No, this blog hasn’t turned into an episode from the show Breaking Bad. I’ve never even seen in person the more insidious substance that drives that program. I’m talking about methylated B vitamins here, which are crucial to conquering MTHFR. I’m not planning on telling you how to dose in this post, but I was pretty confused about what to do when I first learned I had MTHFR and, like you might be, I wanted to know how much and what to take. A number of supplements are recommended across the different websites covering MTHFR and today I will share my own personal experience so far with some of them.
First off, forget about folic acid. If you’ve recently found out that you have a MTHFR mutation, one of your first lifestyle steps should be to eliminate foods fortified with this and other B vitamins from your diet (the linked post will talk more about this). It’s basically garbage for you and could even be harmful. Those of us with MTHFR can’t process synthetic folic acid into a form our bodies can use. We need the active, bio-available forms of the B vitamins. An important thing to remember, however, is that not all people with MTHFR will do well on the methylated vitamins. The reasons for this are complicated and outside the scope of this post to discuss, but many people, in addition to their MTHFR mutations, also suffer from problems related to other genetic mutations like CBS, COMT, MAO-A, etc. and they have bad reactions to the methylfolate. Or perhaps your gut needs healing (try these tips) before you can get your methylation going. I highly recommend doing your own research on this or working with a knowledgeable health practitioner. I can’t even begin to discuss these because MTHFR is the only genetic issue I’ve had myself tested for at this stage. As I did not have any bad reactions to the supplements I have no reason to test for any more at this stage. For me, MTHFR is enough to work on!
I made some common mistakes when I first started with the methylated vitamin supplements, mostly because I hadn’t yet seen this item on methylation dosing or the comments. I didn’t start with the methylcobalamin first. And despite going slowly when increasing the amounts I was taking, I kind of rushed to start taking other supplements at the same time. Luckily I didn’t have seriously adverse reactions to anything, but I certainly wouldn’t follow the same steps again if I was beginning a supplement regimen today. I’ve posted this before on my Facebook page, but this video is a must-see for anyone beginning to take supplements for methylation.
My first step in treating my MTHFR was to take methylfolate (B9), methylcobalamin (B12) and Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (B6). I followed Dr. Lynch’s advice and increased the dosages slowly, doubling every three days. Being compound heterozygous, I probably didn’t need as much as I was taking. The first two weeks I felt amazing and then the following week or so I began to have symptoms of overmethylation: anxiety, heart palpitations and irritability. I immediately took niacin and cut back my dosage of these. In the meantime I had also introduced a few other supplements: N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), curcumin (turmeric), vitamin E, CoQ10, quercetin and milk thistle. I was already taking probiotics, vitamin D3, magnesium, vitamin C and EPA/DHA.
The only supplement that really didn’t seem to agree with me was the NAC. Taking the daily recommended dose made me feel exhausted. So I now take only half the daily dosage every other day and have noticed a definite improvement in my mood and a reduction in headaches with this dose.
Tomorrow I begin to finally see specialists to discuss my current treatment program and to have additional tests run. I’ve been waiting awhile for these appointments and have had the benefit of getting started on supplements before I see the doctors. Hopefully I’ll be able to unravel more mysteries. My current big health issues are my short luteal phase, relatively low basal body temperature and the chronic tinnitus that I’ve had since April when my homocysteine was at 9.4. That’s not good for my age and certainly not for getting pregnant, which I’ll discuss more in my next post.
Over to you – what are you taking for your MTHFR?