Endometriosis and MTHFR: A Connection

Endometriosis is a female health disorder that is a chronic, estrogen-dependent inflammatory disease characterized by growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity.[1]

First question you should be asking yourself is: Why would endometrial tissue grow in other areas of the body??

Before the connection is shared between MTHFR and endometriosis, one must understand what is a disease.

We typically think of disease being caused by infection.

Let’s define disease:

  • Disease = a pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.[2]

If endometriosis is not caused by infection, then it must be caused by either genetic defects and/or environmental stressors.

Endometriosis is caused by both genetic defects and environmental exposures.

Endometriosis and Environmental Stressors
What in the environment would cause uterine cells to grow in other parts of the body?

In one word, that can be answered.

Xenoestrogens.

Xeno means, “indicating something foreign, strange or different.” [3]

Estrogen means, “a generic term for estrus-producing compounds; the naturally occurring female sex hormones include estradiol, estrone and estriol.[4]

A xenoestrogen is a foreign substance that stimulates the production of estrogens.

Xenoestrogens In the Environment:

  • Bisphenol A (BPA)
  • Phthalates
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)
  • some Pesticides
  • some Herbicides
  • Triclosan
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
A comprehensive and excellent article on Xenoestrogens by Kerry G is worth reading

Endometriosis and the Genetic Defect Connection
In order to process xenoestrogens, one must have functional detoxification pathways.

There are countless genes whose function is to detoxify substances and eliminate them from the body. A few of these genes are known as MTHFR, COMT, SOD1, SOD2, GSTM1 and various CYT.

If these genes are mutated or deleted, then the elimination of xenoestrogens is limited at best.

The MTHFR gene mutation, especially the C677T form, may cause a deficiency in the production of the body’s largest single carbon donor, SAMe. SAMe is extremely important in detoxification .

MTHFR C677T individuals are limited in their ability to produce glutathione, which is a significant contributor to detoxification.

The ability to eliminate xenoestrogens is compromised when one is deficient in SAMe and glutathione due to a MTHFR C677T defect.

Endometriosis may then become an issue.

Solutions to Prevent and Eliminate Endometriosis:

  1. Avoid xenoestrogens
  2. Eat organic, whole food
  3. Limit exposure to artificial chemicals and utilize green-friendly products as often as possible
  4. Sweat often using sauna, exercise, yoga, epsom salt baths
  5. Support liver detoxification pathways
  6. Supplement with glutathione or take the precursors of glutathione – or both
  7. Test for the MTHFR defect
  8. Support the C677T MTHFR defect with the right lifestyle, diet and supplements
  9. Balance methylation
  10. Identify potential genetic defects which compromise detoxification

 

15 Responses to “Endometriosis and MTHFR: A Connection”

  1. jane December 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Would any ofnthis apply to adenomyosis?

  2. Crystal Trigaux January 3, 2015 at 2:58 am #

    Yes, adenomyosis is a type of endometriosis. So, it applies to both

  3. Brendan February 3, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    Hey there! With MTHFR mutations affecting different hormone levels, what could/should be done for a woman who has sky high estradiol levels and super low testosterone levels. I certainly understand how addressing the methylation cycle in it’s entirety is the long term solution, but if the estrogen levels are so high, and testosterone so low, is there anything that can be used to “get over the hump” per say before those excess estrogens due more damage? Would something like a SERM or AI be helpful to rebalance these hormones? I imagine sticking to a holistic protocol to address the underlying methylation issue is the main thing, but I worry about how long that could take before hormones stabilize to the point of being able to feel halfway decent each day. Any info on a more timely way to balance hormones (particularly sex hormones) that have been altered from poor methylation would be greatly appreciated! And please don’t say I3C or DIM, something more potent perhaps?

  4. Eric Potter MD March 3, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Thanks Ben,
    I am caring for a patient with MTHFR and endometriosis. I needed a starting point to do some research and this is great.
    Blessings,
    Eric Potter MD

    • Dr Lynch March 4, 2015 at 5:47 am #

      Hi Eric – Glad to help! Please visit http://www.seekinghealth.org with a LOT more information and training. We have an upcoming conference coming up with new information as well in October in Denver. Perhaps see you there!

  5. Eric Potter March 5, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    You are welcome Ben. I have already completed 3 of your courses and continue to review them intermittently. Great information and great presentations. I wish I could make it to Denver but opening my integrative practice won’t allow me that kind of time. Maybe the next year.

  6. ani May 31, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    I’m using proteolytic enzymes – Dr’s Best, and it stopped the pain the first day I used them. I am sort of in shock. I have had severe pain for 7 to 10 days before my period in my lower back and abdomen for years. I’m 54 and still having regular cycles. I’m curious what will happen when I start in a few days. I think a fibroid mass in my breast has gotten smaller too. I’ve only been taking them for a week. I’m homozygous 677 and the enzymes are also improving blood flow (thick blood) and sinus inflammation. Really amazing.

    • Rhianna August 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

      I have used proteolytic enzymes, prior to discovering my MTHFR and other mutations, to heal a persistent traumatic shoulder injury from falling off my bike. The pain and immobility lasted for months, although there was no fracture or tear. Within three weeks, the pain and inflammation started to ease up. I also noticed that the enzymes seemed to trigger detox/herx symptoms, so I knew that they were having effect upon detoxification in my body. I recommend them for those with chronic muscular and joint pain. The enzymes also really enhanced my flexibility. What a relief it was to be free of pain and stiffness. Any reason why proteolytic enzymes would be contraindicated if one is supplementing appropriately for MTHFR?

  7. Jane April 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    I believe this article could be talking about any disease not just Endometriosis. All diseases have a root cause which is always an exposure to some form of toxin. It is just a persons genetic make up that decides what kind of disease you will become ill with. If you have the MTHFR gene issue (which doesn’t allow the body to detox naturally) you will have major issues detoxing the body. Therefore, the toxins will end up where you are genetically weak (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases).

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