MTHFR Gene Variant

What Is a MTHFR Gene Variant?

Some people have genetic variations that increase their risk of experiencing physical and mental health symptoms. Corner Canyon Health Centers uses genetic testing and other comprehensive screening tools to accurately diagnose and treat clients, and the MTHFR genetic mutations are some we see frequently. In the United States approximately 30% of the population has some impairment of one or both of these genes, typically in the 20-30% range. Corner Canyon Health Centers finds that our client’s genetic testing shows that an average of 55% of our clients have some level of impairment on the MTHFR genes, and we frequently see clients with higher levels of impairment, up to 70-80%, or a total of 70-80% on both genes.

Mutations within a gene are called variants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The MTHFR gene provides instructions for your body to make the MTHFR protein, which helps your body process folate. Your body needs folate to make DNA and modify proteins.” MTHFR gene variants may cause the body to react in unexpected ways and interfere with its ability to process folate.

DNA genetic testing is the only way to determine if someone has an MTHFR gene mutation. The Pharmacogenetic DNA test (PGX) is standard at Corner Canyon Health Centers, it’s a simple cheek swab sample which can determine if clients have one or both of the most common MTHFR gene variants. The gene mutations may significantly affect a person’s mental and physical health, depending on the severity of the deficit and the length of time it’s untreated.

Corner Canyon Health Centers treats the whole person and uses genetic testing and other tools to identify potential biological factors affecting mental health. We have developed a unique approach to treatment, ensuring we meet the needs and preferences of each client. Our individualized holistic care provides clients with the resources they need to address underlying issues affecting their physical and mental health. Researchers have found connections between MTHFR variants and these disorders. However, the exact nature of their relationship is unclear. More research is necessary to reach a deeper understanding of how these gene variants impact mental health.

MTHFR Gene Variants and Mental Health Disorders

Two variants for the MTFHR gene are known to potentially impact mental and physical health. Individuals with both variants have a higher risk of developing mental health issues compared to individuals with only one gene mutation, and the degree of impairment is also a significant factor. Individuals with one or both gene mutations may experience mental health symptoms without meeting the criteria for specific disorders. Gene variants may also affect behaviors, thoughts, and moods. Some studies indicate MTHFR gene variations can contribute to the following mental health disorders:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism

MTHFR Gene Variants and Physical Health Disorders

MTHFR gene variants that impact physical health include:

  • C677T: Affects the cardiovascular system and may increase a person’s risk of experiencing heart disease, stroke, or other conditions.
  • A1298C: May contribute to blood clots, high blood pressure, and the development of some cancer.

MTHFR gene variations increase the risk of a person experiencing the following: 

  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Neural tube defects (which is why pregnant women take folic acid)
  • Stroke or heart disease
  • Gastric and Blood Cancers
  • Alzheimer’s and other diseases

Evidence-Based and Natural Medicines

The effect of the genetic problem is to reduce the ability of the person to process and benefit from folic acid in their diet. The primary treatment intervention for the MTHFR genetic variant is a food supplement, L-Methyl-Folate. Methylation makes the folate easier to digest and utilize, and the younger a person is when the impairment begins to be treated, the less likely there is to be development of mental and physical problems. There are over the counter versions of L-Methyl-Folate as well as prescription ones, and Corner Canyon adjusts each client’s dose to meet their level of impairment.

Nutrition is an essential part of healing from mental health disorders. According to Frontiers in Nutrition, “The antioxidant system, which has been implicated in the development of psychiatric disorders, is relevant . . . and its proper functioning depends on the presence of nutrients in food.” Folate levels affected by MTHFR gene variants influence the antioxidant system. Our team guides clients through learning to build healthier routines and behaviors surrounding food and nutrition to reduce the risk of side effects related to their condition. The healthy diet at Corner Canyon provides folate naturally, since it is high in the kinds of foods that contain folate like leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables.

Ready to make a change?

Liz Lund, MPA

Liz is originally from lush green Washington State. She is a life enthusiast and a huge fan of people. Liz has always loved learning why people are the way they are. She moved to UT in 2013 and completed her bachelors degree in Psychology in 2016. After college Liz worked at a residential treatment center and found that she was not only passionate about people, but also administration. Liz is recently finished her MPA in April 2022. Liz loves serving people and is excited and looking forward to learning about; and from our clients here at Corner Canyon.
When Liz is not busy working she love being outdoors, eating ice cream, taking naps, and spending time with her precious baby girl and sweet husband.