Hello stranger! I’ve been dreadfully neglectful, but I promise I have a good excuse. I was invited to go to Sweden to engage young adults about the Drug Wars and subsequent violence in Mexico. I am considering writing a post about it, but I try to keep my work seperate from this blog. It just means that I have been very busy and jet-lagged and did not have the energy to write anything until now.
In that time I learned something very interesting about myself that could change the course of my health journey. Prior to leaving the country I went in for some more blood tests to check my liver, thyroid antibodies, and take a genetic test to determine whether or not I have something called an MTHFR mutation. Honestly, I was really concerned about my liver and thought about it every time I had a drink in Sweden (but I still drank. At least I’m honest). So after a hellish journey home (Damn you, UNITED!) and a couple days rest I showed up at the Dr’s office to get the results. “Your liver is fine, you don’t have any thyroid antibodies, but you do have a genetic mutation and actually it is a double mutation.” I automatically thought of that three-eyed fish on the Simpsons and was surprisingly unattached to the news, but I must’ve looked concerned because she went on to say that it was really quite common (I believe she used the word rampant) in Mexicans and people of Mediterranean descent. I asked if it affected life expectancy and was told that it affected quality of life more, but could be managed with a “clean lifestyle”.
By now you are probably as confused as I was. What is MTHFR and how can a mutation affect one’s health negatively? I will try to explain it simply and to the best of my abilities because as a humanities person I seem to have a big hole in my education where chemistry/biology should be. Basically, if you have this mutation you do not methylate at full capacity. So, someone with a mutation could be methylating at 70% where someone who is MTHFR Homozygous (double mutation) does it at a capacity of 30-40%. Methalyation to my understanding is a common way DNA gets communicated to cells(via enzymes which are made up of amino acids) who then use it to control genes. So if your body is not communicating with genes effectively you can see how this could cause all sorts of problems, especially during development. Luckily, we are not slaves to genetics as environment plays a huge role in how genes are expressed which can be learned and explained through epigenetics. This could very well explain why I haven’t felt well in so many years! Though really, only time will tell how this will all play into my life and longevity, but it is good to know that there are some definate steps that could potentially change how I feel.
Here is the regime I am choosing to do now with help from a trained physician:
-1 grain armour thyroid
-1/4 lozenge Methyl b12 5000 (to be increased slowly)
-Eventually adding in methylfolate
-Active vitmin b supplement
-Vitamin D3 supplmentent
-Sauna 1-3x week
-Exercise that induces sweating 3-5x week
-Continuing off dairy/gluten
-avoiding processed foods and anything fortified
-Lots of leafy greens
-Finding ways to avoid and mitigate stress
-Staying connected to friends and family
I started the supplementation yesterday and noticed a dull and sometimes sharp pain in my legs (I was told body aches were common)and I was a little wired, but I also slept for 9 hours straight without melatonin/valerian for the first time in ages. Today I feel pretty good, but it may be too soon to tell.
If you are having any unexplained physical symptoms, especially if you are of Mediterranean or Latin American descent I encourage you to ask or order a simple blood test. It is probably also wise to do a little research, this is a great site to find information and suggestions for living with MTHFR. I am encouraging everyone in my family to take the test as well, the best response came from my dad who said, “Well you do come from a long line of mutants”. I do indeed!