MTHFR & Homocysteine – Methylation Malfunction
Inflammation & Methylation
As discussed in a previous post, MethylenetetrahydrofolateReductase (MTHFR) is an inherited genetic variant that researchers call a polymorphism (SNP). Growing research demonstrates that up to half of all Americans may carry at least one genetic variation (C677T & A1298C) known as MTHFR. This variation prevents the body, including the brain, from being able to properly use folic acid, which disrupts a process known as Methylation.
Methylation is a critical biologic process that requires adequate amounts of folic acid, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 which act as cofactors in key enzymes that produce and balance neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Methylation is also extremely important for other bodily functions such as detoxifying homocysteine.
Homocysteine is a byproduct of cellular metabolism and is generated when methionine (amino acid found in fish, meats and dairy) is metabolized to help make proteins and to maintain tissues. When adequate levels of B Vitamins are available, they recycle left over homocysteine into methionine and the cycle repeats itself. If the Methylation process in not working correctly (MTHFR +/+), elevated levels of homocysteine may occur and become a risk factor for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and debilitating migraines. So what’s in common with all of these health challenges?
Simply put, elevated levels of homocysteine accelerate inflammatory disease processes.
Increased inflammation translates to an accelerated aging process!
Research has demonstrated that an elevated homocysteine levels have been linked to telomere damage. (Telomeres are protective caps at the end of the chromosome that shorten with age). Research has also shown a direct link to elevated homocysteine levels and damage to the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays a crucial role in memory formation. It is well documented that elevated levels of homocysteine may be related to a deficiency of three necessary B Complex Vitamins B6, Folic Acid & B12. This deficiency inhibits the body's ability to process dietary protein. The typical American diet is filled with nutrient deficient foods. Taking B vitamins may not lower homocysteine levels, however they play a critical role in balancing homocysteine levels.
What You Can Do: Right Now
- Lifestyle habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption may also affect homocysteine levels. Changes in these life style factors may reduce homocysteine levels and hopefully reduce the threat to cardiovascular health.
- Test Your Self: If you are interested in testing without a doctors visit or would simply like to learn more, click here: www.mylabsforlife.com
Homocysteine levels and leukocyte telomere length
Effect of lifestyle factors on plasma total homocysteine concentrations in relation to MTHFR (C677T) genotype.
Changes in lifestyle, biological risk factors and total homocysteine in relation to MTHFR C677T genotype: a 5-year follow-up study.
Plasma Homocysteine Concentration, C677T MTHFR Genotype, and 844ins68bp CBS Genotype in You Adults With Spontaneous Cervical Artery Dissection and Atherothrombotic Stroke.
Migraine Mediates the Influence of C677T MTHFR Genotypes on Ischemic Stroke Risk With a Stroke-Subtype Effect.
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