Looks like a bad word, right? Well this is actually the name of a gene called "methylenetetrahydrofolate reductas." Why do you care? Well, you might not but I find it interesting in that its a simple blood test that some insurance companies cover and could help you along your wellness path.
WARNING: Big words and medical jargon: "The MTHFR gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme plays a role in processing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is important for a chemical reaction involving forms of the B-vitamin folate (also called folic acid or vitamin B9). Specifically, this enzyme converts 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. This reaction is required for the multistep process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. The body uses methionine to make proteins and other important compounds."
Makes complete sense, right? Ha, not sure I quite understand myself but am learning as much as I can. My doctor called me today to let me know that I tested positive for this genetic mutation. Okay great, now what? Get on the Google and read all I can on a Friday night!
Here's what I found: If someone has the genetic mutation, it can cause a variety of problems including neural tube defects, spina bifida, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood pressure during pregnancy (preeclampsia), glaucoma, psychiatric disorders, and certain types of cancer. AHA...that is where my interest comes in.
If you have followed me for a while, you may know that anxiety just about killed me earlier this year. Anxiety is a psychiatric disorder and is exactly why my psychiatrist recommended I get this gene test. I am happy to say that my anxiety is completely under control now but I am in constant search of additional holistic methods to help me. That's exactly why I pay $95 for a 20 minute visit with this doctor (yikes!) who is in line with my beliefs and doesn't just throw different prescriptions at me. For those of you wondering, yes, I am still on a pharmaceutical medication which is what is allowing me to function like a normal person each day. Without it, I have no idea where I would be. But my long-term goal is to manage this in a completely holistic manner.
So, our plan to deal with the mutation of this gene, is to begin taking a folate compound including folic or folinic acid. I have high hopes that this will help me, but only time will tell. I am now waiting to see if my insurance will help cover the cost of this as I understand it is around $150 for a 90 day supply.
And lastly, I heard from some of my nutrition classmates that found out they had this mutation when they were trying to conceive. A few people said they feel the folic acid helped them to finally conceive a healthy baby after years of trying.
I will keep you posted if this helps me or not. Here's hoping that it does! Go MTHFR! (and is this really the best abbreviation they could come up with???)
I threw this info-graphic in for those of you that might actually understand all of this!
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!