I've not been tested for the MTHFR mutation (yet), but I recently found out that my B12 levels were abnormally low, lower than 300. Since I eat plenty of meat and fish I don't assume that my low levels are due to diet, but rather caused by some other factor, and I am suspecting a MTHFR mutation at the moment.
Besides B12, there are also people who say those with MTHFR mutations should not have gluten, and some other things. I am really in the beginning stages of exploring all this, and I would love a helping hand.
Can you give me any diet and nutrition advice?
I think I'd advise you to get the mthfr test. Are there any other explanations for your low B12 levels, such as, are you taking any medications that interfere with absorption? If so, also look at that, of course.
I have mthfr and I really do best without any gluten. Some can have small amounts of wheat but for me, I notice it right away.
Another thing you want to look at is that you may be taking folic acid that can't be synthesized by your body if you have mthfr, so you need to take the supplements doctors advise but it is important to remove other sources of folic acid from your diet or the deficiency will continue.
Some tips for people with MTHFR mutations who wish to follow an MTHFR diet:
- Steer clear of processed foods as much as you possibly can.
- Limit your intake of foods that are rich in Methionine, which would many kinds of cheese, skim milk, corned beef, tuna and salmon.
- Do eat plenty of greens that are rich in natural folate. (Spinach, kale, etc)
- Stick to organic meat free of hormones.
- Take the supplements your healthcare provider advises you to take. Don't "wing it", as you shouldn't get too much of some of them depending on whether you have mono or hetero MTHFR.
I think one of the main things is to AVOID folic acid (synthetic folate) and to EAT folate.
Foods rich in folate include artichokes, asparagus, almonds, avocado, bananas, beans, beets, broccoli, green onions, celery, carrots, cauliflower, flax seeds.... loads, actually. Anyone who makes a conscious effort, whether they have MTHFR or not, can meet the dietary requirements for folate with real, actual, foods.
You also need vitamin B12, of course. Beef, chicken, seafood, all those kinds of things can give that to you. B6 and B2 matter as well. Once you start looking, you will find foods that contain multiple of the vitamins you really need.
I will be honest here. I recently found I have the MTHFR mutation (mono). There is sooooo much information to wade through and it is all so very confusing. I have no idea what to make of it all. Different people have different opinions and I just don't know where to start to optimize my diet. I'll say that the note about gluten confused me, because I have been eating gluten all my life seemingly without any problems. I would like to make the dietary changes I really would benefit from without being too strict. I enjoy food and I want to keep enjoying food. :)
Folks with MTHFR mutations don't process the MTHFR enzyme well, and this means that they're unable to turn folic acid/folate into 5-MTHF properly. This, in turn, means that homocysteines can't be broken down well. High homocysteine levels themselves are associated with health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and many others, but you can correct that with diet. THAT is why you need to take 5-MTHF supplements if you have one of the MTHFR mutations. An additional problem is that you cannot metabolize folic acid well at all, and many foods are fortified with folic acid - because it works for people without the mutation. You need to avoid those foods.
I understand the confusion to be honest... there's a load of information out there on the web. Some of it is good, some bad, some vague, some too scientific, some completely not based on scientific facts... and then there's different kinds of MTHFR mutations that all have their own implications. Now, I don't need to understand exactly what's wrong with me to follow medical instructions (in theory, I don't know that I have MTHFR and have never really considered it) but not everything out there is medical instructions, and even those that are don't necessarily apply to everyone, you know? The best advice anyone could possibly give is quite simple, really. Ask your doctor, if your doctor knows about this stuff. Find a doctor who does if you don't have one already, ask them to refer you to someone who does. Then follow their instructions. That way you know the advice is tailored to you.
The main thing with a MTHFR mutation is that FOLIC ACID is bad, and 5-MTHF, or L-Mythylfolate, the ACTIVE form of folate, is what you need. You need to be looking for 5-MTHF supplements that are FDA approved. They have a list available on their website.
You can and should also eat folate-rich foods such as beans and lentils, spinach, asparagus, avocadoes, mangoes, etc. (You can easily find a list of folate-rich foods as well.)
Then in addition to that, you want to concentrate on nutrients that aid folate absorption. Those are B2, B6, and some other B vitamins I think?
Meanwhile, ask your doctor about medications you're taking since some of them can also have an impact.
Here are some other possible causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Pernicious anemia. The stomach cells that help you absorb vitamin B12 are damaged if you have this.
- Digestive diseases such as Crohn's disease
- Celiac disease, a gluten intolerance.
- A parasitic infection.
As you can see, there are enough causes of a vitamin B12 deficiency that I wouldn't simply assume that you have the MTHFR mutation and try to follow a diet for that. There is no reason to follow these dietary recommendations of you do not have the MTHFR mutation, either. So getting the MTHFR test makes sense, doesn't it?
In light of possibilities like those, I second the idea of getting a diagnosis before going ahead with following a special diet that only benefits certain groups of people. You could even inadvertently cause some damage to your health, perhaps.