March 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Health Blog

As a practitioner for over 21 years, I’m always bemused when I read an article in a newspaper or see a story on a current affairs program that claims to provide ‘breaking news’ about a health condition that I’ve usually been treating for many years. I’m equally bewildered when they allege that there is a ‘simple remedy’ that is a cure all for a serious condition. I guess that kind of reporting sells papers or entices viewers to watch the show that is going to deliver the ‘all-important’ news.

Today’s paper was one of those instances. The headline stated “Three million Australians struggle with debilitating anxiety and depression. Now, a genetic test and a simple and cheap vitamin treatment is giving some sufferers new hope” (The Advertiser 7.3.15:11).

What they didn’t tell you is that it’s not quite as simple as that. The article covered the genetic variant (mutation) known as Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR).

MTHFR is a common genetic variant that causes a key enzyme in the body to function at a lower than normal rate which can lead to a variety of medical problems. However, there are many combinations of MTHFR and each requires a different treatment approach, along with specific dietary requirements, but unfortunately there was no mention of this.

Having specialised in anxiety and depression and other areas of health for more than two decades, and genetic polymorphisms and nutrigenomics for over a decade, I’ve been testing my patients for MTHFR and treating them appropriately for many years. I’ve always felt frustrated that the medical field per se failed to acknowledge this condition, along with other genetic conditions that are often responsible for major health problems including anxiety and depression. Instead, people suffering from mental health problems are often prescribed anti-depressants or other medications, along with a referral to a psychologist and that’s usually the end of it.

However, whenever a client has consulted me for a mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression or OCD, I’ve always screened them for a range of relevant tests including MTHFR as well as other, equally important, genetic mutations, and have usually also tested them for neurotransmitter imbalances. This is standard procedure for most of my patients that present with mental health problems. However, it appears that this is ‘breaking news’ to some practitioners.

Unfortunately the article on MTHFR failed to mention that proper treatment depends on which MTHFR gene each person has (as it is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment as the article portrayed) and there was also no mention of the types of nutrient supplements or medications that MTHFR sufferers should always avoid (which is important as they interfere with the methylation process), nor was there any reference to the appropriate MTHFR dietary requirements.

MTHFR is a regulatory enzyme in folate-dependent homocysteine remethylation. Methylation is an extremely important process in the body. This is demonstrated through a wealth of epidemiological data linking impaired methylation capacities to a diverse range of conditions across multiple systems of the body. A mutation in the MTHFR gene may cause mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, addictions, or in extreme cases, it can cause other mental health disorders such as bipolar or schizophrenia. Depending on which MTHFR a person has, it can also increase the likelihood of pulmonary embolisms, stroke, congenital heart defects, migraines, fibromyalgia, insomnia, miscarriages, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, neural tube defects, epilepsy, MS, asthma, autism, certain cancers, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, and a range of other health conditions and it is associated with elevated plasma homocysteine.

Fortunately, if the test reveals MTHFR, the correct supplementation with the essential nutrients can help the sufferer’s body to function much better and reduce the risk of developing disease. The choice of treatments is somewhat dependent on the nature of the abnormality and therefore a personalized treatment program needs to take into consideration each person’s particular genetic variations, along with other factors. It’s not simply a matter of taking ‘a pill for an ill‘!

You cannot change a defective gene but you can help it to function much better and minimize problems. Always consult a practitioner that is well-trained and experienced in genetic polymorphisms so that an appropriate treatment program can be individually prescribed for you.

Please share this article with anyone that suffers from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, cardiovascular problems, fatigue, migraines, infertility or any of the other problems listed above. It may be the difference between a long, high-quality life or years of suffering.

Footnote: I’m currently writing a book on the most effective naturopathic treatments for mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression and will be including a chapter on MTHFR in this book. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge that will be based on many years of clinical experience and years of research in this field of health. Once my book is completed and published, I’m hoping it will serve as a comprehensive source of knowledge for other health care practitioners, psychologists and the general public.

Yours in Health,

Sar Rooney BHSc., ND., DC., DASc., GDSc. (Hons), MATMS,  MHATO
Naturopathic Medicine practitioner, Lecturer, Researcher

Sar has advanced qualifications in the health sciences and naturopathic medicine and is an accomplished lecturer, practitioner & counsellor with 21 years of clinical experience. 

Specializing in Anxiety & Depression | Women’s Health | Chronic Fatigue | Natural Hormone Therapy | Thyroid Disorders | Digestive Health | Autoimmune Disease | Genetic Polymorphisms & Nutrigenomics | Nutritional Medicine | Counselling | Optimal Wellness & Disease Prevention with a Clinical Focus on Identifying & Resolving the Underlying Causes of Symptoms and Disease. 

Earth Medicine TM
Email: [email protected]

Science-Based Naturopathic Health Care to help you achieve optimal wellness, calm and contented mental health, hormonal balance and disease prevention with personalised naturopathic health care, specialized clinical pathology testing and high-quality naturopathic medicines. Professional counselling services and clinical hypnotherapy are also available. 

Appointments are available by phone, skype or in-person at Strathalbyn, SA. 

Join Sar on Facebook : 

Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment. Please note: I am not a medical practitioner





Comments are closed.