Understanding MTHFR

Author: TheDrSerene

Hello, I'm Dr. Serene Lim. I'm an Australian complementary GP. Today, I want to talk to you about a gene variant called MTHFR. I like to call it Monday Thursday Friday gene variant, so it's simple. This gene variant is fairly common. Up to 40 percent of our population has it.

It's more common in certain races. The Ashkenazi Jews, the Han Chinese, the Italians, the Mexicans, have it to a higher degree. What it essentially means is that this gene variant slows down a process called methylation in the body. This methylation process is really important, because it can activate lots of things, especially two vitamins, vitamin B12 and folate. Without the activation of these two vitamins, a lot of processes slow down in the body.

Over 200 processes slow down. I can point to every part of my body ... And I can tell you what may go wrong. For instance, your hair can go brittle, you lose hair and you can get premature graying. Your eyes can get teary and watery. Your skin can erupt. You can get rashes and poor wound healing. You can even get greater scar formation.

Then you can get a hypothyroid. In your mind, too, you can get anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia. Your heart. You can get a high blood pressure. You can have strokes. You can have clots. You can have tummy problems, irritable bowel.

Understanding MTHFR

You can have constipation, diarrhea. Then you can have muscle aches and fatigue. You can have problems with your joints.

You can have arthritis. This gene variant is also essential to silence some viruses, so you can get chronic infections like with herpes or coxsackievirus. As we move along, you will find this idea of gene variants are going to be part and parcel about how we actually live our lives and become healthy and well. This affects more than 40 percent of the population. There's more than one in three chance that you have got it. It's not just the gene variant that slows down this methylation process.

It's also if you've drunk a lot of alcohol, if you're on the pill ... There are lots of drugs that slow it down ... Or if you're stressed ... There are many situations now that are stressful ..

Or if you have a higher level of toxicity with heavy-metal poisoning that slows us down, especially in certain professions like if you're a dentist or you collect rubbish, or if you even drink from a lot of plastic bottles. A lot of this is happening now. You might wonder, "This has been around for so long, how come now?" Look around. There's many more kids with autism and ADHD.

People are getting more anxious and depressed. You hear more about celiac and irritable bowel when you never really heard much of it in the past. That's a lot because it's our lifestyles and the pollution from the air, because the lead levels in our body are 1,000 times more than they were 50 years ago, especially in heavy-polluted cities in the world, plus their gene variants, like in northern China. They are going to suffer much more there than are certain other races. If you live in an idyllic situation, unpolluted, stress-free, nice sea breezes, you're going to be a lot healthier. You can bypass this gene variant by cleaning up your life, but it's not as simple as, "I'm sick." "Take this pill, and you'll get better." It's not like that. It's a little bit more tricky, but it's also very simple. That's why I want to show you in a metaphor how this actually works so you can really understand and take charge of your life.

The story of a nutrient's journey through our body is similar to a person trying to reach a holiday destination. Imagine if your friend was heading to a tropical island, and she encounters a road block preventing her from reaching the airport. The cars start banking up. She manages to bypass this obstruction by going off-road and gets to the airport in time to board the plane. When she arrives on the island, it's quieter than normal. It's not only visitors but people who support the island, like cleaners and cooks, can't reach the island as well.

Over years, everything gets dilapidated, rubbish gets strewn around, and the infrastructure's gone. In the same way, if a nutrient can't reach your tissues because of a blockage in its activation, it banks up and accumulates. The activated form is reduced, although some of it manages to bypass the blockage with good diet and lifestyle. The island is like your body, and your aim is to keep it clean and healthy. The rubbish is like the toxic chemicals that accumulate in your body when it can't be removed efficiently and gets stored in your tissues.

In the island scenario, after months of few visitors, conditions might deteriorate. If there is a sudden influx of visitors, and without the infrastructure, conditions might deteriorate further. Rubbish piles up, and everyone gets frustrated and stressed. Similarly, if you suddenly take a lot of methylated vitamins to bypass this blockage, all the 200-plus reactions in your body could start firing up. Some reactions release the stored heavy- metal toxins, and you might be unable to excrete such a large amount at once, causing a toxic feeling, foggy head, nausea, diarrhea, et cetera. Some excess activated nutrients can also cause agitation and aggression. You can use vitamin B3 to reduce these unwanted startup responses, as well as activated charcoal or selenium to bind the heavy metals. A much better way is to go slowly, like letting only an optimum number of visitors that the island can support to arrive in stages.

Imagine there are many islands in the same condition when the visitors can't get to them. Some are managed better because they have maintained the infrastructure, even though there's been a blockage. Every island, everyone is unique, so we all have different requirements. We can recover very quickly or slowly, depending on our constitution, genetic inheritance, and lifestyle. There's no definitive prescription. You have to monitor the situation yourself.

You may take the supplements for a few days, and then stop when you're feeling well or if you're getting startup responses that's too much to handle. Most of all, if you look after your body and mind, you may not feel the effects of this gene variant as much as someone who is stressed, angry, eats junk food, drinks heaps of alcohol and coffee, and is a couch potato. Of course, pollution is out of control, but try to minimize it by not smoking and inhaling petrol fumes, like rolling car windows up in heavy pollution. Did you know there's a high concentration of heavy metals in cosmetic makeup, even in the big, reputable companies? I will be posting more on how to detox yourself, especially with nutrients like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chocolate, as well as turmeric. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you're feeling good and healthy, you may even take the methylated vitamins once or twice a week.

You have to play it by ear. Now I also want to show you a couple of very, very simple reactions so that you can understand what's also happening. For instance, I'm going to choose a couple of nutrients, like glutamate, which gets converted to GABA. They need this methylation process to forward it.

Glutamate excites the body. GABA slows it down, especially the brain. What happens when you have this process that's blocked? Glutamate goes up, GABA goes down. It's too excitatory. What happens? You get really hyped up. You get nervy.

You get jumpy. You get anxious. Then GABA, that you don't have much of, you get insomnia. You get the picture? People who are anxious, can't sleep, nervy, and then the gut starts to get a bit of diarrhea as well. Another reaction I want to talk to you about is homocysteine, because homocysteine gets converted to serotonin. When there's a block, once again, the homocysteine goes up, and the serotonin goes down. You've heard of serotonin, the happy molecule. People get a bit depressed.

Then the homocysteine goes up, and that causes a lot that's linked to high blood pressure. It inflames the lining of your arteries, so you can get strokes, clots and DVTs. This runs in families.

With these two reactions, you can't sleep. You can get a bit depressed and anxious. You get this slight yo-yo effect. Then heart disease, and stress, and strokes. These are two of just hundreds of reactions going on in the body. The aim of this whole process is to make you well and happy again, and to be able to bypass this slow-down process and speed things up.

You can improve the situation. For instance, if you can get to the active nutrients, why not feed your body with good stuff? Folate-rich goods like green, leafy veggies and liver, calve's liver, cod liver oil, are all really good for you. You need to be careful of certain drugs.

Alcohol is another one that is toxic. It slows down this methylation process, and your liver and kidney have to work so much harder when they're already so tired. Unfortunately, when you have this gene variant and you're rundown, and you're anxious, and you can't sleep, people are desperate. They might drink. They might say, "Okay, I'll just have whatever it takes." They might feel okay short term, but they are actually depleting their bodies, and then they get actually more anxious. The whole cycle repeats itself. Anxiety is another big one, because that slows it down, too. You need to meditate and look after your lifestyle as well.

Avoid stressful situations or learn how to deal with them properly. Look at the labels. What you eat is what you get. Avoid anything toxic. Don't have high-protein diets, because what happens is the protein gets broken down, and you have more ammonia being formed that can't be excreted properly.

Excess ammonia builds up, and you get brain fog, memory disturbance and tiredness, because ammonia is very toxic to the body. Everything in moderation. Even exercise. If you stress your body by exercising too much, then your body just can't cope when it's in a depleted state. Exercise moderately. Exercise is actually very good for you, because you can sweat and you can actually get rid of all these heavy metals in the body. I've also given you a list of drugs to avoid.

Unfortunately, the contraceptive pill and some non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, also reduce this process. You need to find a way to supplement when you're on these tablets. All the fermented foods are very good for you, like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt. I will do a separate video later on showing you how to make these very, very simple things.

Green tea is very good for you, oolong tea. Meditation is about the most important as well, because when your mind is relaxed, your body is relaxed, as well. Learning to deal with stressful situations is important. You have to stand your ground, and know when to go forward and when to retreat. When you meditate, things become clearer to you. These are all the supporting things you can do to bypass this gene variant.

Often, some people who are very ill or have chronic fatigue, have tried everything from infrared saunas to eating the right food, avoiding toxins, and yet nothing really happens. They're still feeling tired. There is a missing link which is taking methylated B12 and folate. It can be a slow process. You have to be patient.

In my next video, I'll tell you how to go about it.

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Hello, I'm Dr. Serene Lim. I'm an Australian complementary GP. Today, I want to talk to you about a gene variant called MTHFR. I like to call it Monday Thursday Friday gene…

By: TheDrSerene