The MTHFR Gene: Manufacturing Better Mental Health
Reader, look around your room for a moment—then ask yourself, How the heck did all this stuff get here?
I don’t mean to ask how you got this or that item into your home. How did these items get created in the first place? By the time we purchase most things, they are in a finished state. But every object surrounding us represents the culmination of a thousand different manufacturing steps, from sourcing raw materials to enlisting human and mechanical design and labor. Vast, invisible supply chains like these inform our daily lives. When things are working the way they should, it’s easy to forget their existence altogether. But manufacturing relies on a smooth chain of interdependent events, linking together—and just a single broken link can send the whole process into disarray.
Root Cause Psychiatry is similar: when all of the processes involved in creating and sustaining health are in order, we can forget about the incredible intricacies behind our good fortune. But when one link is out of place, we suffer: and no single Root Cause feature illustrates this better in mental health than our MTHFR gene.
The MTHFR Gene and Your Mental Health
Our mental health is comprised of a complex interplay of elements that are constantly working to keep you healthy and prevent disease. When these elements are in order, the results are like a symphony of a million different instruments playing together in beautiful harmony. But, even the most symphonic harmonies can be led astray by a single off-beat instrument. Your MTHFR gene is the first of many links in a genetic supply chain that—if broken—can lead to dire mental and physical health consequences, from depression, anxiety, and more.
The MTHFR gene is responsible for the production of the MTHFR enzyme in your body—and while this production may not sound familiar, it is critical to your mental health. You see, like a manufacturing line, the body has a number of “raw materials” that must be processed into a new form before they can be used. Folate is one of those raw materials, and the MTHFR enzyme is the ingenious tool the body built to process it. With this enzyme’s help, folate is transformed into methylfolate, which in turn is responsible for building the neurotransmitters that determine how good we feel. Serotonin (the mood stabilizing neurotransmitter), dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter), and norepinephrine (the “fight-or-flight” neurotransmitter) all require methylfolate in their production timelines. When our bodies don’t produce enough of these neurotransmitters, our mood suffers. Methylfolate is also incredibly important in supporting the processes that methylate our DNA. “Methylation” is a dynamic process inside each of your 30 trillion human cells. Essential for good mental health and the maintenance of life itself, methylation turns on some genes and turns off others. Methylation declines as we age, leading to molecular chaos inside each of our cells, endangering emotional chaos as well.
Get Your Brain Back on Track with Genetic Testing
Up to 40% of all individuals have a genetic mutation in their MTHFR gene leading to low production of this critical enzyme. Some individuals with this mutation find themselves suffering from depression or anxiety for decades, even since childhood, without knowing exactly what’s wrong. Taking a genetic test can help determine the root cause of their suffering—and when that root cause is a lack of the MTHFR enzyme, a psychiatrist can immediately help to adjust their brain’s manufacturing processes to get MTHFR back on track and help improve your mental health. This may involve an Enlyte prescription to support the methylation process.
Supply chains run the world, whether we like it or not—in fact, logistics account for nearly 10% of our GDP! The more we understand them—both outside of our bodies and within, the more freedom we have to make choices that lead to greater happiness, longer lives, and a happier, healthier civilization.
Take the first step to understanding how the MTHFR Gene is tied to your mental health and learn about our genetic testing.