The Importance of Methylated B Vitamins

The words methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) may seem like big, long words with little meaning, but those words have an enormous influence on a significant amount of people.

The MTHFR gene contains the DNA code necessary to produce the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme is critical. If there are mutations or variations in the MTHFR gene, one may not be able to produce the MTHFR enzyme, and that can lead to severe genetic disorders such as homocystinuria, anencephaly, spina bifida, and others.

The MTHFR enzyme is critical for metabolizing one form of B vitamin, folate, into another. It is also part of the process that converts homocysteine into methionine, an essential building block for many proteins [1]. For example, if someone has increased levels of homocysteine, that means the body is not processing it correctly, and one cause could be a mutation in the MTHFR gene, causing homocystinuria [1]. There are over seven different MTHFR variations.

Approximately 5-14% of the United States population is homozygous for the C677T variant, meaning they have two copies of it [1].

People who have the C677T variant produce a less active form of the MTHFR enzyme with the reduced ability to process folate and homocysteine, and the diminished MTHFR enzyme slows down the homocysteine-to-methionine conversion process and can lead to a buildup of homocysteine in the blood [1].

When you eat a food or take a supplement that contains folic acid, folate's non-active form,, the MTHFR enzyme converts it into methyl-folate, folate’s active form, and it is estimated that approximately 60% of people in the United States have a genetic mutation that makes it challenging for their bodies to create enough methyl-folate [3].

Methyl-folate is critical to the body's methylation processes in general, which helps optimize a considerable number of processes in your body, including the production of DNA, metabolism of hormones, and proper detoxification.

Though MTHFR mutations affect people differently and symptoms can range from chronic health issues to hardly distinguishable changes in overall health, a 2015 study found an association between MTHFR mutations and several health problems including [2]:

  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disease and thyroid issues
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Digestive issues, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
  • Hormonal problems, including PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • Migraines
  • Schizophrenia

 

Also, when methylation is turned off in the body due to these genetic mutations, several important molecules cannot be efficiently produced, including [3]:

  • Glutathione
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Melatonin
  • Serotonin
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine
  • L-Carnitine
  • Cysteine
  • Taurine

 

These genetic mutations can lead to a range of health consequences, so if you are going to take supplements containing these molecules, or nutrients, it is vital you take the active forms of these supplements.

For example, in Healthmasters’ B Complex supplement, Healthmasters has researched for the most absorbable, active forms of the B vitamins in the product. Below is a chart depicting inactive and active forms of B vitamins; however, this is not a complete list, rather a list of the most popular types. There are other synthetic and natural forms of B vitamins, but not all are active.

Vitamin/Supplement

Inactive Form

Active Form

Thiamin (B1)

Thiamine Hydrochloride (HCI)*

Benfotiamine*

Riboflavin (B2)

Flavin mononucleotide

Riboflavin 5’-Phosphate*

Niacin (B3)

Niacin*

Niacinamide*

Pantothenic Acid (B5)

n/a

d-calcium pantothenate*

Pyridoxine (B6)

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (HCI)

Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate*

Biotin (B7)

n/a

Biotin*

Folate (B9)

Folic acid

5-methyltetrahydrofolate*

Cobalamin (B12)

Cyanocobalamin

Methylcobalamin*

* B vitamin form in Healthmasters’ B Complex

If you are concerned if you have the MTHFR gene defect, there are tests your doctor can conduct to determine if and to what extent you have the defect, whether you have one or more defects. The more defects someone has, the more serious the situation could be.

If you have any questions about Healthmasters’ B Complex, please feel free to call our office at 800.726.1834.

 

References:

[1] https://labtestsonline.org/tests/mthfr-mutation

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1769721214001931?via%3Dihub

[3] https://www.thorne.com/take-5-daily/article/what-is-methylation-and-why-should-you-care-about-it