When we purchased our house one of the first things we did was install a custom whole house water filtration system, with reverse osmosis (RO) in the kitchen to filter our drinking water. Because we drink so much water, I am always very concerned about its source. When we first moved to our city, we noticed that the water smelled heavily of chlorine. I also learned that regular tap water can have all sorts of nasties in it, from lead to pharmaceutical drugs. We alternate between drinking and cooking with the RO water, and drinking bottled water.

testassured water test kit

When the company TestAssured reached out to us with news of their easy, at-home water testing kits, I thought it would be a great idea to test our RO water as well as the bottled water we consume. I was curious to see how good a job our water filtration system was doing and to verify the safety of our bottled water. Their Complete Water Test Analysis Test Kits appeared to be simple to use and also comprehensive, with 10 different tests included.

testassured water test kit 10 tests

Because its results take two days to obtain, I began with the bacteria test. This test required me to obtain a water specimen in a vial containing a testing powder. After shaking vigorously I was instructed to leave it in a warm place for two days.

bacteria water test collection

testassured water bacteria test

Next I tested for lead and pesticides. This test comes with a pipette, which I used to take a small sample of water from each source. Next I was instructed to place two test strips into the water and wait 10 minutes before reading the results.

water test kit for lead and bacteria

water pesticide test result

Finally, I opened the last packet, which contained a number of different tests. These were all very easy and straightforward tests to perform, each involving a dipstick and color coded results.

test water for chlorine

 

In the end, the results for both of our sources of drinking water were exactly the same. The test kits come with a handy guide to the (EPA) maximum contaminant levels, so that you can compare your results to the federal water limits. These were the results for our water:

Bacteria: Negative

Lead: Negative

Pesticide: Negative

Hardness: 40 ppm

pH: 6

Hardness: 0

Iron: 0

Chlorine: 0 – .5ppm

Copper: 1.3 ppm

Nitrate: 0

Nitrite: 0

water testing for iron and copper

Aside from the pH, which was slightly more acidic than the federal guidelines, our water looks pretty good. Overall I found these test kits to be easy to use and fun, definitely a project you can conduct with younger family members with a curiosity about ecology (under supervision). I had a little difficulty differentiating between the colors as some of them are very close along the spectrum, however, I think this also had to do with the room where I was working in. I recommend reading the results in natural daylight or a room with very good lighting.

Would you like to test your household’s water supply? Leave a comment below that explains what kind of water you drink and how you go about purifying it (or if you don’t, why not). We will choose three winners at random to receive a free test kit from TestAssured. You must post your response in the comments below by Monday, November 28th by 7pm EST to be entered in the drawing. Open to residents of the United States only.

Disclosure: We received two free test kits from TestAssured in order to conduct a review for this post.

If you have a comment that is related to your own health or have questions that require an answer, please leave these in the community discussion forums and not in the comments below. Thanks! =)

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Much of the focus regarding MTHFR and infertility is around women’s nutrition. Today, however, we have an exciting guest post from Australian Naturopath, Carolyn Ledowsky, which reminds us of the very important fact that men matter too! Please note that this blog is open on an ongoing basis to health professionals who would like to share their knowledge with others about MTHFR and MTHFR-related wellness topics. Please read about the guest post program to learn more.

I’m in the throes of researching for my new online preconception course and have come across some powerful new research on the MTHFR gene, recurrent pregnancy loss and the male partner’s role in this serious condition.

men fertility MTHFR

And while each partner plays an equal role in fertility, I’d love a dollar for each woman that I see for fertility with a male partner at home believing preconception care isn’t something he needs to worry about or be involved in.

Well, hello!!

The DNA of your future child is 50 percent male and female right?

A new study completed at the end of 2015 highlights the importance of the dad’s MTHFR gene status when it comes to miscarriage risk.

This review analyzed over 25,000 mums, dads and bubs and looked at the relationship between the mums’ MTHFR status, dads’ MTHFR status and the babies’ MTHFR status. Results showed BOTH the MTHFR C677T and the A1298C gene in the mum AND dad were associated with recurrent pregnancy Loss (RPL).

Interestingly there was a higher percentage of miscarriage when the baby had a homozygous A1298C mutation, making the dad’s MTHFR status just as important as mum’s. In fact the researchers concluded that they found “a significant association between paternal MTHFR C677T and A1298C polymorphisms and RPL.”

We all know how devastating a miscarriage can be, particularly when couples experience them repeatedly. RPL, which involves more than two miscarriages in a row before the 20-week mark, affects one to five percent of couples worldwide.

So what do we take out from this new study?

We take note!

Both our potential mum and dad need to be tested for the MTHFR gene months prior to trying to fall pregnant. This review shows us that if a baby is homozygous for the MTHFR gene mutation there is a higher risk of miscarriage, particularly with the A1298C variant.

Both mum and dad need to be taking prenatal supplements to ensure optimal folate levels. Remember that folate is what ensures you have good DNA and provides the key ingredient to ensure a fetus develops in the early stages. So there is no point in just the woman taking folate because the DNA in the sperm is just as susceptible to damage from low folate levels as the woman’s egg.

Low folate is associated with:

  • Neural Tube Defects like Spina bifida
  • Low sperm quality
  • Clotting disorders that affect the nutrients going from mum to the baby via the placenta
  • Autism
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Allergies
  • Low birth rate
  • Down syndrome
  • Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL – as we are talking about today)

So is it worth the risk? Why is this even a debate? Why doesn’t the general medical community just say ok, I’m taking note of the new study and I’m going to switch what I’m going to give my patients with the MTHFR gene? Is it political? Is it because the suppliers of folic acid are pushing back? I hope not.

So what can you do?

Primarily, ensure both partners are tested and supplement with active folate in prenatal/ fertility formulas for a healthy preconception period before attempting to conceive.

For those doctors out there that say to you there is no association between the A1298C and miscarriage risk, please send them the link to this paper, which is at the bottom of the page.

For those doctors that tell you to take folic acid, then YOU will need to educate them, as this is the question I seem to be asked most. “I know that I shouldn’t be taking folic acid but how do I tell my doctor that?”

Here is a paper that I wrote last year on the difference between folic and methylfolate.  It has the references in it so you can download it and give it to your doctor.

But basically the message is not that folic acid doesn’t work, but that it’s synthetic, man made and has no metabolic activity in the body until the body processes it. So if you have issues with processing then it’s going to be underutilized and build up.

Also the folate receptor sitting on the surface of the cell will prefer to bind to folic acid, so keeping out our good folate from food. Why would we use something that’s not biologically active when we have other options?  5-MTHF, the active folate, will bypass any MTHFR gene mutation and supply the important methyl groups we need to help our cells get this active folate. In preconception there really should be no argument here.

What never ceases to amaze me is how much research people with the MTHFR gene have had to do. You are the ones driving this change, not the doctors, not the specialists – your need to know more and ask questions are what is driving this increase in awareness and change in folate.

So keep up the good work. Keep searching and we’ll keep giving you the ammunition you need.

If you would like to learn more, you can join my FREE course on the top 10 tips on how to prepare for pregnancy with MTHFR by clicking here.

Link to research paper

 

 

Seeking Health - Optimal Prenatal - 240 Vegetarian Capsules

About Carolyn Ledowsky, ND

Carolyn Ledowsky NDCarolyn Ledowsky is a MTHFR expert and founder of MTHFR Support Australia, a clinic dedicated to supporting those with MTHFR and methylation related disturbances. She holds a Bachelor of Herbal Medicine, Bachelor of Naturopathy and Diploma of Nutrition, having also studied courses in genetics at Duke University and The University of Maryland.

She is a regular speaker at MTHFR events and provides both patient and practitioner training through her many webinars, presentations and on-line learning environments. You can join one of her weekly ‘MTHFR in Preconception’ webinars by clicking here.

Carolyn now sees patients with MTHFR mutations and/or associated methylation disturbances, which then go on to affect fertility, thyroid, adrenals, hormones, detoxification, energy and neurotransmitters. Her expertise is in understanding these highly complex biochemical pathways, and how individual genetic presentations give rise to dysfunction is her main focus.

Join Carolyn on social media via the links below:

MTHFR Support Australia Facebook

MTHFR Support Australia Pinterest

If you have a comment that is related to your own health or have questions that require an answer, please leave these in the community discussion forums and not in the comments below. Thanks! =)

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Hello everyone!

My apologies for not updating this blog in so many months. I have been engaging with some of you over on the forums, but life has been very hectic for me and my family since the start of the year.

IMG_1788

 

We continue to enjoy a very healthy, active and developmentally advanced almost seven month old child. Crawling at 18 weeks and now pulling up to standing and cruising around on the furniture…we don’t get nearly enough sleep around here. So for those who have posted comments in my Preparing for Pregnancy with MTHFR post asking if there is the possibility of a successful and healthy pregnancy with this mutation, the answer is a resounding yes!

Currently my focus is on keeping our household non-toxic and continuing to do our best with regards to the food we eat and the products we use. I’ve posted quite a few articles over on Facebook lately helping everyone sort out the good from the bad on retail shelves. I’ll admit that it’s difficult with such a busy schedule, but I’d say 85 per cent of the time we are making healthy choices.

On that note, I am currently working on my own food product, which adheres to the principles of organic, nutritious and functional eating. I’m pretty early on in the process but I look forward to sharing it with you when I’m ready to launch.

Hopefully everyone is making progress on their health goals. I don’t have too much else to report right now but I continue to wish all of you success in changing your diets and environments, opportunities to get answers to your health questions and happy, vibrant lives. Let me know how I can help!

If you have a comment that is related to your own health or have questions that require an answer, please leave these in the community discussion forums and not in the comments below. Thanks! =)

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