Nutrition and Your Genes
AUTISM AND MTHFR
AUTISM AND MTHFR
MTHFR is a gene that acts like a switch, turning various processes in the body either on or off. MTHFR or 'Methyl-enetetra-hydro-folate Reductase' takes folate and methylates it into methylfolate. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is one of the most important functions in the body. The link between MTHFR and AUTISM could be the most important development in Autism prevention and treatment. Lately, MTHFR has become a buzzword, tied closely with the neurological disorders like Autism. The statistics cannot be ignored, 98% of children with Autism, have a MTHFR genetic mutation which exhibits their ability to turn folate into methylfolate efficiently. Beyond this, between 40-50% of Americans have some sort of MTHFR dysfunction inhibiting the methylation cycle and causing a countless variety of health conditions.
GLUTATHIONE AND MTHFR GENE MUTATIONS
MTHFR makes you far more vulnerable to illness and infection, this is because it is tied directly to our Glutathione production.
People with the MTHFR mutations almost always have low Glutathione levels making them more susceptible to stress and oxidative stress while making them far less tolerant to toxins. This gets much worse with age, as the accumulation of toxins and cumulative damage of oxidative stress take their toll on the body. Speeding up the aging process and nurturing the development of a huge variety of diseases.
The methylation cycle is tied to our serotonin and dopamine levels, along with our homocysteine and glutathione levels. When someone has a MTHFR mutation it handicaps the efficiency of the methylation cycle by up to 90%. Throwing our brain chemistry out of whack, leading to depression and cognitive impairment. Perhaps even more serious is the effects on our Glutathione and homocysteine levels.
Homocysteine levels is not converted into Cysteine (a key player in our Glutathione production.) This means a dramatic increase in cellular damage and an even more dramatic decrease in our body's master antioxidant Glutathione. Severely inhibiting our immune function and ability to fend off infection and disease.
MTHFR and AUTISM
So how does this extremely common genetic dysfunction tie in with Autism?
Beyond the staggering number of Autistic children with this mutation, one study examines the effects of certain vitamins and minerals on Autistic children and adults.
This study involved 141 children and adults with Autism. It was a double blind study that examined the biomarkers of the participants. The results were remarkable, by improving the methylation cycle and Glutathione levels of the group, they noted significant improvements in behavior and receptivity, using the Parental Global Impressions-Revised rating scale.
Proving the efficacy of enhancing Glutathione and the methylation cycle in both children and adults with Autism. Supplementing with proper vitamins and minerals proves to be beneficial adjunct therapy for Autistic patients.
TREATING MTHFR WITH SUPPLEMENTS
MTHFR affects the body's ability to turn folate into methylfolate, therefore, the most common treatment for MTHFR is supplementing with methylfolate. This helps balance the cycle and allow the body to increase its methylation efficiency. However, DO NOT SUPPLEMENT WITHOUT THE HELP OF AN EXPERIENCED PRACTITIONER, or you might make yourself sick. Too many people 'try this at home' on their own and it is not recommended for a litany of reasons.
Supplementing with Acetyl-Glutathione is also a good idea for those with a MTHFR mutation, because they're incapable of producing adequate levels of this vital antioxidant. It is extremely important to directly supplement to your specific needed levels. This does not fix the problem outright, but it certainly helps minimize the damage to the body and prevent further illness. There's more to consider here that does not meet the eye. If you have issues in your Transsulfuration Pathway (SNPs like CTH, SUOX, upstream CBS, sulfates/sulfites, and low glutathione production), Glutathione may make you feel really bad! Again, be aware and DO NOT SUPPLEMENT WITHOUT THE HELP OF AN EXPERIENCED PRACTITIONER.
Supplementing with both methylfolate and Acetyl Glutathione can help address the root cause of the methylation dysfunction as well as address the issues brought on through Glutathione deficiency. One more thing we haven't touched on is the fact that Creatine and Phosphytidlycholine are needed for proper Methlyation.....the plot thickens!
MTHFR is one small gene, but it has proven to have a significant impact on many of our systems. With such a high number of people with a mutation of this gene it is important to study it further to help prevent a plethora of diseases and disorders brought on my poor methylation. For now, choosing a high quality supplement can help minimize symptoms and start repairing the damage caused by a poor methylation rate.