Genes Play a Role In Lupus? MTHFR

by | Sep 1, 2017 | Lupus Blog | 0 comments

Lifestyle Choices and Genes

Genes play a role in Lupus.  Environmental conditions upregulate our genes to be “turned” on to based on our lifestyle choices.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet, recreational drug use, stress, lack of exercise, too much exercise, and exposure to toxins in the air all collectively contribute to Autoimmune conditions or other diseases.

The “disease” is nothing more than Dis-Ease of our body.

Saying in Functional Medicine goes like this.  “You are given a deck of cards to play with in life and it’s how you play with those cards (lifestyle choices) that will determine your genetic expression.”

MTHFR Genotype

One genotype that I feel that Lupus patients should consider is MTHFR.

In 2009, I had a tough year, with struggles with my personal life and a business to run, I was running on empty.  My flare was simmering.

I had a difficult time focusing, anxious and became irritable.  To add to that, I was extremely tired but couldn’t afford to be tired and my life came to a screeching halt with debilitating low back pain and digestive issues that became progressively worse.  I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.

I sought out a colleague who was practicing Functional Medicine and she tested various biomarkers including MTHFR.  That’s when I found out that I had a SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism).

MTHFR mutation is an inability to process folic acid (vitamin B9) which is commonly discussed during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.  Folate deficiency can result in fatigue, impaired cognitive function, and mood disorders.  (1,2)

MTHFR is an enzyme responsible for converting 5,10-methylene tetrahydrofolate to the product 5-methyltetrahydrofolate – it is involved in the metabolism of folate and homocysteine.

The product of the reaction catalyzed by MTHFR converts homocysteine (a potentially toxic amino acid) to methionine ( a necessary amino acid). 

What’s more important is that methionine is an essential amino acid required for producing glutathione, our body’s primary antioxidant (very important to keep our body healthy).

Our liver then converts methionine into SAM-e, an essential biochemical that helps to metabolize neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin.  Our brain also uses methionine to produce myelin, a coating that covers your brain cells that help to transmit information.  Ever wonder why you have numbness and tingling also called neuropathy?

Rather than taking Gabapentin, it may behoove you to consider an active B supplementation to ensure that you’re supporting your body’s natural function first.

Lupus Depression-Anxiety-Cognitive Function

A defect in the MTHFR gene also may promote high homocysteine levels in your tissues which impact your mental health putting you at risk for depression, anxiety, and foggy brain.MTHFR genotyping can provide information about potential causes of elevated homocysteine get to the root of imbalances.

This simple test can provide information about potential causes of elevated homocysteine get to the root cause of your symptoms and begin to fix and heal as opposed to masking symptoms with meds which result in secondary symptoms from those very medications.    Doesn’t this make more sense?

MTHFR Genotyping can be important because:

  • Certain mutations in the gene coding for MTHFR produce an enzyme that has reduced activity.
  • Reduced activity can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine (a.k.a. hyperhomocysteinemia), especially when folate levels are low.
  • High homocysteine (>13umol/L) may double the risk of developing an illness, increase inflammation, and various health complications.
  • Based on MTHFR and homocysteine results, Functional Medicine Practitioners can develop dietary recommendations- increased intake of folate alone or in combination with vitamins B6 and B12 are recommended.
  • Based on results, recommendations for methotrexate dosage can be adjusted.

Risks Associated with MTHFR Variants/High Homocysteine:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cerebral Vascular Disease (Stroke)
  • Venous and Arterial Thrombosis
  • Methotrexate Toxicity for Cancer Therapy

Who Should be Tested?

  • Those with high homocysteine levels.
  • Those who have a familial history of cardiovascular disease, stroke or thrombosis.
  • Those who are candidates for long-term methotrexate therapy.

So after I was tested, I took to taking supplements more seriously and therefore began my therapy to get my health back in line.

It took time to recover, but with the Alkaline Detox Protocol and proper supplements, I am happy to report no more irritable bowel, low back pain, depression, anxiety, and flares.  Of course, with fingers crossed.  🙂

You don’t have to purchase those supplements from us, but make sure to get the biologically activated forms of especially B vitamins.

I’d love to hear from you, please follow me, subscribe, and comment.  Thanks, much and talk soon.

Lastly, if you’d like to be tested, we perform those tests at our center, contact us at [email protected] and we can make it happen anywhere in the world.

Let’s create health!

**Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Lupus Rebel does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Lupus Rebel are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

References to review:

  1. Kulshreshtha, A., et al. “Association Between Ideal Cardiovascular Health And Carotid Intima-Media Thickness: A Twin Study.” Journal of the American Heart Association 3.1 (2014): e000282-e000282. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  2. Li P, Qin C. “Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene polymorphisms and susceptibility to ischemic stroke: a meta-analysis.” Gene. 2014 Feb 10;535(2):359-64. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2013.09.066. Epub 2013 Oct 16.
  3. Young, Simon, and Shalchi, Marjan. “The Effect Of Methionine And S-Adenosylmethionine On S-Adenosylmethionine Levels In The Rat Brain.” Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience (2005): 44-48. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  4. Karakula, H, et al. “Does Diet Affect Our Mood? The Significance Of Folic Acid And Homocysteine.” Polski Merkuriusz Lekarski 152 (2009): 136-141. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  5. Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid).” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  6. Jakubowski, Hieronim. “Pathophysiological Consequences Of Homocysteine Excess.” The Journal of Nutrition 136.6 (2017): 1741-1749. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.
  7. Azimova J.E., Sergeev A.V., Korobeynikova LA., Kondratieva N.S., Kokaeva Z.G., Shaikhaev G.O., Skorobogatykh K.V., Fokina N.M., Tabeeva G.R., Klimov E.A. “Effects of MTHFR gene polymorphism on the clinical and electrophysiological characteristics of migraine.” BMC Neurol. 2013 Aug 5;13:103. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-13-103.
  8. Gilbody S., Lewis S., Lightfoot T. “Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genetic polymorphisms and psychiatric disorders: a HuGE review.” Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Jan 1;165(1):1-13.
  9. McCarty, Mark F., Jorge Barroso-Aranda, and Francisco Contreras. “The Low-Methionine Content Of Vegan Diets May Make Methionine Restriction Feasible As A Life Extension Strategy.” Medical Hypotheses 72.2 (2009): 125-128. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.

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