The CDC has this to say about epigenetics:
What is Epigenetics?
Your genes play an important role in your health, but so do your behaviors and environment, such as what you eat and how physically active you are. Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/disease/epigenetics.htm
So, put another way, the nature versus nurture argument has finally been settled. It’s both. Your mental and physical health, or lack thereof, is the result of your DNA interacting with your environment.
Shocking news, right?! How could we have ever know that eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and right thinking would improve our health? Oh yeah, that’s what our moms have been telling us for years! As well as being taught by the Bible, gurus, yogis, and alternative health practitioners.
Science has proven that body and mind are connected. Wow! Next they’ll be claiming that we have something intangible and invisible called a ‘soul’! Nah, that’s too superstitious. Follow the science!
Anyway, sarcasm aside, epigenetics is very hot right now with scientists and I bet you can guess way. That’s right, $$$$$. There’s going to be a lot of money made by creating personalized medicine just for your messed up genes.
The MTHFR gene mutation
But in the meantime, there’s one messed up gene that many people have and that we already know a lot about and what to do if we have it. This is the MTHFR gene. It is known to have many different mutations that can cause many different and sometimes very serious health problems such as autism, digestive disorders, depression and others.
I want to keep this post simple, but if you want to know more about the scientific details, check out this website, or many others on the topic. You can also find many personal testimonies of people whose lives were changed by diet and supplements.
Now I have known about MTHFR and self-diagnosed myself with this condition a few years ago, well probably longer than that. Since then I have attempted to follow the treatment recommendations and felt much better. But along came Covid and menopause and I sorta fell off the wagon and my diet got pretty lazy. After 7 years of being strictly gluten free and not eating any kind of bread, I started eating things like gluten-free bread, gluten-free pasta and boxed gluten-free cereal and drinking beer while pretending the gluten in beer didn’t affect me. That matters because of how MTHFR affects your body. Basically my body does not do well with grains, even gluten-free grains. I can tolerate an occasional gluten-free product, but not several times a week or daily.
I had almost forgotten about the effects of MTHFR, except for one thing: I never stopped taking the most important supplement for it, which is Methylated B12. I have talked about it before in other blogs because I truly believe it helps my energy levels. The reason it works is that my body is truly deficient in B12 due to my digestive problems. But not just any B12 works for MTHFR, it needs to be methylated cobalamin.
But there is another key dietary change that I hadn’t really paid enough attention to, the folic acid/folate problem. Since I got lazy with my eating, as mentioned above, I was eating a lot of ‘fortified, processed grains’, you know, the ones that the marketing label calls ‘healthy whole grains’? They lie! They are not healthy or whole if they are in a box of cereal.
And if you have a MTHFR mutation, your body will be able to metabolize folate properly. And if you eat it in bread, pasta and cereal, you will feel bad. Scientists thought that adding folic acid to processed foods would help prevent birth defects, but actually they may have caused a lot more problems because they used the wrong form of folate. According to studies, the supplementation was not as effective as expected at preventing birth defects. There are obviously multiple causes for birth defects so it is difficult to say how much the folic acid helped or hurt.
At the crux of it, the body has trouble converting folate from the food we eat into methylfolate (L-5-MTHF), the bioavailable folate enzyme needed to optimize health. The truth is our cells cannot actually use folic acid directly. Upon ingestion, folate must go through a 4-step process (called a metabolic pathway) in order to be converted into methylfolate, which is the “active” or usable form of folate that our body’s cells require.
The MTHFR gene defect inhibits this metabolic pathway and prevents our cells from getting the methylfolate they need.
So, before you take folic acid supplements or eat foods that are fortified with folic acid, be aware that the folic acid will compete with the methylfolate and may actually block the methylfolate from being absorbed and used by your body!https://methyl-life.com/pages/what-is-mthfr
What does the CDC say?
Not surprisingly, to me, anyway, the CDC claims that the above information about MTHFR is incorrect. Gee, they’ve always been 100% accurate so I will just throw this post in the trash! Not. I’m sure there is no conflict of interest with big pharma or desire to stop people who are trying to actually heal their health problems. Oh, and there’s this https://www.deplin.com/ and this https://www.metanx.com/, two prescription versions of methylfolate! So we know that it does help with depression and diabetes, and most likely other things! Of course these RX versions are much more expensive than the ones you can buy without a RX.
Anyway, there is no danger in taking non-prescription methylfolate instead of folic acid. If it helps you, great! If not, no damage done. The same goes for the B12 supplement. You will be taking a much higher dose than the RDA if you really want to feel better. Just try it and see if your symptoms improve. It won’t hurt you and it’s a natural substance.
To sum it up, scientists are working hard to develop drugs to sell you for your genetically caused diseases. These are diseases that are caused by epigenetics which means that your genes were turned off or on by environmental factors such as diet or stress. But while you wait for the magic pills, if you suffer from symptoms of depression, mental illness, cognitive problems, digestive problems, or lack of energy, why not try two simple supplements? B12 and methylfolate are not super expensive and may change your life.
You can also add healthy greens to your diet such as spinach and leafy lettuce to get natural folic acid. Eating organic fruits and vegetables may help as well. Try avoid all types of toxic substances including any perfumes or cleaners that makes you sneeze or gives you a headache. People with MTHFR tend to be very sensitive to chemicals.
Have you heard of MTHFR? Do you have it or have you been tested for it? Do you take these supplements? What do you think of the CDC’s trying to dissuade people from treating themselves for MTHFR? Is the AMA run by a mob? Hehe.