in the US each year, there is little conventional medicine has to offer. Torticollis causes painful, involuntary spasms, impedes normal growth and development, and disturbs vision. The conventional medical approach to correct torticollis often involves invasive and painful procedures and treatments. Fortunately true healing can occur.

liptie

Best tips for quick healing of Torticollis:

  • Infant torticollis is often associated with subluxation of the upper cervical spine. So find a qualified pediatric chiropractor who can do an adjustment on your baby
  • Soft tissue therapies can often produce a rapid solution in many cases of infant torticollis
  • Be sure to get a proper diagnosis. Untreated torticollis can be misdiagnosed as reflux, colic, allergies, and fussiness
  • Be sure to evaluate and treat MTHFR and other genetic concerns that may predispose a baby to tight or pulled muscles, tongue ties, or any other conditions that may affect feeding

Always remember healing is possible, trust your instinct, it’s your baby and keep asking questions until you get the answers!

Extra Chromosome & Absent Enzyme; A look at Down Syndrome and MTHFR

Down Syndrome is a genetic mutation identified by an extra 21st chromosome. MTHFR is a genetic mutation identified by the absence of a vital enzyme essential for folate metabolism. There is an intimate connection between these 2 conditions, and by identifying MTHFR in children with Down Syndrome risks for many co-morbid conditions can be reduced or eliminated.
Contributing Factors
Environmental and Maternal Disposition. There has been recent research showing there is a higher incidence of children with Down syndrome born to mothers that are positive for MTHFR. Multiple polymorphisms were identified in this study which simply correlates the association. Practically speaking MTHFR mutations are seen in elevated levels in autism, spina bifida, fetal cardiac defects and Down syndrome. However, to solely implicate genetics in any medical condition is bad medicine. The environment plays such a large role in influencing our genes. Because of the role that MTHFR plays in folate metabolism and Homocysteine metabolism this association bears regard and acknowledgement.
It has been well researched that Children with Down Syndrome have higher incidences of:
Midline Development Issues
Heart defects. Almost one-half of babies with Down syndrome have congenital heart disease, the most common type of birth defect. MTHFR mutations are associated with a higher incidence of Heart Defects. MTHFR effects “midline development” the heart is an organ that develops form the midline in utero.
Hypothyroidism. Occurs more often in children with Down syndrome than in children without Down syndrome. Close evaluation of thyroid health, diet, supplements and possibly medication can assist in balancing this condition. Again, the thyroid is developed from the “midline” embryonic tissue. The same layer that is effected by the presence of MTHFR mutations. Research shows us children with Down syndrome are born to mothers with MTHFR mutations themselves. Genetics, and an extra chromosome leads to a much higher incidence of hypothyroidism.
Dental problems. Children with Down syndrome generally have a higher palate. This changes the landscape of the mouth and jaw and can cause teeth and speech development that differs from what is expected. Gum disease, is also very common. Gum Disease is well studied as a problem with digestion, bacteria imbalance and nutrient deficiency. MTHFR mutations are closely correlated with dental problems. Again, the gums and teeth develop from the “midline” during pregnancy. MTHFR mutations cause an “inefficiency” of folate metabolism. When this system is impaired the body uses additional vitamins and minerals (stored in the teeth and bones) to properly run its cycles. If nutrient levels are lower that the body’s demand the teeth and gums will suffer.
Sense Organs Issues
Vision problems. More than 60% of children with Down syndrome have vision problems. MTHFR defects can affect the eye. The vessels of the eye are so small that any kind of inflammation or excessive toxicity can “get stuck” in the small vessels of the eye and effect vision.
Hearing loss. About 75% of children with Down syndrome have some hearing loss, sometimes because of problems with ear structures. Children with Down syndrome also tend to get a lot of ear infections, due to narrow canals and anatomic variation which should be watched closely. MTHFR is more highly associated with sensory issues associated with hearing impairments.

Immunity and Blood Issue</strong>s
Infections. Kids with Down syndrome are 12 times more likely to die from untreated and unmonitored infections compared to kids without Down syndrome. The Immune system develops differently in kids with Down Syndrome, which can cause problem with immunity. This poses challenges with children and the current immunization schedule. In children with impaired immunity, vaccines can cause unanticipated reactions, which can lead to further health concerns. MTHFR and its ability to metabolize folate plays an intimate role in the immune system. These mutations can cause reduced immune function, bone marrow suppression and the inability to produce proper components of the immune system.
Blood disorders. Are common in children with Down syndrome. There is a 10 to 15 higher incidence of developing leukemia. Kids with Down Syndrome are at higher risk for a diagnosis of anemias of all kinds (low iron, low B12, high red blood cells, etc.). MTHFR is the enzyme that controls folate (B9) metabolism, however proper signaling of methylation, the pathway signaled by the MTHFR enzyme also requires proper interface with B!2 and B6, without these other B vitamins the pathway operates ineffectively and can further problems with anemias of all kinds.
Structural Issues
Hypotonia (poor muscle tone). Poor muscle tone and low strength is a common contributor to “delayed” milestones in Children with Down Syndrome. Low Tone can also effect nursing, swallowing, speech development, constipation and coordination.

Many of these problems can be addressed with skilled providers educated in the specificity of Down Syndrome Concerns. MTHFR pathways assist to eliminate toxins in the body. The benefit of an efficient elimination system means the body reduces its exposure to toxins and therefore reduces its potential for disease. Keeping MTHFR in good working order helps the body better balance muscle and strength development as well as reduce the problems associated with low tone.
Atlantoaxial Instability. Is present in 20% of children with Down syndrome. This is associated with an increased incidence of spinal cord injury and should be evaluated by a skilled provider for the best course of treatment. MTHFR is not associated with Atlantoaxial instability, however it is well reported that individuals with MTHFR have a higher incidence of damage to ligaments and tendons when ingesting “floxin” antibiotics. This should be thoroughly researched by any provider prescribing antibiotics to children with Down syndrome.
Digestion Absorption and Elimination
Digestive problems. Digestive problems in kids with Down syndrome, range from structural defects in the digestive system, food sensitivity or food allergy, and food aversions or addictions. Due to the metabolic and genetic components with Down syndrome very specific diets can be recommended and useful for a lifetime of healthy digestion, assimilation and weight balance. The research shows that approximately 80% of individuals with MTHFR have food allergy or food sensitivity. Remember that individuals with MTHFR have a harder time with detoxification where as individuals with Down syndrome have an impaired immune system.
Celiac disease. Is very common with Down syndrome. Celiac is an immune and gastrointestinal inability to digest the protein found in wheat and other grains containing gluten. Gluten should be completely avoided throughout a lifetime, this can be of benefit for a host of conditions that are associated and co-diagnosed along with Down syndrome. Individuals diagnoses with MTHFR have a 60% incidence of having Celiac disease as well. This is an important screening for all kids with any sort of immune dysregulation. Kids with Down syndrome can be susceptible earlier and with more severe symptoms.
Mental & Emotional
Mental health and emotional problems. There is a very high incidence of anxiety, depression, perseveration, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder associated with Down syndrome. Individuals with MTHFR have higher incidence of anxiety, and depression. In some cases, the proper balance of specific B vitamins can improve symptoms in a very short timeframe avoiding medication and its problematic side effects.
Sleep disorders. Many children with Down syndrome have disordered sleep. This can be due in part to obstructive sleep apnea, narrow structures in the head and neck, food sensitivities or side effects of medication. MTHFR mutations can certainly cause issues with sleep. When folate metabolism is impaired a dysregulation in the body occurs. Also, effecting sleep can be B12 levels which can cause bedwetting, anxiety and restlessness

In conclusion Down syndrome and MTHFR are closely related and treating and supporting proper functioning of the MTHFR enzyme can dramatically improve outcomes or assist to avoid complications kids with Down syndrome may occur in their lifetime.
________________________________________
1. Bull, M. J., & the Committee on Genetics. (2011). Health supervision for children with Down syndrome. Pediatrics, 128, 393–406. [top]
2. So, S. A., Urbano, R. C., & Hodapp, R. M. (2007) Hospitalizations of infants and young children with Down syndrome: Evidence from inpatient person-records from a statewide administrative database. Journal of Intelle
3. Hardy, O., Worley, G., Lee, M. M., Chaing, S., Mackey, J., Crissman, B., et al. (2004). Hypothyroidism in Down syndrome: screening guidelines and testing methodology. American Journal of Medical Gen
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078648/pdf/nihms-259545.pdf
5. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110863015000889
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11807890
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168164/
8. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/4/429.long

.

Lung infections and MTHFR; Chiropractic can help!

 

 

It has been widely reported that individuals with MTHFR are more susceptible to asthma and other lung infections. In the winter, particularly in New England bronchitis and pneumonia is rampant, even among our kids. Conventional medicine offers little to support these kids and usually leads them down a road of more steroids and antibiotics, increasing susceptibility.

Sadly, we know that many classes of antibiotics given to individuals with MTHFR can leave kids with more symptoms than when they were initially seeking treatment. Steroids, lifesaving in many cases, are often over- prescribed, assaulting immunity in our youth, and leading them down a road that requires steroids as their only treatment.

Chiropractic has been a mainstay in medicine for nearly 150 years. However in many cases, families believe that chiropractic is for “back pain” or “after a car accident”, yet the research shows us that chiropractic is very effective for many, many acute medical conditions as well!

The lungs have an extensive supply of nerves that communicate with them.  What would happen if there was interference with communication to the lungs? It may lead to respiratory problems, bronchitis or respiratory infections.  Several studies demonstrate the effectiveness of chiropractic care and improved respiratory function, breathing difficulty and bronchitis.

The premise of chiropractic is wellness and true prevention. So, the idea is we don’t get sick at all when under chiropractic care; however, stress, mal-adaption and dis-ease can set in to all of us!

Studies have shown chiropractic care is safe and effective, meaning proper adjustments can restore health sooner and more effectively than other modalities.  Especially in the presence of shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, coughing and hiccups!

One of the biggest symptoms that young children experience with pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis is air hunger. Air Hunger is the feeling that “you are running out of air”, it is part of the process of healing the lungs after an infection and it can last a few weeks! There is little conventional medicine can do     for this symptoms, but chiropractic can make a big difference.   In discussing such cases, the term “somatic dyspnea” is suggested to denote air hunger or shortness of breath related to somatic dysfunction.  Somatic dyspnea is a condition, which may accompany other causes of dyspnea (lung pathology, psychogenic or “functional” causes etc.)or can exist alone. There are multiple studies that prove, this symptom of air hunger was alleviated or abolished following the correction of vertebral subluxation complex or other somatic dysfunctions, aka, a chiropractic adjustment.  The response to chiropractic adjustments is sometimes so dramatic and rapid that patients may have an emotional response to taking their first FULL breath in a while!

The take home message is, first of all conventional therapies are useful in acute life threatening conditions or episodes. Secondly, individuals with MTHFR are likely more sensitive to everything; drug dosages, dis-ease, imbalance and environmental change. Thirdly, chiropractic is more than just for back pain; it’s useful in many acute conditions and can restore health and balance safely and effectively. Lastly, take care of your body, watch for signs of dis-ease, imbalance and illness and address them immediately!

Don’t make chiropractic or holistic medicine your “last resort “make it your first stop to better health!

 

 

 

 

 

Chiropractic adjustments of the cervicothoracic spine for the treatment of bronchitis with complications of atelectasis.  Hart, D.L. Libich, E, Ficher R. International Review of Chiropractic, 1991; Mar:31-33.

Chiropractic management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Masarsky CS, Weber M. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1988; 11:505-510.

Adjustive osteopathic manipulative treatment in the elderly hospitalized with pneumonia: a pilot study. Noll DR, Shores J, Bryman PN, Masterson EV. Journal Of The American Osteopathic Association 1999; 99(3): 143-6

Somatic Dyspnea and the orthopedics of respiration.  Masarsky CS, Weber M Chiropractic Technique, 1991; 3:26-29

Specific upper cervical chiropractic care and lung function.  , R Abstracts from the 13th annual upper cervical spine conference, Nov 16-17, 1996 Life College, Marietta, Georgia.  Pub in Chiropractic Research Journal, Vol. 1V, No.1, Spring 1997 p.27 (also Kessinger R; Changes in pulmonary function associated with upper cervical specific chiropractic care J Vertebral Subluxation Research 1997; 1(3):43-9.

 

10 things every expectant mother should know …that will help with pregnancy, childbirth and beyond.

Thinking of pregnancy, planning pregnancy, birth and babies are amazing life events! here are a few tips that can improve experience and outcomes for an exciting time of life!

  • Avoiding gluten and dairy help reduce the potential of autoimmune disease and inflammation. Any trouble or history of trouble conceiving has to do with inflammation and autoimmunity. Avoiding these 2 over processed food ingredients assist in balancing the immune system and easing conception and healthy pregnancy.
  • Avoid GMOs, GMOs are genetically modified organisms. Basically, a science experiment with your food. There are no long-term studies on GMOs however since introduced into the population research has shown higher incidence of asthma and allergies among our children. GMOs take immune resistant components of OTHER species and put them into the seeds and DNA of the foods we eat, and it’s not labeled in the USA. BE cautious and buy organic as much as possible. Organic foods do not contain GMOs.
  • FOLATE and folic acid are not the same. Modern medicine has been conditioned to use these terms interchangeably. THEY ARE VERY DIFFERENT. Folic Acid is synthetic, inflammatory and poorly absorbed by the body. Worse in the presence of MTHFR mutations that mom and baby may carry.
  • Check your vitamin D levels. Today there is a lot of research about vitamin d. it helps with conception, it balances the immune system and it is a huge component in the brain development of your baby’s brain. Keeping levels therapeutic is a must. Aim for a level of around 60-80, current lab values do not reflect with the current research is saying is optimal. Ask your provider for your number as supplementation may be necessary above a standard bioavailable prenatal.
  • Take a probiotic. Probiotics help balance digestion, emotion and immunity, 3 things necessary for pregnancy and parenting! Hormones necessary for pregnancy can cause imbalances in immunity and digestion so be sure the probiotic is a balanced formula. Probiotics are also essential for baby. Especially if baby is born by C-section, premature or has distress during or after his or her birth.
  • Check magnesium levels. Magnesium is so important for healthy full term pregnancy and adequate milk supply after birth. In New England magnesium levels are always low, this can increase the incidence of preterm birth, preeclampsia and low birthweight. Keeping magnesium levels adequate can be difficult without additional supplementation. Speak with your provider about which form is right for you.  Other benefits of magnesium include softening stool and relaxation. Rest assured magnesium is found in dark chocolate so enjoy…a little.
  • Think long and hard about vaccinations in pregnancy and in your newborn. There is little research on the safety and efficacy of vaccination during pregnancy and in newborns. Much research is being done in this area currently. Please have a long discussion about options and choice for your pregnancy and your baby.
  • Plan for a natural birth and be prepared that it will be nothing like you planned. Take classes taught by experienced natural birthers, ask a lot of questions, have back up plans and make your requests and wishes known to your providers. Open communication ultimately makes for a better experience all around.
  • There is no perfect time to have a baby. However, getting your own health in order, possibly clearing allergies or sensitivities, checking for any SNPs or genetic variation that could be problematic for mom and baby, maybe a natural detox of some sort, balance exercise, stress, finances and all the other facets that will get turned upside down once a new family member arrives. Be in the best place you can be for this amazing experience
  • Listen to your gut, skip the books, the advice everyone has for you and raise your child exactly the way that is best for your family. Seek the help of trusted individuals and support your innate knowledge with what you know to be the truth…..enjoy

Antibiotics and The Gut…again.

In society today antibiotics are overly prescribed. Most patients receive the advice to “take all medication as prescribed” however, in some cases that not be the case. It is ALWAYS imperative to discuss with the prescriber when changing a treatment plan but there may be more occasions than not, to discontinue antibiotics before the “last pill was taken”.

The failure of the medical community to appropriately utilize antibiotics in the 20th century has left us with many antibiotic resistant microbes plaguing patients at younger and younger ages.  Many prescribers prescribe to a “quick fix medicine” and in many cases abused and misused antibiotics in the name of “protocol”.  Of course this comes back to the fundamental disconnect between pharma and health. So it is imperative patients and parents advocate for themselves in these sorts of situations.

Antibiotics, like food are broken down and digested by the body. Long term or frequent use of antibiotics alter the proper digestive bacteria in the gut and reduce the digestion and assimilation of these pharmaceuticals. This means that active and Un-Metabolized antibiotic by-products, which retain antimicrobial activity, will be excreted into the environment compounding our issues with antibiotic resistance.  Even though an antibiotic is prescribed an for 7 days, does not mean that “bad bacteria” are only exposed to it for 7 days; normal gut flora (and potentially the pathogen) will continue to be exposed to the antibiotic and it’s by- products for some time after completion of therapy. The US contributes more than 17,000 tons of antibiotics into the environment every year in the United States alone (80% for agriculture, 20% for human use).

Compounding this issue is the antibiotics found in our food. This too builds resistance to microbes and accelerates the problems with prescribing. Be a savvy consumer and choose with your dollars. Buy local, organic and avoid processed or packaged products. Ultimately your gut and the rest of your body will thank you for it.

There is a time and place for all things medical, however the research over and over has shown that antibiotics as a first line of treatment may not be as effective or useful as previously revealed. Any and all pharmaceuticals will disrupt normal function of the gut, temporarily or permanently. Be sure to utilize them wisely and replete the gut with beneficial probiotics after use, discuss with your provider the shortest most optimal course of action for your condition and your lifestyle.

For more information and healthy recipes to heal the gut check out my book

 

 

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/871856?src=WNL_infoc_161120_MSCPEDIT_TEMP2&uac=127670EJ&impID=1238355&faf=1

http://dhs.unr.edu/Documents/dhs/chs/NVPHTC/The%20New%20Antibiotic%20Mantra%E2%80%94%E2%80%9CShorter%20Is%20Better%E2%80%9D.pdf

Folic Acid & L-5-MTHFR

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOLIC ACID AND L-5-MTHF.

What’s the difference between folate and folic acid?

Folate is a generalized term for a group of water soluble b-vitamins, and is also known as B9.

Folic acid refers to the oxidized synthetic pharmaceutical that is added to processed foods and dietary supplements for “food fortification”.

Folate refers to any variety of tetrahydrofolate derivatives naturally found in food.

Science has well established that adequate folate intake from the consumption of folate-rich foods is essential for health. Folate aids the complete development of red blood cells, reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood, and supports proper nervous system development and function.

Tetrahydrofolate (THF) is the useable form of folate the cells need for their functions.   Natural folates, found in foods, are utilized in the small intestine.  Folic acid must undergo initial reduction and methylation in the liver, and then converted to the THF form; this requires a specific enzyme absent or impaired in up to 60% of the population. The low activity of this enzyme in the human liver, combined with a high intake of folic acid, may result in elevated levels of un-metabolized folic acid entering the systemic circulation; Leading to a whole host of health problems plaguing modern society.

Human exposure to folic acid was non-existent until its chemical synthesis in 1943. Upon the addition of synthetic folic acid to food by government mandate in 1989, the US has seen a rise in autism, infertility, autoimmune disease and cancers. Research has reported the presence of un-metabolized folic acid in the blood following the consumption of folic acid supplements or fortified foods. The presence of un-metabolized folic acid in the blood is associated with decreased natural killer cytotoxicity. Natural killer cells aid in tumor cell destruction, which implies that excess folic acid, may promote existing premalignant and malignant lesions.

Other issues with a high intake of folic acid, include, un-metabolized folic acid could mask a vitamin B12 deficiency which can harm central nervous system function. Many studies have shown association between elevated folic acid, low B12 and cognitive decline.

Excellent sources of dietary folate include green vegetables, beets, and lentils. The highest levels of folate are found in duck and calf liver…chooses organic of course if you indulge.

The Importance of avoiding Folic Acid

Modern science has shown us recently that supplementation or over supplementation does not mitigate or negate the potential damage we know synthetic folic acid can cause. We now know that supplementing with the proper forms of Methylated B vitamins can help restore health. It has been shown that most individuals with “MTHFR family” family mutations will likely tolerate small amounts (estimated as 100-200 mcg weekly) in enriched foods. However high amounts of folic acid in supplements AND enriched and fortified foods can be detrimental to health.  The following are the exact pathways affected by high dose folic acid.

Folic Acid Inhibits DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase) Gene-

DHFR gene is implicated in cervical adenocarcinoma

Folic acid can build up in the cell leading to un-metabolized folic acid and immune dysfunction.
Un-metabolized folic acid is problematic for women undergoing in vitro fertilization.

Evidence shows increased possibility of conceiving multiple embryos; leading to a      higher rate of risk and possible loss

In Patients with Coronary artery disease and Stent placement un-metabolized folic acid can cause inflammation and stent occlusion
Patients being treated for malaria, arthritis, psoriasis, and cancers,  un-metabolized folic acid may reduce the response to related anti-folate drugs
Ireland reported that un-metabolized folic acid is detected in cord blood from infants at birth including full-term and premature infants.
A report shows that aged female mice fed with diet containing high folic acid have significantly lower number of natural killer (NK) cells in their spleens with decreased cytotoxicity immune function.
MTHFR deficiency may amplify cancer risk.
Folic Acid Blocks Natural Folates

Causing a MTHFR deficiency which results in liver cell destruction and those cells lose their ability to accommodate lipid disturbance resulting in changes in phospholipid / lipid metabolism and altered membrane integrity.

Why is The Methylation Important?

The methylation cycle is important because it takes the nutrients from our food (and supplements) and utilizes them to make the energy our bodies need to work optimally. It also supports the manufacturing of healthy cells and neurotransmitters. Methylation is a key component in the removal of toxins and foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. When methylation is optimal, the body is full of energy, When it is poor or impaired, your body will feel  fatigued, depressed, irritable, susceptible to infections, and achy.

Proper methylation is important for mitochondrial function and energy production. Low mitochondrial function and low methylation can lead to low energy, low thyroid function, decreased memory, and Lyme disease to name a few.
Poor methylation can cause

Low neurotransmitter levels, which can lead to anxiety and depression,
Poor  immune function, which lead to high incidence of allergies, asthma, and eczema as well as a higher probability of bacterial infections
Poor liver detoxification, which impairs toxin removal
Problematic fertility, including risk of miscarriage, and neural tube defects

There is a delicate balance to methylation and all pieces must be working properly for the optimal result. The proper outcome would be production of glutathione, a major antioxidant and protector of cells.

MTHFR Mutations

The methylation pathway starts with MTHFR.  Research indicates that approximately 60% of the US population has at least one MTHFR mutation. This means that the bulk of the population cannot process and convert Folic acid to MTHF to some degree. These MTHFR mutations can increase your risk for certain medical conditions.  One of the best and easiest treatments is to avoid folic acid by avoiding processed or enriched foods.

Another beneficial treatment is to minimize stress in your life and in your cells. Because of the delicate balance between methyl donors and adrenal hormones it is likely under stress you will feel worse.

Things to Avoid

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol (all wine, beer and liquor)
  • Candida/ Yeast die off, from having and treating yeast
  • Antibiotics (especially in the “floxin” family)
  • Nitrous oxide gas (used at the dentist)
  • Foods that cause sensitivities or allergies
  • Toxins in the environment (pesticides, radiation, EMFs, etc)
  • Heavy metals (like mercury and aluminum)
  • Elevated cortisol (stress hormone)

More than MTHFR

Of course there are hundreds of genes and mutations that affect methylation, knowing which mutations you have will help your practitioner guide you toward better health.

Other SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms—genes that tell us of a specific action) such as MTHFR’s “cousins” MTR, MTRR, BHMT help shortcut through the methylation cycle and uses choline instead of folate and B12 to add methyl groups into the energy cycle. This May indicate that tolerance to Adenosyl or Hydroxy B12 may be better than Methyl B12. 5-MTHF (methylfolate) and MB12 (methylcobalamin) are utilized to convert homocysteine into methionine. Then the MTRR uses methionine to make SAMe or S-Adenosyl Methionine. SAMe protects DNA and cells, and manufactures neurotransmitters and other substrates responsible for over 40 important metabolic reactions. The final enzyme in this process is called CBS; CBS is the “garbage disposal” for the removal of homocysteine and ammonia and the manufacture of glutathione. Glutathione is the “KING” anti-oxidant, so any SNPs effecting CBS can make for increased oxidative stress and higher ammonia levels, leading to fatigue.

As a review….Important enzymes and their function

MTHFR – Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. Converts folic acid to methylfolate
MTR – Methionine Synthase. uses methylfolate (folate) and methylcobalamin (B12) to turn homocysteine into methionine
MTRR – Methionine Synthase Reductase creates SAMe and makes energy in the mitochondria
BHMT – Betaine/homocysteine methyltransferase. “shortcut” in the liver and kidneys that can also make methionine from choline
CBS – Cystathionine beta synthase. “garbage disposal” Removes homocysteine from the MTR/MTRR cycle and converts it into glutathione

Where to start? At the beginning of course…

Folate and Pre- Pregnancy and Pregnancy

Should you feel compelled to supplement or are of childbearing age and wish to have children in the future, always look for   “5-methyltetrahydrofolate” or “L5-MTHF” as your folate source. Avoid products that say “folic acid”, or use the word “enriched” or “fortified” on the label. Make sure to check your multivitamin, because most will contain folic acid and not folate. It is important to also make sure there is adequate B12 for proper absorption too.

Women of child bearing age planning to have children should consume between 800 and 1200 mcg of folate per day for several months before the start of pregnancy. Please note oral contraceptives deplete folate stores so be sure to supplement “L5-MTHF” for several months after stopping hormonal birth control before becoming pregnant.  During a pregnancy, you should be supplementing with 600-1200 mcg of folate per day, depending on your dietary intake.

5-MTHF has its important advantages compared to synthetic folic acid in the rest of the population too. It is well absorbed even when there are pH changes in the gut. It is bioavailable and is not affected by metabolic defects and the use ofL 5-MTHF instead of folic acid in treating MTHFR reduces potential of masking symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. It reduces interactions with other medications, prevents the formation of un-metabolized folic acid in blood circulation, and overcomes metabolic defects caused by MTHFR polymorphism.

Good news

We now know identifying and treating MTHFR and other mutations can directly modify cancer risk, or indirectly modify cancer risk through interaction with folate and other nutritious components in folate metabolism.

We now know identifying and treating MTHFR and other mutations can improve and enhance fertility.

We now know L5-MTHF Is More Effective than Folic Acid (A report suggests that 5-MTHF increases plasma folate more effectively than folic acid irrespective of mutations of MTHFR.)

We now know avoiding fortified flour or cereal, processed drinks, enriched foods and supplements containing folic acid, the risk of consuming too much is greatly reduced or eliminated.

We now know that Folate plays a critical role in the prevention of chromosome breakage and damage of DNA.

So in conclusion watch out for anything “enriched’ or “fortified” choose “methyl-folate” over folic acid and “eat your greens!”

Warrior or Worrier? The truth about COMT

 

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of several enzymes that degrade catecholamines such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. In humans, catechol-O-methyltransferase protein is encoded by the COMT gene. COMT is mostly found in the peripheral nervous system, and less significantly found in the Central Nervous System, and found in the highest concentration in the liver.

 

There are 2 types of COMT expression, the warrior and the worrier.

 

Warrior

Generally have a higher IQ

do better on tests

better toxin elimination

higher estrogen elimination

higher incidence of ADHD

Higher pain tolerance

Normal magnesium levels

Normalized B12 and folate levels

Even tempered

Worrier

Slower estrogen elimination and estrogen dominance
Lower pain tolerance

Increased probability of addiction and anorexia

PMS worse in females

Enhanced response to stimulants

Red face after exercise & Decreased Sweating

Lower Mg levels

Lower Intracellular b12 and folate

Prone to mood swings and mania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMT is the enzyme that allows you to spare the “feel good hormones” dopamine and nor-epinephrine. If this enzyme is completely blocked mood swings and addiction can occur. Keeping the gut healthy with probiotics and a good diet assures proper conversion of the amino acids needed to manufacture quality neurotransmitters. Lots of antibiotics and processed food can impair digestion and create impairments in conversion and manufacturing.

One of the most important jobs that COMT has, is to degrade dopamine, in the brain, where it is broken down by MAO (monoamine oxidase). MAO is Another important snp/gene that encodes an enzyme partially responsible for the metabolism of several neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. The monoamine oxidase family of enzymes, metabolize monoamines (neurotransmitters and neuromodulators consisting of a single amine).

COMT is the enzyme that introduces a methyl group to the catecholamine, which is donated by S-adenosyl methionine (SAM). Any compound having a catechol structure, like catecholestrogens and catechol-containing flavonoids, are substrates of COMT. This is why individuals with a COMT mutation are considered estrogen sensitive and estrogen dominant.

By discussing and understanding the biochemistry and intricacies of the COMT enzyme we can begin to see the problems with it when individuals have missing or reduced functioning.

COMT mutations cause great difficulty with detoxing. COMT pathways toss out good and bad minerals indiscriminately leaving low level magnesium (among others), an essential mineral to uptake b12 properly.  B12 levels can be supplemented with success using lithium orotate, please check with a provider about dosing. Supplementing with lithium to enhance transport may in fact cause a b12 deficiency if its not done properly.

Individuals with a COMT mutation are generally volatile susceptible to depression, mood disorders and issues with toxicity.  This means be mindful of your stress and moods and put some supports in place during times of physical and emotional stress. Addiction is common with individuals carrying this SNP too, I highly recommend early and often discussions around drugs, alcohol and other addictive substances or behaviors.

 

COMT mutations can make people sensitive to phenols. Phenols are found in purple and red foods, such as strawberries and red grapes, these slow the function of the enzyme further. When the COMT enzyme slows there can be mood swings, insomnia or anxiety. Symptoms of people with phenol sensitivities are heat intolerant suffer from headaches and insomnia.

 

In a nutshell, individuals with COMT mutations require individualized, targeted treatment and should be addressed on all facets of wellness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autism and the other A’s (allergies, asthma and atopy/eczema)

the-atopid-triad

Why is it that many autistic children struggle with a lot of other “A”s?

  • Statistics show 25% of kids with autism has asthma too.
  • Statistics show 60% of kids with autism has eczema too.
  • Statistics show 8% of kids with autism has anaphylactic allergies and 40% have seasonal allergies.

Although there are multiple mechanisms for these conditions individually, the focus for this article is the global impairment of the immune system that predisposes kids with autism to other conditions.

The research shows that autistic kids are overburdened with all kinds of immune imbalance. This immune system imbalance initiates improper reactions to toxicity and how the body attempts to make every effort toward elimination (of toxins). Autistic kids have impaired detox mechanisms and altered methylation pathways, which are integral for detox of harmful substances the body comes in contact with frequently. Methylation is an important step in the detoxification of the body, and requires active forms of certain B vitamins in order to function optimally. When methylation is impaired detoxification is impairs and the body is overburdened, sending out signals that the immune system must be prepared for attack. “Attack Mode” for the immune system causes a overwhelming immune response to a normal circumstance.

Allergies…It is not biologically normal to react to food. Food is nourishment and provides the body with essential building blocks for all components to body function. When the body starts to react to its environment (and food) MAST cells are released. MAST cells release histamine, a chemokine that activates gut and brain neurotransmitters resulting in an “ITCH”. Histamine’s job is to activate white blood cells (WBCs) to stop foreign invaders, but when histamine is released by MAST cells that are activated in the absence of pathogens, the body begins fighting its environment. This rebellion causes global histamine imbalance in the body which sends the “ITCH” everywhere!

Imagine if you had an itch in your brain or gut that you couldn’t scratch..that’s how I imagine autistic kids feel every day!

When histamine is high, life altering symptoms can occur, and let’s not discount that histamine has a very vital job in the immune system, but;

  • If histamine is high in the skin >> eczema
  • If histamine is high in the lungs >> asthma
  • If histamine is high in the brain >> mood changes
  • If histamine is high in the gut >> allergies

STOP THIS MADNESS and heal the gut!!

  • Start by removing any chemicals or foods that trigger imbalance.
  • Consider probiotics (but discuss which strains or formulations are best for you).
  • Consider the removal of any and all potential allergens like molds, yeasts, preservatives, chemicals and sugars (which paralyze the immune system, later causing an over shoot and furthering improper balance), for the environment. Of course in most cases this cannot be done overnight but slowly phasing out will improve symptoms quickly!

Once the body is healed, as each healing process is different; many previously offending agents may be able to be reintroduced back into the environment! Make simple and effective changes, support body balance and start your healing today.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24997632

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/721702_2

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/912781-treatment#d10

 

 

 

 

Can’t conceive? Check out this before feeling like all hope is lost

pregnancy-pic

Inability to conceive can stem from a number of causes:

  • Poor nutritional status
  • Genetic mutations
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Hormone imbalances

 

If a mother’s nutritional stores are depleted she will not have enough “supplies” to conceive and grow a healthy baby. Vital nutrients like Magnesium and b vitamins are necessary for proper development of a fetus and proper signaling of hormones from the mother to stimulate cell signaling and growth. Proper hormone balance between estrogen and progesterone is a must. Abnormal levels of either of these can create problems with conception. Be sure to check for low levels of progesterone or estrogen dominance.

Remember almost all pharmaceutical medication deplete some nutrient, this includes anything put on your skin topically too, like steroid creams or even sunblock. Be sure whichever depletions are being caused that they are RE-pleated properly.

 

If there is a genetic mutation present then, the interruption in signaling will not allow for proper conception, impanation or development of a growing fetus. MTHFR and homocysteine levels play an integral part in the conception and development of your baby. Be sure you are speaking with a qualified provider about your nutritional needs or get tested for the MTHFR mutation and treat it before trying to get pregnant. Avoiding all forms of synthetic folic acid and un-methylated B vitamins like cyanoB12 is a good place to start! Always remember Folic acid does NOT equal Folate; Folic Acid a synthetic type of Folate. Folic acid is not found in nature. Folic acid must undergo various transformations prior to utilization and with or without a MTHFR mutation, folic acid can cause problems with fertility. Always look for methylated or activated forms of folate in supplements.

 

Autoimmune diseases affect 30% of our population and repeatedly studied in the correlation with fertility challenges. Autoimmune conditions are often made worse with the above mentioned nutrition and genetic problems. Proper management of autoimmune conditions will maximize fertility and also improve rates of artificial insemination or conventional fertility management. Consider having some lab work done specific to autoimmune markers. Supplements like Zinc, probiotics, and Vitamin D are very helpful in supporting proper immune function. If a mom is struggling with fertility its always beneficial to avoid gluten as 20% of patients with MTHFR, and (estimated) 50% of patients with positive autoimmune markers have gluten sensitivity and gluten is inflammatory.  To that end, reducing inflammation on any level is beneficial to the body pre and post baby! Healing always begins in the gut, and a healthy gut improves fertility!