The Methylation pathway seems relatively minor. Your body moves a 1-carbon group around. Big deal. And yet, it ties into the major processes of cellular energy formation, waste excretion, neurotransmitter formation, antioxidant recycling, and utilization of key nutrients. This can lead one to believe that folate is the most important nutrient in the universe, but the truth is – there is another vitamin that is necessary for MTHFR. A whole group of them! In fact, we need all the B vitamins for methylation to happen. So let’s take an in-depth look at not only the pathway but also the other nutrients (outside of the main player, folate) which are necessary.
The Methylation And Folate Cycles In Gory Detail
The image below shows the methylation pathway and the folate cycle in all their glory, with the cofactors necessary showing in color (click on the image to see a bigger version because it’s eye-crossingly small). You will notice that although folate, which we’ve spent eons talking about, shows up twice, riboflavin, which we haven’t even mentioned yet, is in there four times. With MTHFR issues, it’s easy to start to think it’s all about folate. The truth is, B vitamins function together. MTHFR folks need other B vitamins. Folate doesn’t ever function in isolation and before someone with an MTHFR issue even begins to supplement folate, they should supplement the B vitamins that aren’t directly involved in methylation. This is B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B7.
What About The Kreb’s Cycle?
I’m pretty sure that is a question that no-one has actually ever asked, but still. The Krebs Cycle is how your cells generate energy and so we kind of have to discuss it because without the kreb’s cycle, your cells have no energy and if your cells have no energy, you don’t either. Turns out, the feeling of no energy is a common issue for MTFR folks, so this really matters. Take a look at the full cycle below.
If Folate is MTHFR’s Wife, Riboflavin is the Other Vitamin For MTHFR. Riboflavin Is The Mistress.
In fact, Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is actually a cofactor in the MTHFR reaction itself. Meaning that if you are low on riboflavin it doesn’t matter if your MTHFR is working perfectly, it still isn’t going to happen. For this reason, MTHFR folks need riboflavin just as much as we need folate. Maybe even more so.
Start The Other B Vitamins First.
It may sound counterintuitive, but when you’re starting on your MTHFR journey, it really matters to do things in the right order.
- Step one (as we’ve discussed) is eliminating the toxic folic acid from your diet and supplements. It’s a good idea to start up an MTHFR lifestyle here too – get a little cleaner, take out as many chemicals as you can, and generally start to avoid toxins.
- Step two is to incorporate food sources of natural folate.
- Step three is to add a B vitamin supplement that has all of the other B vitamins, but not any form of folate or cobalamin because MTHFR folks might have different reactions to those and so it’s nice to add them separately. At this time, I believe the only one on the market is B Minus from Seeking Health
- .After this we can try to optimize your dose of the different types of folate, as well as the different types of cobalamin to make your health perfect.
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It’s easy to forget that nutrition is best when it isn’t just bits and pieces, but rather a complete and balanced diet and supplement routine. Preferably, diet. In an ideal world, we would get all of this from our food, but of course, it’s the real world and sometimes we need to supplement. Regardless, don’t get so hyper-focused on folate that you miss the rest of the B vitamins. B vitamins for MTHFR are all necessary – these are your basic building blocks..
Thanks for listening and join us next week for a deep dive into MTHFR and glutathione, the master antioxidant.