Your body is made up of trillions of cells, each containing your genes — the specific instructions that make you who you are. Genes are sections of DNA, your body's master manual. The latest estimate is that there are around 20,000 genes in the human genome.
And one of those is called the MTHFR gene.
What in the world is a MTHFR?
No, it's not short for an expletive. The MTHFR gene provides instructions for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, the enzyme used to convert folic acid (vitamin B9) into folate’s active form, methyl-folate (5MTHF).
Activated methyl-folate plays a key role in a biochemical process called methylation. Methylation is the powerhouse detoxification, production, and DNA protection system that almost every cell of your body depends on.
Methylation happens more than 1 billion times a second in your body to keep you alive and healthy. In short, if methylation is not working well, a lot can go wrong with your health.
MTHFR gene mutations don't send all the instruction to make that important enzyme. Some research estimates that those of us with MTHFR changes make up to 70 percent less methyl-folate!
There can be one mutation (heterozygous) or two mutations (homozygous). The more mutations you have, the more problems your body will have methylating. As a result, some research has shown an association between MTHFR mutations and many health problems, including, among others: