Many Americans may be MTHFR deficient and unaware of the same. MTHFR gene mutations can lead to nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, mental health issues, cardiovascular problems, and even neural problems in growing fetuses.
MTHFR deficiency can be handled with dietary supplements. Keep reading to learn the best multivitamins for MTHFR mutations and ways to combat the effects of the mutated gene.
What Is MTHFR?
The MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene provides instructions for the production of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme.
This enzyme helps process various amino acids in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
The MTHFR enzyme helps convert an amino acid called homocysteine to methionine.
Methionine is an essential amino acid involved in hundreds of everyday operations at the cellular level.
The MTHFR enzyme also converts one form of folate (5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate) into the active form called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate so the body can use it.
MTHFR Gene Mutations
Certain variations in the MTHFR gene can lead to MTHFR deficiency.
This condition is caused by low levels of MTHFR enzymes in the body due to impaired functioning of the MTHFR gene.
One commonly noted Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) in the MTHFR gene is rs1801133.
People carrying the TT genotype of this SNP may have significantly high levels of homocysteine and lower levels of serum folate.
According to studies, about 25% of Hispanics and 10-15% of Caucasians in North America are born to have the TT genotype of this SNP and have an increased risk of developing MTHFR deficiency.
How Do MTHFR Mutations Affect Vitamin Requirements?
MTHFR mutations affect the ability of the body to convert folate into its usable form. So, people with MTHFR mutations may have folate or vitamin B9 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 requires the active form of folate to be absorbed by the body. As a result, folate deficiency can, in turn, lead to vitamin B12 deficiency.
While the MTHFR mutation doesn’t directly lead to vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) deficiency, there may be connections between these two.
A 2016 study reports that pyridoxine may help better recycle folate in the body and improve folic acid metabolism.
As a result, vitamin B6 may bring down the buildup of unmetabolized serum folic acid levels.
Health Conditions Associated With MTHFR Mutations
MTHFR mutations may cause B complex and other nutritional deficiencies. These may lead to various health conditions, including the following.
- Anxiety, depressive disorder, and other mental health conditions
- Higher risk of cardiovascular problems
- Chronic pain and fatigue
- The risk of developing certain types of cancer
- Increased risk of miscarriages
- Neural tube defects in fetuses
The risk of developing the conditions depends on the type of MTHFR mutation present.
Best Multivitamins for MTHFR Mutation
Since MTHFR mutations affect the way the body processes certain vitamins, one of the important ways of handling the condition is nutritional supplementation.
The following are some of the best multivitamins for MTHFR mutation. It is advised to consult with your doctor before you start on any new supplements.
Since people with low levels of the MTHFR enzyme cannot process folate, they may benefit from picking up methyl folate supplements.
Methylfolate is a reduced and more active form of folate that the body can readily use.
Active Vitamin B12
Active vitamin B12 is B12 attached to a carrier protein called transcobalamin. This protein in the body helps transport vitamin B12 to the tissues.
This form of B12 is easily absorbed by the system, despite the levels of the MTHFR enzyme.
Active Vitamin B6
Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (P5P) is an active form of vitamin B6 available as a supplement.
Like the other B complex supplements above, the active form of this vitamin is readily absorbed by the body and helps prevent vitamin B6 deficiency in people with MTHFR mutations.
Women with specific MTHFR gene mutations may have a higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency.
A 2020 study reports that women with the homogenous MTHFR 677TT mutation had lower vitamin D levels than those with the CT and CC genotypes.
As a result, women with a mutated MTHFR gene may benefit from getting their vitamin D3 levels checked regularly to ensure they aren’t deficient.
NAC is an antioxidant and FDA-approved drug derived from the amino acid L-cysteine.
It is commonly used to treat respiratory conditions.
Glutathione is a type of antioxidant produced in all the cells in the body.
It plays vital roles, including eliminating free radicals, maintaining mitochondrial DNA, helping detoxify the body, and acting as a cofactor for different enzymes.
Homocysteine must be converted into its active form, cysteine, which is then required to produce glutathione.
In people with MTHFR mutation, homocysteine conversion doesn’t happen. This may lead to glutathione deficiency too.
While the MTHFR mutation does not cause magnesium deficiency, this mineral may help reduce cardiovascular risk in people with this gene mutation.
MTHFR mutation increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Magnesium can reduce these risks.
Migraines are also a common side effect of low levels of MTHFR enzymes, and magnesium helps with migraines too.
Genes and Nutritional Deficiencies
Do B12 Shots Work For MTHFR?
Vitamin B12 shots may be one of the best ways to improve B12 absorption by the body.
When compared to oral B12 supplements, shots are quick-acting. These don’t have to be taken as frequently as oral supplements too.
Different types of B12 shots are available, and your doctors may be able to identify the best one for your needs.
- Cyanocobalamin - This is a synthetic form of vitamin B12 and may not be easily broken down in the bodies of people with MTHFR mutations.
- Hydroxocobalamin - Hydroxobalamin is a more bioavailable form of vitamin B12. Hydroxocobalamin injections are commonly chosen for people with MTHFR mutations.
- Methylcobalamin - Methylcobalamin is also a highly active form of vitamin B12. The body can easily absorb the injection form of methylcobalamin.
Best Supplement Composition for MTHFR A1298C Variant
A supplement composition of vitamin B6, B12, folate, and glutathione or methionine may benefit people with the MTHFR A1298C variant and reduce cancer and mental health risks.
Best Supplement Composition for MTHFR C677T Variant
Individuals with the MTHFR C677T variant may have higher homocysteine levels in the body. Vitamin B12 supplements or shots may help bring these levels down.
Best Foods To Counteract The Effects Of MTHFR Mutations
Eating foods rich in vitamins B12, B6, folate, vitamin D, and magnesium may help counteract the effects of MTHFR mutations. Here are some of the best foods to choose from.
|Vitamin B12-rich foods||Vitamin B6-rich foods||Folate rich foods||Vitamin D-rich foods||Magnesium-rich foods|
|Beef liver||Beef liver||Leafy greens||Beef liver||Pumpkin and chia seeds|
|Clams||Poultry||Lentils||Cod liver oil||Dry nuts|
|Sardines, tuna, and salmons||Sardines, tuna, and salmons||Broccoli||Sardines, tuna, and salmons||Soybeans|
|Milk and dairy products||Chickpeas||Avocado||Fortified milk and dairy products||Spinach|
|Fortified cereals and eggs||Fortified cereals||Asparagus||Egg yolk||Brown rice|
|Fortified nutritional yeast||Drak leafy greens||Whole grains||Fortified orange juice||Edamame|
A simple blood test may be able to identify specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
A combination of a healthy diet and the right supplements can help improve nutritional levels and combat the effects of MTHFR mutations.
- MTHFR mutations cause a reduction in or inactivity of the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme converts folate into its more active form and processes the amino acid homocysteine into methionine.
- MTHFR mutations can lead to vitamin B12, B6, and folate deficiencies and increases homocysteine levels in the body.
- People with MTHFR mutation have an increased risk of developing mental health issues, fatigue, cardiovascular problems, migraines, certain types of cancer, and neural tube defects in fetuses.
- Some of the best multivitamins for MTHFR mutation are methyl folate, active B12 and B6, vitamin D3, and glutathione. Vitamin B12 shots help combat the side effects of MTHFR mutations.
- Genetic testing can help identify MTHFR mutations, and a simple blood test can reveal nutritional deficiencies.
- Nutritional supplementation and dietary changes help handle the side effects of this gene mutation.