Step one in a healthy MTHFR lifestyle is getting rid of foods with folic acid. This is hard, but pretty much everybody feels good in this scenario. Step two is adding in food sources of natural folate. This is easy, but it doesn’t always go so well. Some people feel bad with methylfolate or food sources of natural folate, which seems insane when it is so vital for everything. . Let’s look at three different scenarios.
High Folate Foods Make Me Depressed.
Congratulations – if high folate foods make you depressed, then chances are, you are in a particular category of MTHFR folks, the depressed undermethylators. For most people with MTHFR, boosting natural folate intake in food sources helps to boost neurotransmitters and increase your serotonin, dopamine, melatonin, and generally make you feel happier. Depressed undermethylators are a whole special category because, for the most part, you won’t be able to tolerate folate. Like, ever. There is a whole long explanation for this involving folate and serotonin and we’re doing a whole post on it in early October. I promise. For now, just understand that people with low serotonin and an MTHFR issue often find that their serotonin gets lower when they begin to take natural folate.
Foods fortified with folic acid are probably contributing to your depression and you’ve never known because you’ve never tried avoiding them. Mind blown.
There are specific workarounds for this issue, and we’ll talk about them in more detail in October, but if you just can’t wait, then there is a great post about it here.
High Folate Foods Make Me Feel Like I Bathed In Caffeine
Yeah. I’ve been there. The horrible, jittery, can’t-stop-moving feeling is no fun. Especially, when this is how you’re spending the time that is normally allocated to sleep. There are a few reasons for this.
- Too fast! Your body is freaking out because it hasn’t had methylated folate for a long time (or possibly ever) and now it has a bunch and it doesn’t know what to do. SLOW DOWN. This usually happens when people go from no natural folate to 400 mcg all in one jump. Stop, cut it down to 100 mcg (or less if you are super sensitive), and give your body a chance to adjust. You will probably get to this level, but give your body some time.
- Too much! If you aren’t used to paying attention to your body’s signals it can be really easy to overshoot the mark. 400 mcg is a general benchmark, but it isn’t written on a stone tablet. Some people methylate optimally at 100 mcg, or 150, or 300. Overmethylators often need very little methylfolate or natural folate to be at their best. This is all very individual so slow down, pay attention to your body’s signals, and don’t worry about what is optimal for someone else. Getting too much is just as hard on your system as not getting enough.
- Too many things at once. If something else is going on in your life that is stressful for your body or your mind, it is really important not to push too hard with methylation because boosting your natural folate helps your body, but also asks your body to do a bit of work. You probably have a backlog of toxins that can finally be eliminated, a whole lot of repair that has been backlogged, and a variety of internal chores that need to happen. If you’re in the middle of a divorce, or you have the flu, or it’s the middle of allergy season, then your body could be overtaxed. This is okay, and it’s normal. Just be gentle with yourself. Times like this your body needs extra care and lots of the time extra care means doing less, even when the things you’re doing are great for you.
I Feel Worse Than Bad With Methylfolate or A Folate-Rich Diet. Utterly Disgusting – Almost Hungover.
If this looks like you, then you are doing some serious detoxing. Too much, in fact.
- Brain fog
- Mildly nauseous
- “Acidic” stomach
- Can’t focus/low attention
- Sluggish or heavy feeling
- Concentration is difficult
This usually happens if you’ve had recent exposure to something that your body didn’t like (like paint fumes or solvents or the perfume counter), if you’re losing weight and liberating some toxins stored in your fat, or if suddenly your body has extra resources (like natural folate) and decides to clean house. When it happens to me I’m generally irritable, headachy, have brain fog and I get generally unpleasant to be around.
In this situation, it’s a good idea to step back, back off of your dose of natural folate a little bit, and support your detoxifying. This could be with extra water, fiber (the unsexiest of helpful tools), castor oil packs, more rest, or by sweating it out.
This doesn’t mean that you’re eating too much natural folate in the long-term, but it does mean that for the moment you should ease up and take some extra care of your body, and wait until all the symptoms clear before you increase your natural folate intake again.
Just because you feel bad with methylfolate or this dose of natural folate from foods today, doesn’t mean you will feel bad with this dose every day. Methylation is an ongoing process that mixes in with bunches of other processes in your body and that can get messy. Just take it one day at a time – especially when you’re just starting out. It` does get easier and more stable, so hang in there.