Instead, it is an abbreviation for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase
Yes, a big mouthful!
MTHFR produces an essential enzyme. The acronym for the enzyme is also MTHFR. It’s worth knowing about this gene because it is said to play a key role in regard to many aspects of emotional and physical health.
You can find out all about the background to this gene here.
It is is said to provide the key for Methylation to occur, a metabolic process that switches genes on and off, repairs DNA and many other processes of importance.
Why is MTHFR important?
Top of the list is because the gene can have an impact on how well your body metabolizes folic acid and folate (both forms of vitamin B9. This vitamin is vital for many our body's functions.
Unfortunately, those who have the MTHFR mutation could find it difficult to eliminate toxins from their bodies, and it is linked to several health problems.
While most of those with a mutation do not experience any symptoms, others do. It is believed that as many as 30 to 50% of the population might carry a mutation in the MTHFR gene. The gene is genetic and passed from parents to children.
What are the common MTHFR symptoms?
• High homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body by chemically altering adenosine. Amino acids are naturally made products, which are the building blocks of all the proteins in the body. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Most labs report normal ranges of homocysteine as about 4-15 µml/L.
• Folate deficiency causing extreme chronic fatigue, light-headedness and forgetfulness.
• A history of miscarriage.
• Longstanding gastrointestinal issues.
• A prolonged history of anxiety or depression.
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
• Autoimmune disease and thyroid issues.
• Cardiovascular disease.
• Digestive issues, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome
• Hormonal issues, including PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
If you think you might have the MTHFR mutation, it is possible to be tested. While you cannot change your gene, you can certainly improve your quality of life.
Here are some tips
Testing for MTHFR
Lab testing to check for MTHFR mutations used to be costly, requiring a prescription and a blood sample. But today, genetic testing is much more affordable, accessible and convenient. In fact, it is possible to get tested for your MTHFR status using 23andMe
’s service. Alternatively, if you go to this site
, you can find lots of help with different ways of getting tested.
Another point of view
Although 23andMe offer testing, and they confirm that MTHFR is the most asked-about gene by 23andMe customers, they say that the existing scientific data doesn’t support the vast majority of claims that common MTHFR variants impact human health.
We leave it to you to make up your own mind.