We talk with Dr. Benjamin Lynch today about all things MTHFR.
Press play to learn more about:
- Why MTHFR is a real clinical issue
- The ethnicities most susceptable to these defects
- How to spot possible methylation defects clinically
- The upside and downside of genetic tests
- Why supplementing with methylated folate isn’t always a good thing
- The idea and importance of dynamic supplementation
- and more…..
Pronounced as if you are spelling it, MTHFR is one gene that is responsible for converting folate into the active form methyl folate. Mutations of this gene are found in a wide portion of our population. It’s an important enzyme because methyl folate is a major part of the methylation pathway that is responsible for turning certain genes on and off, making neurotransmitters and more. Dr. Lynch has been researching this gene mutation since seeking more information for a patient on bipolar disorder.
There are actually 3 different types of folate, it’s an umbrella term with an ambiguous meaning. The types are folic acid, folinic acid, and methyl folate. The type that is supplemented in food is folic acid because it has a long shelf life. The active form in the body is methyl folate. The MTHFR enzyme (coded for by the MTHFR gene) is a key part of the process that converts folic acid to methyl folate. If a person has deficits in this or a few other genes there is the potential that the folic acid they are getting in their diet is not being converted into methyl folate, the active form. Uncooked leafy greens contain the active form of folate, methyl folate.
Some laboratory indicators that methylation might not be happening well include high homocysteine (9+ in an adult and 6+ in a kid), and an elevated b12 and or serum folate without supplementation (suggesting they are building up when they should be getting used up).
It’s not always clear cut when to supplement with the methylated form of folate (we talk about the nuances of this in the podcast). Sometimes patients may get worse. If this happens 50mg of nicotinic acid repeated every 30 minutes usually quenches the negative effects.
Dr. Lynch graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology and got his Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University. He runs the websites mthfr.net and seekinghealth.org.
For more information on methylation check out the online courses Dr. Lynch offeres here
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