MTHFR and Methylation

Update Dec 2015: When I was first discovering that I had a chronic, supposably incurable disease (Lyme and co-infections), I was told many reasons by various doctors that I had this illness and what the odds were of complete recovery.  Some of the news was devistating, especially my genetic panel. I spent almost 2 years using my genetics as my excuse on why I had food allergies, anxiety, metabolic issues, detoxification issues, and of course a disease that I might not recover from.  While I do believe that genetics influences how my body behaves, I also believe that other factors have greater influence on my biochemistry and my life experience.  This field is known as epigenetics.  And in my opinion, this will be the medicine of the future.  I decided to be my own experiment in my Lyme recovery- tossing aside all meds, including herbs in search of greater healing on levels beyond my cellular processes.  I am starting with my spirit and working my way to the tiniest particle of my human cell with therapies and behaviors that I believe have a greater influence on my health and life experience.  I’ll write more on this later.  For now I’ve included my previous writing to show readers my process of understanding how healing can happen, including the western ideas presented to me during the early stages of my healing process.


2013: I’ve made many dietary changes since discovering gluten/dairy intolerance 10 years ago.  My health journey has started with exclusion of these items and eventually led to doing a grain free therapeutic diet known as the GAPS diet.  This diet was so restrictive that it revealed a deeper genetic glitch I’ve had all along- methylation impairments.  This gene is known as MTHFR and there are many specific subsets in the DNA that relate to this genetic glitch but I won’t go into detail here.  You can read more on  Anyway, this glitch has shown me that I have sulfur intolerance in when ingested in large amounts- which is exactly what the healing foods are on GAPS diet!! (Saurkraut, cruciferous veggies, soups with onions/garlic, green veggies galore)

If any of you are on the paleo diet, GAPS diet, or grain free diet to heal your guts and you are noticing a drop in energy and crazy detox symptoms despite eating ample carbohydrate sources from veggies, you may want to check into the possibility of this genetic glitch.  It’s not that uncommon actually, I think around 30% of the population carries it, however it’s not usually expressed unless some sort of trauma or disruption happens to the body.  It’s an interesting area of study known as epigenetics.

This issue is super complex.  I’ll post more as I learn.  For now I just want to raise awareness to others on these diets who are having issues.  Going on a low sulfur version of the grain free diet has done wonders for me and my daughter.  I think the GAPS and paleo diet are amazing, but you have to be able to properly methylate for those diets to have the total healing effects you are seeking.

You can check out Dr. Amy Yasco’s work on the relationship between this genetic glitch and autism.  She states she seen an insane relationship between this gene and the presence of an autistic spectrum disorder in children.  This genetic glitch is also highly correlated to thyroid issues, autoimmune disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

My hope is by bringing awareness to the GAPS diet and to the prevalence of MTHFR issues, that other families who are struggling to piece together their health challenges will find the answers they are seeking.

You can order your own DNA methylation panel at the links below to find out if you are a carrier of this gene.  However I think it’s crucial to work with a doctor who understands this genetic info to help navigate the treatment process.  There are 2 sites to order the DNA testing from.  I chose to do both Dr. Yasco’s DNA test as well as 23andme.  The results were the same, validating both methods.


4 thoughts on “MTHFR and Methylation

  1. Thanks for your post. Very interesting. Do you mind telling me what you’re eating? It looks like it would be tough to cut out sulphur! Also, what were your symptoms prior to changing your diet if you don’t mind me asking?


    1. So I am eating a lot of zucchini and squash to fill my belly. I make sauces from coconut amminos, sunflower butter, and other random things. I eat a little meat, fruit, nuts. I am starting to sway away from the Paleo/Gaps diet a bit and eat some fermented oats, sprouted rice only because I can’t get enough calories on a low sulfur Gaps diet.
      My symptoms resembled heavy metal toxicity- which I think it was since the GAPS diet is a high sulfur diet and sulfur does heavy metal chelation. I felt shaky, foggy, weak, dizzy, head burning, chronic fatigue. This is also due to the lack of B12 and general nutrition from MTHFR and post partum, but the diet made things much worse even though I’m sure it was great for my gut bacteria issues. So as in all things, there is a proper order to treat. I’ve learned a lot about how not all diets are right for everyone and that you have to tailor any treatment to your own genetics and situation.


    1. yes the sulfur thing is critical to find out actually b/c it affects the whole mthfr treatment. It’s important to find out all of the SNP’s that are involved with the MTHFR cycle so you can treat appropriately. 23 and me genetic testing will accomplish this for you for $99. I just bought some fermented carrots yesterday! Yeah for low sulfur ferments! I’ll check out your blog.


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