MTHFR – it’s not our abbreviation for a swear word! MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene. But since the scientists who discovered this gene didn’t think that was confusing enough, they went on to label both the gene and the enzyme the gene produces MTHFR.
What is MTHFR?
Really simply, we have two MTHFR genes – one from our mum and the other from our dad. MTHFR is a gene that produces the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for regulating our methyl cycle – the biochemical pathway that helps our body detoxify, produce energy, balance our mood, control inflammation, manage our immune function and maintain our DNA.
When the MTHFR gene is healthy, it produces sufficient, highly functioning amounts of the MTHFR enzyme. However when the gene is mutated, the enzyme isn’t produced correctly. Since we have two MTHFR genes, none, either one or both can be mutated.
Why does it matter if the MTHFR gene is mutated?
If both MTHFR genes are healthy it doesn’t matter. However mutated MTHFR genes can cause a range of health problems. Common health problems include:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Low HDL
- High homocysteine
For a more detailed list of medical conditions relating to the MTHFR gene mutations, check out MTHFR.net.