Customized Medicines

Customized Medicines
Dr. Sonja O'Bryan, Pharm.D., ABAAHP Board Certified Health Practitioner Diplomate-American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine: "Creative Medicines" for Hormones-Weight-Pain-Fatigue-Skin Diseases-Pediatrics-Autoimmune Disorders-Veterinary Needs. Using Complimentary, Integrative, Regenerative, Bio-Identical, and Lifestyle Medicine For Health and Healing.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

MTHFR: Is This YOUR Missing Link?

This is one of those blogs that could seriously help a lot of people.   First take a look at this list of conditions, consider some of the things you know about yourself or someone you love, and read more on this topic.  Maybe it will open up some discoveries in your healthcare plan that you have never considered before.

Do you have one of these conditions?

Infertility (Male and Female)
Frequent Miscarriages
Heart Disease
Multiple Sclerosis
Breast Cancer
Chronic Fatigue
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Cervical Dysplasia
Elevated Homocysteine
Bipolar Disorder
Peripheral neuropathy
Restless Leg Syndrome

Now ask yourself these questions:   Am I on a "medication" to treat a problem on this list? Could my families risk with heart disease and cancer be linked to something more? I know I'm just not feeling my best, is there something missing in the details of my wellness quest? Can I do something to help support my system with the diagnosis I've been given?   If you answered yes, then this blogs for YOU!  Read on......Here's information that you may have never read about and that is VERY important to know.  

Methylation is a vitamin-requiring biochemical process in the body that is critical for supporting mental and physical health, including the regulation of gene expression.  Methylation is required for energy metabolism, immune and nerve cell function, fertility and sustained pregnancy, detoxification pathways, cardiovascular health, mood support and the regulation of neurotransmitters (think depression and anxiety and insomnia), and MORE. The correct function of the methylation cycle is dependent upon a number of key enzymes but a main enzyme one is 5,10 methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). Some people have a genetic defect in the function of this enzymatic process which inhibits their ability to convert and produce active forms of folate.  5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) is a biological form that is absorbed at the gut level, and transported across the blood-brain barrier, which offers incredible health and wellness benefits to your entire body.   So consider this. Does your body methylate properly?  Is your genetic mapping skipping a beat due to a problem with how your body converts your food and supplement sources to active folate?   Maybe so!

Ideally, a person should be able to absorb folic acid from foods and dietary supplements and convert them to the active form of folate to make all of the necessary body processes go smoothly.   I wanted to sound an alarm through this blog because research and clinical evidence is showing that this genetic determinant and link to diseases may be worth paying more attention to.    AND, there's a strong thread of prevalence in families for this  problem.  Is there more connected to that fibromyalgia diagnosis you've been given?  Are your sleepless nights because you're not "methylating" appropriately to convert serotonin and melatonin.  Has fertility and pregnancy been a concern? There is a common genetic mutation in the general population which reduces MTHFR significantly and can predispose these people to various conditions like those indicated in the list above.

Get this!!  Numerous studies have connected folate deficiency with depression.  In patients that are folate deficient, the response to antidepressants will be less than optimal compared to those with normal folate status.  Now think about that.  Have you been on an antidepressant for anxiety or depression without ever knowing your methylation and folate status?  The answer is probably yes to that too.  I'd suggest you do some reading and perhaps open up a discussion with your physician about "MTHFR deficiency" and the lab tests to find out. 

Who should consider a screening for MTHFR mutations?  (not all inclusive)
Those with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, bipolar disorder.
Infants and children of parents with MTHFR mutations
Family members related to someone with MTHFR mutations
Infertility or Pre-conception care (both MEN and WOMEN)
Elevated folate
Elevated homocysteine
Elevated serum cobalamin (due to the inability to methylate cyanocobalamin to methylcobalamin)
Patient with syndromes such as : IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, downs syndrome
Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Autism, Epilepsy
Family history of cancer
Cervical dysplasia
Cardio disease (strokes, heart attacks, clots, high blood pressure)
Birth Defects

Other Nutrient Deficiencies Are Important too!!
Other B vitamins are very essential in looking at this whole process. 

B12, specifically Methylcobalamin the most active 'methylated' form, works along with folate in regulating pathways and processes in our body.  B12 is considered to be a VERY important nutrient in balancing homocysteine levels.  An elevated homocysteine level is not a good thing and if there's heart disease in your family, it's worth getting evaluated with your doctor.  ***Vegetarians and the elderly run the highest risk of a B12 deficiency.  Remember, Methylcobalamin is what to look for in a supplement.

Biotin, synthesized by the bacteria in the gut in addition to certain foods and cofactors are involved in metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids and proper utilization of B Complex support formulas.  Over-processed grains and simply cooking out the nutrients in our foods can cause depletions of these key factors in our diet resulting in sluggish energy and poor oxidative benefits.  Biotin is good for the hair, skin, and nails also. 

Niacin (as Niacinamide) is a cofactor in the mitochondrial respiratory chain which produces cellular energy. Niacin (or nicotinic acid) has a long history of use in cardiovascular health.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps support healthy blood pressure. Studies indicate that homocysteine levels in individual with certain MTHFR mutations are very sensitive to riboflavin status. 

Vitamin B6 is involved in over 100 enzymatic reactions in the body and is essential for lipid metabolism, neurotransmitter formation, immune health, and hormone processing.  The really big issue with B6 when it comes to this topic is that it is essential in methylation for the breakdown of homocysteine.  Again, an elevated homocysteine level is a common marker that is evaluated for heart disease risks.

Trimethylglycine (Betaine)
 As a methyl donor, this key nutrient supports liver function and helps with detoxification pathways. There's evidence to show that it is beneficial in protecting against fat accumulation in the liver but it also helps work in harmony with the "B" list of vitamins that I mentioned above. 

 I can promise you that one of the BIG questions I ask when working with someone to evaluate their supplements and wellness regimens is, "Are you taking a B Complex Support Formula?"  And on that note, let me just tell you that not all B Complex formulas are created equal.  I believe in using pharmaceutical grade and high quality products in the most absorbable forms to the body.  Take a look at what you are currently using (if anything) and see if some of these key essentials are in your product.  If not, call me and I can help guide you to a good option.

Again, let me just reinforce the importance of this information and taking a look for yourself.  Revisit the list of disease states and some of these conditions and do some homework.  Are you dealing with symptoms that might have an explanation which was never evaluated or detected (MTHFR)?  QUITE POSSIBLY!!! Just in general, can you do something to help support your system?  ABSOLUTELY!  Re-evaluate your supplements, this list, and determine if you need to get some additional checks with your doctor.

"B" Well !!!

All the best,
Dr. Sonja