What is MTHFR?
A gene and an enzyme. The MTHFR enzyme activates folate or folic acid in the body in order for the body to be able to use it. The MTHFR gene makes the MTHFR enzyme. There are two copies of the MTHFR gene (you get one copy of the gene from your mom and one copy of the gene from your dad).
What is an MTHFR mutation?
A glitch or variant in the MTHFR gene. It most commonly occurs in two locations on the MTHFR gene: the 677 location and the 1298 location. Depending on the type of mutation (677 or 1298) and the severity (one bad copy of each, two bad copies of each or one bad copy of both) the MTHFR gene’s ability to produce quality MTHFR enzyme is compromised to a lesser or greater extent. This means that the body’s ability to turn folate into its active form — the version of it needed to be used by the body — is reduced.
Technically speaking, it’s not a mutation and the correct term is variant. Genetic mutations are fairly rare, but mutation seems to be the vernacular.
What’s wrong with Folic Acid?
Lots. Let’s start with the fact that it’s synthetic/man-made/chemical. Next, it’s an inactive form of folate, and those with an MTHFR mutation have reduced ability to convert inactive forms into active forms in order for their bodies to use it. This may lead to a build up of folic acid in the body which may cause adverse health reactions. There is also evidence suggesting that folic acid actually blocks folate from entering the cells. Folic acid, bad. Folate, good. Remove the bad stuff so you can let the good stuff in to do its job. When supplementing, make sure you are taking a more active form of folate (methylfolate or folinic acid).
What is Methylfolate?
Methylfolate is the active form of folate that the body uses. The body goes through a series of processes to convert folate into methylfolate. If a person has an MTHFR mutation, their body’s ability to convert folate to methylfolate is reduced. Methylfolate has already been converted and is available for the body to use immediately.
What multivitamins are good for MTHFR Kids?
Generally speaking, one with methylfolate. Some people (big and small alike) can have less than desirable reactions to methylfolate. This can happen for a lot of reasons since every person is so individual. This is why it’s nice to work in tandem with a health care practitioner, and also to start slow with methylated supplements. You can keep an eye out for any behavior or other types of changes. Take a look at this list of multivitamins without folic acid.
What kind of doctor knows about MTHFR and can help with health concerns and supplements?
Integrative physicians, Naturopaths, MAPS doctors and even some chiropractors and nurse practitioners seem to be the most knowledgeable about MTHFR and methylation. Check out our MTHFR Providers page for more…