Imagine MTHFR is a 6 lane highway. MTHFR = the size of the highway responsible for carrying “traffic”. That traffic includes estrogen, cortisol, environmental toxins, and alcohol. These substances will take up a lot of room on your “methylation highway”. When you have a double heterozygous MTHFR genetic polymorphisms [ or single heterozygous or homozygous for MTHFR C677T or MTHFR 1298C],-WHEW!-that’s a mouthful- you were born with a smaller highway. For example, if you were born with MTHFR double heterozygous genetics, you have 2 lane highway, where as someone born without any polymorphisms have that 6 lane highway. 35% of the population has some narrowness to this highway 65% of the population has a 6 lane highway.
That highway is responsible for carrying toxins, alcohol, estrogen and cortisol. We cannot change the “road” you inherit. Polymorphisms make a person with MTHFR polymorphisms more vulnerable to toxins in the environment.
FOR EXAMPLE: A woman with a narrow highway (double heterozygous MTHFR), that is stressed (cortisol) and overweight (fat releases estrone-a type of estrogen) and tries to relieve this stress with a couple glasses of wine at night (alcohol)-which in turn, disrupts restorative sleep (increased cortisol). This person has less grace to carry cortisol, estrogen, alcohol on her narrow highway. Her inability to clear estrogen and toxins increase her all cause mortality of estrogen dependent cancers, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmunity. Her neighbor dealing with the same level of stress, weight, disrupted sleep and alcohol intake doesn’t carry the same risk of developing these significant health issues.
Homocysteine is a marker that we check because it tells us indirectly about the traffic you are carrying down that road. We look at the known factors that can contribute to increases in homocysteine and optimize those through elimination of toxins, alcohol, stress reduction (cortisol), body fat composition and optimizing hormones. We want homocysteine optimally to be around 5-6. It decreases all mortality and morbidity when we are thinking about cardiovascular disease, cerebral vascular disease (stroke), Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, autoimmunity, and cancers.
Do you know your MTHFR status? Do you know your homocysteine levels?
Knowledge leverages power to prioritize where it makes the most sense to make changes in your life. Is the wine worth the risk? Is the stress worth the risk? And what risk do you have personally?
The right type of B12, folate and B6 have the power to metaphorically stretch the width of the MTHFR highway. If we optimize B12 to 1500, we can likely drop homocysteine by 2 points. We can use supplementation to get you closer to the goal of homocysteine of 5-6 while we figure out where the traffic is coming from.