MTHFR, no it isn’t an acronym for a bad word. It is a bad word but not the kind you think. MTHFR stands for Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase (or more conveniently known as MTHFR), is an enzyme that works as a catalyst for important biochemical reactions in your body. One of the main reactions is to convert vitamin B9 (or folate) into a usable form, known as methyl-folate. Methyl-folate is critical in a process called methylation. MTHFR is the gene and also the name of the genetic mutation of Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase. One name, two meanings.
Most of us don’t even think about folate, or folic acid, outside of pregnancy. B vitamins, especially folate, are really important in the proper functioning of our bodies. Every single cell and tissue in our body experiences methylation. Methylation protects your body by repairing damaged cells, optimizing DNA cell function, processing toxins and hormones, metabolizing B vitamins, and regulating neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which control mood, behavior, sleep and your overall mental health. Methylation is important in the process of hormone metabolism. Hmmm…..
Hormone metabolism is really important to consider if you have hormonal fluctuations, such as hot flashes, postpartum, pms, pmdd. Your experience with perimenopause, or any of the above, is actually an indication of how your body responds to the hormones that are present during these phases. If you don’t have pms symptoms and you have easy periods, then your hormones are in balance and you are metabolizing them properly every month. If you have mood swings or pms symptoms, there are ways to boost your hormonal balance.
Each month your period is a health report card. In a previous blog, you can read all about What Your Period Says About Your Health. The same goes for your mood, your skin, cravings, and your emotions. Let’s talk soon!
Wondering if you have MTHFR? You can ask your doctor for a blood test to determine if you have the genetic mutation or not. It is a very simple test that can be done in any lab.