Our DNA is made of 20,000+ genes. Genes are turned "off and on" depending on how we eat and nourish our bodies, the toxins we eat, drink, smear on our body, and breathe, how much sleep we get, etc. In his book, Dirty Genes, Dr. Ben Lynch says our genes can be born "dirty" or they can just act dirty. Either way, we will experience adverse effects. In this post, I want to focus on one gene in particular. When it's dirty, it can cause tremendous trouble. That gene is MTHFR.
MTHFR, which stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is a gene and an enzyme. The function of the gene is to produce the enzyme and the function of the enzyme is a biochemical process called methylation. Methylation is one of the body's main detoxification pathways.
Our bodies MUST detoxify or all the toxins build up and create the perfect environment for disease. When the MTHFR gene is dirty and our bodies are unable to properly detoxify, we can experience one or more of the 650+ illnesses believed to be induced by the MTHFR gene/enzyme. Here's a partial list of those illnesses:
Many different types of cancer
Diabetes, type 1 and type 2
Infertility and recurring miscarriages
Mental health problems like schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, depression, anxiety
Cleft lip/cleft palate
Alzheimer disease and dementia
Eye problems like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy
Spina bifida occulta
Addictions like smoking, drugs, alcohol
Low HDL cholesterol
To see a more comprehensive list of diseases brought on by a dirty MTHFR gene, click here.
Methylation is important for more than just detoxification. It is involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions and occurs billions of times per second in our cells. It is integral for DNA repair, energy production, mood balancing, glutathione production, and inflammation control. The MTHFR enzyme, which creates methylation, is an extremely important part of the body's ability to process amino acids and vitamin B9, also known as folate.
The most active form of folate is methylfolate or 5-MTHF. The process of methylation changes the folate you take in when you eat leafy, green veggies and changes it to methylfolate, the most bioavailable form of folate, so your body can use it. Besides leafy greens, folate can also be found in fruit, beans, nuts, peas, seafood, eggs, etc. It's pretty easy to find it in a relatively healthy diet.