Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase is labeled for both an enzyme and a gene. A healthy functioning MTHFR gene produces a functioning MTHFR enzyme that converts methyfolate to 5-MTHF and helps regulate homocysteine levels. If the MTHFR gene has certain variants the enzyme is slowed down, and folate does not effectively convert to 5-MTHF which is it’s active form.

If you have a heterozygous or homozygous MTHFR polymorphism, you may not be absorbing enough folate and B-12.

What is the Difference Between a Heterozygous and Homozygous MTHFR 677?

As you will see in the table below, a heterozygous MTHFR does not always mean folate and B12 supplementation are needed. This is why it is important to look at all the other genes/enzymes in the methylation cycle to determine the exact nutrient needs for healthy homocysteine. This study found that carriers of the T/T genotype required 800mcg of dietary folate, while C/C required only 200mcg of dietary folate to stay below the target homocysteine level. This study shows unequiovacly that dietary folate has quantitatively different effects on genotype.

Supplementing with 5-MTHF is essentially bypassing this enzyme. High dosing of 5-MTHF(1mg or more) however can cause high nitric oxide levels leading to anxiety and panic attacks, especially those with low protein diets, low electrolytes and SNPs in COMT, SOD and glutathione. Since niacin is the solution to this reaction, a full B-complex Plus or B-Minus with separate folate and B12 supplementation may be the best approach along with supporting the other genes and enzymes involved.

MTHFR Table

The Folate Methylation Cycle

When factoring all of the genes and nutrients involved in the folate methylation process, you can better determine folate needs. The Nutrition Genome Report factors all of these in to the final analysis.

Folate Methylation Chart

Sources

  1. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/3/517.full
  2. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/1/180.short