I believe every human being on planet earth has the gene 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, also known as MTHFR. This is responsible for the breakdown of folic acid to give folate, which some may know as vitamin B9. It is essential for the synthesis and repair of DNA, production of red blood cells, and also plays a significant role in the growth of cell and tissue. Now the breakdown of folic acid leads to a decreased level of homocysteine through the formation of folate. If there was to be no formation of folate or if folic acid is not broken down, then there would be increased levels of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia), which can be seen in people with a positive test for MTHFR mutation gene.
Risk Factors for MTHFR
The positive MTHFR gene is inherited from parents to the child. Nothing causes one to have an MTHFR mutated gene. It is merely passed on from parents. One may be at risk if you have had:
- Recurrent pregnancy losses
- An infant with a neural tube defect like spinal bifida or anencephaly
- A history of preeclampsia
How Does MTHFR Affect Pregnancy?
Increased levels of homocysteine coupled with decreased levels of folic acid can lead to such complication in pregnancy as spontaneous abortion, pre-eclampsia, spinal bifida and other congenital disabilities. MTHFR mutated gene can create many problems in pregnant women as they can in people who are not pregnant.
In women: pregnant women have higher chances of developing blood clots; this is due to increased homocysteine levels. Sometime a person may not have increased homocysteine levels but may still have problems due to MTHFR, so it will be wrong to look at homocysteine levels alone when dealing with MTHFR. If MTHFR is left untreated, it can also put women at higher risk of postpartum depression.
In men: It is evident that a man plays a great role in the conception of a child so it will be of importance while trying to prevent any congenital disabilities and other diseases in a child, to make sure that the man is getting the right nutrition and also methylating properly before conception.
In baby: remember that MTHFR is inherited, so whatever is present in the parents is what the child inherits.
What Supplements Do You Take for MTHFR to Support a Healthy Pregnancy?
Well, there is good news because there is a lot can be done to make sure that you and your family have healthy results while trying to become pregnant. First things first, you have to make sure that you and your significant other are methylating properly and getting the right nutrition, you can try to incorporate the healing greens to your diet as studies have shown that eating dark green leafy vegetables can provide you with natural folate necessary for methylation.
Protect yourself against diseases caused by food because due to weakened immune systems pregnant women and their babies have a higher risk. Make sure to hydrate properly and eat a well-balanced diet. Make sure to incorporate the adequate amount of magnesium and zinc to your diet as they support methylation. It may be advisable to take probiotics as they help in the production and absorption of B vitamins and folate.
Avoid eating fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish or tuna. Stay away from alcohol, drugs or tobacco and also try to avoid second-hand smoking. Review your prescription and over the counter medications and herbal formulas for safe use during pregnancy (or use at all). Avoid environmental pollution/ pollutants and try to limit the amount of stress in your life by exercising or taking long walks. Although, it may seem like a lot to do the result is promising besides these are just a few of the most common tips for every pregnant woman.
I get confused every time I read about someone being prescribed Folgard for her MTHFR. This shows that this doctor or whoever prescribed this is still leaving in the prehistoric time because this is apparently due to out-dated information, which would indicate that increased dose folic acid is the right way to treat MTHFR gene mutations. Folic acid and the non-methylated forms of the B group vitamins provided by this supplement are not appropriate for anyone with MTHFR gene defects. Instead, one can find many other formulas that will provide the help/ support one need. Studies have shown that L-Methyl folate can reduce the risk of anaemia in pregnant women, so your doctor might give you this instead of folic acid.
To Lovenox or Not?
Should I be taking blood thinners daily or not? Every MTHFR sufferer is asking this question. Although, these injections can prevent the generation of blood clots between the developing placenta and the uterine wall, women prescribed this treatment usually start at the early stage of pregnancy.
However, additional research is needed to be done to determine how long a woman needs to continue these injections. One’s doctor might prescribe a daily dose of baby aspirin instead, but there is no scientific proof of the effectiveness of this treatment.
What Kind of Doctor Treats MTHFR During Pregnancy?
Usually, these are physicians or doctors who have successfully attended conferences and also completed clinical methylation and nutrigenomics training through seeking health educational institute (SHEI).
MTHFR is not one to be taken for granted if a person has any plans of getting pregnant someday, as long as you maintain proper dieting and getting the right nutrition coupled with following your prescription one can be guaranteed a healthy child. Make sure to research on any physician to be sure they are trustworthy before visiting and stay safe. Screening for MTHFR is not necessary for every pregnant woman. Many women still have healthy pregnancies, even if they test positive for the MTHFR gene mutation. But one may need to be tested if you give birth to a child with neural tube defects, or have had multiple miscarriages. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Andrea, S. (2013). Preparing for Pregnancy with MTHFR Mutations • MTHFR Living. MTHFR Living. Retrieved 3 April 2018, from http://mthfrliving.com/health-conditions/preparing-pregnancy-mthfr-mutations/
Corey, M. (2015). Methylation: Why It Matters For Your Immunity, Inflammation & More. mindbodygreen. Retrieved 3 April 2018, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18245/methylation-why-it-matters-for-your-immunity-inflammation-more.html
Goyette, P., Sumner, J., Milos, R., Duncan, A., Rosenblatt, D., Matthews, R., & Rozen, R. (1994). Human methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase: isolation of cDNA, mapping and mutation identification. Nature Genetics, 7(2), 195-200. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng0694-195
Liberto, R. (2018). MTHFR Pregnancy: What Does It Mean?. Healthline. Retrieved 3 April 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/mthfr#testing