The Best Way to Optimize Your Genes with a Healthy Diet
In this article, we will look at some of the primary nutrients that help bolster the MTHFR gene and the processes related to it.
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC)
- EPA and DHA
1.Folate : A folate is a group of different compounds that are found in leafy green vegetables and legumes. There is a difference between folic acid and folate.Whenever you are trying to follow an MTHFR diet, it is recommended that you avoid folic acid, which is the synthetic form of folate. When you have an MTHFR deficiency, the MTHFR enzyme, which activates folate, works slowly and inefficiently. Both folic acid and natural folate need the MTHFR enzyme to be converted into the active form, 5-L methylenetetrahydrofolate.
A person with symptoms related to MTHFR gene mutation must consume foods rich in natural folate in order to treat their condition. Here are a few of the best food sources of folate that you can consume:
● Leafy greens and dark green veggies such as romaine lettuce,broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, spinach, and cabbage.
● Pulses and legumes: buckwheat, mung beans, chickpeas, lentils, black beans
● Fermented foods, which have other health benefits : miso and kefir
● Citrus fruits: oranges, grapefruits, and fresh squeezed orange juice (be cautious about packaged orange juice which is often fortified with folic acid).
● Tropical fruits including pineapple, mango, and avocado.
Avoiding foods fortified with synthetic folic acid is extremely important for MTHFR because folic acid has been shown to impair the functioning of the MTHFR enzyme. These foods include bread, pasta that isn’t gluten-free, pastries, and baked goods.
2.Vitamin B12 : The role of vitamin B12 in the development of the nervous system and the formation of red blood cells cannot be overstated. It is important to note that not all forms of vitamin B12 are created equal. In the case of people with mutations in the MTHFR gene, methyl cobalamin is the best form, but can be difficult to tolerate because it gives you such a quick burst of energy. If you don’t tolerate it well, hydroxy cobalamin and adenosylcobalamin are both great alternatives. You will not be able to properly utilize folate in your body if you do not have adequate amounts of vitamin B12.
Ensure that your MTHFR diet is enriched with vitamin B12 by eating these vitamin B12-rich foods:
● Meat: beef, chicken, lamb and mutton, turkey, cured ham, goose or turkey liver
● Dairy: yogurt, milk from grass-fed cows
● Cheese: feta, mozzarella, parmesan, swiss
● Seafood: clams, crab, mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, shrimp, lobster
● Fish: mackerel, herring, salmon, tuna, cod, sardines, trout, and bluefish
● Others: eggs
For vegetarians, some vitamin B12 can be gained from unfortified nutritional yeast, but supplementation may be necessary.
3.Vitamin B6 : Vitamin B6 plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and nervous system. In addition to this, it is also beneficial for the proper development and function of the brain. The MTHFR gene and it’s output, methyl folate, is needed for regulating the conversion of vitamins B6 and B12 into their active forms. An MTHFR deficiency can lead to difficulties converting supplemental vitamin B6 into its active form.
The following foods will help you increase your intake of vitamin B6 as part of your MTHFR diet:
● Meat: beef, chicken, pork tenderloin, turkey
● Vegetables: asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, potatoes, spinach
● Fruits: avocado, banana
● Fish: cod, halibut, salmon, snapper, yellowfin tuna
● Cereals: rice and wheat bran, brown rice, buckwheat flour
● Nuts: cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, lentils, peanuts, pistachios
4.Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin : It is well known that vitamin B2 or riboflavin plays an important role in many body functions. In order to produce energy, this vitamin breaks down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the body. In addition to being a water-soluble nutrient, vitamin B2 cannot be stored by the body in any form. Perhaps most importantly, riboflavin is an essential cofactor for the MTHFR enzyme, and without it the enzyme can’t function. Make sure that you restore your vitamin B2 levels every single day since it is flushed out of the body every single day.
Make sure you include these foods in your daily MTHFR diet so that you can get enough vitamin B2 every day :
● Meat: beef and lamb liver, venison
● Fish: mackerel, salmon, trout
● Vegetables: cremini mushrooms, green peas, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes,collard greens
● Dairy: cow’s milk, yogurt, cheese
● Nuts: almonds
● Seeds: sesame seeds, wheat bran
● Spices: chili powder, paprika
● Others: eggs
5.Vitamin C : Research has shown that vitamin C is one of the most potent nutrients for treating MTHFR deficiency. It has been shown that this antioxidant can boost the folate levels inside cells, suggesting better utilization, by 50%. MTHFR gene mutations interact with vitamin C in order to modulate the level of folate in the body. To maintain adequate levels of folate, it is necessary to consume sufficient amounts of vitamin C. Consume copious amounts of fruit and vegetables in order to attain an antioxidant-rich and folate enriched diet.
6.Vitamin D : The absorption of calcium in the stomach is facilitated by vitamin D.This calcium absorption in the stomach results in strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common conditions that people with MTHFR gene mutations suffer from, because vitamin D is metabolized in the liver and kidneys. In the case of an MTHFR deficiency, this metabolism rate is decreased significantly. The best way to fortify an MTHFR diet with vitamin D is to expose yourself to sunlight, without sunscreen, for 15 minutes to one hour each day (but make sure you’re not getting sunburned!).
There are other ways of obtaining this vitamin other than from sunlight, such as through the following foods:
● Meat: beef, liver, pork
● Fish: catfish, flounder, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, and tuna
● Others: caviar, eggs, mushrooms, milk
7.Vitamin E : Known as a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E plays an important role in slowing down the aging process in cells. Various skincare products and supplements contain this ingredient, and it is a popular ingredient in the beauty industry. In addition to strengthening the immune system, vitamin E promotes the health of the skin and eyes. There are times when it can be difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin E from just our diet alone.As part of your MTHFR diet, it is important to eat a variety of foods that contain vitamin E.
● Vegetables: asparagus, basil, bell peppers, collard greens, green olives, kale,mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnip greens
● Fruits: apricots, avocado, kiwi, papaya
● Nuts: almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds
● Spices: chili powder, oregano, paprika
8.Choline : Choline is a nutrient that is essential for the normal functioning and health of the body. The MTHFR gene mutation increases the amount of choline your body needs to function effectively. Increasing the amount of choline in the body can be an alternative way to obtain methyl groups, which is one of the main functions of the MTHFR gene.
Choline can be found in a variety of foods, including the following:
● Meat: beef, chicken, liver, rabbit, turkey
● Seafood: salmon, sardines, scallops, shrimp, tilapia (fish)
● Vegetables: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potato
● Others: eggs, peanut butter, quinoa, mutton, sunflower seeds
9.Glutathione : Glutathione is a substance that is produced by the liver. People with MTHFR gene mutations can suffer from glutathione deficiency, making them more prone to stress and toxins. Glutathione is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants and detoxifiers. In light of this, it is a vital nutrient for an MTHFR diet. Glutathione is essential for the liver’s detoxification processes in order to function properly.
Here are some food sources that will help you boost your body’s glutathione levels by providing precursors:
● Fruits: avocados, bilberry, melons, peaches, strawberries, watermelon
● Vegetables: asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage,cardamom, cauliflower, turnips, collards, garlic, horseradish, kale, okra,
onions, raw spinach, watercress
● Nuts: Brazil nuts, walnuts
● Spices: cinnamon, mustard, rosemary, turmeric
● Others: eggs, rice bran
10.N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) : N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), also known as acetylcysteine, contributes to the building of glutathione in the body. In addition to supporting the body’s detoxification processes, NAC provides a number of other benefits as well. It helps boost glutathione production, and also helps boost the immune system. As NAC is commonly used for the support of the liver, it is a good MTHFR supplement that you can take.
NAC can also be found in some foods including:
● Vegetables: Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, sweet bell peppers
● Nuts and seeds
11.EPA and DHA : The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA play an important role in supporting a healthy aging process. These fatty acids are the ones responsible for rebuilding and producing new cells in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a synergistic effect on B vitamins in people with the MTHFR mutation.
The omega-3 content can be Increased naturally by eating the following foods as part of your MTHFR diet:
● Meat: grass-fed beef
● Seeds: flax seeds
● Seafood: anchovies, caviar, halibut, herring, salmon, sardines, scallops, shrimp, swordfish, tuna
● Nuts: walnuts
In summary, the best diet for people with MTHFR mutations includes lots of green vegetables and fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses, mushrooms, and eggs. Also, lean meats, fatty fish, and dairy. It is extremely important to avoid refined grain products, which are fortified with folic acid.
MTHFR is a common genetic mutation that can contribute to anxiety, depression, fatigue, chronic pain, infertility, and more serious conditions like breast implant illness, heart attack, stroke, chronic fatigue syndrome, and some types of cancer. If you know or suspect you have an MTHFR variant, schedule a free 15-minute meet-and-greet appointment with MTHFR expert Dr. Amy today.Book Your Appointment