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.