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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19 Responses to “Is MTHFR Affecting Your Pregnancy?”

  1. Jenny May 25, 2013 at 7:38 am # Reply

    Hi doctor Ben! PLEASE HELP! I just got diagnosed with this…and might be pregnant as we have been TTC! What are the chances of the fetus being ok, I’ve read a lot about this since yesterday when I heard I had this and I realize that I could be in big trouble if it turns out that I’m pregnant (I’ve had 2 miscarriages past 6 months). I tend to easily conceive so I think my chances are high. My ob is not available till tuesday( if shell even be free to see me) and my fetal specialist is on vaca! ( great timing!). So please I need your help, I am going on 9DPO and usually test at 12DPO which will be on Tuesday. I ordered the throne prenatals you recommended they should arrive Saturday but I’m so afraid that my homocysteine levels will be too high and of I’m pregnant it’ll be too late to decrease them?????
    Btw I already send you a message in your fb page lol ok sorry I’m just desperate for answers.

    Thanks a lot, Jenny

  2. Sarah May 31, 2013 at 2:20 am # Reply

    Hi, Dr. Ben!
    I just found out yesterday that I have the hetero of the A1298c mutation along with an abnormal testing for THAB or antithyroid antibody and also high nk cell level. A quick history on me…..I’m a gestational surrogate and had 1 frozen embryo transfered. Received the BFP and carried to 6w3d and at that point the embryo stopped growing. Had a d&c done and karyotyping of fetus was ordered which came back normal. Then bloodwork was ordered on me for possible immune issues and found out about these abnormalities. I was on a prescribed prenatal but no additional vitamins beyond that. What vitamins and supplements should I be on before we attempt transfer again? Specific foods to avoid? I have a phone consult with the RE set up for tomorrow. have high stress levels, brain fog, slight depression at times, anxiety and have suffered from headaches and migraines since 13 years of age (I’m now 31). It all makes sense now on symptoms as I was always just put on meds for migraines and they were never looked into beyond that. Any help and advice is appreciated.

  3. Angela June 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm # Reply

    Hi Dr Ben. Its Angela here. Thanks to your site I’m learning so much as a practitioner, so thanks you from the bottom of my heart! Talk about lightbulb moment, when I found your site! I’m also just about to contact sterling at the 23andme.com site, who sings your praises through a client I have over in the UK. I wondered if you had any views on the products below to help in a maintenance programme for those with low absorption rates who are likely to have either 1 or 2 copies of MTHFR.
    http://www.neurobiologix.com/Neuro-Immune-Stabilizer-B12-B6-Vitamin-D-Cream-p/46.htm

    Or even if you are bringing out a similar product?

    It doesn’t give dosage out, so I am in the process of contacting them and as I’m over in the UK is difficult to know who are the ‘gurus’ are in this area. As far as I know its you and Tim Jackson.

    Sorry to use your comments page as a practitioner, but it might be worth looking into having a forum for practitioners as things are beginning to ‘wake up’ a little over in the UK around this issue, but there are still very few nutritionists who don’t know anything about this issue at all!

    I have passed your details onto one of the buyers who is a friend who works in the Nutri Centre UK one of the leading health shop for supplements. It sells the best selection of supplements from around the world, and is by far the best company I have seen so far as a nutritionist so I will see what the outcome is. Always promoting you to people in my field too!

    Best wishes

    Angela

  4. Kiarni June 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm # Reply

    Hey Dr Ben,
    Your website is so useful for me over here in Australia:) Doctors over here are just not very interested yet about this, and dont think its so relevant and therefore I am not receiving the correct help.

    I am currently trying to get through the extensive amount of info on your site so my partner and I can get onto the right supplements, but I am hoping you may read this and have a chance to be able to provide your thoughts and advice on what we should be on to start with.

    I am 30 years old and my partner is 29. We have both recently been found to have identical mutations-c677T and a1298C.
    We have been trying to conceive for seven years, have had six attempts with IVf and I have had four miscarriages. Not long after being diagnosed with MTHFR (of which we know NOTHING about or ever heard of-but this is the ONE and ONLY thing that has come up through our extensive testing!!) we had our homocysteine tested- I was at 9.1 and my partner was at 9.7 umol/L. Doctors here say this is normal range…what are your thoughts?Basically the more I read about this the more I am convinced the MTHFR is the, if not one of, the main issues with us conceiving. Basically at the moment all I need to know is what medication/supplements we should be on and any brands you recommend???
    Aussie doctors just are not informed enough to be able to provide this advice, and I am not prepared to lose any more angels…so I will not try again until I have this covered. We also have various other deficiencies- me: low in zinc, iron, bicarbonates, cortisol, urinary iodine, thyroid is sluggish, and my partner: elevated cortisol, liver enzymes, cholesterol, tryglycerides, and also low in zinc, iodine, and testosterone levels low. So I am after something that will cover our MTHFR and also our other deficiencies. What I am scared of, doing this on my own, is getting the wrong information, and getting the correct dosages, over-supplementing, not getting onto the right ones and miscarrying again.

    I have read what others with our mutations are on…should we follow this, and just take a basic multivitamin in addition?(so, methylfolate, B vitamins and also a multivitamin??) is there such a thing as over-doing it with our B vitamins, and other supplements with this?
    Its all so confusing for me, and having doctors that just dont help is frustrating when youve been trying so long and risking yet another loss…
    If you could provide any help at all with this we would so greatly appreciate:)I know you must be a very busy, highly sought after man, but any assistance would be great!

    Youre doing such great work, please keep it up for all of us out here who need your help with this!

    And anyone out there who is also going through a similar journey to mine I would love to chat with…..let me know and I can provide my personal email address….

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon,
    Kiarni

    • Bridget January 23, 2015 at 5:59 am # Reply

      Hi Kiarni – just wanting to see what happened with your experience?
      We have just had our second miscarriage and i am compound heterozygous MTHFR. I live in Sydney and am struggling to find anyone with any experience with this issue.. what supplements did you take? did they help?
      My OBGYN prescribed high dose folate and low dose aspirin.. now im reading ANY folate is bad and ive been taking 5mg a day!

      would so appreciate any help you can give.. Thank you for your time

      • Kiarni January 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm # Reply

        Hey there Bridget,
        Nice to hear from someone over here with the same thing I have!
        First off I am so so sorry to hear of your recent second loss-I know how hard going through this is and I know the pain you must be going through…youre in my thoughts.

        Yes, unfortunately the doctors here just are not yet educated enough on MTHFR. When I was finally diagnosed with something (this) after years of testing, I was also told to increase my Folate and go on Aspirin. Its only when I took it upon myself to research that I became educated enough to know what I SHOULD be on (and also moving from NSW to QLD and finding an amazing doctor helped).
        When we were diagnosed I actually went on break from trying to conceive. This break started back in 2012 and I have only just recently started trying again-I had been through five IVF cycles, four miscarriages and I just couldnt put myself through all that anymore. I could feel my body was so depleted, and rather than trying for a quick fix like IVF-that totally wrecked my body-I wanted to take time and focus on healthy natural alternatives, to get my body back into balance-I feel this is key to conceiving.
        I have done alot of research on Infertility and continue to do so. I used to rely on doctors and followed their info and recommendations, but one of the most valuable things I have learnt in this process is to take control and do my own research so I am totally aware.

        I am now on a long list of supplements, and do numerous other natural therapies to help my fertility. I can help you with whatever info you would like on all of this-I know how daunting this can feel. This has come from quick alot of research as I found doctors here just are not educated enough sometimes, especially when it comes to MTHFR.

        Firstly-I want to stress to you-to STOP taking your folate IMMEDIATELY! This is not good for us at all and actually hinders us more-and this website will educate you so much on MTHFR so its great you have found it and do as much reading as you can.
        What you need to be on first and foremost is “Methylfolate.” This is the MOST active form of Folate. Because our body cannot absorb folate like a normal person’s body can we cannot just take Folate-as this is not the most active form (so our body has to do certain things to make it active and absorb it). Methylfolate is and our body does not have to do these things. However, I searched for this product here in Australia, and they really do not sell it on its own-they do sell “Folinic Acid” which is a more active form than Folate but not as active as Methylfolate-this is the best and what we should definitely be on. So after searching here I decided to purchase this from Dr Ben (who’s site this) supplement store which is found at seekinghealth.com. It is in America but I purchase it and its not overly expensive. It is so important for us so it is worth it.
        The only product I found that is reputable and includes Methylfolate here is the “Thorne Basic Prenatal Multivitamin”. This is the very best Multiviatmin that you could be on-all the others I have researched include Folate or Folinic Acid. Any supplement that has Folate you shouldnt have-so this multivitamin is a prenatal one, and also has the Methylfolate so its great for you to be taking while trying to conceive. However it just doesnt have the amount we should be on having MTHFR, as we should be on more than the normal woman, so hence the reason for purchasing it on its own from seekinghealth.
        On top of this main key supplement-it is recommended that you take other supplements (eg, Vitamin D, the most active form of Vitamin B12-which is in the Thorne mutlivitamin also, etc).
        I simply cant go into everything on this site as its just so much so I just tried to go over what is crucial for you at the moment-which is stop the folate, but continue the aspirin. I am also on this.

        I would be so so happy to help you and fill you in on everything I am on and have found through my journey-and also share information to help us both along this difficult time in life.
        Afew questions for you:
        Have you been tested for your Homocysteine levels? If not yet make sure you do this.
        Is there any other issues you have yet been diagnosed with?
        Have you had other testing yet?

        I would love to hear more of your journey and how you got to here in your life-please feel free to email me on kcarlos@y7mail.com and we can chat more.
        You are the very first person I have found here in Australia that also has MTHFR. It certainly isnt common or heard of here-it took me 6 years of testing for the doctors to finally test this can you believe it! I hope yours was alot quicker.
        Anyway I hope to hear from you soon-I definitely have alot more advice I can give to you and would just love to chat with someone who is going through a similar situation…
        Thanks for writing,
        Kiarni

      • Sarah January 25, 2015 at 9:38 am # Reply

        Hi Karni,
        I just saw your post and I also live in Sydney, I am homozygous MTHFR and I have had one miscarriage and have recently found out I’m pregnant again. I have started going to a GP Dr Min Yeo in Paddington who has completed further education specialising in the MTHFR mutation with Dr Lynch who runs this site. So she knows exactly what to do. I would reccomemded you look into seeing someone who has a good idea of how to treat you with supplements. I have done some research and avoiding supplements with folic acid is key and taking those with methylated folate like those offered on http://www.seekinghealth.com are much better for people with our condition. On the MTHFR.net site there is a how to treat page. Also a find a physician page where I found Dr Min Yeo, and she is wonderful.
        I hope this helps you, good luck :)
        Sarah

        • Bridget January 27, 2015 at 10:30 pm # Reply

          Hi Sarah –
          Can I ask what supplements you’re taking and where you got them?
          I booked in at MTHFR Australia (neutral bay) and I’m not sure if I should order the supplements online first?!

          So great to hear from you and Kiarni – thank you both

          • Sarah January 27, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

            Dear Bridget,
            I’m taking seeking health’s optimum prenatal, an iron and probiotic. I brought them all off the seeking health website and Min said their a great brand you can trust have the right levels for women with the MTHFR mutation. Also turmeric which I brought from my local health store (the tumeric is good for inflammation I get from Ibs)
            Good luck
            Sarah

          • Sarah January 28, 2015 at 2:17 am #

            Dear Bridget,

            Sorry I forgot to add if your trying to fall pregnant I don’t think there is any harm in ordering some supplements online before you go to the MTHFR clinic. I did and I’m glad as I found out I was pregnant about a month after starting them. I had to wait sometime to get into see the Dr so it was lucky I was taking a good supplement before I was able to get to see my Dr. The supplements are specially formed for women with the MTHFR mutations who are trying to get pregnant and all Drs recommend you go on a good prenatal suplement to support the growing bubba.
            I hope you have a good experience at the clinic, I am ecstatic at how much better I feel, even my anxiety and depression has been getting better since being treated and after suffering with it for 16 years I’m amazed it was so simple.
            Sincerely Sarah xx

        • Bridget February 1, 2015 at 9:29 am # Reply

          Thank you Sarah!

          how is your pregnancy going? i ordered the prenatal – and my appointment with MTHFR Support Australia is later this week – i also rang your DR in paddington. Thank you so much for your comments – its so nice not to feel alone!
          Bridget x

  5. Kiarni June 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm # Reply

    Sorry Dr Ben….

    I also wanted to add that I have sufferred from depression, really down days and then good days, severe lack of energy, addiction problems, inability to function properly, and just feeling drained for years now too…..thanks so much and hope to get some feedback as Im at a loss of the path to take from here…

  6. Angela Heap June 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm # Reply

    Hi Kirani

    Have you tried this: http://www.mthfrsupport.com/practitioner-2/australia/

    They might be of some help if Dr Ben is too busy, as I know he is flat out.

    Thanks

    Angela

    • Kiarni July 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm # Reply

      Hey Angela,

      So sorry for such a late reply…
      I just want to say a big thankyou for your recommendation. Here in Australia i just cant find doctors who are well enough informed about this…and in this situation its so so frustrating!!
      Thanks again,all us mthfr people have to stick together and share info dont we!!!;)ha..
      Take care

  7. Olivia July 5, 2013 at 8:10 am # Reply

    Dr. Ben,
    I just wanted to send a big thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have MTHFR A1298 and C677T (whole other story). I have been having a terrible problem with frequent urination for about 2 years now. I don’t have any infections or other problems, so the reason for this frequent urination has been unknown. I was going to the bathroom to pee (sorry) sometimes up to 15 – 20 times a day! My husband and I are trying to have a second baby so I read the above article. I take vitamins so I paid close attention. I noticed the last sentence about choline. I’ve never taken choline before and wasn’t familiar with it so I did some research. I read something about choline deficiencies causing a problem with concentrating urine. I thought I’d give it a try to see what happened and after only a short time I no longer have my problem! Since it’s the only change I made I think it is the choline. In fact, today I only went to the bathroom 4 times! I wasn’t expecting to find anything that could help me with this problem here but I am so grateful I did.
    Thank you!
    Olivia

    • seph August 1, 2013 at 6:46 am # Reply

      Hi Olivia, what supplement did you take?

      • Olivia August 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm # Reply

        seph,
        Keep in mind I’m not a doctor so I’m in no position to recommend anything, but I learned there are different types of choline out there and it’s important you take the right one for what you are trying to achieve. After some study, I chose Phosphatidyl Choline and I take 2 once a day, as per the bottle’s instructions. The brand I chose for myself was Solgar, which are in glass, gluten, wheat, and dairy free. This is important to me. I had to ask for it in the store because for some reason it wasn’t by the other choline bottles. Are you having the same problem? I sometimes forget and skip a day but as long as I keep taking them it seems to help me. I’m no longer looking for a bathroom all the time! It’s the only change I’ve made to my supplements and/or diet. I take a lot of supplements at the moment because we will be trying for another baby soon. Because of my age I’m doing IVF. Are you also trying to have a baby?
        Olivia

  8. Deb September 10, 2013 at 2:47 am # Reply

    Dr. Ben or anyone who can help….
    Thank you so much for your helpful website!!
    I am homozygous for A1298C.
    I have had 3 children and no miscarriages…thankfully….but have terrible nausea and vomiting through the whole pregnancies with the 2 girls and until 16 wks with the boy. I though I remembered a post where you mentioned how to fix this.
    We would like to have more children…yes, really…but the sickness is so bad that it is very hard on the whole family.
    Any advice?

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

    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

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