ANXIETY AND MTHFR
Anxiety is quickly becoming the most common complaint in my clinical practice as well as my online consultations.
The MTHFR gene plays a critical role in anxiety as well as depression. When this gene expresses is creates an inability for our body to utilize folate in our body which is critical to many pathways in our body.
The two most researched genes with regards to anxiety and MTHFR are the A1298C and the C677T.
If you have the A1298C variant this can affect the biopterin pathway which can lead to problems such as:
- Neurotransmitter disturbances (Which can lead to mood and behavior disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD and learning difficulties.)
- Nutritional imbalances (Amino acid difficulties leading to neurotransmitter problems).
How much will you be affected if you have the A1298C gene mutation?
There are two different types of the A1298C gene mutations, these are referred to as heterozygous and homozygous.
- Heterozygous = 1 copy of the gene from your father or mother
- MTHFR A1298C heterozygous = 20-30% loss of function.
- Homozygous = 2 copies of the gene, one each from your father or mother
- MTHFR A1298C homozygous = 40% loss of function
Common Difficulties with the A1298C mutation
The majority of problems experienced with the A1298C gene mutation are associated with neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These are chemicals that affect are mood, how we react to stress, our ability to focus and concentrate and our ability to relax.
For example, if you have the A1298C gene mutation you will have more of a propensity to have neurotransmitter issues. This can lead to mood and behavior issues that can impact significantly ones health.
There are a few other genes that are important to look at when dealing with anxiety and depression. These genes are COMT, MAOa, MAOb, and GAD. We must always look at the entire picture and not just focus on one gene.
The MTHFR gene is critical in the biopterin pathway and neurotransmitter production. It is also critical in the Folate and Methionine Pathway and ultimately how it influences homocysteine, the production of glutathione and detoxification.
For those of you that have the MTHFR C677T gene mutation you will have symptoms associated with:
- Folate metabolism
- Methylation issues
- Nutritional imbalances Detoxification (reduced ability to detoxify properly leading to toxicity problems)
Similar to the A1298C mutation you can be heterozygous or homozygous, 1 or 2 copies of the gene from mom and or dad respectively.
- MTHFR C677T heterozygous = 30-40% loss of MTHFR function
- MTHFR C677T homozygous = 60-70% loss of MTHFR function
Generally the problems we see with the C677T mutation are elevated homocysteine, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack or deep vein thrombosis.
The problems experienced by the C677T gene mutation include elevated homocysteine which can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis. Family history of associated diseases is also common.
As you can see the MTHFR gene mutation can lead to some serious health issues. I can’t stress enough the importance of consulting with a practitioner that understands the complexity of this issue as well as how epigenetics can affect you and nutrigenomics can reduce the risks associated with the mutation.
Can I have a combination of C677T and A1298C at the same time?
There are some people that have both the C677T and the A1298C gene mutation. In these situations there can be a combination of symptoms including neurotransmitters, homocysteine elevation and folate metabolism. Often times these situations become more complicated in trying to navigate the solution by yourself. I highly recommend that you have the genetic profile be evaluated by a practitioner trained in this. This will greatly improve the outcomes.