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098: A rant on why many people use “MTHFR” to slap a label on their health problems.

Masterjohn Q&A Files Episode 98


I put MTHFR in quotes because I meant it the way that people mean when they say, "I have MTHFR." Everyone has MTHFR. What people mean by that is they have these MTHFR polymorphisms. What I meant by that title is that there's a very compelling—It's not totally airtight. It's not completely proven. There's a very compelling argument that the low activity of the C677T polymorphism in MTHFR is exclusively a result of mediocre riboflavin concentrations. That's what I meant by just your MTHFR in quotes means the polymorphism, the result of the polymorphism. Just riboflavin means that the enzyme activity is only lower as a result of that polymorphism because of the mediocre riboflavin concentrations.

To them, MTHFR doesn't mean the rate of the MTHFR enzyme. It's a general label for all their health problems that they put Band-Aid solutions on like these tedious distinctions between these different forms of B vitamins and stuff like that that in a healthy well-balanced system don't matter.

If people are hypersensitive to little distinctions in the type of B vitamins they’re taking like this, their problem is not just MTHFR. Their problem might be related to methylation. They probably have mineral deficiencies, or other genetic polymorphisms, or other health problems, thyroid-adrenal stuff that are causing that. The reason that MTHFR isn't simply about riboflavin for those people versus the well-controlled studies of showing that riboflavin supplementation specifically lowers homocysteine 40%, specifically in people with MTHFR C677T homozygous, specifically with poor riboflavin status.

When you're out there saying that overmethylators can't tolerate methylcobalamin or they get terrible reactions to this, you're slapping overmethylator label on someone whose problem is that they just don't have a rational strategy for dealing with their MTHFR. Because no one is an overmethylator or an undermethylator, unless it's a collection of symptoms of a poorly managed methylation system.

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:

Harnessing the Power of Nutrients
Recording and Transcript of Ask Me Anything About Nutrition | March 8, 2019
Watch now (159 min) | Below you will find the time stamps for specific questions, the relevant links, the private podcast audio version, and the transcript. The time stamps are available to everyone but everything else is reserved for Masterpass members. Learn more about the Masterpass…
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The Masterjohn Q&A Files
We use Zoom, a video chatting software, in webinar mode. You can ask your question anonymously in text, but you can also ask it publicly, and you can even get "on stage" and share your mic, web cam, or screen with everyone.
Chris Masterjohn, PhD