Give Folic Acid with MTHFR Mutations? Question to Dr Ben – MTHFR.net

Question:  My husband recently started seeing a psych nurse after it was suggested by a family counselor. Our marriage was/is in serious trouble and the counselor thought it might be ADD. The psych nurse says it is MTHFR and that he absolutely cannot have any folic acid. In the very little that I have found on MTHFR, I cannot find anything that says to avoid folic acid. Has my husband completely misunderstood or am I just uneducated?

Answer:
I am happy to see you both working through this together.

Those who have MTHFR genetic mutations have a difficult time ‘being themselves’ due to neurotransmitter imbalance, increased toxicity and fatigue.

Your husband may appear to be present yet he is unable to completely function due to the MTHFR mutation.

It is unwise for me to state if your husband misunderstood or if the psych nurse said something incorrectly.

It is also critical knowing which MTHFR mutation he has.

Those with C677T MTHFR mutations do not process folic acid into methylfolate well.

Those with A1298C MTHFR mutations have issues with biopterin.

What I can say is this:

Supplemental and enriched folic acid foods should be avoided by those afflicted with MTHFR C677T mutations because the MTHFR mutation has partially destroyed the MTHFR enzyme which is required to process folic acid completely.

Natural foods with folate should be consumed by all with MTHFR mutations as food folate helps make other forms of folic acid which are needed for various functions.

Those with C677T MHTFR mutations do not process folic acid into 5-MTHF.

If folic acid does not turn into 5-MTHF, folic acid levels build up. Elevated folic acid has potential to stimulate pre-existing cancer cells.

That said, it is unwise to provide supplemental folic acid to anyone with MTHFR C677T mutations.

However, what one should understand is there is an already methylated, active form of folic acid available. This is L-5-MTHF and is available via supplement form over the counter and is also available by prescription only.

How much 5-MTHF should your husband take?

It is impossible to say without knowing which MTHFR mutations he has and running further lab testing.

Mental disorders are not really a disorder in my book. They are rather dysfunction.

If you are able to identify the underlying cause of the neurological dysfunction, then the ‘mental disorder’ can disappear or be greatly improved.

Knowing that your husband has one or more MTHFR mutations is actually a great first step. MTHFR mutations can be massaged and worked with very effectively – so well in fact that your husband may actually become his actual self.

It would definitely improve his life.

When one has an improved life, their outlook shifts to becoming more positive and flexible.

This may lead to an improved marriage.

In health,

Dr Ben

 

 

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20 Responses to “Give Folic Acid with MTHFR Mutations? Question to Dr Ben – MTHFR.net”

  1. Elizabeth February 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm # Reply

    Dr. Lynch,
    I ‘get’ that the C677T polymorphism needs to have the L-5 mthf. I didn’t think this was true of the A1298C polymorphism. It has since been suggested to me that “we” do as well (I am homozygous A1298C — and I am the “one” who does poorly with seemingly ALL methyl-donors as well as P5P, taurine, etc.). I also realize I need to do a comprehensive methylation profile, which I plan on doing once it is available. Is it a bad idea for me to take folate?
    As always, I am thankful for your time! I appreciate all you are doing to further the research and message of mthfr!

    • Dr Ben February 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm # Reply

      Elizabeth –

      You are right.

      I have updated the article stating this.

      Those with only A1298C do need methylfolate but they are able to make it as the forward reaction of the MTHFR enzyme is left intact (the C677T).

      Digestive health is critical in MTHFR.

      I suspect you do not do well with those nutrients due to other possible mutations – especially COMT and CBS.

      It is not a good idea for you to take methylfolate if you are not doing well with methyldonors. First, you need to find out why you are not doing well with methyl donors and then fix that issue.

      The methylation profile is not as effective in determining what you need. I am actually not recommending this test anymore and going to delete it from this article.

      Why?

      Because it does not provide enough information for me or your doctor to work with. I expected to see gross elevations or deficiencies in the results yet everyone I have seen is ‘normal’. This is not useful clinically.

      • Elizabeth February 14, 2012 at 1:10 am # Reply

        What lab work can/should I have done to figure out the complexities of my issues, such as confirming COMT or CBS issues, etc. I really want to figure this out but am quite uncertain as to how to proceed… and I’m fairly certain that if I were to consult with you that it would be logical and most beneficial of us to understand the complexity of my methylation issues.

        I have come across other researchers who state that the NO/ONOO cycle is to blame in all of this, and that high doses (in a 5:2 ratio) of hydroxycobalamine with folirinse (liquid folate at 5,000 mcg/drop) as a way of interrupting this pathway of inflammation. I’ve gotta admit, a dose like that gives me pause, even though it is without methyl donors! I’m not convinced I’ll be able to utilize the folate???? This based on the research of Dr. Martin Pall for which Dr. Vinitsky has developed a specific protocol. It scares me b/c I suspect I have rather complex issues which need to be considered in treating the root of the inflammation that I am certain is there. This protocol might work for some people, but for those of us who happen to have a myriad of issues within our methylation cycle, I am truly hesitant! What do you think?
        Thank you.

        • Dr Ben February 14, 2012 at 1:46 am # Reply

          Elizabeth –

          It does make sense to have lab work done prior to the consult in order to get the most accomplished.

          I know Martin Pall – met him at Bastyr. I think his work is great but he did all his research before MTHFR was even known about. I do not think he is informed about MTHFR or the other defects.

          You will not be utilizing folic acid well if you have C677T mutations and I definitely don’t recommend taking it if you do.

          Hydrocobalamin is useful if you have COMT mutations supposedly – whether that is true or not, I am not sure. Dr Yasko seems to see that it makes a difference. I don’t have the experience with COMT like she does.

          Treating the gut is number 1 and is what I’d do even if I knew you were CBS +/+ or not. Healing the gut is always a very good place to start.

  2. Sarah December 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm # Reply

    Okay, I am getting a lot of different information on whether you can get too much folic acid or not. My NP that found homozygous MTHFR c677T for both my husband and myself says that it is water soluble and therefore you can’t get too much. Other sources say that you can and it looks like that is what you are saying as well, correct? It is huge for me because there is a strong family history of colon cancer so I don’t want to get too much, yet we are also having fertility issues so I want to make sure we are both getting enough. We both currently take 1 actifolate pill per day. My siblings are also not sure whether they should be tested or just increase their folic acid intake preemptively.

  3. Don June 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm # Reply

    My daughter is homo 677T and is now on b12 injections and taking 5-MTHF. I have sent in to 23andme but do not have results yet. I know I am at least hetero 677T. I have had inflammation problems, and perhaps other problems like depression. I thought I was gluten intolerant and when off gluten for 3 months many problems greatly improved. Tested for IGG and IGA and was normal. Back on gluten and will test again after 3 months. Have now been taking 5-MTHF and methyl b12 for homocysteine of 17. My question is this: If I have a problem with turning folic acid into 5-MTHF but am taking the supplements, will the folic acid found in all the processed flours cause a problem in my body by not being broken down? In other words, is folic acid toxic in and of itself and not just from the inability to continue the folate/b12/homocysteine cycle?

    • Theresa October 8, 2013 at 6:07 am # Reply

      Hi Don,
      There is some information now which shows that people can have gluten sensitivity and it doesn’t show up on any tests. http://www.tenderfoodie.com/blog/2011/12/19/interview-w-dr-alessio-fasano-part-1-should-anyone-eat-glute.html
      Dr Alessio Fasano is Medical Director for the Center for Celiac Research and says no one can digest gluten. So even if your tests come back OK, as mine did, I would really consider going gluten-free (as I did). Also I have high homocysteine and 677T so am pleased that I am not getting any supplementary folic acid via flours.

      • Don March 23, 2014 at 4:24 am # Reply

        As it turns out I am 677 homo. I tried whole wheat and not supplemented products. Some skin issues have mostly cleared. Pain in soft tissue around joints that has been dogging me for years has continued and even gotten worse, it seems inflammatory. The feeling in my abdomen (gut) like ants crawling all over, almost a subliminal feeling, is still present, pain tenderness in my gut is still there but is less. Now for a week I have gone wheat and flour and gluten free. The pain in my knees is mostly resolved, pain in my thumb is decreased, etc. I feel more rested and more clear headed. I have no doubts that gluten is the problem and causing inflammation through out my body. Things are looking up.

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