The big question is how much methyl folate should I take? How much you should take is dependent on your unique genetic blueprint and your current health circumstances. Keep in mind that MTHFR is only one of approximately 20,000 genes in your body. For some, taking folate can make things worse. Consider the following when deciding your dose of methyl folate.
Symptoms: Having the MTHFR mutation alone does not indicate that you should take methyl folate. However, if you are experiencing neuropathy (of any kind), fatigue, numbness, depression, anxiety, and/or brain fog you are likely in need of methyl folate. You may also need to consider increasing your dose during times of increased stress.
Nutrition and Lifestyle: The preferred manner for those with MTHFR to attain folate is by consuming whole foods (dark, leafy greens). It is also essential to eliminate consuming foods (and supplements) that include folic acid. Grains (rice, corn, wheat, corn meal) are fortified with folic acid, as well as other B vitamins. Be aware that some medications (especially those compounded) use folic acid as filler.
Folic acid is harmful for those with MTHFR mutation because methyl folate is moved on a carrier protein through the body. The carrier protein that moves methyl folate also moves folic acid; therefore, when you ingest folic acid all the carriers are obligated to moving folic acid and are not available to move methyl folate. Eliminate grains from your diet before taking methyl folate. Furthermore, some folks have genetic variations in the carrier protein (SLC19a1); which leads to further complications when it comes to moving folates within the body. If you also have this mutation, lowering the amount of folic acid in your diet is crucial. An additional concern to consider is the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume. The two boost the body’s requirement for methyl folate and other B vitamins. It is always best to get folate from whole foods (and you can never get too much!) such as kale, spinach, chard and mixed greens.
Special considerations: It is important to consider occasional testing for a methylation cycle marker known as homocysteine (and others like SAM/SAH). This is a valuable part of determining the best dose of methyl folate for you.
Stay tuned to learn about the symptoms associated with MTHFR.
Terranella, Robin. MTHFR Gene Therapy Demystified: Crack Your Genetic Code to Better Health. 2017.
Murray, Michael T., et al. “Vitamins.” The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Time Warner International, 2006.