Is MTHFR Affecting Your Pregnancy?

You’ve finally decided it is time to become a loving parent.

Birth control has stopped, prenatal vitamins have begun and reading baby books has become a new hobby.

After a few months, you’re starting to wonder why you’re not conceiving.

A trip to the infertility specialist is made and the results come in.

You have a MTHFR genetic defect.

What?!

MTHFR is a very common genetic defect that affects approximately 1 in 4 people seriously and nearly 1 in 2 people mildly.

The MTHFR gene has a simple, but highly critical, function surrounding how your body utilizes folic acid and other forms of folate.

Those with the variant of MTHFR called C667T have a 40% to 60% decreased ability to produce the body’s most active form of folate called methylfolate.

Methylfolate is a critical nutrient affecting neurotransmitter production, DNA regulation, immunity and and the cardiovascular system. Indirectly, methylfolate affects hormone levels and detoxification.

How can the MTHFR gene affect so many bodily systems?

This gene resides in each and every cell of your body producing the end product, methylfolate.

Methylfolate is the nutrient which starts a series of countless critical enzymatic reactions.

Let’s discuss one such critical enzymatic reaction to put MTHFR into perspective.

MTHFR is the first step in producing a critical compound called s-adenosylmethionine, commonly known as SAMe. SAMe is needed to produce CoQ10, carnitine and creatine. These same nutrients are recommended in those undergoing complementary and alternative medicine infertility treatments.

Let’s point out another one.

Elevated homocysteine is a commonly known risk factor contributing to recurrent pregnancy loss, preeclampsia, infertility, Down Syndrome and other serious concerns surrounding pregnancy.

The MTHFR C677T gene defect significantly contributes to elevated homocysteine.

Homocysteine is a by-product of SAMe. Methylfolate, along with its companion methylcobalamin, help convert harmful homocysteine into beneficial methionine which then helps produce SAMe. The cycle goes round and round happily as long as a functioning MTHFR gene produces methylfolate.

In the absence of sufficient methylfolate, homocysteine levels may rise to a harmful level.

Given the grave consequences of a poorly functioning MTHFR gene, those wanting to become parents should seriously consider screening for the MTHFR genetic defect.

Testing for the MTHFR genetic defect is easy.

Simply ask your doctor to order a MTHFR genetic test through your local laboratory.

If you have, or have had, elevated homocysteine, recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, preeclampsia, child with Down Syndrome, autism, postpartum depression, chronic depression or a family history of any of those, a MTHFR genetic test is highly recommended.

Identifying yourself as a potential mutant is scary. No one wants to have a genetic defect.

Let me ask you this.

Would you rather have increased risk of recurrent pregnancy loss, preeclampsia, child with Down Syndrome, child with autism, intense postpartum depression; or, would you rather identify a common cause of all these serious conditions and be able to greatly reduce the risk of all them?

You can.

Ask your doctor today to order a MTHFR genetic test and blood homocysteine level.

The beautiful thing is if you do test positive for the MTHFR C677T variant, there are countless protective and proactive measures you can apply immediately.

Take protective measures on a daily basis:

  • Eat organic and non-GMO foods
  • Reduce your intake of synthetic folic acid as the MTHFR enzyme does not convert it well to active methylfolate
  • Increase natural food folates found in uncooked leafy greens
  • Use a prenatal with active forms of folate such as methylfolate and folinic acid
  • Consider additional nutrients such as carnitine, CoQ10, DHA, krill oil. Probiotics, vitamin C, magnesium and phosphatidylcholine
  • Eat well-balanced meals with protein
  • If vegan, talk with your doctor about supplementing with methylcobalamin, an active form of vitamin B12, along with choline. One in five women are deficient in choline, which is a critical nutrient for brain development.

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23 Responses to “Is MTHFR Affecting Your Pregnancy?”

  1. Kiarni February 1, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Bridget,
    Just a heads up…your body may need more methyl folate (among other vitamins) than is in the prenatal-this is made for a normal woman,not one who suffers from recurrent miscarriages.
    Dr Ben says that every individual differs at what amount of methfolate their body needs. He recommends that a woman with recurrent miscarriages should easily be able to handle at least 2mg of methfolate per day. We need more than the normal woman.
    I myself take approx 2mg. It’s also great to take bilingually-under the tongue as this ensures even better absorption (due to our inability to absorb). So while taking a prenatal is crucial you may need that bit more due to the miscarriages-this is why I take Thorne prenatal (as it stocks in Aust and has active folate B12 and B6-all important) along with Dr Bens bilingual methyl folate and Active B12.
    Just keep that in mind and good luck to u,
    Kiarni

  2. Nicole June 10, 2015 at 3:07 am #

    I’ve been scouring the internet for some help, and I hope you can help me or perhaps point me in the right direction! My first pregnancy went smoothly and I gave birth to a nearly 10lb son, after which I suffered severe hemorrhaging and needed two units of blood. I am pregnant again (with no problems getting pregnant either time). I know my son has a compound heterozygous mutation which means I’m also a mutant. 🙂

    I am trying to find ways to decrease my odds of major postpartum bleeding this time around, and many of the more natural remedies include taking vitamin K, either in supplement or in teas and such, to help thicken the blood and reduce excess bleeding. I am concerned that with a mthfr mutation (not sure which one) that anything working to help clot my blood is a bad idea. My midwife echoed this same concern. How can I help prevent postpartum hemorrhage without also risking blood clotting? I am currently taking fermented cod liver oil and plan to quit it about 35 weeks along so I’m not getting that blood thinning effect. Any help you can give would be amazing. I have been trying in vain for weeks to find an answer to this, and the specialist doc I saw about it had no idea what he was talking about when it came to mthfr. Thank you!!

  3. Yasmine June 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Dr Lynch,
    My name is Yasmine and I’m writing from New York City. I have been trying to conceive for 5 years. I am 40 and will be most likely doing IVF. I am seeing a great reproductive endocrinologist for my hashimotos insulin resistance and mthfr homozygous a1298c mutation. I have been educating myself with the vast helpful info on your site and I thank you. My question for you is are you familiar with the prescribed medical food called DEPLIN? I am on day 7 of the 15mg dosage. It’s l-methyl folate. I’m concerned about the high dosage and was wondering if you could provide any feedback on DEPLIN. Thank you so much for what you do.

    Best,
    Yasmine M

  4. deb February 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    Is there any corrolation between Methylation Pathway defects/mutations and Pyroluria?
    Thank you!

  5. Jenn June 20, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Hi Dr. Ben,
    I’m really hoping you can help me out with a question that I can’t seem to find the answer for anywhere.
    I am 1298C homozygous, no copies of C677T. I have been taking a b-complex with the active forms of the vitamins, but now I wanted to introduce choline into my system since I will be trying for another baby soon. Is it recommended to take just regular choline? or should it be phosphatidylcholine?
    also, my son is at least heterozygous for 1298 mthfr gene, should he be getting any supplements?
    thanks in advance for your help,
    Jenn

    • Dr Lynch June 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

      Hi Jenn –

      Using just choline can be useful for many.

      Also taking phosphatidylcholine may be needed for many.

      It depends.

      So you could take both and see how you feel.

      Please read this article on how to support your pregnancy:
      http://mthfr.net/prenatal-supplementation-optimizing-your-future-child/2012/01/20/

      The prenatal I formulated, Optimal Prenatal, contains choline.

      I also recommend Optimal Liposomal Vitamin C which contains phosphatidylcholine.

      This way you get both of what you requested in two supplements – and both are extremely supportive during pregnancy.

      Yes, your son should be supported. He can use our Optimal Multivitamin Chewable (not sure how old he is so start possibly with 1/4 chewable – you can cut it). You can also use the Optimal Multivitamin Powder and use 1/4 of the recommended dosage if young.

      Always best to start low and work up.

      Always give multivitamins WITH food and in morning and afternoon before 2 pm. After that is not good as can keep one awake at night.

  6. Kara November 2, 2016 at 1:30 am #

    Hi, I’ve just looked up my raw data from 23 and me and came back with MTHFR 1298CC, the double mutation. I have had 2 early miscarriages and wondering what my best options are for this to have a healthy pregnancy.
    Thank you

  7. Kathleen January 4, 2017 at 3:48 am #

    Hi Dr. Lynch

    I had a miscarriage in 2011 at 9 weeks, and then had a wonderful pregnancy with my son shortly thereafter. Fast forward to this year — I was diagnosed with PCOS and prescribed Metformin. It seems to be managing my very light symptoms well and helped me to manage my cycles in order to become pregnant. In October, I experienced another miscarriage at 9 weeks. HCG was very low from the start and measurements were behind by five days at an ultrasound at 7 weeks. At my nine week ultrasound, there was no heartbest and no change in measurements. We asked for testing and were referred to a reproductive specialist, but the wait is four months! In the meantime, I’ve tried my best to get to the bottom of what is going on. I did a 23andMe test and ran it through Genetic Genie. It turns out I have a homozygous C677T mutation. Since my local doctors don’t seem to get it, I consulted with an OBGYN out of the area. He tested my homocysteine level, which is a 6.5.

    Prior to the 23andMe testing, I started on baby aspirin and Thorne Basic Prenatal, just in case. I had some back pain that flared up right before starting the prenatal, which worsened the longer I took it. However, my mood and anxiety level (which can be fairly high) was awesome! For about three weeks. Then, the back pain became very bad, I felt terribly depressed, and extremely irritable. It took a bit, but I eventually realized I was not reacting well to the prenatal. I stopped it and my symptoms started to improve. Currently, I’m four days removed from the pill and am feeling better each day. Prior to this realization, the doctor I’ve been consulting with prescribed me Neevo. It’s still sitting at the pharmacy because I’m afraid to take it! I have a message in to the doctor about this and he will probably respond tomorrow, but I’m not sure what to expect.

    I want to start over with the proper supplementation but feel very confused about what to do. I’m also a little scared because I don’t want to feel so awful ever again. What do you think?

    • Dr Lynch January 28, 2017 at 6:03 am #

      Please read this:
      http://mthfr.net/preventing-methylfolate-side-effects/2014/11/26/

      and also you may do better with 1/2 scoop of Optimal Prenatal Protein Powder in morning and 1/2 scoop at lunch. This way you break up the dose and support with protein as well. If you take a bunch of nutrients without adequate protein, you will definitely become irritable.

  8. Jess February 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    Should I be taking a baby aspirin while trying to conceive? I am compound hetero and I have had mixed reviews from different doctors. I don’t know what to trust anymore.

  9. Jeannette Bishop June 30, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

    Thank you for this information. Question, is it accurate to label mutations as common as 1 in 4, or even 1 in 2 as a “defect?” Further did we observe the development of this “mutation?” It seems to me that we must either be labelling a variation a defect under influence of the mindset of eugenicists, or we might be witnessing a serious outcome of rather indiscriminate use of genotoxic interventions and are not making the efforts required to prevent further harm.

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