Welcome back to my Autoimmune Fertility series!
This week’s topic is MTHFR gene testing and recurrent miscarriage. Although MTHFR is more about genetics than an autoimmune process, it is important to remember that genes in our bodies can be switched on or switched off under specific conditions. For example, it is possible for some individuals to carry a genetic variation that with optimal self-care never causes any symptoms or problems. This might be a result of having a particular diet, practice of hot yoga or consistent use of supplements to support nutrition. Let’s talk more about MTHFR and if testing for it is right for you.
Should you consider MTHFR gene testing?
Are you a woman experiencing recurrent miscarriages, infertility or blood clotting problems? Have you had more than 2 pregnancy losses or 2 failed IVF cycles after the age of 35? If so, I do recommend MTHFR genetic testing. This is a worthwhile topic to discuss with your medical doctor, genetic counselor, and integrative medicine professionals such as acupuncturists and naturopaths. *It is always best to have professional guidance with respect to choosing, obtaining and interpreting genetic testing. *
What does MTHFR mean?
MTHFR is the abbreviation for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. In medical journals, MTHFR can refer to the MTHFR enzyme in your body or the MTHFR gene in your body. We are finding increasing numbers of these types of genes. Newer research is pointing toward higher percentages of the general population with genetic defects of the MTHFR gene also.
“The frequency of the homozygous mutant MTHFR 677TT genotype is reported to be
10% worldwide, ranging from 4% to 18% in the United States,
20% in northern China
to as high as 32% in Mexico.” 1
Important jobs your MTHFR gene does
Processes Vitamin B12
Produces key brain chemistry components,
such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine
Regulates gene expression
Processes heavy metals
Is active in hormone regulation
Participates in immune function
Regulates homocysteine production
Technical terms you will see with MTHFR gene testing, information & results
We inherit genes from both of our parents: one from our mother and one from our father. It is possible to inherit only one defective gene which is called a heterozygous mutation. For some individuals, the function with a single normal MTHFR gene can be enough to avoid physical issues. In contrast, there are usually bigger health challenges in the case of inheriting two defective genes which is a homozygous mutation. Two defective genes cause far more problems than one.
With respect to genetic issues, patterns within your family can be clues to investigate when considering genetic and fertility testing.
Do consider the histories of your parents and siblings as well as your own when contemplating MTHFR gene testing.
Below you will see a partial list of issues known to associate with MTHFR gene
|Miscarriages||Schizophrenia||Spina bifida||Migraines with aura||Epilepsy|
|Addictions||Pulmonary embolisms||Fibromyalgia||Bipolar disorders||Blood clots||Drug Toxicities: methotrexate, anti-epileptics|
|Down syndrome||Depression||Pre-eclampsia||Idiopathic male fertility||High homocysteine||
My next blog will also have additional MTHFR information. In it I will share with you the most common gene mutations seen and currently tested as well as supplements and dietary factors which can help.
Thank you for reading!
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Karen Reynolds, LAc, RN Acupuncture for Optimal Health
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~Karen Reynolds, RN, MS, LAc
1 Wilson, C.P., McNulty, H., Ward, M., Strain, J.J., Trouton, T.G., Hoeft, B.A., Weber, P., Roos, F.F., Horigan, G., McAnena, L., Scott, J.M. (2013). Blood Pressure in Treated Hypertensive Individuals With the MTHFR 677TT Genotype Is Responsive to Intervention With Riboflavin. Hypertension, 61, 1302-1308. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONHA.111.01047/-/DCI
Statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. All information on this site is provided as education and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. No information on this site is intended to replace or delay the use of any conventional medical treatment.