I’m so conflicted about the MTHFR gene and the potential issues it causes if you have it. Mostly because it’s so common now- more people than you would think are affected. If it’s so common, why does it affect some more than others?
True, there are different mutations (MTHFR), so depending on the mutation will depend on how it affects you. Some combos are considered more harmful than others but most people who have it don’t even know they have it.
No matter which mutation you have, there seem to be many health consequences linked to abnormal MTHFR and poor folate absorption.
I know people who have it and have healthy, typical pregnancies with no issue. I know others who have it and struggle to get and maintain a pregnancy. I am someone who struggled.
I’m also conflicted because there seem to be a lot of connections being made about what affects MTHFR has on the body.
Like the thyroid, it can easily be linked to just about EVERYTHING that’s wrong with you.
The list at Stop the Thyroid Madness is overwhelming. It includes scary things like certain cancers, stroke, heart problems, congenital defects, depression, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), miscarriages, neural tube defects, migraines, chemical sensitivities, Parkinson’s Disease, and many more illnesses.
Recently, I have even seen it being suggested that it can cause Down syndrome.
As a mother, there is nothing scarier than thinking you could have caused your child harm. So I just need so say this for myself and anyone else who may be worried about it: Down syndrome is absolutely not caused by MTHFR. It’s a random occurrence. There is nothing that could have been done to prevent it. Eli’s Down syndrome is chromosomal and not hereditary. It just happened. And we are thankful every day for Eli.
Its easy to get swept up in fear- or worry that you’re not doing enough. Did I take the right vitamins for long enough? Did I eat right? Was I stress free?
When I look at my family history I see cancer, Parkinson’s, Down syndrome, thyroid issues, asthma, uterine/cervical issues, miscarriage…I mean the list goes on. Does that mean they are all related to MTHFR?
I look at my children and begin to wonder if any of this is related to MTHFR. My first pregnancy was lost due to a neural tube defect. Then Eli came along with his extra chromosome. And most recently, Wyatt was born with a sacral dimple. MTHFR or just random?
Add to that the increased risk of people with Ds developing Alzheimer’s later in life…can these things all really be connected? Does MTHFR cause these issues or increase your risk of having these problems? And if so, how do we approach it?
When I first discovered I had MTHFR, I was told it caused my miscarriage. The science behind it (lack of blood flow and clotting issues as well as improper folate levels for the growing baby) was enough for me- I needed to treat this. I have plenty of friends who couldn’t carry a pregnancy until they treated their MTHFR. And certainly, if you have a vitamin deficiency, you’re going to be healthier if you treat it. So I get that. I treated my MTHFR with b12, b6, l-methylfolate, baby aspirin and prenatals. There’s no doubt in my mind that treatment enabled me to carry Eli and Wyatt to full term.
But I guess my point about all the other conditions linked to MTHFR is that we have so many things linked to so many health issues these days.
We don’t eat food that is good for our bodies. We are exposed to pollutants and poison every day. We put trust in and value man made, chemically altered products.
So is it all MTHFR or is there something more?
On a personal level, I can only say this. What we put into our bodies and what we expose ourselves to is so important. In the face of genetics, I can still work to be as healthy as possible. This means supplements and healthier food choices. It means not beating myself up over MTHFR or thyroid function. It means not blaming these conditions which I couldn’t change, but rather treating as concerns arise. If I know it’s an issue, let’s tackle it and treat it. So do I know that MTHFR caused Wyatt’s dimple? Nope. Do I know that my boys may carry it or have it themselves? Yes. Is there something they can do to be healthier? Yes. So let’s do that instead of worry about what could be or could have been.
Being a mom is hard and scary enough.