Who Should Get Tested?
Everyone. Over 80% of the population has at least one mutation within the two main alleles of this gene (C677T or A1298C).
Why Should You Get Tested?
Because MTHFR affects methylation which in turn may affect many aspects of your health. MTHFR may also elevate homocysteine but this is not the main reason to get tested. The sooner you know if you have a mutation the sooner you can take step to address it and prevent possible complications.
Do You Need A Prescription?
No. If you order a cheek swab home testing kit from us you do not need a prescription.
How Accurate Is A Saliva Test Compared To A Blood Test?
A saliva test is just as accurate as a blood test. Additionally, the saliva or cheek swab test is non-invasive and is the most recommended for children and babies. Many doctors also prefer the cheek swab test over the blood test for convenience reasons.
Do You Need To Have Any Symptoms To Get Tested?
No. Methylation imbalances often start with no symptoms until much later as your body starts to break down. When that happens, depending on the system that is breaking down you may experience a variety of different symptoms.
Do You Need To Have Elevated Homocysteine To Get Tested?
No. There are also other causes for homocystenuria (elevated homocysteine) and MTHFR mutation is only one of the possible causes.
Do You Need Any Test Preparation?
No. This test does not require any preparation.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
People with MTHFR mutations are at increased risk for numerous of health conditions. You should consult your physician to find out what are your risks based on your results.
MTHFR Mutation – Technical Elements
The MTHFR Mutation – Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR) is critical in the function of DNA methylation, a complex biochemical process that regulates gene expression (i.e., turning genes on and off). It also governs intracellular detoxification, regulates protein function and RNA production, and supports the immune system. The MTHFR gene metabolizes folate, which is a key nutrient for methylation, specifically the conversion of homocysteine (a potentially toxic amino acid) to methionine.
MTHFR provides methylation with its main fuel: folate (5-MethylTetraHydroFolate). Without adequate amounts of folate, methylation function is reduced. Methylation is required for virtually every process in our body, therefore affecting numerous health conditions. In fact, in many studies, researchers have found that the MTHFR mutation is linked to a variety of conditions. Below is a partial list of MTHFR symptoms and conditions in alphabetical order:
- Bladder Cancer
- Blood Clots
- Breast Cancer
- Chronic Fatigue
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Down syndrome
- Gastric Cancer
- Heart Disease
- Heart Murmurs
- Heart Attack
- Mental Illness
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neurologic Diseases
- Prostate Cancer
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Rectal Cancer
- Spina Bifida
- Vascular Dementia
- and more…
Over 80% of the population has an MTHFR mutation in at least one of the two most important alleles (C677T and A1298C) of the MTHFR gene. *1
MTHFR C677T can also lead to high homocysteine, although this can be difficult to clinically identify because other factors can also influence homocysteine levels. Research has shown that an MTHFR mutation of this allele has a greater impact on health compared to other alleles.
MTHFR A1298C has not been found clinically to have an effect on homocysteine levels. This allele has a greater effect in the production of BH4 (tetrahydrobiopterin). BH4 is a cofactor in the production of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. A deficiency of BH4 may affect the cardiovascular and neurological systems as well as emotional wellbeing.
Compound heterozygous and homozygous C677T are considered severe or “at risk” of reduced methylation. High homocysteine has a high risk factor for numerous diseases. Homozygous C677T and compound heterozygous MTHFR mutations are more likely to correlate with elevated homocysteine levels and a greater risk of heart disease.
Those with a heterozygous MTHFR mutation (C677T) may lose roughly 40% of their enzyme activity, and those with a homozygous MTHFR mutation may lose up to 70%.
Today, science has proven that our body has a mechanism capable of silencing “bad genes” or regulating gene expression. This process is called methylation.
MTHFR and Detoxification
Our bodies are constantly detoxifying from pollution and toxicity in our food, water and medications. A complete detox program must include proper methylation. Without knowing whether you have a mutation or which mutation you have, it is very hard to estimate your needs for proper DNA methylation.
MTHFR and Weight Loss
The body engulfs toxins in fat cells to protect us. As long as there are toxins in the body there will be a higher need to produce fat cells. Every weight loss program should include a detoxification phase that ensures the recipient has adequate levels of folate by testing for an MTHFR mutation and serum folate levels according to the recipient’s genetic code, and supplement with the appropriate amounts of methylfolate if needed.
MTHFR and Thyroid
Thyroid hormones are activated in the nucleus of the cells. Methylation is one of the necessary components of thyroid hormone activation. Even if all of the thyroid markers are within range, methylation is needed to activate the hormones. If all the markers are normal but you still have symptoms, it is very possible you have a methylation problem.
MTHFR and Gene Expression
With the exception of a few diseases like sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis, most diseases are controlled by a set of genes, including chronic diseases like most cancers, cardiovascular disease, mental illness and diabetes. The more mutations you have pertaining to a particular disease, the greater your chances are of developing that particular disease. Methylation is the process that can silence those genes.
We have learned through epigenetics that your DNA is not your destiny. The body uses the process of methylation to silence bad genes. If you are perfectly healthy but has a poor methylation, your body may not be able to silence the diseased genes you inherited from your parents. We all have heard of cases in which seemly healthy people developed a disease out of nowhere. Making sure your methylation is working well may decrease the chance of those diseases being expressed. When it comes to wellness and disease prevention, in addition to standard medical care and proper diet and lifestyle, you must also include proper methylation.