Welcome to another edition of MTHFR and epigenetics news. This month brought some interesting stories with the usual mix of both the empowering and the alarming. Just a reminder that the Nourished Living Summit is still going on and you can listen to excellent talks from 69 speakers on natural parenting and organic lifestyles for FREE for up to 48 hours after each presentation airs (disclosure: I am a member of the Nourished Living Network and that is an affiliate link).

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Hidden Toxins

As if worrying about the chemicals and additives in the food we eat isn’t enough, a new study found that the wrappers, cans and bottles containing food are often contaminated with formaldehyde, bisphenol A (BPA), triclosan, phthalates and at least 4,000 other chemicals (Organic Authority). And just because that plastic container says it is BPA-free, be warned that “‘almost all’ commercially available plastics …leached synthetic estrogens—even when they weren’t exposed to conditions known to unlock potentially harmful chemicals, such as the heat of a microwave, the steam of a dishwasher, or the sun’s ultraviolet rays…some BPA-free products actually released synthetic estrogens that were more potent than BPA.” This article from Mother Jones reveals the startling truth about plastics you probably thought were safe.

Autism Rises While Screening Methods Questioned

Based on the above it should be no surprise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a rise in autism cases this week, to one in 68 children while the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative questioned whether the widely used screening test, “Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers” (M-CHAT) is effective in both diagnosing cases correctly and preventing false positives.

Hope For Pain Sufferers

A key protein was discovered to play a significant role in rheumatoid arthritis, demonstrating that B cells aggravate autoimmune diseases (Medical Xpress). Meanwhile pain sensitivity was found to have an epigenetic basis, with lifestyle and environmental factors being able to turn the pain sensitivity gene TRPA1 on and off (e! Science News).


In other epigenetics news, a study was published revealing a relationship between adult body mass index (BMI) and DNA methylation. Researchers identified five sites where methylation levels correlated with BMI. Changes in methylation in sites near the HIF3A gene are likely a result of increased weight, perhaps offsetting some of the harmful effects of becoming obese (Medical News Today). Depressed patients were found to have a different epigenetic profile than non-depressed patients. Stressful events can increase the chances of a person developing depression later in life (Medical Xpress).

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Causes Labeling Stir

Upheaval permeated MTHFR-related discussion groups this month after watchdog group, Alliance For Natural Health (ANH) USA posted a series of articles about the agency’s alleged plan to ban certain forms of folate and other vitamin forms from supplements. A response by Dr. Ben Lynch defended the action temporarily in a blog post, which then disappeared from his popular MTHFR.net website, leaving only a 404 error with no explanation as to why it was taken down.

The new FDA language is extremely difficult to interpret, with clarity on the one hand calling for clear labeling of the types of folate present in supplements, which is a current area of confusion. How often have you seen a label that just says “folate” and you have no idea what form is in the product? On the other hand, some language later on in the guidelines suggests that supplements will only be able to contain the folic acid form of folate in the future, suggesting that perhaps the agency had something up its sleeve. The ANH petition against these changes was widely circulated and may be found via the linked articles.

Did I miss any related news that you thought was important?

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