B12…not always created equally

support

B12 is important to build red blood cells and nerves. It also supports proper DNA development. Most individuals who are vitamin B12 deficient on lab work, have  some preexisting condition, such as gastritis, auto immune disease, take multiple medications that deplete b12 stores or are malnourished.  Vitamin B12 tests are not the most accurate way of telling how the cells are utilizing b12, or if they are utilizing it at all. So, in fact individuals with adequate numbers on lab work could actually be deficient.  In the presence of MTHFR, B12 can look adequate or even elevated on lab work but be completely depleted inside the cell where the B12 is needed most.

Experiencing any of the symptoms on this list could mean there is a B12 deficiency in the body

  • Light-headedness, tiredness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath and elevated heart rate
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Tingling and numbness of the feet and hands
  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • Diagnosis of persistent anemia
  • Excessively pale skin
  • Sore tongue
  • Rash around the mouth
  • Bleeding gums and easy bruising
  • Upset stomach
  • Abnormal weight loss or gain
  • Hallucinations, depression, mania and irritability

 

Adequately Inadequate vitamin B12 intake

For individuals with a MTHFR mutation, B12 absorption and utilization is faulty. Individuals with any issue with digestion B12 absorption are impaired. In order to make the proper amounts of stomach acid, B12 is needed as a cofactor. Without this digestion IS impaired. Vegan and vegetarian diets are deficient in B12, posing a greater risk of deficiency in individuals with MTHFR, this can lead to other nutrient deficiencies and health problems.

The best foods for boosting B12 are

  • Clams and beef liver
  • Eggs, fish, poultry, meat, milk and other dairy products
  • Nutritional yeasts, some cereals and other fortified foods

 

Suspect B12 deficiency with any of the conditions listed

vitaminb12deficiency.jpg

 

  • Anemia with elevated mean corpuscular volume or Pernicious anemia
  • Balance issue, numbness, difficulty with walking, tingling and other neurological symptoms
  • Gastritis, Celiac Disease
  • Food sensitivities
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  • Any chronic inflammatory bowel disorder
  • Vegetarians and vegans
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Developmental delay and autism
  • Use of “poly pharmacy” drugs such as SSRIs, Metformin and PPIs
  • Vascular disorders such as blood clots, stroke or heart attack

 

B12 deficiency…all B12s are not created equal

It is important to understand that treatment is not a “one size fits all” approach. Not all B12 will react the same in each body depending on SNP expression; there are the 4 Types of B12. Of course its optimal to get the bulk of B12 from the diet, however in cases of deficiency or unrelenting symptoms proper supplementation can help.

Adenosylcobalamin is naturally occurring, but, it is the least stable of the four types of B12 outside the human body and does not translate well into a tablet-based supplement. This is best for individuals who are sensitive to other forms of B12 and require a highly absorbable form of supplementation.

Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic, pharmaceutical version of vitamin B12 is created in a lab. It’s cheap and utilized most often by prescribers, who prescribe B12 for a deficiency. When it metabolizes in the body it breaks the cyano- molecule (cyanide, yes cyanide) off to be absorbed by the body.  Although the amount of cyanide is not dangerous, it does require extra energy of the body to eliminate it from the cells. Extra toxin elimination is not optimal for anyone with methylation challenges.

Hydroxocobalamin is naturally created by bacteria. Hydroxyocobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 most likely found in food; it easily converts into methylcobalamin in the body. Hydroxocobalamin is commonly used in individuals who do not tolerate methylcobalamin supplementation and as a treatment for cyanide (yes, cyanide) poisoning.

Methylcobalamin  is the most active form of B12 in the human body. It converts homocysteine into methionine, which helps protect the cardiovascular system. Methylcobalamin also offers overall protection to the nervous system. Methylcobalamin can cross the blood-brain barrier, this helps to protect and heal the brain. Methylcobalamin is essential for detoxification and as a catalyst for many of the body’s biochemical reactions.

With nearly 40% of Americans having trouble absorbing B12; selecting the proper form of B12 can be tricky business. Absorption of B12 is heavily reliant of digestive health, get digestion working properly and find a provider savvy enough to assess and prescribe the right B12 for your body.

This information is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem.  Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own primary care physician or other healthcare provider.

First Foods for Babies with MTHFR

 

In conventional medicine there is a gross disconnect between our health and our food.  It is always important to remember each and every thing we consume affects us in some way. This is ever so apparent in our babies, who have immature detoxification systems and immune systems. So why is the “general consensus” to offer complex nutrient poor foods, often times before the baby is even ready to digest them?

First foods are so important for baby! But “offering food before age one is just for fun” which means that the bulk of nutrients for babies under 1 year of age should be from breast milk (The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months and then concomitantly with nutrient dense food until the age of 2). Formula in many cases poses a problem for families affected by MTHFR, as most formulas are fortified with folic acid. Folic acid should be avoided in all individuals with MTHFR, since individuals with MTHFR lack the proper functioning of their enzyme to properly convert the synthetic folic acid into usable folate for the cells.  

Always look for signs of readiness in a baby to be sure their digestive system is ready for food.

A-Baby-Sitting

Be sure baby is:

        • sitting up nearly unassisted
        • Has teeth or is actively teething
        • Shows an interest in food or chewing
        • Has begun to develop a pincer grasp

Some of the best recommendations for first food are avocado and sweet potato. Avocado is a folate rich food, which helps the body methylate properly. Generally parents will alternate these foods for up to 3 months before introducing other foods. When a baby is teething or gets a cold they may lose interest in food and prefer to just nurse for a while. If baby is voracious and very interested in food then parents may consider advancing the diet slowly.

General rules of thumb for food introduction include:

  • Introduce one food at a time with at least a week in between new foods.
  • Be an example for your baby by also choosing these foods or offering them off your plate so baby feels included.
  • Start with Orange veggies followed by Yellow veggies followed by green veggies; fruits can be introduced as well after this time, avoiding the most acidic fruits such as oranges.
  • Of course, when the time is right lots of green, folate rich veggies can be delicious and nutritious for baby, Folate stores help the body methylate properly, reducing the complications with MTHFR.                                                                                                                 squash

Most babies tolerate high quality meats and fish with scales by around a year of age, which is perfect timing as iron stores drop as baby lays down muscle and brain tissue quickly during development; This can lead to a diagnosis of anemia.

With MTHFR food introduction may be a bit more complicated if a tongue tie has gone undiagnosed. These babies may show little interest in food or eat a lot and then appear to be in distress. It is always wise to have a tongue tie issue assessed and addressed as early as possible. Remember, tongue tie and lip ties are midline defects, defects that should be “prevented” with proper folate dosing, however in individuals with MTHFR, or who have been counselled that folic acid and folate “are the same” may experience these issues with a higher incidence; people with MTHFR have trouble converting their folate into a useable form.

In general supplements are not recommended for babies under the age of 2, however speak with your provider about individual needs.

What foods to avoid?

  1. Avoid offering any processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid.  Instead eat  and offer whole foods to your baby with no added chemicals or preservatives.
  2. Avoid using plastics if possible, BPA is banned in baby products but that doesn’t mean it disappeared. It has been found in breast milk in multiple scientific studies.
  3. Babies with MTHFR often get diagnosed with reflux and are prescribed proton pump inhibitors, this depletes minerals, vitamin d and essential Vitamin B12 absorption. Visit your local chiropractor to get adjusted or visit your local holistic provider to have baby evaluated.
  4. If you do not have a MTHFR mutation but your baby does, parents should avoid synthetic folic acid and processed foods too. Folic acid can functionally cause you to have all the same problems as someone with a MTHFR mutation.

In closing, our genes (or mutations) do not define us; nothing beats a good diet, exercise, quality sleep and kindness, show this to your kids and your parenting investment will be returned in spades….

this information is never to replace the advise of a qualified medical provider. Consult your physician before making any changes to your healing regime 

 

Migraine Headaches & MTHFR

kid_migraine

If you or your family member sufferers from migraines it is important to look at the triggers and links for optimal treatment.

A headache can come on at any time and for a number of reasons. However, People who suffer from migraines experience much more complicated symptoms that are often debilitating. Aside from pain, migraines often bring on nausea, vomiting, visual, light and sound sensitivity. Migraines can start as early as 5 years old and can be triggered by foods, stress, hormone changes, chemicals and the environment.  A number of studies have implicated genes such as MTHFR in migraine headaches.

MTHFR also affects the characteristics of migraine symptoms. One study found that having 2 copies of c677T was associated with migraine with aura and one-sided headache, yet, one copy of c677T was associated with “physical activity and stress as a migraine trigger.” The researchers also found there is tremendous difference in symptoms between men and women. Males with 2 copies of c677T, for example, were more prone to bilateral headaches while the females with one copy of c677T experienced symptoms of nausea and odor aversion more frequently. These studies conclude that there is an overwhelmingly higher incidence of migraine in patients with a MTHFR mutation than without one.

Other gene SNPs associated with migraine headaches includes MTHFR, KCNK, TRPV, and HCRTR. Yet, MTHFR C677T is the most studied in relation to migraines. When an individual is diagnosed with a vascular type of migraine it is highly correlates with c677T and elevated homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine, can inflame the inner lining of the nerves and blood vessels, which can contribute to migraines.  Another other concern with migraine and MTHFR is the increased incidence of stroke and cardiovascular compilations. Carrying a MTHFR mutation can also predispose the brain to being more sensitive to changes in weather, neurochemical production and have impaired detox capability, all of these can make a brain more sensitive and prone to migraine.

Some easy tips to treat migraine include:

  • Avoid any food triggers such as preservatives, chemicals, dyes, aged foods (with mold or fungus), gluten and dairy proteins; all of these can be neurotoxic to the brain. The diet should be followed for 3 months before any result is evaluated.
  • Get tested for MTHFR and manage the mutation properly with a qualified provider, individuals with MTHFR OR Migraine are not candidates for hormonal contraception or treatment and should avoid this trigger.
  • Individuals with MTHFR may have elevated homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine is also found in individuals with migraine. One study proved lowering homocysteine levels through vitamin supplementation reduced migraine disability. Speak to your provider about testing and management.
  • Check your blood sugar, highs and lows with blood sugar can trigger a migraine, keep your eating consistent and check out my book for more recipes.
  • Make sure sleep is adequate, the body needs rest and relaxation; avoid TV, blue lights or screens in the bedroom.
  • Consider chiropractic the research is overwhelming in success of treatment of migraine.
  • Detox the house, be sure there aren’t chemical triggers or chemicals triggering the migraine in your home. Consider natural cleaners, natural products and testing on water and paint for toxicity or chemicals.
  • Fix the gut. Using quality probiotic and fish oil can be very helpful in reducing triggers, inflammation and increasing oxygen to the brain. Ask your provider about the highest quality supplements and be sure they come from a reputable source or they could do the opposite in your body.
  • For children, allow them to be a part of their healing, talk to them about health and nutrition, and model healthy choices for them, explain the disease process and how to reduce the incidence.

Remember healing takes time, migraine can feel very isolating, get help, get support and get better!!

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19384265

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10714533

 

The New normal is SICK—start with the gut for your better health

art.eczema.baby.face.aad

One of the most amazing life experiences is the witnessing of a natural birth. However, as awesome as the experience is, as a witness or active participant, necessary biologic processes are happening to supply this new human with a proper balanced immune system. Immunity begins to develop during the 14th week of gestation, as undifferentiated developing immune cells, which later become major cells of a human’s immune system, with specific and necessary function. The placenta, provides nourishment for the baby, also secretes hormones, primarily progesterone, which shifts mom’s chemical profile away from Th1 (offers protection to pathogens that pose a threat to get inside of cells) and towards Th2 (response offers protection against pathogens outside of cells).  The baby then will trigger his/her increase in Th1 when travelling through the birth canal and swallowing, sitting and slipping through on its earth side voyage. The development of the Th1 mechanism is continued during breastfeeding, for which the “World Health Organization” recommends at least 2 years, to glean all the necessary immunologic benefits for the baby.  Continued, through childhood with encounters from viruses and bacteria help build this individualized Th1 response to properly enhance the child’s immune system. If at birth immunity is skewed toward Th2, for such reasons as a c- section, multiple exposures to antibiotics in utero or mother receiving passive immunity exposure, breastfeeding is interrupted or cut short; Th2 is accelerated and can predispose a baby toward eczema.  If the baby is prone toward a Th2 response, as they were unable to develop a proper microbiome, allergies and asthma may also develop.

The answer to the triggers for these conditions may be found in the gut bacteria that babies are gifted on their way down the birth canal. Since we know, One third of all antibiotic prescriptions given to children are unnecessary (according to medical research). Antibiotics are well reported to disrupt a child’s gut microbiome in ways that a growing amount of evidence suggests may have long-term consequences, including asthma, allergies, and eczema.

gut bacteria.jpg

Balancing gut bacteria with proper diet free of chemicals, processed foods, irritants and GMOs help balance the biome. Identifying triggers and reducing or eliminating passive immunity can also help improve these conditions. When a body is inclined toward a Th2 response, the cells will “over react”, with an inflammation response. Passive immunity such as vaccination bypasses the Gut and triggers this over response in the blood stream. This compounds the “inflammation” cascade and revs up the immune system in an “autoimmune” fashion creating a global multi-faceted reaction that will prone the body toward constant “reaction” as seen in eczema, allergies and asthma.

Common treatment for these conditions usually includes antibiotics and steroids. Both modalities cause “stress” in the body, and since stress and stress hormones can elevate inflammation, they are intimately related.

It is so important to get VERY far away from “the new ‘NORMAL’ IS ‘SICK’” and get back to Health for our kids’ sake!!

Some easy tips to get started on healing the gut and rebuilding your microbiome are:

  • Eliminate inflammatory chemicals in your environment; start with anything with a scent and replace them with non-toxic bio degradable choices
  • Eliminate inflammatory foods such as Dairy, Wheat, Corn, Soy; these are the most common food triggers associated with asthma, allergies, and eczema Jump Start Healing Diet’s here
  • Eliminate GMOs; these chemicals are not digested or assimilated well in a healthy gut, worse for one that needs healing
  • Use only products you can eat on your skin, like coconut oil, avocado or shea butter for example
  • Make sure Lab work is normal, check immune markers, MTHFR status, stress hormones, vitamin and mineral levels; all of which play into the inflammation cycle.
  • Remember there is no one size fits all approach; every child is different and every healing process is different

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2015.04.006

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684040/

this information is never to replace the advise of a qualified medical provider. Consult your physician before making any changes to your healing regime 

Bedwetting and B12

bedwetting

Bedwetting

We all diaper and clean our babies, and then at some point, almost like a switch, we decide this is no longer acceptable. “Potty Training” begins and there is a billion dollar industry that boasts “simple” and ‘quick” ways to facilitate this process.

Let’s review how we got to this point….

We diaper newborns because their nervous system is not yet fully developed. As these little beings grow, we feed them nutrient dense breast milk and foods to develop a properly functioning nervous system.  As children continue to grow and develop, the frequency of nighttime wetting decreases and continence improves. Yet some children continue bedwetting while others stop.

Methylation and bedwetting

As with many facets of development, there are numerous reasons why a single condition, such as nighttime wetting, can have multiple contributing causes.

The bulk of cases are more stubborn than the amelioration by common sense remedies such as reducing or eliminating sugar, urination just before bedtime, elimination of caffeine, and removing or reducing electronics in the sleeping space.  These cases require further evaluation. Recent research has brought to light the Methylation challenges that can cause bedwetting issues in children.

b12

We know bedwetting occurs in those with delayed central nervous system development.  We know that the body needs ample B12 and Folate to develop the nervous system properly.  Supporting with proper B12 and folate can be very helpful in these cases. Other research has shown that kids with bedwetting issues have lower folate levels (compared with the “control group”).

Upon further evaluation, assessing gene SNPs such as MTHFR, PEMT, DAO, COMT and FUT2 were common in kids with bedwetting troubles (all of the SNPs mentioned have some effect on B12 or folate metabolism). B12 and Folate are critical for proper methylation. If an individual has low folate and low B12, then their methylation system is going to function less optimally. Interestingly enough, Methylation genes are passed from parents, so it is likely there is a family history of bedwetting in many cases.

Causes of low folate and B12

Other than genetic predisposition there are a list of reasons that could predispose kids to Low Folate, and B12 levels and subsequently bedwetting such as:

  • Vegan and Vegetarian diets (low in B12)
  • Medications (antacids, and other pharmaceuticals that rob b12 and folate stores)
  • Low protein intake (fussy eaters; kids need 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight)
  • Caffeine (found in many sodas, and never recommended)
  • Limited vegetable consumption (provides folate and fiber)
  • Limited red meat intake (provides B12)
  • Limited healthy carbohydrate consumption (too much gluten containing foods and processed foods rob the body of B12 and folate)
  • High sugar consumption (a pseudo diuretic effect can occur and kids can excessively urinate)
  • Stress and fears (uses up methylation nutrients faster)
  • Food allergies (use up B12 and folate quickly)

Supplements that could help

Supplements to consider in a bedwetting child (provided all the obvious steps have been taken); to maximize proper methylation:

  • Methyl Folate
  • MethylB12
  • B6
  • B2 (supports MTHFR)
  • Zinc
  • Glycine (if children are anxious over the situation)

It’s worth noting that bedwetting can occur in adults too.

 

This article is for educational purposed and is not a substitute for advice from a qualified health professional.

 

Lyme Time—Summer In New England

lyme

What’s especially worrisome is that ticks’ favorite meal appears to be kids. Children between ages 5 to 14 are the most common sufferers of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can present with a wide array of symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue, as well as neurological, behavioral, and emotional disturbances.  Children can be playing in the park, a yard or even in inside your home and still get bitten by a tick. Playing outside in direct sunlight actually boosts immunity so, send those kids out (just check them for tick when they come back inside).

One CDC study of grade school aged children with Lyme disease, found that the average length of their illness was 363 days, and the mean number of school days missed because the child was too ill to attend was 103 days. 78% of the parents stated that their children experienced a fall in grade point average during the time of illness.

Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines for keeping kids safe from ticks this summer and beyond.

  • Be sure to Prune excess bushes and keep the grass short in the yard.
  • Using mulch to line your perimeter helps keep the ticks from entering your yard.
  • Also keep a close eye on your pets. Pets can carry ticks into your house and they can migrate onto your family.
  • Chickens eat all those ticks, consider tending a flock.
  • Encourage kids to wear long pants and socks; as the ticks tend to attach to their ankles and legs first.
  • The essential oils of lemon and eucalyptus are and effective tick repellent for up to 8 hours and safer for repeated use than DEET and picardin chemical tick repellant, according to the CDC (use with caution on children due to the caustic nature of Essential Oils)
  • Remember ticks are carried on small rodents like mice, squirrels and rabbits. They are also found on migratory birds, which can be found in any city or town.
  • IN THE EVENING check your kids’ bodies for ticks, and wash bodies and clothes. Ticks move around most during the cooler parts of the day and year, so be sure to do a thorough check!
  • Ticks mostly live on wood or bushes and tall grass. They’ll attach to the leg and can crawl up to  the waist, armpit, earlobe, or scalp.

IF YOU FIND A TICK

  • Use thin tweezers to catch the tick at the insert site, closest to the skin and gently jiggle the tick until it detaches.
  • IN GENERAL ticks embedded less than 36 hours DO NOT transmit Lyme Disease.
  • Holistic Doctors have long recommended the use of the herb astragalus daily if you live in an endemic area; and a one time a high dose astragalus at the time of a tick bite.
  • At the removal site apply andrographis or neem tincture to the bite area, and then cover the area with a clay pack, for preventing infection.
  • Never burn or squeeze a tick. The tick carries most of the bacteria in the stomach and by squeezing it you run a risk of injecting the contents into the person.
  • Some Labs do testing on Ticks to assess if the tick carries an illness.
  • Typical symptoms of Lyme disease are flu like symptoms, joint pains or swollen joints, sudden change in behavior, sudden development of repetitive movements, lethargy, fatigue, and headaches.
  • A classic “bulls-eye” shaped rash is present in less than 50% of cases and should not be the reason a child is NOT treated for Lyme disease.
  • Generally treatment consists of antibiotics that should be administered for AT LEAST 4 weeks. The treatment is usually well tolerated, and immunity and gut microbiome should be repleated after antibiotics.

When Lyme Turns Chronic

Current studies at John’s Hopkins University show that up to 35% of people develop chronic symptoms despite treatment for Lyme. “We do not know what the exact reasons of these chronic symptoms are,” “Scientists have postulated that it could be an autoimmune reaction that is triggered by the infection, chronic inflammation, or continued infection by the bacteria.” (Quoted by JHU scientists. However we know the association is highly correlated with MTHFR and adrenal fatigue..a discussion for another day).

Some issues with Lyme disease include poor testing “The current test misses 89% of Lyme disease cases in the first 8 weeks of infection.” IGenex Lab testing appears to be more accurate with reporting positives than any lab looking at the restricted number of bands stipulated by the CDC’s epidemiological criteria. However other issues in society with toxic overload may set the body up for an autoimmune reaction and chronic Lyme disease.

Understanding Lyme Testing

To reiterate, there are lots of false negatives (when a test is negative but the individual actually has the disease). However a “clinical” positive must meet certain criteria in order to be considered “infected with Lyme”. To review, we assess various antibodies to look for Lyme reaction in the immune system. First to appear during an infection is IgM antibodies which are produced in great quantity. IgM antibodies are large. IgM antibodies, when present in high numbers, represent a new active infection or an existing infection that has become reactivated. Over time, the number of IgM antibodies will decline as the active infection is resolved.

Following IgM antibodies, are IgG antibodies, which are produced once an infection has been going on for a while, and may be present after the infection has been resolved. Generally speaking, if IgG antibodies are present but IgM antibodies are negative, an individual has developed antibodies or re-activated a previous infection but does not have a current active infection.

igmigg

Lyme Notes

  • IgM is a sign of a current infection.
  • IgG is a sign of a current infection, or of a past exposure to or past infection by the organism.
  • Lyme Bacteria can hide in the brain and nervous system and by altering its surface proteins, can remain invisible to the immune system for a long period of time.
  • Once the immune system figures out what it is and starts making antibodies to it, it shifts is surface proteins once again, fooling the body into thinking the infection is over.
  • Lyme can turn itself into undetectable L-forms which also help it elude the immune system. When the immune system can’t see it, the immune system can’t antibodies and fights the bacteria
  • A seronegative result (false negative) does not mean the person does not have an active or latent Lyme infection. It just means that this particular test was negative.
  • Lyme Disease is called “the Great masquerader” because it causes a wide range of symptoms being presented by the patient.
  • The CDC’s criteria for what constitutes a positive result is very conservative, as a result of that underreporting, and underdiagnosing occur, minimizing the catastrophic epidemic of Lyme disease in the United States.
  • In general, a clinical positive requires at least 2 IgG and or 2 IgM bands (varies based on testing used)
IgG

IgM

Band Definition
18 kDa Not specific for lyme
22 kDa may be specific for Lyme or cross-reactive.
23-25 kDa specific for Lyme
28 kDa Specific for Lyme
30 kDa Specific for Lyme; California Strain
31 kDa May appear after vaccination
34 kDa May appear after vaccination ; Specific for Lyme
37 kDa Specific for Lyme
39 kDa Specific for Lyme; associated with Joint pain
41 kDa Other bacteria, not specific for Lyme
45 kDa appears for Ehrlichosis
58 kDa not  specific for Lyme; check viral infections
66 kDa Not specific for Lyme; Consider E.Coli
73 kDa may be specific for lyme
83 kDa Specific for Lyme
93 kDa an immunodominant protoplasmic cylinder antigen, associated with the flagellum. Specific for Lyme

remember you know your body best. Be vigilant and keep seeking answers until you find them. Knowledge id power and NoBody should suffer with this debilitating disease especially our children.

A word about methylation

 

Methylation-Cycle2Methylation is  critical to countless functions in your body such as: thinking, repairing DNA, turning on and off genes, fighting infections and getting rid of environmental toxins to name a few.

Methylation Defects are tied to Many Conditions

  • Insomnia
  • Autism
  • Frequent miscarriages
  • Bipolar or manic depression
  • Allergies or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Hashimoto’s or Hypothyroidism
  • ADD or ADHD
  • Lyme Disease (tick borne illness compounded by MTHFR)
  • Chronic Viral Infections
  • To name a few..

Your ability to methylate helps you process toxins and hormones. For example, estrogen… you make it in your body, and you also get it from chemicals in your environment and food etc…if you can’t break down estrogen and get it OUT of your body, you could develop all sorts of disorders.

Methylation also plays a role in making and breaking down various neurotransmitters, epinephrine and melatonin.  If there’s a problem breaking neurotransmitters down, the excess may cause insomnia, panic attacks, and anger.

Such as sufferers of Mold/ Pollen/ Hay Fever, Digestive problems, brain fog, cardiac disease, Children with autism, anyone with a seizure disorder, neurological condition, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, severe Lyme disease, chronic infections, immune deficiencies, diabetes, food allergies, fertility issues, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, anxiety or any psychiatric illness. Or if you are extremely sensitive to medication, you may have a methylation problem, too.

Problems in the methylation pathway are not always genetic traits.  In any case, it may cause a deficiency of methyl-folate leading to a deficiency of glutathione. Glutathione is known as the ‘master antioxidant’ of the body. Low levels of glutathione can look like chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease states, multiple chemical sensitivities, and progressive diseases like ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, etc.

About 50 % of the US population has a MTHFR defect.

MTHFR MUTATIONS

MTHFR are C677T and A1298C. You may have any combination of these mutations depending on the genetic makeup of your biological parents. Or you do not have the defect at all.  You can do a simple lab test to determine MTHFR snps, or more comprehensive genetic testing helps you find other areas of concern.

Because people with a methylation difficulty have trouble eliminating poisons, these build up in the body and contribute to many health concerns. If a body can’t methylate properly, you cannot use and absorb vital nutrients needed to keep cells healthy and protected.

Things that Interfere with Your Methylation Pathway include

  • Poor diet, poor probiotic status, digestive issues, medications, medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, and other things that may cause nutrient deficiencies.
  • Xenobiotics
  • Taking medications that deplete vital nutrients. (like metformin, antacids, PPIs, steroids, estrogen-containing drugs and NO)
  • Drinking alcohol stops methylation and depletes glutathione
  • Stimulants like coffee and metabolism boosters use up your methylation pathway nutrients too quickly
  • Lyme disease, and the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria feeds on magnesium and uses the magnesium to make biofilms and hide. Low Mg reduces your ability to methylate.
  • Taking poor quality nutrients that deplete methyl groups
  • Heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, copper, or arsenic, etc.
  • High levels of acetylaldehyde, a  neurotoxin released by Candida
  • Anxiety or a lot of stress.

Medications that Make MTHFR Much Worse

  • Acid blockers and Antacids deplete your probiotics, and suppress your ability to make B12 and absorb minerals as well as reduce immunity.
  • Cholesterol-binding drugs rob the body of essential vitamin A, D, E and K, and reduce absorption of nutrients from food. 
  • Nitrous oxide it inactivates an enzymes
  • Niacin in High doses will deplete SAMe and reduce B6. BUT can be used good if you are over-methylating! 
  • Birth control and menopause hormones rob the body of necessary folate
  • Sulfa-containing antibiotics inhibit the enzyme DHFR which makes methylation problems.
  • Metformin robs the body of methyl B12
  • Do not stop ANY medications without discussing with your prescriber

Start in the Gut with High-quality probiotics, which are incredibly important to people with a methylation problem to optimize gut flora and minimize candida.

  • If you’ve taken an antibiotic for more than a week, you are low in probiotics.
  • If you have had your appendix removed, you are deficient in probiotics (and thus at higher risk for Candida).
  • If you drink a lot of coffee
  • If you have recurrent vaginal yeast infections
  • If you have a lot of flatulence
  • If you crave sweets or have a white coating on your tongue

A (bad) word about FOLIC ACID

Folic acid, is not what your body uses.  Natural folate comes from the foods that you eat. The body uses methyl-folate, or L5-MTHF, not folic acid.

Anyone with a methylation defect should avoid Folic acid at all cost in the diet, supplements, products etc.

In fact ALL B vitamins should be methylated from this point. Using a CYANOB 12 can actually result in the production of cyanide!!

What else can you do?

  1. Contact your local MTHFR EDUCATED doctor
  2. Repair cell membranes
  3. Consider methylation support needed to maximize your health
  4.  Avoid foods containing enriched folic acid, preservatives, poisons, pesticides and artificial anything
  5. Minimize or avoid any form of alcohol
  6. Take high quality supplements provided by your doctor to minimizes oxidative stress
  7. Do a lab test or 23andme

Genes are just switches, they can be turned on and off with your lifestyle.

We are not victims to our genes!

Why Methylation matters

Methylation-Walsh

What is methylation? In scientific terms it’s addition of a Methyl group to a protein (a methyl group is single carbon and three hydrogen atoms). In over simplified terms it’s the first domino in a series of dominos of the detox pathways.  It is a facet in how the body eliminates toxins, repairs cells, manufactures cells and utilizes energy.

Methyl groups control:

  • Genetic expression and the repair of DNA
  • The stress response
  • The production and utilization of glutathione
  • The detoxification of toxins like hormones, chemicals and heavy metals
  • The inflammation response
  • Neurotransmitter manufacturing and breakdown
  • Energy production
  • The repair of damaged cells
  • The immune system and immunity

 

When the methylation cycle is impaired, any or all of these processes can become compromised, and a cascade of event can occur causing dis-ease and illness.

Methylation and glutathione

Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant, in charge of all cellular repairs. The main focus of methylation is to produce glutathione. Glutathione directly neutralizes toxins, and reduces cellular inflammation, among other important processes.  Ideally, the body makes its own glutathione from other amino acids found in food and, then recycles it via methylation using methyl donors like vitamin B12, and folate. When there are a lot of toxins in the body, or a part of the methylation cycle is disrupted, illness can occur.

Improve Methylation

  • Eat Folate rich foods, natural methyl donors flood the body with all the important nutrients needed to methylate properly.
  • Take the proper B vitamins for you. EveryBody has different methylation needs and requires different nutrient levels. Discuss with your methylation savvy provider as to what is the best balance for you.
  • Be sure to get adequate minerals such as magnesium and zinc. When methylation is impaired the body uses up these minerals as cofactors faster; When digestion is impaired the body doesn’t digest these minerals adequately. Support proper methylation by making sure there are adequate amounts of these minerals in your diet.
  • To assist in optimizing digestion, take quality probiotics.
  • Reduce stress, eliminate alcohol, smoking and toxins, all of these toxins alter methylation and use up necessary methyl groups.

 

To support proper methylation naturally boost your glutathione

  • Sources of these important amino acids to boost glutathione include organic pastured eggs, wild caught fish and organic lean meats.
  • Eating high sulfur-containing foods is vital, try some extra garlic and onions and other cruciferous vegetables.
  • Organic Un-denatured whey protein powder boosts glutathione levels by converting cysteine into glutathione. However if dairy sensitive this is not a good choice.
  • Include antioxidant rich foods, full of Vitamin C, D and E, they all boost glutathione levels
  • Exercise helps reducing stress and depression, AND it also boosts your glutathione levels and improves detoxification.
  • Lack of sleep can deplete glutathione. Make sure to sleep well.
  • Consider Curcumin! Delicious Turmeric raises glutathione levels. Be sure to take it with a healthy fat for best digestion and absorption.

 

Typical lifestyle modifications to improve methylation or life in general; include avoiding toxins, minimizing stress, sleeping well, optimizing digestion and consuming a nutrient dense diverse diet. Proper supplements to support methylation and glutathione can assist the body’s ability to naturally detoxify and heal. Please not that for methylation challenges there is no “one size fits all” approach and common recommendations may cause adverse effects in a methylation challenged individual. Always seek a qualified provider to begin your journey to cellular healing.

 

Why do I care about this MTHFR?

mthfr img
The MTHFR gene is responsible for making a functional MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme is a key regulatory enzyme in the metabolism of folate, and the gene itself has a very important and complex role. If the MTHFR gene is mutated, the MTHFR enzyme will not function properly.

A MTHFR mutation inhibits the body’s ability to methylate, or convert pharmaceutical folic acid into Methylfolate. Methylfolate is the active and usable form of folate, and if the body is not getting enough of this folate at the cellular level, it leads to deficiencies and a multitude of health issues.

Folic Acid is actually a synthetic form of folate, produced in a lab and not found in nature. The conversion of Folic acid into the usable form of methyl folate requires a complex 4 step process, not properly preformed in individuals with a MTHFR mutation.
The most common MTHFR gene mutations are found at position C677T and/or position A1298C on the MTHFR gene located on chromosome 1, and passed from biological parents. So each individual can have UP to 2 copies of the Mutation:

Homozygous Mutation: 2 affected genes on either the 677t or the 1298c position. MTHFR enzyme will only run at about 10% efficiency (or 90% impaired).
Compound Heterozygous Mutation: 1 affected gene on the 677t gene and 1 mutation of the 1298c gene. This combination can be more severe, due to the fact that both gene defects are present. 98% of autistic children have this mutation.
Heterozygous Mutation: most common and less severe of all the mutations. It means there is 1 normal gene and 1 mutated gene. The mutation will either be on the 677 or the 1298 position. The MTHFR enzyme will run at about 40%-60% efficiency compared to normal MTHFR enzymes.

The Mutations….
677t Mutation – This mutation is most commonly associated with heart disease, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, miscarriages, tongue tie, congenital birth defects, to name a few.
1298c Mutation – This mutation is most commonly associated with chronic illnesses, such as; depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Memory loss, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, to name a few.

Methylation
The Methylation Cycle is a major biochemical pathway in our bodies that contributes to a wide range of crucial body functions, such as detoxification, immune function, mood balancing, and more. When the MTHFR pathway is impaired by mutations, other pathways are also affected, and the entire body, can suffer the consequences of “oxidative stress” (toxin buildup). Other pathways do exist for these metabolic processes, however they use more energy and create more “cellular waste” than necessary..causing more “oxidative stress”.

Pathways affected by MTHFR
1) Glutathione is the key antioxidant and detoxifier in our body, so when its production is hindered, one is more susceptible to “oxidative stress” and less tolerant to toxins, like heavy metals. With age the accumulation of heavy metals and toxins grows, and may lead to a multitude of symptoms including chronic disease, rashes, premature aging, depression, and anxiety, to name a few…
2) A lack of methylfolate also hinders the multi-step process that converts homocysteine, to methionine. Homocysteine, then builds up in the bloodstream, and reduces the amount of methionine. Methionine is necessary to produce proteins and assist in breaking down histamine, serotonin, and dopamine.

MTHFR and Pregnancy
Elevated homocysteine levels caused by MTHFR mutations can lead to formation of blood clots. This is especially a cause of concern during pregnancy, and can lead to miscarriages, clotting poroblems and fertility challenges. There are various forms of MTHFR mutations, and some are more serious than others during a pregnancy, check with a provider for medical counsel on this topic. Women who experience RPL (repeated pregnancy loss) will be tested for MTHFR.
Elevated homocysteine is also frequently found in pregnant woman who experience preeclampsia, placental abruption, giving birth to low-birth-weight baby (IUGR), and neural tube defects (an abnormality of the fetal spine or brain). So it is extremely important to make sure homocysteine levels are normal during pregnancy, in the presence of MTHFR.

Treatment
Conventional protocol for MTHFR mutations, especially during pregnancy is a mega dose of folic acid, usually around 5mg. As previously mentioned this simply accelerates “oxidative stress” and further complicates the problem. MTHFR mutations are not a “one size fits all”. With a MTHFR mutation, stay away from folic acid. Educate yourself, eat a Clean Diet, Sleep Well, Exercise, get fresh air and release stress. See your favorite MTHFR educated provider for the best advice on supplementing if necessary.

The difference between MethylFolate and Folic acid

But wait! My doctor says Folic acid is important to take!!

Conventional Doctors often use the terms ‘folic acid’ and ‘folate’ interchangeably. However they are not interchangeable. Folic acid refers to the oxidized synthetic pharmaceutical that is added to processed foods and dietary supplements for “food fortification”. Folic acid is synthetic compound manufactured in a laboratory where folate is the naturally occurring, and the body does not utilize them the same.

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. With a high intake of folic acid in a standard American diet, un-metabolized folic acid could mask a vitamin B12 deficiency which can harm central nervous system function. Taking high doses of synthetic folic acid with a MTHFR mutation blocks the ability to absorb and assimilate natural folate and methylfolate; THIS is a major failing of current widespread medical and prenatal advice.

Science has 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. Folic acid must undergo initial reduction and methylation in the liver, and then converted to the useable form; this requires a specific enzyme, MTHFR, 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.

MTHFR, along with other gene mutations and heredity factors, can present special problems in pregnancy and reproduction as well as other serious conditions later in life. This is not to say that these mutations should cause alarm; but if you’re already aware of your genetic status, it would be highly beneficial to take special precautions. A baby can inherit problems in its own DNA, which present symptoms, caused by the nutritional deficiencies present at the time of conception present in the parents. Ensuring proper methylation from the beginning, in a baby, will prevent impaired immunity and virus and heavy metal accumulation from birth. This is an essential component to preventing autism, allergies, asthma and eczema later in life.

Researchers now know that supplementing with the proper forms of Methylated B vitamins can help restore health. However high amounts of folic acid in poor quality supplements AND enriched and fortified foods can be detrimental to health. Another beneficial treatment is to minimize stress in your life and in your cells. Remember to Avoid any and all “oxidative stressors” such as; Smoking, Alcohol, Certain Antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, 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) and stress!
‪#‎MTHFR‬ ‪#‎folatevsfolicacid‬ ‪#‎naturalmama‬ ‪#‎naturalpregnancy‬
‪#‎ilovewatchingyouheal‬ ‪#‎drkendrabecker‬

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