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Undermethylation – an MTHFR Basic State

Undermethylation, as we have discussed, is the most common state according to the research of Dr. Carl Pfeiffer in his book Nutrition and Mental Illness, An Orthomolecular Approach To Balancing Body Chemistry. Undermethylation really isn’t one state – it’s a tendency based on your genes, lifestyle, stressors, diet, and environment. Undermethylation is also a tendency that flows in a spectrum, from very mild symptoms to far more severe ones.

If you’re not sure if you’re an undermethylator, methylation neutral, or an overmethylator then visit this post for a comparative chart. As with everything else, even the most severely undermethylated person will have some associated traits and not others – this is all very individual. The biggest constants are high achievement/perfectionism, seasonal allergies, and depression.

It is important to note that undermethylation is one of the basic states of MTHFR
In my opinion, there is no doubt that undermethylation of the MTHFR gene is one of the basic states of the gene, and it is important to keep this in mind at all times.

Undermethylators Are Blessed With Many Positive Traits.

  • High motivation
  • High drive to achieve
  • Perfectionist
  • Competitive
  • Strong-willed

There Can Be A Darker Side:

  • Obsessive-compulsive traits or disorder
  • Anorexia
  • Workaholism
  • Other addictions
  • Ritualistic behavior
Undermethylation - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In this article, I will take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly that is undermethylation.

Undermethylation Can Lead to Physical or Medical Issues

  • Seasonal and inhalant allergies – this picture is dominated by high histamine and this is one of the most common problems even in relatively moderate or healthy undermethylation.
  • Headaches – these could be hormonal, allergic, stress-related, or migraine.
  • High HIstamine
  • Ulcers
  • Addictions – softer addictions like workaholism in more healthy situations, which can progress to harder addictions.
  • Depression – depression is very common in this group and it can be quite severe.

At The Extreme End of Pathology Undermethylators Can Be Prone To:

  • Paranoia, delusions, or phobias – the FBI or CIA is after them, their neighbor is an alien, etc….
  • Denial of or tendency to hide illness – illness just doesn’t go with perfection very well.
  • Hearing voices – Dr. Pfeiffer estimated this to be 5-10% of this group.
  • Major Depression
  • Suicidal Tendencies

Nutritional Tendencies In Undermethylation

  • Bad Reactions to B Vitamins – not every undermethylator experiences this, but many do. B vitamins, especially folate and B12, can cause bad reactions.
  • Often low calcium and/or magnesium
  • Often low methionine
  • Often low B6
  • Often low serotonin – can be extremely low
  • Often low melatonin – made from serotonin, so tracks along with it.

Medication and Supplement Reactions in Undermethylation

This represents what is typical for the group, but drug and nutrient reactions can be very personal, so this is a general guideline and not a certainty. This information is both from Dr. Pfeiffer’s book (see above), this article, and my own experience with clients.

Typically Good ReactionTypically Bad Reaction
SSRI medications (although may still be troubled by side effects)Benzodiazepines
AntihistaminesFolic Acid, Folate, Folinic Acid, 5-LMTHF
SAMe, DMG or TMG (all methyl donors)Histidine
St John’s Wort, melatoninDMAE
Calcium and magnesium (1:1 ratio), zincCopper
Antioxidants – A, C, E, alpha-lipoic acid, resveratrol, ECGC, etc…High folate foods including dark green leafy veggies and beans/pulses
Omega-3 fatty acids

Finding your best path forward is still a bit of trial and error, but this can give you some starting points. Remember, all of this depends not only on your MTHFR polymorphism, but all the other polymorphisms you might have (of which there are likely hundreds if not thousands) so be patient with yourself when you’re finding the best nutrients for your body.

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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.

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Amy Neuzil
Amy Neuzil

Dr. Amy Neuzil, N.D. is a leading expert in MTHFR and epigenetics, and she is passionate about helping people achieve optimal health and wellness for their genetic picture. She has helped thousands of people overcome health challenges using a simple, step-by-step approach that starts with where they are today. Dr. Neuzil's unique approach to wellness has helped countless people improve their energy levels, lose weight, and feel better mentally and emotionally. If you're looking for a way to feel your best, Dr. Amy Neuzil can help. Contact her today to learn more about how she can help you achieve optimal health and wellness.

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