Nutrition and your Genes
A brief introduction to MTHFR, Methylation & Epigenetics
Have you ever experience fatigue, irritability, anxiety, headaches, sleep disturbances and/or pain that have no apparent cause? Or have you ever been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome and haven’t had any success with standard treatments? Exploring the possibility that you may have a genetic condition causing your symptoms may be the next step to achieving your health goals.
Epigenetics is the study of how various environmental factors can influence how we express our genes. Environmental factors include diet, exercise, toxic exposures and stress. Epigenetics and nutrigenomics (how nutrition affects our genes) are growing fields and we are becoming more aware of how to optimize our lifestyle in order to achieve optimum health.
In today’s population there are certain gene mutations that are becoming more prevalent. These mutations are relatively benign and some people can live a long time without ever being affected. Although as life catches up with us through poor nutrition, toxic exposures and stress we can see these small mutations cause a host of symptoms in an individual. This explains why we may have a mutation but not feel ill until later in life. Our bodies have been able to cope with an under functioning gene for years but as we increase life’s burdens on our bodies it can no longer cope. This is when our unexplained symptoms appear leaving us frustrated and in pain.
One of the most prevalent gene mutations is called MTHFR and is related to methylation and folate metabolism (aka folic acid and vitamin B9). Folate metabolism is important for various functions in your body including neurotransmitters (chemicals related to our mood), hormone metabolism, detoxification pathways and more. Disruption in these systems in our bodies can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, various skin conditions, etc. If you have a MTHFR genetic mutation as well a chronic condition that doesn’t seem to get better with all the usual treatments this could explain why. MTHFR is only one gene that can negatively impact our health. It is important to test and look at a wide variety of genes related to detoxification, DNA and neurotransmitter metabolism including but not limited to COMT, CBS, MTR, MTRR and VDR.
What can we do about it?
Utilizing individualized nutrition and a healthy lifestyle we can provide the body with the components it needs in order to bypass the under functioning gene and get you back to feeling vibrant and healthy.
Don’t know if you have MTHFR genetic mutation or not?
There are simple genetic tests that can be performed in order to determine if this could be affecting your health.
Should you get tested?
Not everyone needs to have this test done. You can discuss this option with a well-trained health care provider to determine if your genetics could be affecting your health.
What do you do once you know you have MTHFR?
Find a trained health care professional who is experienced in Methylation and Epigenetics to create an individualized health care plan to get you feeling better.
Dr. Coolsaet has completed training in Methylation and epigenetics with Dr. Benjamin Lynch, ND who is the current leading researcher and pioneer of methylation and epigenetics. She also completed webinar based training from Dr. Paul Anderson, ND.
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