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Could this Gene Mutation be the Cause of Your Anxiety?

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Happy Spurling - Regular Font

Kayla Lanier - Bold Font 


Hey y'all. So today we are talking about the MTHFR gene mutation. We mentioned this a few weeks back in one of our previous podcasts, so we're gonna dive a little bit deeper into that today.

So MTHFR is not a swear word. I know it sounds like one, it's a mouthful, but we're gonna learn some really cool things about it today.

In our last podcast, we talked about anxiety and the possible connection with MTHFR gene mutation and how that can actually cause or be the root cause of anxiety, and then also a whole host of other things as well. MTHFR sounds ugly, but it's really not. It basically stands for methyltetrahydrofolate reductase. And that's just a fancy way of saying that it is a gene that holds the recipe for that, which is an ability or an enzyme that helps our bodies convert B9, which is vitamin B9, also known as folate into a usable form called methylfolate. And this whole process that happens called methylation.

It doesn't really sound like a big deal, but it, it's kind of a big deal. 40 to 50% of the population is actually known to have this gene mutation. It's probably actually higher because they don't test everyone, and so for us, like MTHFR came into our world when my husband was diagnosed with CML Leukemia.

And I had no idea what that gene mutation was or even how it was related to anything. But he was diagnosed and he was 45 years old. So no sickness, no missed days at work, like very helpful. And then all of a sudden we have this diagnosis, and that kind of led to a year long process where we were really trying to find out what caused that because cancer came on board and you just wanna find answers.

That's really what led us to do more testing to get to the root cause of why his body basically had a perfect storm. And we did some testing on all kinds of mold toxicity panels. We tested for glyphosate, which is a toxin from an herbicide in Roundup like we tested for a lot of different things that were linked to that type of leukemia.

Just trying to find out the why, like why did this happen.


Even though we were being told by every doctor that we went to that it just happens, it's a luck of the draw. There was nothing that you could have done to change it. But knowing that cancer requires a perfect storm, we knew there was something more and that darted us on a, a quest for answers that honestly are still really unfolding five years later.

But we basically ended up at the time at a naturopathic doctor in Atlanta and ask for some specific testing. I didn't know anything about the MTHFR connection to cancer. I didn't really know much about the gene at all. I was currently in school myself to be a holistic health practitioner, and we had just started touching on gene mutations. So I had a little bit in my memory bank from that, but really just not even the tip of the iceberg. So when we sat down in her office that day, and the test results came in, she actually said, well, your leukemia just took a backseat to your test results. And, of course, that's not what you want to hear when you're dealing with cancer, that there's something else that possibly could be worse.

So she had our attention, that was for sure, and she began to show us the results that he had a glyphosate level, which is the compound in Roundup that's sprayed all over the US and some other countries, and that's a whole other podcast and how that can affect and does affect our health for so many people.

His level was 75% higher than a commercial farmer. So the doctor assumed that he farmed, and she said, okay, so apparently you're a farmer because you are spraying Roundup all the time. And we were shocked because we weren't spraying Roundup and had never sprayed it. And not only that, we had our own jersey cow that we were milking for our own dairy.

Yeah. Garden. We never used any kind of weeded killers ever.

Yeah. We grew our own food for the most part. I mean, of course, we were sourcing stuff from the store and trying to be careful with that, but we were a little beyond just conservative in that we were serious about our food and our health and protecting that.

So when she said that I was really in disbelief. I thought he can't have that much roundup in his system. We're not around it. And then later on we realized where all that was coming from. And then she actually told us that he had a mold toxicity, which was okra toxin, and that he had a higher level than they actually measured on the test.

So it had went to the highest level, and then the test went beyond that and didn't even give a number because it was so high. Both glyphosate and okra toxin are connected to leukemia, so we knew that there was majorly a connection there. And he also had active Lyme's disease at the time, so he had been exposed of course to a tick bite as everyone in the south probably has.


And very avid outdoorsman. So he was, you know, exposure was not a shock to us, but it had went from dormant to active. And I'll never forget that she actually looked at us and said, you're toxic and unless we get these things under control and get your body detoxing, your immune system has to choose what it's gonna deal with, whether it's gonna fight cancer or it's gonna fight these other really neurotoxins and both of those had neurotoxin ability and nephrotoxic, so kidney damage. When she said that, it just resonated within me and I went back immediately in my mind and thought, I wonder if he has this MTHFR gene mutation, because what that gene does is it inhibits the body's ability to break down B nine, which is folate in the liver.

So you're not actually able to utilize it. You are detoxing partially, but it's as if the liver can get rid of a lot of the chemicals that you're exposed to and the food, environmental things, and it detoxes them through a certain pathway or multiple pathways. But when you have this gene mutation even heterozygous, so one copy of it can cause this issue. You're not able to completely detox, and so your liver is left with 15 to 20% or more of everything you encounter on a daily basis over the course of your life. It kind of gets put into a separate pocket persay, and it just is a holding place because the liver has to methylate vitamin B9 into folate.

It has to methylate that and add a methyl group to it in order to use it for the detoxification process. So when that's inhibited, the liver has some leftovers every day, and basically to keep us safe, it will recycle those back through the system until it can do something with it. And in that process it creates inflammation and inflammation is literally the connecting source to all disease. And so it creates a perfect storm dynamic of inflammation, too much inflammation leading to disease, and then it's just a matter of environmentally what you've been exposed to as to what actually turns up. So having that insight led us down the road to realize that he actually was tested and he did have MTHFR Gene mutation.

And so we knew that in order for him to heal, we had to help his body detox fully. Within just a few months of realizing what we were dealing with, we actually saw a huge, really miracle in his body. That the numbers we had been watching for cancer and also for his inflammatory markers and just his B12 and folate, which had always been a little off, still within reference range, but never quite right, and never really thought anything about it and no one had ever pointed that out to us because they didn't make the connection right. Within three months of beginning the detoxification process and giving the proper supplements. That he needed to get the methylation happening, his cancer markers went to zero, like things we had been watching for a year, all of a sudden clicked and that opened up a pathway and you could literally see blood labs change in three months.

His CRP marker at that time, which CRP is an inflammatory marker. It shows us about systemic inflammation, a chronic inflammation that's not leaving. It was 18 and it shouldn't be over 0.5. Three months into this process of helping his liver detox fully. It went to 0.5, and because of that, you saw how inflammation truly is connected to all disease because that's when the leukemia numbers went from, from remission into undetectable status, which is totally different than remission. It wasn't, it wasn't picked up in his bone marrow any longer. So we had been doing a lot of things to help with nutrition and also supplementation and then just routine and stress relieving and all these things.

And I believe they were helping, but it was blocked fully from working. And so it was such a blessing to say, okay, this all makes so much sense now. Like we felt like we had a why like this is how it happened. And when you have that, it's so empowering to see. Say yes, no one wants a cancer diagnosis, but when you can look at something and go, these things are all connected to leukemia.

You have high levels of glyphosate, high levels of mold. Either one of those could have been an issue, but together they definitely were. And to be able to actually form a plan where you're able to do something, and I think that's so important when we're dealing with either cancer or anxiety or any kind of health issue, is to feel powerless is a terrible place to be. Sometimes I feel like we need something to do so that we can be active in our healing and not just feel like a victim when we've been given a diagnosis, but to say, okay, I'm not responsible for how this actually came to be, but maybe there are some things I can change in the terrain of my body to actually heal.

And that's amazing. So that whole process led to the last five years of truly learning and researching everything that I could about what does it mean to have MTHFR and how does that affect life? How did it affect our life? And then there are also a lot of implications to MTHFR that were connected to our story in other ways such as depression and the anxiety and ADHD and ADD, and behavioral issues as far as for children, like it all kind of made sense. And when you realize that Gene actually holds the key to letting our bodies completely heal from the toxins that we face every day, you realize how important it really is for everyone.

So that was really a dark time, but once you were able to research and figure out what needed to be done in order to get dad's help back on track, I felt like it opened up a lot of doorways for you to understand more about the MTHFR gene, and you found a lot that had to do with anxiety and many other health issues.

Could we touch on the anxiety part of this mutation?

Yeah, and that is a very good point because I didn't really realize how big of a deal it was until we started looking further into all of the implications for someone who has MTHFR, and of course everyone that has that gene mutation doesn't have cancer, right.

We were just in a unique situation. It kind of set the course. Basically the MTHFR is an enzyme in the folate cycle, and it's required in the conversion of folic acid into L methyl folate, and that actually breaks down into the synthesis of neurotransmitters. So basically that's responsible for making serotonin and dopamine.

If you have MTHFR, that response can be halted. So basically it can cause a lack of active folate, which could actually cause you not to be able to break down enough serotonin and dopamine. And that's how MTHFR is connected to depression and even fatigue and also bipolar disorder. So it's very common for people who have mental health issues and even struggle with behavioral issues to have this gene issue and not even know it because it's very overlooked.

And the way that our hormones work in the neurotransmitter cascade is affected with this gene. All that means is that if you have this gene snip, you're not able to metabolize your hormones in the liver as you should. And progesterone, which is the key hormone we touched on last week, is the hormone that actually breaks down into serotonin.

But that whole conversion doesn't happen when you can't methylate the folate and it doesn't just affect B9. It also affects B12, which is in that cascade. So even though the gene itself has to do with a vitamin B9 completely, it actually filters or cascades into B12 and even B6 and so those two vitamins are key in neurological health.

So they are a big deal when it comes to neurotransmitters and the process of developing serotonin and dopamine in healthy levels. If you're not able to make serotonin by breaking down your methylfolate, then you're not able to have enough. And that's where people do struggle with depression and anxiety.

Often the answer to that is to maybe do an SSRI, which is a, a serotonin recycler, basically, and that can help some people with their samples. But you can only recycle serotonin as much as you have reserves for it. But if you have a gene issue that inhibits your ability to make serotonin, then the medications don't work for very long because you're only able to recycle something that you actually have some of left.

That's where often I hear that people are on an SSRI and that it may work really well in the beginning, but when they say that it stops working, that's always a good indicator to check for that gene issue because usually that's happening because there is a lack of serotonin, which is why the depression is there in the first place, and dopamine, and basically it could simply be because you don't have the gene ability to break that down.


So instead of adding another medication and another medication, you can look at the roots and say, well, why can't this person make serotonin on a healthy level? Are there things that you can do to actually stimulate that process? And it can really make a difference in anxiety levels when your neurotransmitters are actually fully working and you're able to detox and not have methylation happening in other areas of the body that it shouldn't, that causes anxiety. So this is all important because MTHFR affects the B vitamin cascade, and B vitamins are responsible neurotransmitters. So anytime you don't have enough B12 or folate, Then you're gonna have issues with anxiety because those B vitamins are so important for neurological function.

Yeah, I know that when I was struggling with so many vitamin deficiencies, that was a big issue with my health a few months ago, and ever since I started supplementing with vitamin B, it's changed my whole perspective and my help. I'm not passing out in the middle of the day 'cause I'm so exhausted. I actually wanna get up and go to work and excel and do things.

My mood is so much better and overall like when I go out and exercise, it just feels so much better 'cause I have so much more energy. My behaviors have changed a lot too. Like so much less anxiety, less panic attacks. If I skip my vitamin B for a few days, I can really tell, I make sure to get right back on it because there's definitely a neurological benefit from vitamin B that you miss out on when you're not getting enough of it or supplementing it.

Yeah, and I think the form too has to be mentioned in this, that because someone has a gene mutation and we know there's a B vitamin issue like you had, it doesn't mean you just go out and get a regular B12 or B9 because folic acid is actually a synthetic form of B9 and for people who have a gene mutation, that actually blocks the receptor for folate.

So it actually attaches better than vitamin B9 itself, and the synthetic will lay on top of the receptor. And basically signal to the brain that you don't need anymore B9, you have plenty, right? But it's not able to get into the cell and be methylated and broken down. So on a blood lab, it may look like your folate levels are fine, but you actually can't get it into the cell.

And that's where labs sometimes can be confusing. You have to have methylated vitamins if you have MTHFR gene issue. And some people don't do well with methylated forms of vitamin and they have to have a hydro. C form. So it's very individualized what is needed. But if you just do straight up B12, which is cobalamin, and that's what's in most B supplements, that's not a methylated form.

And if you can't break it down, you'll actually just build up a high level for your blood test. It'll say you have a lot of B12. You actually may have too much, but that's just means it's in the blood bound to protein. It doesn't have anything to do with whether the liver can metabolize it, break it down, and actually use it.

And the using of it is what helps you. So you can store up 2000 plus on your, make a really impressive blood lab.


And still not have hardly any being broken down into the methylated form. So sine cobalamin really needs to be avoided. Truly, for most people, methylated vitamins or a hydroxy form are a much better way to go.

So how that can help with anxiety levels because you're actually able to use what's being brought in instead of it just storing and it's very important to know that, first of all, do you have the gene snip? And actually there's a simple blood test that you can do. There are actually over 50 different MTHFR gene mutations, but we really only test for two of them, because they're the most prominent ones that seem to cause issues.


Having two copies is a whole nother podcast because that makes someone more susceptible to a condition called hyperhomocysteinemia, and that basically can have some heart ramifications as far as higher cardiac risk.

So today we're really just dealing with having one copy of it and being heterozygous. You get that from either mom or dad, you're getting a copy of that, and some people have a parent that has a copy on both sides. So that's how you can end up with two copies of one or actually a copy of each. But it's very important to know if it's there because it can help you know that, Hey, I have a detox issue. I have to have help with this, and you really need to bring that. Support in, and unfortunately, it's not as simple as just a methylated B vitamin. Sometimes you have to bring in glutathione and SAMe and some other compounds to be able to do that whole process because just because you bring in one thing doesn't mean the liver always gets the memo that that's what I need to do with that, because if it hasn't been doing it your whole life, it can take a little bit of tweaking. But those things can drop off usually. And sometimes you're able to just do the B vitamins, but usually you're having to bring those in in some form as far as methylated to be able to, to help with anxiety and the other issues as well.

So if somebody has that gene mutation, basically confirm it on a blood test. You can actually request that through your primary care or through a naturopath practitioner, and then you know what you're dealing with. It may not be there, but it's really good thing to rule out, especially if you had anxiety your whole life or if it just came on board all of a sudden, and you don't know why.


It's just part of that process to say, is this part of what's going on with me? Because ultimately, it could be part of your answer to getting well.


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