By Sam Botica, Naturopath
Plagued with anxiety, low moods or migraines? Tried pharmaceutical medications, counseling and even diets, without much relief? It might be time to look at your genes.
For some people, anxiety, mood swings and migraines are a curse they live with for years. Some medicate, practise yoga, exercise regularly, take herbal medicines or pharmaceutical drugs, with marginal improvement. Others try and find solace in alcohol or recreational drugs, or resort to not leaving the house.
Well, if this sounds like you, it might be worth testing for the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene mutation. This mutation affects between 1 in 5 people, and it means you’ll have problems metabolising B group vitamins, especially Folic Acid. Folic Acid is really important in the production of seratonin, dopamine, melatonin and many other chemical processes in your body.
Having variations in this MTHFR gene can lead to mood disorders, migraines, insomnia, ADD/ADHD, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular diseases, recurrent miscarriages …. there’s quite a list!
And while we can’t change our genes, we can change the way they’re expressed.
Put simply, MTHFR gene mutations mean your body can’t break down Folic Acid to a form your body can use. This leads to a toxic build up in your system, which leads to a myriad of other health problems.
If you have a single or double mutation of the MTHFR gene, then Folinic Acid (the active form of folate) and in some cases B12 and B6 can really improve your symptoms.
So, if you want to test for this, I can advise on how best to proceed, and if you have this mutation …. don’t worry, you will get the appropriate supplement, along with diet and lifestyle tips, to help you manage it all, and feel better.