What Is The MTHFR Gene?
The MTHFR gene, technically called Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase, is a key enzyme required to metabolise homocysteine. It is an enzyme that converts folate you eat into the active form (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate). The MTHFR gene test is used to detect two relatively common mutations in the MTHFR gene that are associated with elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood.
What Do High Levels of Homocysteine Mean?
High homocysteine levels in the blood are recognised as a risk factor for:
- Coronary artery disease
- Venous thrombosis and stroke
- Type 2 Diabetes
High homocysteine levels in the blood have also been associated with:
- Neural tube defects
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Depression and other mood disorders
What Causes High Levels of Homocysteine?
The major cause of high homocysteine levels is folate deficiency. Other factors include insufficient vitamin B12 and genetic mutations in the MTHFR gene. Folate is Vitamin B9 and is not the same as folic acid. (Folic acid is synthetic and is not found in nature. It must undergo various transformations to utilisation.)
When Is The MTHFR Gene Test Used?
The MTHFR Gene Test may be ordered for the following reasons:
- If a person has a personal or family history of premature cardiovascular disease (CVD) or inappropriate blood clots (thrombosis)
- When a close relative has MTHFR gene mutations
A defective (mutated) MTHFR gene can increase the risk of:
- Coronary heart disease
- Stress and toxin buildup
- Fatty liver degenerative disease
- IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
How Does The MTHFR Gene Test Help?
You can’t change a defective gene. But you can help it do its job better and minimize problems.
Our highly qualified Naturopaths at Brisbane Livewell Clinic is able to perform an MTHFR gene blood test onsite and if defects are found then help with the following:
- Help design a diet with foods to avoid, especially certain processed foods
- Provide information and supplements, such as Vitamin B, to counterbalance effects caused by the mutated gene