If you happened upon this post with interest in how MTHFR can cause near sightedness, you’ll be sadly disappointed. You’re probably looking for affirmation that the cause of all your problems stem from a MTHFR dysfunction. Instead, I hope to provide information for those practitioners and general population people that learn just enough about MTHFR to become dangerous…and careless…and myopic.
For those that are still hung up on the letters MTHFR and wondering if I just insulted you, let me explain. Actually, let me give you the meaning of life. Ready? Life is like our favorite food. You need ingredients and directions to create a finished product.
Substrate + Enzyme/Co-Factors = Product.
Substrates are your basic ingredients. These are your lifestyle choices, circumstances, perceptions, nutrition levels, social influences, movement patterns, and all the variables in life. This accounts for 98% of your health outcomes (finished product).
The enzymes are coded for in your DNA. This is your recipe guide. It’s the constant in the equation, it doesn’t change. There can be tweaks here and there but any typos in that recipe can most often be corrected for by changing your spices, heating, altitude, etc (i.e. co-factors).
The product is you and your health expression. You have an amazing recipe and access to ingredients to live a life your ancestors only dreamed about.
The better your ingredients, the better the product. This life recipe has stood the test of time but because it’s a copy from your great-great-great grandmother x 10,000 years, some of the print may be a bit faded or maybe even contain some typos? You’ve seen plenty of those in my posts. Depending on your surrounding environment, you may get caught up on those typos and decide you don’t want to read any further. You’re disgusted by my ineptness of editing and disregard anything I’ve ever said because I used the wrong version of affect versus effect.
For the majority of you, it’s no big deal, you’re kind and forgiving and will send a sweet email directing me to a correction that needs attention. I appreciate those.
This ‘typo’ is a simplistic way of looking at MTHFR. In essence there’s a deviation in the code from your DNA and it may or may not affect you…or is that effect? I’ll never understand that one.
The myopic point I want to call attention to is that MTHFR is one deviation in the possible 20,000 genes that make up your blue print for life. It can have dramatic results in health expression but will have influence for good or bad based on your chosen substrates of life. And sometimes, especially recent new client’s journeys, solely focusing on this one type of genetic ‘typo’ has made things worse, not better.
The basic function of the enzyme MTHFR is to help your body turn folic acid into the active form to be utilized by a host of functions in the body like supporting nervous system tissue, aiding detoxification, feeding red blood cells, producing glutathione, blah blah blah.
At one point in recent history, the government made the well intentioned regulation of making sure folic acid was added to EVERYTHING. They knew that folic acid supplementation could prevent birth defects. But without knowing the whole story, did those recommendations create a host of unintended consequences? Case in point. Folic acid is just a string of glutamate molecules. Under the right dosage, glutamate is necessary for brain function like memory. But when there is too much of it, this excites your neurons creating premature death of those cells. More and more evidence is that neurological conditions like ALS, Parkinson’s, and autism have a glutamate overload characteristic.
What I end up seeing from other practitioners, with good intentions, but extreme myopia, is that they then load up the client on high doses of the active form of folic acid and B12. Or the client, knowing they have an MTHFR defect, self-treats the same way.
When I was learning to read x-rays in school, our professor always made it clear that if we see one anomaly, there is usually another. I would apply that same logic to SNiPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms). SNiPs are the ‘genetic typos’ I’ve been trying to conceptualize like MTHFR. In other words, if you see one typo, don’t be surprised if you see others.
Unlike typos in written text, the genetic ones work in conjunction. You can’t look at them in isolation. Supporting one correctly, without addressing others, may in fact expose the others and surface those defects causing more issues than where you started.
MTHFR Assumption: High Dose Methyl Folate and Methyl B12 Cures All
Here’s a snippet of what many do with an MTHFR SNiP. MTHFR aids in the conversion of folic acid to the active form, 5-MTH Folate (the left circle – a series of steps). This feeds into the right circle, which is heavily influenced by your utilization of vitamin B12. Most often, a SNiP will slow the process down, like a car accident in rush hour. By giving the active forms of nutrients (a detour), this bypasses some of those slowed down pathways. The provider, with good intentions then gives the patient high doses of active folate and active B12 and calls it good.
In other words, they create a detour to bypass that certain intersection. But we all know what happens often times. The more cars that get re-directed down the detour, there is often another traffic jam, because the detour can’t handle the volume of traffic. Not all detours jam up traffic. Sometimes those detours can speed up traffic and because everyone is going so fast, you miss your exit.
For example, there’s another box labeled CBS. It helps homocysteine convert to cystathionine. The problem is that if there is a SNiP here, this speeds up the process instead of slowing it down. So someone may feel great for a week by being amped up on active folate and B 12 but it pushes that cycle too fast, which goes to your detox pathways. Instead the person crashes hard and has all sorts of funky stuff exiting their body, which scares them, drains them, and leaves them feeling like no one can help them.
Lets hypothesize that they have a SNiP in the SUOX gene and can’t convert sulfites to sulfates. The detox pathways are sped up due to an overactive CBS SNiP but then all comes to an immediate halt with sulfite build up. These are the people sensitive to pretty much any food that is boxed, dried, seafood, wine, many medications, etc. You may even stop calling them to go have a meal because they can’t eat anything or be around any new construction. This would be the scenario that the detour caused you to go fast but because traffic is flying and cars are trying to exit, this causes a secondary accident and traffic halts again.
My point is, if you’re a provider or simply self treating, don’t get giddy on just MTHFR. Yes, it is a giant MTHFR to deal with but I’m afraid we are pushing this into the same treatment box as high cholesterol without looking ahead for unintended consequences. You have high cholesterol? You need a statin. Who cares if you die early, you had a good cholesterol range. You have MTHFR? You need high dose methyl folate and B12. Who cares if you feel sicker than where we started, ‘tough it out, it’s normal to feel like shitake before you feel great.’
Remember to step back and look at the forrest instead of trying to chop down a single tree and expect your field to be cleared. I know, bad analogy, we shouldn’t chop down trees or mention doing any harm to a rain forest. Everyone is so sensitive today and on edge. I bet they have a SNiP in their MOA or COMT genes. If and when you need help, you know how to find me.
So, a whole plan needs to be in place, how do we talk to our physician and get the right one or entire one in place for better health?
If your current physician isn’t already addressing you as a whole, then it may be time to find a new one. Something we do for people is a free discovery call before they ever come in so make sure we’re a good fit, discuss the office philosophy, and next steps.