MTHFR stands for the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. A MTHFR mutation can change the way a person metabolizes and converts nutrients from food into active vitamins, minerals and proteins, which increases their risk for many health problems. MTHFR mutation risk factors disrupt the normal process of methylation, the process that switches genes on and off and repairs DNA. The gene mutation can lead to a variety of MTHFR mutation symptoms, including learning disorders, autoimmune disorders and cognitive disorders. (1) MTHFR mutation treatment focuses on a healthy diet and lifestyle to protect the brain, heart and other organs, and help manage symptoms.

MTHFR Mutation Risk Factors

  • Genetics (2)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Certain medications
  • Dietary deficiencies including folate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12
  • Smoking
  • Old age

MTHFR mutation smoking

MTHFR Symptoms

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Down syndrome
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Spina bifida
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Chronic pain disorders
  • Migraines
  • Heart problems
  • Hormonal problems and fertility problems
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stokes
  • Digestive problems
  • Problems during pregnancy such as preeclampsia and postpartum depression

MTHFR mutation headache

MTHFR Mutation Treatment

1. Consume More Folate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12

Folate is an important part of MTHFR mutation treatment because it can help with the process of methylation. MTHFR mutation risk factors include pregnancy. It’s especially important for women to get enough folate before and during pregnancy. (3) High-folate foods include beans and lentils, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, avocado and bright-colored fruits. Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 can help prevent a nutrient deficiency in patients with a MTHFR mutation. Take a high-quality B complex vitamin.

2. Treat Digestive Problems

MTHFR mutation symptoms often include digestive problems. To improve gut and digestive health:

  • Reduce your intake of inflammatory foods such as sugar, preservatives, gluten, dairy, processed meats, refined vegetable oils and trans fats
  • Increase your intake of probiotic foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha
  • Consume other gut-friendly foods such as organic fruits and vegetables, chia seeds and flaxseeds
  • Consume healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, seeds and nuts

MTHFR mutation seed oil

3. Reduce Anxiety

MTHFR gene mutations negatively affect levels of hormones and neurotransmitters. (4) To help combat anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue and other mental disorders:

  • Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and support cognitive health
  • Practice natural stress-relievers such as mediation, journaling, volunteering or reading
  • Exercise regularly to help improve hormone balance and sleep quality
  • Use soothing essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, geranium, clary sage and rose
  • Eliminate the use of recreational drugs and alcohol which can worsen symptoms

4. Protect Your Heart

Studies have shown that homocysteine levels rise with age, smoking and drug use. Taking care of your heart is an important part of combating MTHFR gene mutation symptoms.

  • Eat a healthy diet high in fiber
  • Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress levels to prevent inflammation
  • Consider taking heart-healthy supplements such as magnesium, omega-3’s, CoQ10, selenium and vitamins C, D and E

5. Discuss Medications With Your Doctor

Some medications can deplete folate levels or disrupt methylation. (5) Talk to your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs that can worsen symptoms:

  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy drugs
  • Anticonvulsants
  • NSAID pain relievers
  • Antidepressants
  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs

MTHFR mutation medication

6. Boost Detoxification

When methylation is disrupted, the body isn’t able to eliminate heavy metals and toxins as efficiently. To help improve your body’s ability to detox:

  • Consume fresh vegetables juices (6)
  • Take activated charcoal
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco
  • Exercise regularly
  • Spend time in a sauna
  • Only use natural beauty and household products that are free of chemicals

7. Get Enough Sleep

Anxiety, unbalanced hormone levels and autoimmune disorders can cause sleep problems. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you are struggling with insomnia, try natural sleep aids like a relaxing bath before bed or essential oils.