How MTHFR Gene Variations Can Affect Folate Metabolism and Lead to Health Complications
Understanding the role of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene in folate metabolism is crucial for healthcare professionals. This gene mutation can have significant implications for patients, affecting their response to folic acid supplements and fortified foods, and potentially leading to a range of health issues from cardiovascular disease to mental health disorders.
HCN Medical Memo
Understanding the MTHFR gene mutation is essential for personalized treatment plans. Patients with this mutation may require careful monitoring and alternative supplement choices, especially when it comes to folic acid. Being aware of the increased risks for various conditions can guide diagnostic and therapeutic decisions, ultimately leading to more effective and safer patient care.
- The MTHFR gene mutation impairs the body’s ability to metabolize folate and other B vitamins, leading to elevated levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory marker.
- Patients with MTHFR mutations may experience adverse reactions to folic acid supplements, including behavioral changes and difficulty focusing.
- MTHFR gene mutations are linked to an increased risk of several conditions, including cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, autoimmune diseases, autism, and mental health disorders.
- A 2020 study in Brain Sciences found that patients with MTHFR mutations were more likely to have cardioembolic stroke.
Approximately 20% to 40% of White and Hispanic individuals in the United States are heterozygous for MTHFR C677T, according to a 2015 article in Circulations.
- Environmental factors like exposure to heavy metals can contribute to MTHFR defects.
- Pregnant women with MTHFR mutations should consult their doctors about taking multivitamins with methylfolate instead of folic acid.
- Natural food sources of folate include leafy greens, avocado, and legumes.
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