One of the factors affecting your child’s chronic condition may be the genetic mutation called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR). MTHFR affects detoxification. This is a type of folate that crosses the blood brain barrier (folic acid does not) needed to make the brain methylate.
The methylation process requires folate in the brain. Children with autism have been found to have “Cerebral Folate Deficiency” (CFD), which means an insufficiency of folate in the brain causing defects in the methylation process.
What Is the Methylation Process?
The methylation process has many vital functions. Having defects in the methylation process can affect:
Methylation also repairs DNA, controls homocysteine levels, keeps inflammation in check and recycles key antioxidants. Methylation increases sulfation for the excretion of heavy metals and the elimination of allergies (environmental and immune).
Furthermore, methylation improves the production of glutathione, which is the master antioxidant that excretes environmental toxins and pathogens out of the body. Having normal levels of glutathione enables the body to excrete the environmental toxins efficiently.
All of these functions are important for children with chronic health conditions.
MTHFR and Autism
Studies have shown that 98% of children with autism have the MTHFR genetic mutation defect; however the mutation is not exclusive to autism. Families that are susceptible to autoimmune disorders are also associated with the MTHFR anomaly.
There are two prime variants called C677T and A1298C. Some children have one copy of one variant of the MTHFR and some have both copies. The C677T variant is usually associated with heart disease and stroke because of the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Many children with autism are unable to make this conversion, which is why they are such poor methylators.
The A1298C variant, on the other hand, is associated with chronic illnesses and many children with autism do suffer chronic illnesses associated with this disorder. Therefore, critical immune functions may be compromised if there are any defects found in the methylation process.
Where Is the Testing Done?
Labcorp offers a blood test to determine both mutations of MTHFR. However, Amy Yasko PhD, ND has done extensive research on methylation and has a Nutrigenomic Test which identifies 30 different genetic mutations in the body including the MTHFR mutation. Some of the genetic mutations have to do with the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, while others are concerning sulphation and pathways that generate ammonia – all critical issues for children with autism.
It is also very important to know that lithium is a crucial mineral that transports folate and methylcobalamin (methyl-B12) into the brain which is essential for healthy methylation.
Kendall Stewart MD at Neuro Sensory Centers has formulated a very effective transdermal cream called Neuro Immune Stabilizer Topical Cream by Neurobiologix which is easy to use with your child. In addition, have your physician do the appropriate testing and suggest the appropriate nutritional supplementation to support the methylation process and MTHFR for your child.
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Sources & References
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Hausman-Cohen, S., et al. Utilizing Genomically Targeted Molecular Data to Improve Patient-Specific Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 16;23(4):2167.
Hausman-Cohen, S.R., et al. Genomics of Detoxification: How Genomics can be Used for Targeting Potential Intervention and Prevention Strategies Including Nutrition for Environmentally Acquired Illness. J Am Coll Nutr. 2020 Feb;39(2):94-102.
Li, Y., et al. Association between MTHFR C677T/A1298C and susceptibility to autism spectrum disorders: a meta-analysis. BMC Pediatrics. 2020(20)449.
Meng, X., et al. Association between MTHFR (677C>T and 1298A>C) polymorphisms and psychiatric disorder: A meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2022 Jul 14;17(7):e0271170.
Sadeghiyeh. T., et al. Association of MTHFR 677C > T and 1298A > C polymorphisms with susceptibility to attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Fetal Pediatr Pathol. 2020 Oct;39(5):422-429.
Way, H., et al. Genomics as a Clinical Decision Support Tool: Successful Proof of Concept for Improved ASD Outcomes. J Pers Med. 2021 Jun 24;11(7):596.
Lynch, Ben. Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health. HarperOne, 2020.
Walsh, William J. Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your Brain. SkyHorse, 2014.
Yasko, Amy. Feel Good Nutrigenomics. Neurological Research Institute, 2014.