MTHFR part 3: Folic Acid, B12 and B6

Please note: The content of this post is my own, unless the technical terms is too hard to explain, then the content is copy and pasted. I am not a medical professional and thus the post is my point of view. But the content is science-based and credible. Just because it is a new science, does not necessarily make it quackery. 

So we said that there are 3 vitamins involved in the methylation process: Folic Acid (B9), B12 and B6.

Folic Acid/ Folate

So we start off with Folic acid. Folic Acid is the synthetic form of Folate – B9. It is an important building block for DNA and RNA. Folic acid can be found in most multi-vitamins and is very often prescribed to pregnant women.

Folate or B9 can be found naturally in dark leafy greens, however there is other food that also contains folate.

Folic acid is suppose to help with birth defects such a Neural Tube Defect and Multiple Sclerosis, but recent studies have show that it might cause some neurological damage, hence the focus on folate instead of folic acid.

But there is another component to folic acid/folate – Folinic acid .  Folinic acid (Leucovorin or Calcium Folinate is a metabolically active form of folic acid that does not need enzymatic conversion. It is also used to fix folic acid deficiency or problems cause by take folic acid.

Symptoms of folic acid defiency:

  • fatigue
  • gray hair
  • mouth sores
  • tongue swelling
  • growth problems
  • Crohn’s disease
  • celiac disease
  • certain types of cancers
  • severe kidney problems that require dialysis

People that do not eat enough folate rich foods can also develop Folic acid deficiency anemia and low levels of red blood cells (amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg).

The Folate Cycle is MTHFR C667T and A1298C.

The genetic SNPs that are normally tested for folate metabolism are MTHFR 677T and 1298, however there are many more. For Alex’s test only MTHFR C667T and A1298C where tested for. (amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg).

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is a co-factor (so a catalyst or necessary accompanying vitamin in methylation – in several steps. (amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg). Riboflavin acts as an antioxidant in the body. All B vitamins are responsible for important functions including contributing to nerve health, heart and blood health, skin and eye health, reducing inflammation, hormonal function, and are used to maintain a healthy metabolism and digestive system.

… So from the Folate cycle to the Methylation cycle…

Vitamin B12

The bridge between the Folate cycle and the Methylation cycle that produces Methionine,he enzymes are regulated by MTR and MTRR genes. (amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg).

Also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system via the synthesis of myelin. It also helps create red blood cells. It is needed in the metabolism of every cell in the body, and it plays a part in the synthesis of fatty acids and energy production. By helping the human body to absorb folic acid, it facilitates the release of energy.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency:

  • Atrophic gastritis, in which your stomach lining has thinned
  • Pernicious anaemia is caused by vitamin B12 malabsorption (amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg).
  • Conditions that affect your small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite
  • Immune system disorders, such as Graves’ disease or lupus
  • Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • A smooth tongue
  • Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes

However, because people with the MTHFR gene mutation would have problems breaking down cobalamin, the most common B12 supplement is cyanocobalamine, but Methyl B12 is the prescription/therapeutic product(amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg). Methylcobalamin creates two major effects in the brain:

  1. The compound eliminates excessive levels of homocysteine in the brain. This substance is often cited as the leading cause of vascular degeneration in the brain.
  2.  Methylcobalamin improves the health and function of nerves in the brain. It can rebuild damaged nerves and contributes to the maintenance of function that is normally decayed during the aging process.

Foods rich in B12

…So from the Methylation cycle to the Trans-Sulfuration cycle…

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin)

The Trans-Sulfuration cycle is the Homocysteine process and this involves CBS and COMT.

The Homocystein process happens when amino acids is broken down via the methionine process. The by-prodcut is sulphur and ammonia. So once your folate cycle and methylation cycle is treated, your trans-sulfuration cycle will work properly.

Foods containing methionine are transformed into homocysteine in the bloodstream. Homocysteine is converted in the body to cysteine, with vitamin B6 facilitating this reaction. Homocysteine can also be recycled back into methionine using vitamin B12-related enzymes. Cysteine is a source of sulfide and is part of the metabolism of different metals in the body including iron, zinc and copper. Cysteine also acts as an anti-oxidant.

If homocysteine cannot be converted into cysteine or returned to the methionine form, levels of homocysteine in the body increase. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with heart attack, stroke, blood clot formation, and perhaps the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

This process are normally followed up with an Organic Acid Test, or you can also start with this test. (Homocysteine is tested on blood. Methyl malonate is the marker of vitamin B12 metabolism on the OAT)(amendment suggested by Dr Louise Lindenberg).

Vitamin B6 is also involved in the process of making serotonin and norepinephrine, which are chemicals that transmit signals in the brain.

As you all know from previous post, Alex is already taking p5p (Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate) which is a form of B6, for small red blood cells.

…next, MTHFR C667T and MTHFR A1298C…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase part2

Please note: The content of this post is my own, unless the technical terms is too hard to explain, then the content is copy and pasted. I am not a medical professional and thus the post is my point of view. But the content is science-based and credible. Just because it is a new science, does not necessarily make it quackery. 

So lets unpack the test a bit:

What is Methylation?

Methylation is a chemical reaction that occurs in every cell and tissue in your body. The methylation of proteins helps the body detoxify. For example, the methylation process helps convert the toxic amino acid (homocysteine) into a beneficial amino acid (methionine). If your body cannot methylate properly, toxins build up in your bloodstream and will eventually cause disease.

When optimal methylation occurs, it has a significant positive impact on many biochemical reactions in the body that regulate the activity of the cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and detoxification systems, including those relating to:

How do they get the results and why:

Using the buccal swab (cheek swab) sample they then put it through a process called the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which copies the DNA of your genes many times over so that they can generate sufficient quantities to analyse the genetic material. They then identify unique DNA sequences in some of the genes. Certain changes (polymorphisms) in these genes have been studied in detail, with evidence that correlates these polymorphisms with an individual’s risk of developing certain chronic disease conditions or altered metabolic processes. Having identified the presence or absence of these polymorphisms, we are able to qualitatively assess particular areas of health risk related to the specific genes. To make a holistic assessment of health risks, environmental factors (diet and lifestyle) need to be considered in conjunction with the accompanying genetic profile.

Who is all involed?

B vitamins provide building blocks for growing cells, which are constantly being renewed, and play an important role in many physiological processes. These vitamins – including folate, vitamins B6 and B12 – help make new DNA for cells that are constantly growing and renewing themselves. Folate is also involved in turning many genes on and off, and also helps repair DNA. Although B vitamins are only required in small amounts, they are crucial for methylation and in producing new DNA.

The results can have one of 5 outcomes:

Overview of the results:

… Next – Folic Acid, B12 and B6 …