When I learned I had the MTHFR gene mutation C677T, I was so happy, because I thought that meant I could take a pill to solve my odd health symptoms. It has been about 3 years since I got my test results. Since then, testing has become more affordable, more research has been done, and popular articles have been published.

Articles like, “Why Some Moms Should Skip Prenatal Vitamins.” Or “How a vitamin cured my anxiety: Elisa Black’s story of lifelong struggle and new hope for the future.” are hard for me to read, because while they do a good job of bringing MTHFR to light, but they don’t dive into the reality that this knowledge and vitamins are not the perfect cure.

The most comments I’ve gotten on my older MTHFR blog posts are asking for specific dosage.  I can share what I’ve been taking, but I want to make it really clear that what works for me may not work for anyone else. This is what I think is key: listen to your body and adjust as needed.

For example, my symptoms of MTHFR haven’t been with depression or miscarriage or birth defects. Mine are very physical with muscle spasms that you could see happening! Once I started to learn more, however, I could see that other health issues like Endometriosis and lack of energy were also related. I had to ask several times to get tested because my body didn’t present quite as clearly as it could have. I’m happy to see more testing becoming available and more health care providers talking about it.

. . . BUT . . .

What I learned is that my body isn’t that simple. I’ve had more blood tests than I’d like in the past 3 years since I was diagnosed with the MTHFR gene mutation. Turns out, I have a lot more mutations, and each one comes with one or more markers that if any one or combo are mutated, means I have more or less likelihood of experiencing certain health problems or symptoms.

I was given a list of those mutation I have one marker for up to the ones I have two of and their associated symptoms (having two means more likelihood of experiencing those health issues). It’s like a menu for my current or future health problems. When I first looked at it, I was filled with dread. I have 10 health problems to look forward to experiencing in my lifetime, I thought.

But, I’m only suffering from 2 of those 10. Gene expression is how our genes actually show up in day to day life, and that applies to mutations too. Science hasn’t caught up to help us understand why yet. We can have a gene mutation with corresponding health issues, but it may not express itself for a while or at all.

So, for example, I should have seasonal allergies. But, I do not suffer from them. And, I should have crippling anxiety. But, I do not. Both may show up any day in the future, though. Having my gene mutation list means that I’ll have specific areas to keep an eye on my health, and know that there’s help if I do start experiencing those.

This is why I keep reading and feel passionate about sharing. The truth is that gene mutations are a wonderful discovery. Unfortunately, some doctors are either dismissing their affects on our lives or they’re claiming to know the solutions, often benefitting from selling “their” supplements. The truth lies somewhere in between, because you can have gene mutations but not experience them. Frankly, science is only able to show us part of the picture.

While this is exciting to know about MTHFR and hear success stories shared far and wide, I feel a sense of responsibility to point out that one vitamin does not cure all.

Case in point: I had been taking Methylated B-vitamins for almost 2 years feeling better overall health until I started getting awful headaches. They weren’t migraines but pretty bad, enough to make me stay home sometimes. Turns out, I had to much good stuff in my system, especially during my monthly cycle. I started taking a week off every month to get rid of the headaches. Now, I take them sparingly depending on how I’m doing. If I take too much, I feel like I’ve had 5 shots of espresso and that isn’t fun.

Let’s keep sharing, and remember the most important thing is to listen to your body.

To good health,


p.s. To read more about my MTHFR journey and my family here you go, in chronological order:

I Am Not SuperMan, I Have A Gene Mutation – yay, more energy!

What I Learned From 23 And Me – helpful, mostly a review from 2014, and I’m sure they’ve made some changes to their tests since then.

Learning about Arsenic In My Son’s Body – turns out that having the MTHFR mutation reduced my son’s body from eliminating those, but after getting the right vitamins in his system, they cleared out!

MTHFR and the Light Bulb Lesson: Poison? At the time, we didn’t yet know that the right vitamins would help our son’s body eliminate Mercury and Lead, but it did with some natural chelating support as well.

The Danger of Just Enough Information: MTHFR Gaining Attention – my most recent blog post saying mainly what I say in this post again.

And, yes, I want to share about about how the genes have been passed down to my kids. More to come.




Print Friendly


I Was Wrong

by holli on January 27, 2016

Tonight my eyes burn from exhaustion. It’s one of my longest days of the week where I’ve had to be “on” all day – you know, presentable to adults at a meeting at 7:45am, then chauffeuring my Girl Scout, then rushing home to cook a dinner from scratch and put them to bed almost on time.

But, as I was washing the dishes, I couldn’t keep my mind to myself any longer. Thankfully, my husband was able to hear me out and help me vent about what has been nagging at me for too long. So, I’ll sit up to write it all out, because I can’t stand it any longer. My tired eyes will wait, and hopefully I’ll feel less burdened about not speaking up.

I have three friends selling supplements through a network business model, kind of but not like Amway. The burning concern I have is with the products that claim to cure almost everything.

I know it is easy to get excited and want to help others when you think you’ve found some answers. That is how I fell into confirmation bias. In psychology, confirmation bias refers to a tendency to seek out or interpret information in a way that aligns with your pre-existing views of the world. This means that you’ll find support for your perspective and expectations, even where there may not actually be any. This is where all of those attention grabbing info graphics come into play on social media. They keep reinforcing misinformation or just the parts that support one view or another that aren’t providing grounding in any way.

So, let me tell you how I fell into this trap…

A couple of years ago, I went looking for sources of Mercury in our home and neighborhood. My son had alarming test results with 5x the limit for kids his age showing up in his blood. It was scary.

I was also told to look through the house for any mysterious metal ball joints or pieces from old appliances. There were none to be found, but I also shared this personal roller coaster with close friends who share information, and helped me consider the industrial pollution.

I paid closer attention to any information about Mercury in our modern lives. I saw CF light bulbs mentioned many times by “natural news” sources and articles.

My studious self set to work to scour for research to really understand where all of this Mercury could be coming from to get into my son’s body.

And, guess what happened next? I found a reputable scientific article reporting on a study about CF bulbs and Mercury content. I read the article, and then wrote about it explaining that CF bulbs emit 30% of their Mercury. That’s what I read. And then, I had a stranger correct me on a friend’s Facebook comment. He simply said something like, “that is not what is written.”

I was hurt by this comment, because I spent hours looking for answers and I was sure that is what the article said. So, I re-read it, and didn’t see it. Then, I read it aloud, slowly. I was wrong, and in my emotionally charged quest had missed the most important detail, “when broken” – the bulbs sitting alone didn’t emit Mercury. When they were broken they did.

Now, I realize that may not seem like a big deal, because bulbs break eventually. And, Mercury never disappears. So, eventually, the bulbs break and emit Mercury into the environment. BUT, the point is that I read words that reinforced the previous assumptions I had already formed. I wanted something I could remove from my home to make my son healthier. In reality, it wasn’t the light bulbs.

So, the post was edited, and I thanked the guy for correcting me. I had learned a very valuable lesson. The truth is often hidden because we want clear answers. When it comes to health, there are not very many clear channels to find those answers. We’re bombarded with false advertising and just plain old misinformation.

What I later learned is that my son’s Mercury was alarmingly high because he and I have a gene mutation that inhibits the body’s natural ability to filter heavy metals out. In a normal person living in our shoes, the body would eliminate it over time. What we did was take very specific supplemental pills to bind the mercury so they could be eliminated out of the body naturally. This was done under a doctors care and only for specific amount of time. Follow up blood test showed that our son’s body was able to get rid of it!

I’ve learned the long, hard way that our health is complicated, and looking for answers is hard when you want an easy answer.

My personal opinion is that vitamin and supplement companies are guilty of preying on this confirmation bias trap, and dragging others down with them. If I can fall into it, it’s easy to see how others can too.



Print Friendly


Mommy, You Should Write A Book!

December 13, 2015

At dinner this evening, my daughter said I should write a book called “The Mother’s Story,” so I could share the ways I’ve learned to be a mother for her when she grows up. She is seven, and doesn’t really understand that Motherhood feels like an evolving series of tests. Or that I don’t have […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →

Skeleton Stories: When I Was Ten

July 9, 2015

EDITED: Ah, the power of the Internet. My Dad read this and we had a long talk. I have judiciously edited this for more accuracy. I have no intention of slander, but rather to highlight that abuse and dysfunction happen. When we keep these secrets, they perpetuation the problems for generations.  We all have skeletons […]

Print Friendly
Read the full article →