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S2E12: Week One of Methylfolate And What Is In Your Baggage?

I want to give you a big congratulations – if you’re doing all of this with me, then you’re one week into your methylfolate start. Now, this could mean that you started and had symptoms of too high a dose and so stopped and that’s okay too. This is all a process of learning more about your body. So let’s review the different scenarios that might have come up this week and also what to expect over the next few weeks.

Four Possibilities For Your Methylfolate Start.

As far as I know, there are four things that can happen in your first few days on methylfolate, and so chances are you hit one of these scenarios. If, by chance, you hit a different scenario then please reach out because I would love to hear about your experience.

dealbreaker for taking methyl folate with MTHFR
  1. You hit a dealbreaker. – In this first scenario, you started methylfolate and hit a dealbreaker right out of the gate. If you’ll remember from last week, there are two hard-stops in this game. One is that you have symptoms already of too high a dose. Again, this feels like wound up energy, anxiety, panic, restlessness, intrusive thoughts. All the uncomfortable upper-type feelings. Hitting this kind of wall doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to take methylfolate, but it does mean you should stop for now. We’ll talk about options for this scenario in just a couple of weeks. For now, hang tight, keep taking your B vitamins and getting as much natural folate as you can tolerate in your diet. The other scenario is that you fall into a pit of despair, an absolute emotional black hole of depression. This one is a hard stop and probably means that you won’t be able to take methylfolate because your serotonin is perilously low. We talked about this scenario a bit last week, but also in Season 1, Episode 12 and that is a great place to brush up on the whole SERT transporter and serotonin issue. We’ll talk about it in more detail later on this season as well. For now, stop the 5-LMTHF and try folinic acid plus something that will help to boost your serotonin instead. With serotonin issues it’s best to work with a doctor or practitioner because medications for low serotonin don’t mix well with natural supplement.
  2. You felt a little strange for a few days, but it’s going ok. – This is great news. This is the essence of the successful 5-LMTHF start. The first few days can feel a bit abnormal, but if you’re able to keep taking 5-LMTHF without major fallout, then you’re doing great. Just stick to this dose and keep symptom tracking for at least 3-4 weeks before you consider bumping the dose up slightly. It’s ok to wait longer, too.
  3. You feel amazing. – This is also a successful 5-LMTHF start and I’m thrilled to hear you’re doing great. It’s easy in this scenario to just want to take more, but stay on this dose for at least 3-4 weeks because weirdly, the dose you’re taking can turn into a too-high dose a couple of weeks after you start it with no warning. It’s inconvenient, but true. Plus, the “too much” reaction gets worse if it’s way too much than it feels if it’s just slightly too much so jumping up in doses too quickly can lead to some pretty nasty scenarios.
  4. You felt strange or even amazing, then hit a “too much” feeling – Don’t worry, this is totally part of the journey. This means the dose is pretty close to what you need, but still a bit too much. Stop for a few days to let your body calm down and keep supporting your health, then start again at a lower dose. If you can manage to half the dose you were taking before, that is perfect. If getting down that much is hard, then try something like one day on, one day off or one day on, two days off. We can get creative with this.

You’re On The Right Path, Now What?

If you hit a dealbreaker, then we’ve still got some work to do. Hang tight, we’ll get to you guys. For everyone else, you are on the path. Your feet are in the right place now you just need to keep taking steps forward. You are on the cusp of the second phase of your MTHFR journey, which I like to call “Burning Through The Backlog.”

This second phase is the meat of the MTHFR work and it involves catching up with all of the junk that your body has put into storage over the years because it didn’t have the methylfolate necessary to do whatever it was that it needed to do.

The first things your body will tackle are immediate things – like daily tasks, healthier cell reproduction right now, decreasing homocysteine, boosting nitric oxide, boosting glutathione and helping to balance neurotransmitters. This is all very immediate and in the moment. It won’t all change overnight, but you’ll get closer to caught up every day.

After that, it’s all about the backlog. This is a collection of products that needed to be methylated, tasks half-finished, and most importantly, toxins stored where they would be the least harmful while your body was waiting for resources. This is part of why this journey can be so up and down.

Unpacking toxins from storage is a task your body desperately wants to accomplish, but it can be messy and unpredictable. This is the reason why symptom tracking is so important – you are going to want to keep track, partly so that you can recognize detox days when they happen and give your body a bit of extra support. This whole burning through the backlog phase is a long period, for me it was about three years, in which symptoms keep slowly improving, but days can be up and down and detox symptoms pop up.

empty bucket fix backlog MTHFR mantras

Keep in mind, you’re more likely to have more detox days popping up in the beginning of this process and shortly after making upward dosage changes because that pushes your body to do some work. As the journey continues to move forward the detox days will become less and less frequent, which is lovely. Sure, you can still induce a toxic feeling day when you do something to fill up your bucket, but you aren’t being blindsided by detox days anymore. If I sound like a crazy woman to you with all of this backlog and bucket nonsense, it might be a good idea to check out Season 1, Episode 51, which goes in-depth about the bucket, backlog, and what those mean to you.

So keep moving forward and try not to get discouraged if you do have a difficult day pop up because it’s actually a sign that your body is doing the work it’s supposed to. Next week we’ll talk about what to watch out for in your symptom tracker that will help you deal with detox days. A couple of weeks after that we’ll talk about coping strategies for those days and how you can make them easier.

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