Every expectant mother’s dream is for a healthy baby and an easy birth. Pregnancy, as wonderful and natural as it is, can be complicated by many factors. One of these is a common genetic defect called MTHFR (Methylene TetraHydroFolate Reductase) deficiency. It is a genetic mutation that reduces the functioning of a critical enzyme found in all of our cells by up to 70% and frequently leads to miscarriage.
How common is MTHFR deficiency?
It varies in different population groups from as low as 5% to as high as 50%. It seems to go hand in hand with people who are highly motivated and is very common in professionals, leaders and innovators. Overt symptoms may not be apparent unless you are “homozygous” which means you have the gene from each of your parents. If you have the gene from only one parent you are “heterozygous” and may or may not have symptoms.
What happens if I do have MTHFR deficiency?
If you have MTHFR deficiency, this critical enzyme is often working at only 30% of its capacity which can lead to a variety of symptoms such as anxiety, varicose veins, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), PMS (premenstrual syndrome), heart disease and certain cancers. You may feel like you’re always “swimming upstream”. You may react more intensely to stress, and you may be more likely to indulge in addictive behavior such as overeating, drinking, smoking or even drugs to soothe yourself. Many women with MTHFR deficiency do have normal pregnancies and healthy babies; however, there is a greater risk of miscarriage.
How can MTHFR deficiency affect the fetus?
MTHFR deficiency is a strong predisposing factor for a wide variety of diseases including: heart disease, neural tube defects, spina bifida, neurological defects, stunted growth, anemia, cardiovascular disease, heart defects, respiratory problems, leukemia, demyelination and muscle weakness.
How do I know if I have MTHFR deficiency?
Most mothers discover that they have this genetic condition only after they have suffered several miscarriages at which time their physician may suggest getting tested for MTHFR deficiency. Once diagnosed, the treatment is safe, easy and inexpensive. Since MTHFR deficiency is genetic it will always be there so it is in your best interest to continue taking these supplements to always provide the support you need to live the healthiest life possible. To see if you are at risk of having MTHFR deficiency, take the MTHFR quiz. If you score 3 or above then take the genetic test, you will only need to take this test once since your genes do not change.
Can I begin taking the supplements without taking the test?
Absolutely! They are safe and beneficial. Taking the test is important because it lets you know with certainty whether or not you have the condition. That knowledge will motivate you to keep taking the supplements which in turn will help protect you from the problems associated with MTHFR deficiency.
Are these vitamins safe in pregnancy?
Absolutely! Not only are they safe but they will protect both you and your baby from many of the issues associated with MTHFR deficiency.
Which vitamins should I take?
You need to take those supplements that are directly impacted by the enzyme deficiency: Methyl tetrahydrofolate (aka MTHF); methylcobalamin (aka methyl B12); trimethlyglycine (TMG); Zinc; B6 (Pyridoxal 5-phosphate aka P5P). Of particular significance is GLA (gammalinoleic acid). In addition to emotional benefits, GLA has anti-inflammatory benefits, which may protect against preeclampsia. This is particularly helpful as the devastating effects of preeclampsia include very high blood pressure, strokes, seizures, kidney failure, diabetes and miscarriage.
What do I do first?
First see if you are at risk of having MTHFR deficiency by taking the quiz. If the quiz suggests that you may have MTHFR deficiency take the genetic test and immediately begin taking the supplements. If you need additional help, sign up for an online consultation.
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