In early May I had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Benjamin Lynch on the topic of MTHFR when he was a guest on my Blog Talk Radio show.
I found the show with Dr. Lynch to be extremely informative and I am going to have to listen to this show numerous times to get it because Dr. Lynch shared a great deal of information. In this post I will share a timeline on our discussion so that you can jump to an area which may be of interest to you.
This show is pretty long and we covered a lot of information so you may want to listen to it a bit at a time.
Please remember that you can easily download the show to your computer and then transfer to a MP3 player, smart phone, or if you just have it on your computer – it's a lot easier to keep track of where you were listening so you can start there the next time you have a chance to listen. (rather than waiting for Blog Talk Radio to load and then trying to maneuver the slider). You will need to visit the Blog Talk Radio show site directly using this link, right click on the link under the player and right-click on Download this episode. If you are using the Internet Explorer browser, from the drop-down menu which appears once you right-click, you will select Save Target As. If you are using the Firefox browser, after you right-click you will select Save Link As. Save the episode to someplace on your computer you will be able to easily find. I generally create a new folder on my Desktop, name it GAPS Journey Blog Talk Radio shows and then save the file into there. Once it is downloaded, feel free to change the name of the show to something more easy to recognize than the numbers the show is usually named. Here are some photos to illustrate the instructions to follow.
Special thanks to my friend Joy Ceilidh who blogs at The Liberated Kitchen. Joy volunteered to be my co-host for the show as I was concerned about my connection dropping, and it did drop a number of times. I am very glad Joy was there to fill in for me. Thanks, Joy.
And a very special thanks to my friend Patty who blogs at Loving Our Guts for writing about the MTHFR genetic mutation, she is the one that introduced me to this condition. Patty's posts on MTHFR are here (from Internet Archive): Part One and Part Two.
0:00 Show Introduction
4:07 I name some of the conditions that can be related to MTHFR and express that more conditions are being related to MTHFR every day.
5:33 Dr. Lynch responds to my question “What condition is linked to MTHFR but what is the function?” and he gives an example where he was asked if MTHFR was linked to hearing loss, so he considered it: “MTHFR increases homocysteine, and homocysteine can increase cardiovascular risk and blood clotting, so probably.” He then went to Medline which is Pubmed.gov and he found that MTHFR is definitely linked to hearing loss.
6:59 I ask Dr. Lynch if he can tell us when this genetic mutation was discovered, and how he found out about it.
9:50 I ask Dr. Lynch to tell us about the Dr. Lynch Family Myriad of MTHFR Mutations.
12:10 Dr. Lynch tells us the order from mildest to worst. Dr. Lynch gives us a fascinating lesson on genetics. “The MTHFR gene produces the MTHFR enzyme, that's what it does, so if you create a misshapen enzyme, that enzyme loses function, because it is the shape which really matters in enzymatic function, that is one of the reasons.” We all have a copy of these genes that come from our parent, we have a 677 from our mother and a 677 from our father. The problem comes in when the parent's gene is mutated and that is passed on to the child. The two mutations that are tested for are C677T and A1298C (there are more but these are the only ones they currently test).
- 1 copy of 1298 [least impactful and least problematic and what current research is stating]
- 2 copies of 1298
- 1 copy 677
- 1 copy of each 677 and 1298
- 2 copies 677 [most impactful and most problematic]
“If you have two copies of the C base in the 1298, so if you have two copies of the mutated form of MTHFR in the 1298 position, you have a 40% reduction of enzymatic function. If you have two copies of the 677 mutation, you have upwards of 70% reduction in the function of the enzyme. So 70% is pretty significant, that means you only have 30% of that enzyme function left.”
Autistic kids are prevalent in having one mutation of each. Compound heterozygous is very common for autism.
17:01 I list the 16 things that Dr. Lynch is doing for his family and I ask Dr. Lynch to tell us how in spite of a person's genetic mutation that we can change this by lifestyle, diet, what we are exposed to, etc.
Dr. Lynch explains that our ancestry plays a part in this gene mutation. “If you look at the prevalence of the MTHFR gene mutation in various culture groups, Mexicans for example have up to a 50% prevalence of MTHFR in their whole ancestry… if you are of Mexican descent, the likelihood of you having MTHFR defect is one in two. If you're Italian, it's one in 2.5… Caucasians are upward of 20%.”
“MTHFR is a methylation defect and all these things that Starlene rattled off earlier such as soda, that requires methyl groups to process. Exposures to chemicals requires methylation, if you don't have methylation they accumulate.”
25:25 Dr. Lynch tells us that his wife no longer has rheumatoid arthritis. I ask Dr. Lynch if the “30 to 50% of the population has the genetic defect” that I've heard is the US or the whole world. He asks what part of the world is being affected by this genetic defect? He says it is the whole world but the United States is being hit hard because of our diet and fast and stressful way of living.
Dr. Lynch encourages us to watch his video presentation on methylation which is here: Methylation and MTHFR Defects presented by Benjamin Lynch, ND
28:30 I ask Dr. Lynch to tell us about the testing involved and to share with us about his business Seeking Health. Dr. Lynch also offers consultations over the phone. Dr. Lynch prefers that patients work with their doctor as these tests can be paid for with insurance but his company is there as another option. “If your doctor is very reluctant to educating themselves and does not like you doing your research then I would seriously question working with that doctor any further…”
It costs $150 for the test and the turnaround time can be as long as 20 days. “$150 to identify a defect that can cause a myriad of symptoms that cannot be addressed unless you address it properly is very inexpensive to determine, I urge all of your listeners, if you've not yet identified yourself with MTHFR or your family or your children, go out, get the test. Just get it done.”
31:00 I urge people to look at your own report yourself, sharing my sister's experience where her doctor only noticed the “negative for A1298C” but did not see that my sister was positive for one copy of C677T and I ask Dr. Lynch what we should do next after we have our diagnosis. I also mentioned my sister and I have children with Down Syndrome and he went into some discussion on this, and Dr. Lynch hypothesizes why older mothers have children with Down Syndrome. Dr. Lynch urges men and women who are trying to conceive to get tested and to get your homocysteine levels tested correctly. He mentions this article on his site: Elevated Homocysteine Level or Laboratory Error?
Dr. Lynch warns against taking too much L-methyl-folate because you can end up feeling horrible. He mentions cases where people have ended up in the emergency room for taking too much of the methyl folate. Dr. Lynch gives a shout out to Sterling Hill of MTHFR Support.
“Methyl folate is the most active form of folate that is produced in your body and it's also obtained from foods, some people are going to say ‘No, it's not' and I was one of the first people when I read about MTHFR I said ‘Well you can't get methyl folate from your food' … I've gotten more current textbooks, one of which is Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism 5th Edition which is a fantastic read, if you're a nerd.” This book talks about 5 methyl folate being available from leafy greens.
“Change all your core things in your life, and I would start leading a lifestyle that is what our cave person – you've got to lead a lifestyle that is reducing your exposures to all these toxicities and stresses, and that way you are reducing the burden on the MTHFR defect and even though the MTHFR defect is present… if you have two copies of the C677, you're still getting a 30% function, it's not like it's shut off. If you start leading a really healthy lifestyle and your demand for methylation is reduced then that little bit of methylfolate that you're producing can go on and start regulating DNA and can go on and start making neurotransmitters and can go on and start methylating the little bit of toxins that you are exposed to and once you start addressing the gut, and I always address the gut first…”
40:03 How can we work with our doctor once we learn we have the mutation? I also told the story of how my doctor told me to take 18 tablets daily of the wrong Vitamin B! Dr. Lynch said actually said it was pretty good that my doctor even knows about the genetic mutation MTHFR, and he said it's hard for doctors to stay current on everything. Dr. Lynch gave a shout out to his team at Seeking Health. Dr. Lynch says to start by addressing the condition of your gut, secondly, eliminate folic acid from your supplements, don't take it. “If you take too high/much folic acid, [this] can lead to unmetabolized folic acid and unmetabolized folic acid leads to a decrease in your natural killer cells and a decrease in natural killer cells can lead to all sorts of immune issues such as cancer risk.”
47:46 1st caller question: If you take a supplement like Juice Plus which naturally has high folic acid in it, is that okay or are you talking about chemical derived supplements that have folic acid?
50:10 Facebook Question from Patty: My question is about sedation. I have 2 daughters who need their tongue ties revised. One is 8 and one is 4. My 8 year old is extremely nervous about this. I have heard that nitrous oxide is not recommended for people with MTHFR. Are there any warnings about other methods of calming/sedating people with MTHFR issues?
53:30 Joy fills in for me since my Internet connection dropped and asks what tweaks would Dr. Lynch suggest for the GAPS Diet. Dr. Lynch discusses his thoughts about not using raw eggs [affiliate link]. Dr. Lynch also wants to point out that raw milk should come from cows that are A2, or raw goat milk, and camel milk is also A2.
58:19 2nd question from Patty: I have multiple health issues and am struggling to figure out what to address first. One big issue is getting my dental amalgams out. I am working up to a full dose of methylfolate and other supplements but it brings on lots of detox so I'm going slow. My health is poor and I don't want to get worse and I'm watching my life pass me by so I want to get well but I'm not sure if I should go ahead and get my amalgams out now before I am up to a full dose of methylfolate and other supplements or if I should go ahead and get them removed and reduce the toxic load on my body now.
1:04:47 Caller is pretty sure she has MTHFR but is waiting on test results. She has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and she wonders how methylation plays a part in this condition. Dr. Lynch mentions a woman who has a blog on Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and tests positive for the MTHFR gene mutation as a resource to the caller (who has read the woman's blog and will check in with her).
1:10:00 Facebook question from Heather: With regards to possible causes for miscarriage (already gluten-free): Does the dr. recommend doing a hormone panel or testing for the mutation first?
1:11:27 Facebook question from Diane: How often is additional testing needed after MTHFR is diagnosed?
1:14:55 If you have blood clots you need to have this tested. When you blood testing done you might have high reverse T3 levels due to being stressed out and doctors treat you based on that lab test for months. History is critical.
1:16:20 Caller question: I have pretty serious digestive tract inflammation, I have interstitial cystitis, on a limited diet – kind of like GAPS but can't handle broth. Also have constipation and liver/gallbladder problems. I most likely have MTHFR, have been sick most of my life and on antibiotics most of my life but what can I do if I learn I am positive?
1:21:00 2nd question: Food wise what can I do if I can't take supplements.
Functionalmedicine.org is an association that Dr. Lynch recommends.
1:24:55 Caller question: I have the double mutation for C677T, my doctors locally know very little about it and they tell me it's really nothing serious. Ironically in the same year I was diagnosed with increased inter-cranial pressure, too much spinal fluid on the brain. And I joined an online Facebook group for people who suffer from the same disorder, and there's a couple hundred of us and the common denominator with most of us being women was the MTHFR and PCOS. I just wanted to know if there was a correlation there?
1:30:14 Dr. Lynch I have one 677 and one 1298 and I saw on your website that you had a protocol for the C677T and I didn't know if you had one for the combined?
1:35:33 Question from Facebook from Kelly: I have one copy of 677, had 2 of our 8 children tested and theyre carrying 2 copies of 677 each- so homozygous. so obviously me and my husband are both carrying a copy. my? is will a parent ALWAYS pass their copies on or is it “chance” with each baby? Meaning will ALL our kids automatically have the double copies of 677T? ( a little history too :also 3 children were born tongue tied which I found an interesting connection. The 3 of us who have been tested were tested because I had an out of the blue stroke last year and all they really found was elevated homocysteine at 11.7. We've since found the three of us also have Lyme disease and the various co-infections. )
1:39:53 The show is garbled until 1:40:40 but resumes after this time and is okay for the rest of the show. Just before the garbling begins, Dr. Lynch is using his family as an example to explain to Kelly how this works out. I asked Dr. Lynch if he could fill in the gaps for me and this is his response,
“It is possible to have two MTHFR mutations on the same chromosome – such as a compound heterozygous individual may have one mutation on each chromosome – 1 from the mother and 1 from the father. Or the individual may have both mutations on one chromosome – donated by either the mother or the father.
It is important to distinguish this if one desires children or has children. The only way to distinguish this though is to evaluate which MTHFR SNP’s your parents have and even then it may not be possible.
If one has two MTHFR SNP’s on one chromosome, and that chromosome is passed onto a child, then that child has two MTHFR SNP’s without even looking at the partner’s MTHFR status. If the partner is homozygous for any MTHFR SNP, then the potential for a triple mutation exists – and I do have clients with triple mutations.
Remember, a MTHFR SNP is based on location. The MTHFR 677 mutation is located at the 677th base on the 20,000+ long MTHFR gene. So having another mutation at position 1298 is totally possible. The MTHFR gene is on chromosome 1.”
1:41:42 I ask Dr. Lynch to explain about the importance of not eating foods with synthetic Vitamin B.
1:47:15 Dr. Lynch gives us some words of wisdom stating that our genes are not controlling us, but that we are in control of our genes. He highly recommends a DVD by Bruce Lipton, PhD. The New Biology Where Mind and Matter Meet.
Here is the beginning of Dr. Lynch's words of wisdom:
“You need to understand when you get a diagnosis of having one or two copies of MTHFR, not to feel down and out but to feel actually privileged that you have been diagnosed and found out that you do have this mutation so you can do something about it, and be proactive and then to seek out other things such as the GAPS Diet and implement that in your lifestyle and then also seek out environmental medicine and environmental health and realize that the bees in our environment are being killed by insecticides and everything we do in our life has an impact on what's going on outside our bodies and inside and how you perceive things. You know if you wake up and you're a pessimist and you're grumpy and irritable, you're turning on your sympathetic nervous system which requires a lot of methylation to break down those negative hormones and neurotransmitters so you're actually causing yourself sickness because instead of processing chemicals you're processing stress hormones, and that's a big one. If you don't have healthy bacteria in your gut, you've got candida albicans going like crazy, it's producing acetaldehyde which is requiring methylation to get rid of, if you've got beneficial bacteria in your gut, they're making B vitamins for you, they're absorbing toxins for you, they're taking a load off methylation…”
Be sure to listen all the way through to the end to hear everything Dr. Lynch had to say.