May 22, 2011


Disclaimer:  I, Melanie, am not a doctor, or a drug rep. and I do NOT work for any supplement company.  In other words...there are absolutely NO monetary benefits for me associated with this post and it's contest.  I'm just a believer in it and can't help but share what I know (as little as it is).

What is MTHFR?

"MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is a common genetic variant (think of variety) that causes a key enzyme in the body to function at lower than normal rate. 

There are over 50 known MTHFR variants, but the two prime variants are called 677 and 1298 (the numbers refer to their location on the gene).  The 677 variant is associated  with early heart disease and stroke and the 1298 variant with a variety chronic illnesses." (direct quote found here)

Other symptoms associated with the deficiency:
Elevated homocysteine levels, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, chronic fatigue, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, migraines, Alzheimers, chronic pain, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, as well as prevention of congenital anomalies (birth defects), and Down’s Syndrome.  It's even been linked in association with Autism.  

This disorder was first brought to my attention by Dr. Neil Rawlins (a local Tri-Cities area, WA OBGYN) when I was pregnant with #4.  I had blood tests done and was found to have one "faulty" site on the MTHFR gene (aka heterozygous) which means that the MTHFR gene in my body only runs at about 55% to 70% efficiency compared to a normal MTHFR enzyme (a homozygous result means that both common genes are effected and then enzyme efficiency drops down to 7% to 10% of normal at best).

What does this all mean?'s hard to explain so I will let this article explain it in simple terms.  (I have been researching it for 2 years and I STILL get so confused sometimes).


This article was published in the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business in December of 2010

Local doctor helps treat genetic disorder that causes depression
by Elena Olmstead for TCAJoB

"Dr. Neil Rawlins, a Richland obstetrician and gynecologist, may not seem like he would be the main contact when it comes to dealing with medical problems caused by common genetic variants.

But Rawlins has spent the past several years learning about, working on and giving presentations about Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase, a genetic variant affecting the body's ability to brake down folic acid.  It can lead to health problems ranging from depression to nerve pain.

For Rawlins, the journey into studying MTHFR started as a personal one.  He said seven years ago his son cam back from a mission trip to Chile and never quite recovered.  Rawlins said his son was sick when he came home and he continued to get worse.  He said no one could identify exactly what was happening to his son.

'So we started doing research,' Rawlins said.

This is when he came across some of the work that was being done as part of the Human Genome project.  The project sought to identify genetic disorders that cause diseases and find ways to treat the cause of the illnesses and not just the symptoms..."

"...Rawlins explained having MTHFR means the body cant efficiently break down folic acid it takes in through food.  Rawlins said typically the body works to break folic acid down into a useable form called methylfolate.  He said this is the form of folic acid that is used by the brain to make serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.  If the body isn't getting enough methylfolate it can't make the proper amount of these neurotransmitters and can lead to people suffering from depression, memory loss and nerve pain..."

"...he said someone with MTHFR who suffers from depression is typically not creating the right balance of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which the body needs.  And while typical antidepressants work to regulate the body's use of the neurotransmitters it is able to produce, it doesn't do anything to help create more."  But taking methylfolate, which I currently buy over-the-counter (5-MTHF), does help to create more...of this I can personally attest.

"[Rawlins] said research over the past several years has shown taking Deplin, or most other forms of methylfolate, is like taking a vitamin.  He said test have shown patients record more side effects with a sugar pill than with methylfolate."

He used to order blood test to determine if people had the genetic variant before he started treatment.  ", he said, he simply asks people to try it if they think it might help.  He said the only thing people will be out is the money they spend to buy the methylfolate [either in over-the-counter options or in Deplin].

"It's one of these things that has made a lot of difference in a lot of people who nothing else worked for."

I really, truly have a personal testimony of this.  The more I learn about it, the more I believe that "they" are on to something.  :)

Taking Methylfolate has made a HUGE difference for me!  HUGE!


...taking my recovery from merely "SURVIVING" to "THRIVING."  (what does that mean?  click here.)

I would recommend, at least looking into it, to ANYONE and EVERYONE.  It is WORTH it.

Wanna learn more: 
--Here is a link to Dr. Rawlins downloadable video lecture (it was taped 3 years ago--he said he plans on re-taping and re-posting soon because of added information).
--Here is a link to another local doctor who is on board with Dr. Rawlins
-- Here is a link to Wikipedia's say in it all for all you people out there that can understand 4 and 5 syllable words

And if you live locally (as in Tri-Cities area, WA, USA) Dr. Rawlins next lecture in on August 9, 2011, at the Kadlec Hospital in Richland.  You can e-mail me @ melaniesmethodicalmusings dot gmail dot com for more details.


Melanie said...

And here you are in the Tri-Cities, where you have access to the help you need. God absolutely loves us and has a hand in our lives. We moved here, I thought for Jeremy to work on his dad's farm, but that all fell apart quickly. However, I found an alternative doctor for Alec who was having major problems and after several years of seeing him, is a totally different boy. We needed to be here for Alec to get help, and you need to be here for your doctor. Tender mercies!

This all sounds so fascinating. I kind of doubt I have it because I have never had a miscarriage, but I really have doubts my neurotransmitters are doing what they should. Plus, I wonder about Bryson. He never has anger or fits of rage, but he is always in a funk and always has been - just mopey and depressed. Do you know how much it costs to go have the test?

traskrocks said...

I really like your blog. Came across it today and spend nearly 2 hours on it or referring back to it.
I am wondering where you buy your Methyltetrahydrofolate (5-mthf) or if you still are using it.

Melanie said...

traskrocks-I do still take/buy the methylfolate and will be happy to give you more information. Please e-mail me @ melaniesmethodicalmusings@gmail dot com

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