Monday, February 17, 2014

MTHFR and Me

I'm really excited today! I think I might have found some answers to help solve my depression and mood issues during this pregnancy. I also wanted to follow up on my last post so that people wouldn't think I was over here crying in a hole everyday. I'm okay! Answers are coming and I'm happy!
So what is MTHFR?
For starters, I can't take credit for this discovery, as there were many people involved in helping me to see the light of this new information, but I can say that I am choosing to follow this new path. In short, I think I may have a genetic disorder called MTHFR, short for "methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase".
 My brother recently did some genetic testing and what he discovered is that he has a genetic mutation which makes it so his body can't process folic acid. His wife, unfortunately, also has it. Because of these types of mutations, there is an excess of folic acid build-up in the body, which can cause various health problems and illnesses. 
These genetic mutations are common and can cause problems ranging  from depression, anxiety, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, nerve pain, migraines, elevated homocysteine levels, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Alzheimers, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, stroke, heart disease, multiple miscarriages, still births, as well as other congenital anomalies (birth defects), and Down’s Syndrome.  
Having adequate levels of folic acid is so important to our bodies overall functioning and health that when we are deficient, it results in a whole lot of problems.  (This lovely lady sums MTHFR up on her blog so nicely!)

For someone who can't process folic acid, such as a pregnant woman taking her daily dose of pre-natals, they'd need to switch to a form of folate that is more bioavailable, such as methylfolate vitamins. Methyl vitamins are a pure form of folate, from what I understand. 

**Deplin and Noova DHA are two methylfolate brands that I know of, so far.

So why do I think I have MTHFR? 

First of all I'm related to my brother, so it's very possible I have it, too. (I need to get tested.) 
Second, from what I've read about pregnant sufferers of MTHFR they can experience depression, fatigue, anger, and anxiety. I match all those symptoms, too, and have struggled with these emotional rollercoasters with my last three pregnancies. 
Lastly, after my sister-in-law led me to read Melanie's blog, I felt in my heart of hearts that God was leading me on the right path to finding answers. Coincidentally Melanie is a mother of all boys, a practicing Mormon, a fun personality, and a mother like me who was searching for answers to her depression. I spent about an hour yesterday reading her blog posts and feeling like I had found my soul-sister!
  All in all, It just doesn't seem plausible to me that I would be doing so awesome, then revert to feeling so down. There seems to be something missing in this equation. Sure there has been some stressful things going on; moving, house fires, adopting animals, first trimester sickness, making new friends, new callings--these are things that are harder than normal, but nothing that should throw me over the edge. At least I don't think they should? I know myself pretty well by now to know when I am normal stressed  and when I am crazy Sally. There is a fine line! 

I am excited to know more about MTHFR, and how taking methyl vitamins can change my life. I plan on switching my pre-natal vitamins as soon as possible, plus take a genetic test to find out for sure. 

I'll let ya'll know the results! It might take a few months, but so worth the wait. Also, I realize that there's no "magic cure" for everything so I will still continue to make changes to keep my stress down and balance up.

So how did I find out about MTHFR?

I have my sister-in-law to thank for turning me down this path towards healing. I was aware that her and my brother were researching MTHFR, and that taking methyl vitamins had helped them both immensely, but I lacked the motivation to look into it myself. My mom even emailed me about it awhile ago and I shrugged it away. It wasn't until my SIL started emailing me more intensely about it yesterday, that Micah and I started researching it ourselves. (Thank you, Gen.) Sometimes it takes a loved one's concern to make you think more seriously. I'm glad she wasn't intimidated to email me and tell me about MTHFR
(By me being an open book, I realize that I can get all kinds of advice---It's nice to be able to have the power of discernment to know which is right for me.)
Also, as it turns out, our homebirth midwife knows a lot about MTHFR. I knew she was meant to be our midwife! She said she had mentioned Deplin to me at our first pre-natal appt. I don't even remember. 

 I would love anyone who has had any experience with MTHFR to please feel free to leave me a comment below or on my fb page. 

Tell me what you know! 
I'd love to hear from you! Maybe you have lots of good advice or maybe we can embark on this journey together! You never know!


Melanie said...

Sally, thank you for your kind words. I think you give me credit as though I deserve it. :) It is our Heavenly Father who inspires me to write and His guidance is what led you to where you are now. I'm grateful for the wonderful people in your life who seem to care very much about you and are concerned for you. I hope you find some answers. I pray that you will.

Please feel free to e-mail me at or leave a comment on my FB page (under Methodical Musings of an Unbalanced Woman) and we can chat some more.

P.S. Awesome blog! I enjoyed spending some time today "getting to know you". :) We mama's of boys deserve a metal. A BIG one made out of chocolate!

chelsea mckell said...

I'm so glad you're finding answers and I hope it all works out! Bodies are so complex. I've always wished I possessed the super power of discernment and I could just look at at someone, tell them what was wrong, and how to fix it.

You might consider talking to Susan Johnson about this. I believe I recall her posting something about MTHFR semi-recently. And I thought she was doing some sort of acronym for a very bad word.... :)

Sally Jackson said...

Thanks so much Melanie and Chelsea.