MTHFR & Methylation – It's Changed My Life!
Updated: Mar 20
The MTHFR gene is heavily involved in the process of methylation – responsible for converting homocysteine to methionine - important for metabolism, brain health, muscle growth, detoxification, digestion, hormonal balance and energy production. If you have a MTHFR mutation (also known as a polymorphism), it can cause you have a reduced ability to convert folic acid or folate. HINT: This is not a good thing…
As the MTHFR mutation impacts your ability to convert homocysteine, often homocysteine levels build up in the body. High homocysteine levels have an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (heart attack and stroke), cognitive impairment (including Alzheimer’s disease), mood disorders, cancers (breast, colon), pregnancy complications, thyroid issues, PCOS, congenital defects.
And yes, it can impact on the gut (and gallbladder and liver), for some people in a VERY big way!
When I found out I was homozygous MTHFR (C667T) and had a high (off the charts!!!) homocysteine level, although I thought I was ‘healthy’, it was a massive wakeup call that this was a missing puzzle in my health and wellbeing story. My life has changed significantly for the better. A lot of the symptoms I was putting up with I had considered as ‘normal’, but they weren’t.
You probably know this already, it’s not possible to change your genes, but there are things that you can do to help yourself, and / or your children and feel great. Being consistent and persistent with my habits every single day has paid off, and my homocysteine level over the last few years has been within the functional range. It’s one of the reasons why I gave up alcohol for good and adopt a wholefoods lifestyle. Knowing that my ability to naturally detox takes more work than the average person, I now know what to do to help myself. And I’m much healthier as a result.
Do you have any questions about MTHFR or methylation? Do you have this genetic SNP and want to learn more about the intersection of nutrition and gut health? Or want to know more?
Vanessa Vanderhoek is a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in the gut microbiome, biochemistry and nutrigenomics. She helps people to regain their health by taking a “food as medicine” approach that's unique to their body.
Whilst based in Canberra (Australia), Vanessa sees clients around the world in her virtual clinic. To get started book an initial consultation by clicking here.