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MTHFR – link with women’s hormones

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I'm Joanne
I’m a Naturopath, MTHFR & Methylation Specialist. I’m dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals so you can live a vibrant & fulfilling life

MTHFR – link with women’s hormones

Introduction

Over the past 3 years, I have treated hundreds of women with the MTHFR gene mutation and hormonal imbalance. These are a few of my observations.

Firstly, so many women with MTHFR and methylation issues have hormonal imbalances. Repeatedly, I find myself treating women with MTHFR for conditions like fatigue, migraines, miscarriage, anxiety, or depression. When we delve into inquiries about menstruation, it is a common occurrence for them to express, “My periods are extremely painful – I would rate it 10/10 in terms of pain. My PMS symptoms are severe – I experience overwhelming fatigue and moodiness, significant bloating, intense breast soreness, insomnia, and a very heavy flow.”

So what is going on? What are the possible links?

Firstly, you need the MTHFR gene and methylation pathways to be working optimally to support oestrogen detoxification via the liver.  Methylation is an important pathway in phase II liver detoxification of oestrogen.  When oestrogen does not get detoxified properly, it builds in the body causing all the symptoms mentioned above.

What can go wrong?

The COMT enzyme governs the Phase II methylation of estrogen. The COMT enzyme is what we call a methyltransferase, hence the MT.  What you need to make a methyltransferase is a methyl group. SAM, the body’s methyl donor, supplies this methyl group.

What do you need to make Sam?

You need good amounts of methylfolate, methylB12, methionine, zinc, and blood homocysteine to be at approximately 7.

WHAT'S GOING TO AFFECT YOUR LEVEL OF THESE NUTRIENTS?​

  • The MTHFR gene mutation may cause you to have reduced levels of methylfolate.
  • Vegans and vegetarians are at high risk of having low B12 levels. Additionally, individuals with poor gut function and low hydrochloric acid face a heightened risk of experiencing low B12 levels due to compromised protein breakdown and hindered B12 absorption.
  • Methionine is an amino acids which we get from protein, so those with inadequate protein intake will be low in methionine.
  • Zinc deficiency – those with inadequate zinc intake in their diet or those who eat a lot of high oxalate foods, which bind to zinc may have a deficiency in zinc. People with untreated pyrroles will also have low zinc.
  • Individuals experiencing elevated homocysteine levels, often attributed to the MTHFR gene mutation or inadequate B12, zinc, or B6, can encounter a situation where homocysteine becomes trapped. This is due to the requirement of these nutrients for homocysteine recycling in order to produce SAM.
  • In another scenario, low homocysteine levels can occur, leading to an insufficient amount available for recycling to produce SAM. Homocysteine can be low due to a number of things. A common observation in clinical practice is that individuals are prescribed a homocysteine-lowering supplement, which they continue to take for an extended period. This can lead to an excessive reduction in their homocysteine levels. I also see patients but on very high doses of B6 in pyrrole compounds, which will lower homocysteine below 7. Another cause of low homocysteine is oxidative stress, as cysteine steels the cysteine group from homocysteine to make glutathione. Those with a yeast, viral, bacterial or parasitic infections will often have low homocysteine due to an increased need for glutathione.

“Correcting methylation and supporting estrogen detoxification pathways can give immense relief to women suffering form hormonal imbalances.”

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