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Have you ever heard of the MTHFR gene mutation?
If not, don’t worry, you’re not behind the times.
In fact, most people don’t hear about it until the day they are diagnosed with it.
An overwhelming lack of information on MTHFR gene mutations has left countless individuals frantically searching the web, looking for an explanation they can understand.
That’s what I did at least.
If you’re in that same boat, I hope to make things a little clearer for you today.
For the last couple of decades, scientists have been studying the MTHFR detox gene to find out how it contributes to proper functioning of the human body. What they’ve found has opened up a world of research and gives great insight into the mechanisms behind human disease and dysfunction.
Having a MTHFR gene mutation does complicate things, but it doesn’t have to be the devastating blow many make it out to be.
You just have to know the right way to address it.
That’s what you’ll learn today in this simple guide to the MTHFR gene mutation.
Let’s dig in.
What Is the MTHFR Gene?
First, let’s talk about genes.
You’ve got about 20,000 of them, and each one contains a specific set of instructions for making every cell in your body.
Each gene is composed of a short segment of DNA that is coded for a very specific purpose. You’ve got genes for eye color, hair color, height, skin color and tens of thousands of other characteristics. Among these 20,000 genes is the MTHFR gene – and every person on the planet has it.
The MTHFR gene holds instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (try to say that 5 times fast).
Or MTHFR for short.
The MTHFR enzyme is responsible for converting folate to its active form (known as methyl-folate) within your body. This conversion is incredibly important and is known as a process called methylation.
What Is Methylation?
Without getting too sciencey, it is the process of adding carbon and hydrogen to a compound.
While that may not sound like much, methylation is absolutely critical to numerous bodily functions including:
- DNA repair
- Tissue and cell regeneration
- DNA synthesis
- Gene expression
- Amino acid balance
- Synthesis of neurotransmitters related to cognition, sleep, memory and mood
- Inflammation regulation
- Proper immune system function
- Liver function
- And many others…
The MTHFR gene is responsible for so many different functions that any alteration in the gene almost certainly leads to chronic health issues or diseases.
However, if you’ve been diagnosed with a MTHFR gene mutation, don’t think of it as the end of the world. Instead, a MTHFR mutation is the perfect opportunity to optimize your diet to alter how your body functions at the cellular level.
What is the MTHFR Gene Mutation and What Happens When You Have It?
Now for the question on everyone’s mind:
“What happens if the MTHFR gene is altered?”
When a gene is altered in some way, it’s what we call a genetic mutation. Researchers estimate that 30-50% of the population may be affected.
There are many variations involved in MTHFR gene mutations, but 2 primary ones seem to cover the majority of MTHFR mutations:
- MTHFR C677T
- MTHFR A1298C
Astonishingly, these two gene alterations have been implicated in over 600 different medical conditions.
Basically, when you have a MTHFR mutation, you have a slightly different version of the gene than people without a mutation.
That can be bad news considering the MTHFR enzyme plays such a critical role in methylation. When you have lower amounts of MTHFR enzymes coursing through your body, methylation decreases – and that can lead to a long list of health problems.
Perhaps one of the most critical processes affected by a MTHFR mutation is detoxification. Without the ability to detox properly, your body can develop chronic health issues such as:
- B vitamin deficiency
- Heart Disease
- Increased cancer risk
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Autoimmune diseases
Unfortunately, the list is much longer than that, but I’m not here to be all Dr. Doom on you.
All of these issues can be avoided if you learn how to work with your MTHFR genes and detox properly despite them.
How to Detox Despite Having a MTHFR Mutation
To help avoid the possibility of developing chronic illnesses, detoxification is absolutely necessary. When you have a MTHFR mutation, the process is simply a bit more intensive.
Here are 5 quick tips to help you detox successfully even with the MTHFR gene mutation:
1. Eat Foods That Contain Folate and B Vitamins
Eating foods that contain substantial amounts of folate can help increase your body’s rate of methylation. One of your body’s most powerful detoxifiers is an antioxidant known as glutathione. Glutathione emerges when the body methylates a protein called methionine.
When you give your body substantial folate, you help kickstart the process. Choose foods like:
- Beans and lentils
- Leafy greens
- Bright-colored fruits
A MTHFR mutation can also cause B-vitamin deficiency, so consuming foods that are high in these vitamins can keep your levels up. Look for grass-fed meats (including organ meats), nuts, beans, pastured butter and eggs and fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir.
2. Exercise Regularly
Sweating actually helps your body remove toxins. In fact, scientists have found that your sweat may contain higher levels of heavy metals and phthalates than your urine.
Your lungs also play a critical role in your body’s detoxification process, so pushing them to perform aerobically will help eliminate toxins as well. Plus, exercise naturally boosts your glutathione levels, too.
3. Avoid Processed Foods and Heavy Metals
Processed foods contain additives, chemicals and unhealthy fats that increase the toxic load on your body. If your body already has trouble detoxifying naturally, you certainly don’t want to make the process any more difficult.
Instead, opt for fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, and dairy products (if you can tolerate them).
Likewise, you should steer clear of anything that may contain heavy metals due to their high toxic load on the body. Tap water often contains substantial amounts of heavy metals, so be sure to drink alkaline, reverse-osmosis or filtered water only. You should also avoid aluminum cookware and foil, and limit your intake of seafood.
4. Practice Detox Regimens
Take time to practice regular detox regimens including Epsom salt baths, infrared saunas, dry brushing and other detoxification methods. You can also include detox herbs like:
- Dandelion root
- Milk thistle
- Stinging Nettle
- Red Clover
5. Increase Your Intake (and Production) of Glutathione
Glutathione is one of your body’s most powerful detoxifiers, so consuming glutathione-rich foods can give your body a leg up. You can help your body increase its production of glutathione naturally by consuming sulfur-rich foods like:
- Brussel sprouts
A MTHFR mutation diagnosis doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems.
Sure, it makes detoxing a bit more difficult, but with the right diet and lifestyle, you can give your body what it needs to detox successfully. You’ve got about 20,000 of them, and each one contains a specific set of instructions for making every cell in your body.