Tag Archives: MTHFR

Home / Posts tagged "MTHFR"

Phenotype Methylation Disorders I Beyond The Gene Pool Of Behavior

Do you or your child have a phenotype methylation disorder?

What is a phenotype? It’s your characteristics like the color of your eyes. Your phenotype is a description of your actual physical characteristics. We consider our genetic structure when we talk about hair color, height, but why not behavior. Unfortunately behavioral issues can be effected by more than your gene pool. There are four major behavior phenotypes starting with Antisocial-Personality Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Oppositional/Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. All of these have major issues underlying the problem that we really never discuss. I’ve talked a lot recently about MTHFR and this is all a part of the issue I’ve been sharing with you in my obsession over the underlying causes of our health in relation to genetics and nutrition.

For instance the antisocial-personality disorder often has lower copper and zinc levels, they have an under methylation issue, hypoglycemia, heavy metal toxicity and Kryptopyrrole which is an abnormality in biochemistry resulting in the overproduction of pyrrole molecules involving an abnormality in haemoglobin synthesis. The result is major deficiency in Vitamin B6 and Zinc, with a wide spectrum of mental/physical symptoms. The extent of the deficits are so large, they cannot be counterbalanced by foods high in these particular nutrients, and because of the problems I’ve read about with methylation often it is worsened by giving the person the non-methylated supplements thinking that they will help. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of it.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder has high Copper to Zinc ratios. Many high-copper patients (often labeled “depressives”) experience severe PMS, are intolerant to estrogen, and may have a family history of postpartum depression. This group also has a high incidence of acne, eczema, sensitive skin, sunburn, headaches, poor immune function, and white spots under their fingernails.

Elevated copper/zinc ratios can be especially serious for persons with low blood histamine (over-methylation). This combination of imbalances has been associated with anxiety, panic disorders, paranoia, and (in severe cases) hallucinations.

Oppositional/Defiant Disorder has a high histamine level, that stinker low methylation, lower copper as well as lower calcium and magnesium. When brain histamine levels soar out of control, other frightening symptoms occur. Apart from its central role in the mediation of allergic reactions, gastric acid secretion and inflammation in the periphery, histamine serves an important function as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Individuals with high-histamine levels may be due to a metabolic imbalance that results from under-methylation. Again, this means that the body does not methylate nutrition correctly, and needs to have some nutrients methylated for them. Many patients with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, “oppositional-defiant disorder,” or seasonal depression are under-methylated, which is associated with low serotonin levels. Often with inhalant allergies, frequent headaches, perfectionism, competitiveness and other distinctive symptoms and traits. Tend to be very low in calcium, magnesium, methionine, and vitamin B-6 with excessive levels of folic acid. This lends to leaky gut, which causes even more histamine issues. What else elevates histamine levels… exercise, food (especially those already high in histamine like meat, leftovers, chocolate), environmental and food allergies (which is caused partially by the leaky gut, which causes more protein issues, which causes…horrible cycle).

Finally Conduct Disorder also has those severely-elevated pyrroles. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the population have that Kryptopyrrole or pyroluria, with estimates as high as 20% of all psychiatric patients and 40% of all schizophrenic patients, with a higher prevalence in women than men.

So when I say that NUTRIENTS matter and knowing can change your life… it’s bigger than you think! And if you don’t find out the underlying issues, the nutrition you are getting could be the very problem you are fighting to change. This is part of what I do as your holistic guide. I look at your issues, and give you challenges and offer suggestions to take to your practitioner to help you find answers and feel better.Considering the processed food direction we’re going in our country this isn’t going to get any easier out there. The processed food world just keeps more modified, and the natural course of nutrition keeps getting hacked, but not in a good way in my opinion. Like the fact that Coca Cola is bringing Fairlife “milk” to the masses. They say that it is made different from traditional milk. It doesn’t have any lactose or added proteins, is cold-filtered to concentrate the protein and calcium while removing the fat and sugar. Removing the fat? Didn’t we already go that route. Remembering that the enzyme in the butterfat called lipase aids in fat digestion and assimilation of the fat-soluble vitamins. Remember that butterfat boasts anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K in the milk. Seems that added protein and calcium without the fat will be a bad move health-wise, don’t you think?

It truly is time to get serious about all of this, and figure out what works nutritionally for you in the terms of real food.

How I Change My Story for Wellness

I always say this, and it really is true. Back story. And it’s a long story. I wanted to share it on social media but I’m on a “twitter” challenge where if it’s long, I must post it to the blog. I tend to give people ALL of the information, so you have been warned.

My daughter had severe asthma and was on inhaled steroids for three years. She barely grew, maybe 1/4″ one of the years. And I just felt so badly for her. I met someone that nudged me to do the 21 Day Kick Start. I had been vegan for two years, and we moved to WA. I created a meetup group to find some other women to walk with, and one gal was the continual show up. So she asked me if I’d like to go listen to this lady talk. That woman was Robin Openshaw, the Green Smoothie Girl. She talked about her sons asthma, and the steroids, and how she finally realized the big trigger was dairy. So I went home that night, and the next day I took my daughter off dairy. She was pretty brave about it, except the little tears the one day about wanting a yogurt squeezer. Now this was a BIG deal. She had been a big time dairy girl!! But in six weeks I was able to take my daughter off of the inhaled steroids. She had been on six inhaled doses daily. SIX!

This friend and I went through the whole superfood shake, paleo lean, and our first W30’s which is why I created my Whole 30 Paleo Vegeo group because she and her friends were all carnivores. Another door opened. It’s why when I went paleo I created my Paleo page on Facebook. I wanted to share my story and I wanted to share resources with anyone that may be like me, because at the time there wasn’t ANYTHING out there for someone who wanted to do the paleo lifestyle in a vegan or vegetarian design.

I was meant for that woman to open a new door for my family.

So let’s fast forward four years. We just bought a new house, and my friend moved about an hour away. And over the last four years my daughter has had croup at least five times a year. Starts at the first of the school year, and her last croup bout is usually late spring. The answer has always been to just wait for it to happen, then we put her on a few days of steroids, recoup her immune system and wait for the next.

In those four years I have had a multitude of people approach me about trying their supplement of choice. It’s a daily adventure on social media, right? And one sounded good, because I had given up the drinking the big superfood smoothie since it just wasn’t doing anything for me anymore but crimping my pocketbook. But I looked at the label once, and poo poo’d it.

More back story. The first week in WA before I started my Meetup group, which failed as a group but as you heard was a true win, I went to Tully’s to get a drink. I knew they had rice milk, and my daughter could have that. There was another mom there, with her two adorable kids. She reached out and we started talking. I was in brain-geek-love with this woman because she was brainy, food mom. You know what I mean. With a degree to boot. We spent all summer roaming beaches with her and her two kids, and then my daughter started school and we lost touch beyond a few times we were able to meet up in the evening. Once was a great talk on essential oils. The second one was more recently where her pediatric doctor had sent out an email for an event about nutrition. You have to know I am always on board for that.

So I went to that meeting, and saw the sign… Juice Plus NW.

UGH!! Seriously. We had been scammed.

So I went in with her and we sat at the very back. Back where no one can talk to you. Right? But the gal that my friend had met up with was persistent. So I listened to the meeting. The Naturopathic doctor spoke about her stuggles, blah blah blah, and then she talked about helping a kindergarten boy recently that was going to be held back due to his severe hyperactive behavior. But when she read the letter from his mom I completely understood it.

Then they had the overweight guy get up that had lost 55 pounds in four months. He said that he would go to Starbuck’s on the way to work for a drink and breakfast. Okay that’s like 1200 calories. Then at his first break go back to Starbuck’s for a drink and snack. Okay now he’s had his full day’s calories. Then the food truck would come at 10:30 AM to the job site. Well if you stopped the Starbuck’s and the food truck and did instead a couple protein shakes and a nutritional bar, no wonder you lost 52 pounds.

So I still wasn’t convinced.

Then the female personal trainer gets up. UGH… I just immediately go to my unhappy wall up place. See, as an overweight, struggling personal trainer, the really gorgeous, healthy girls really get my goat. So I sort of tuned out. You know how we do?

But then she starts talking about all of her miscarriages, and having been there several times my heart goes out to her. I open up a little. Then she talks about her husband’s bad health and how she decided to start this just for him. So she shows her before and after, and in her after the 120 days, she is pregnant, and her skin was like butter. Let me tell you before the 120 days her skin was horrific. Think about when you were 15 and double it. In my head I’m thinking “mthfr… mthfr” and I thought, you know something is up.

How can she have had such a difference if these capsules have the so-called synthetic vitamins in them?

So when it was over the woman starts talking to me. And I tell her you know, I can’t do the shakes because of my soy allergy, however I wouldn’t want to do the capsules because of the added synthetic b vitamins. I found out last year when my doctor put me on a Complex B Vitamin that I do not metabolize my b vitamins well at all! Talk about crazy mama!! Yes immediately. And then once I stopped them, back to normal, yet still slightly anxious and sleep deprived me.

So she calls over her upline and I get deep into conversation with Dr. Mitra Ray. Another brain-geek-love moment I have to say. Nutritional biochemist? Yes that gets me every time. And she says, they didn’t realize what the push back was until she brought it to their attention that their labels read, Folic, not Folate. And that it’s folate, because that is what comes from food.

I had been taking, and had my daughter taking the mythelated B Vitamins for some time, without any changes in our health it seemed. I even did the 5-MTHF. No avail. So I quized Dr. Ray about this. And why would this woman who obviously had the mutation do so well with both soy, and a supplement with some folic in it. Now keep in mind that when I first lost most of my weight I was drinking the “superfood” shake that IS actually fortified with 400 mg of Folic acid and other fortified vitamins. FYI. It’s on their company page buried in the faqs.

What she shared was the latest research. Like me, to the point, geek out, be done. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23456769

“Serum folate concentration is responsive to modest increases in folic acid intake. RBC folate increases only with higher additional doses of folic acid supplementation, and this is true for each MTHFR C677T genotype.”

I can only guess that for whatever reason the ingredients that were added to my superfood shake and the ingredients like suma that they took out, were a combination that created the nutritional blocks that stopped it from working for me again.

What is commercially referred to as “nature identical” folate is actually methyl folate – extremely expensive and actually synthesized from folic acid, so entirely man-made. {Didn’t know that as I thought it was just methylated “folate” … which explains why some people I’ve talked to that are taking those high doses may not be feeling any better)

It has not been clinically shown to be any more effective than folic acid, for example http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/79/3/473
Also … interesting.

Regarding a claim of better/safer for people with methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) insufficiency, what the doctor I talked to say is that this form is only “good” for one turn of the folate cycle (please refer to this link http://www.nchpeg.org/nutrition/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=452&tmpl=component).

Once de-methylated, it is just tetrahydrofolate (THF). While massive doses of 5-MTHF might be less likely than folic acid to mask a vitamin B-12 deficiency, it probably would have little impact on people with the common MTHFR mutations resulting in less efficient enzyme activity, which can be overcome with adequate folate (any form) intake, so there IS a known way to make the mutated enzyme function better. Of note – few foods contain methyl folate, but oranges do and are commonly consumed. It takes about a quart of orange juice the get the daily requirement for folate from this dietary source. And that is a LOT of sugar bugs!! 😉

So, why not call it folate, on the label if in the industry folate/folic are used interchangeably? I suspect there are companies that do that to avoid the controversy, since the term folate and folic acid are considered interchangeable. So along with several of the whole food ingredients in Juice Plus+ that naturally contain folate from the outset they’ve added the smallestl amount of additional folic acid ( and it is called folic acid) to standardize the overall amount in each capsule, and they want to be completely transparent. I am not aware of any commercially available supplement that is made by squeezing oranges or leafy greens, they will all have to be either modified as we stated earlier, or purified in some fashion, so all of them would be in some fashion man-made.

So I leave it with this information. Because you know that I just like the company want to share transparency all around.

Three weeks into using just the trio capsules I am feeling better, waking up better, sleeping better (if you have the folic issues you know the anxiety and sleep issues that go along with it), and I am finally losing weight. That just like the photos of the trainer with her super glowing skin was the proof for me that this supplementation really works. For me, this was the answer. And I’m thankful that the door was opened, and I decided to walk through. Thankful for myself, and thankful for my daughter. It is changing our lives. And so you know how they always ask you about your why? This is my why… it’s big, and loaded with lots of information, and it ends in wellness.

You are what you eat. … or take in the way of supplementation

You are what you eat

I shared this in my aromatherapy group, but it was so important I had to share it here as well…

According to an article that I read on the Harvard website, “multivitamin bashing seems to be in season. The March 2008 Harvard Men’s Health Watch gives the impression that few of the ingredients in a multivitamin are worth taking. The June 2008 Nutrition Action Health Letter suggests taking a multivitamin every other day instead of every day. The central concern of both articles is folic acid—specifically,getting too much folic acid.” And when we read articles about supplementing what it always comes down to is that you can’t replace real nutrition with synthetic nutrients.

Their better advice: “Take a standard multivitamin every day, but stay away from heavily fortified foods that deliver a full day’s dose—or sometimes more—of folic acid … there is newer evidence that excess folic acid (the synthetic version of folate, a vitamin found abundantly in vegetables, fruits, and grains) may be contributing to an uptick in colorectal cancer. many of those multi vitamins or meal replacement shakes contain your recommended daily amount — 400 micrograms (mcg) — but look at your package foods and you’ll see that folic acid is also added to breakfast cereals and enriched grain and cereal products, including breads, rice, and pasta. A person taking a multivitamin can easily exceed the recommended total intake, and maybe even the safe upper limit of 1,000 mcg. This issues of getting too much isn’t a problem with folate found naturally in foods. But most supplemental vitamins are fortified and not the whole foods that your body really needs.”

You’ve heard me talk about Folic vs. Folate before when I have talked about MTHFR, but did you know that most vitamin B1 supplements are made from derivatives of coal tar? Or that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is often made by reacting high-fructose corn syrup with sulfuric acid? Or even that many iron supplements (for those that have the iron-folic anemia you may want to hear this) … are often made from the rust off of nails?

You Are What You Eat I Juice Plus


Where you get your nutrition matters. How you react to what you are eating matters. If your skin looks like it’s being used to detoxify your system, you have a problem with your central detoxification chimney.

I want to get more into the concept of food synergy. This concept is based on the proposition that the interrelations between constituents in foods are significant. We all should realize this by now, but we don’t. It’s because we see these ads all over the place that say we need this fortified food and that fortified food. This significance in our food and/or supplementation is dependent on the balance between constituents within what is going into our bodies, how well these constituents survive digestion, and the extent to which they appear biologically active at the cellular level.

The Journal of the American College of Nutrition published data says: A healthy diet should contain all of the required nutrients and sufficient calories to balance energy expenditure and provide for growth and maintenance throughout the life cycle. Importantly, dietary factors are associated with 5 of the 10 leading causes of death, including coronary heart disease, certain types of cancer, stroke, noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8892167

The Barbara Christensen VlogCast : 11/18/2014 : On Tuesday We Talk Episode 3 I MTHFR, Folic Acid and B12

MTHFR, Folic Acid and B12

You know that I’ve talked a lot about MTHFR, especially important that those with PCOS get tested, but only recently did I realize the also very important side of it that has to do with B12 methylation.

I have dealt with a major folic acid methylation issue which leads me to believe that I have some form of this gene mutation. Taking a folic acid gives me anxiety that cannot be measured. Methylfolate, for me is key. But the underlying anemia for myself and my daughter now has me wondering about the B12 gene defect… More to come!!

The Barbara Christensen VlogCast : 11/18/2014 : On Tuesday We Talk Episode 3 I MTHFR, Folic Acid and B12So today on the VlogCast I am disccusing the MTHFR defect, folic acid methylation and B12 meythlation and the effects of this no our lives.

One thing that I didn’t discuss much is the link to the B12 methylation issue and migraine. they say that one in 10 is suffering from this migraine issue from high homocysteine levels caused by the inability to methylate the B12 vitamin properly. This is the enzyme mutation of MTHFR and you should really get tested and see if you need to change or supplement with a methylcobalamin, so check into it.

Detox and the role in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The information I learned that effects those wishing to detox, with CFS

My daughter had a lot of tummy issues when she was born. The more or less forced us into taking her off of goats milk, and into 9 months of horror. She wouldn’t nurse because afterwards she would just scream. They wanted me to give up dairy, and grains, and I was already not well myself most of the time. I didn’t see how I could possibly eliminate more food from my plate. Who know several years later I would just that, but I wasn’t in a place where I could do that at that moment. So they put her on expensive formula, and then acid reflux medication, and getting to a year was something I just couldn’t wait to hit.

We were doing all organics, and as she started eating we were doing all pastured meats too. The majority of her diet was dairy. As was mine. What I didn’t know was that there is something called a dysfunctional methylation cycle. My daughter lived on organic chocolate milk, cheese sticks and yogurt squeezers. Sound familiar to any one else out there?

So what effect does this have on the body? 

So dairy, as we know from me talking about the Ocean Avenue shake, or at least undenatured whey gives you this boost to glutathione. Some of what she was getting should have been giving her some of this natural glutathione support. The belief is that for those with CFS or those on the Autism spectrum, that there is digestive issues that surround both gluten and casein. Casein is in all of those yummy dairy products.

But WHAT if the real problem is with an inability to detox, and we’re filling our bodies with hormones and items that will ferment in the digestive tract. We have all of this sugar too. Then we have an overgrowth of candida, and our bodies still can’t detoxify. We start filling up with all sorts of other toxins from our environment and our foods. Our bodies cannot react in any other way beyond: Fatigue, Inflammation, Pain, Problems Regulating Our Emotions, Sleep Dysfunction and other symptoms encompassing the brain. All of these items can be found to be very similar to both CFS and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Many CFS patient have low glutathione levels. Many of those on the Autism Spectrum have low glutathione levels. If you struggle to use the glutathione that is entering your body – then all of these items would start being problems for you, because you need glutathione support in your system. But your system is struggling in the glutathione production department.

There is also the production of melatonin from serotonin as well as the metabolism of the catecholamines require methylation, without this we see sleep dysfunction. It’s all connected. Now when my daughter is tired, she gets irritable and is a totally different person. When I am feeling fatigued by my adrenal issues I am the same way, cranky, maybe hyperactive, and irritable. What if that is the problem for your autistic child when they creatively yell or throw a tantrum. Fatigue maybe?

At the International Conference of the AACFS they talked a lot about the methylation cycle, how it’s a major part of the biochemistry of sulfur and methyl groups in the body. How it’s tightly linked to folate metabolism (think about MTHFR) and B12 and enabling the use of these amino acids to provide energy to the cells. And with 40% of the population carriers of the MTHFR genetics, 10% where this has been activated through birth or epigenitics… and then approximately 1/3 of Americans who are missing an important gene needed to create and recycle glutathione and we have now created a mess that is going to be a breeding ground for more CFS kids, and yes there is guides for kids with CFS/ME now…which breaks your heart. And I know I’m seeing a greater number of children being determined to be on the spectrum, as well. So there has to be something more to this.

The Paleo Vegeo I Paleo Vegetarian I Barbara Christensen, HLWC, CPT, SN

I know that this is really just me talking out loud, and you may or may not understand what I am talking about, or you may think it’s all hooey. But I think it’s something important to think through. Dr. Wilson talked about sulfur, and I just didn’t get it … until now. If you can’t effectively detox, then you won’t ever heal. For every CFS patient out there, I think this one sentence is huge!! You know more than anyone how much you want to heal up and feel better.

I believe what happened to me when I went on the two week vacation was what they call Relapsing.

Relapsing (Crashing) (160): Many CFS patients have chronically low glutathione levels. According to this Hypothesis, when the level of stressors is temporarily increased, the levels of reduced glutathione become more severely depleted, and this produces the so-called crashing phenomenon. After a period of rest, reduced glutathione levels are increased to the chronically low levels that existed prior to the increased stressors.

So I am going to work on some of this information over the next few months and see if I can create a parent/child friendly detox program that we can both do together and see what we find. In the meantime, we’ll be getting our sulfur