This post is all about…
The Best Foods To Eat With MTHFR
I know you’ve read tons of posts about foods to avoid or reduce consumption.
But let’s talk about nice things now, shall we?
We shouldn’t look at MTHFR mutation in terms of restrictions in diet.
Instead, we should look at it as an opportunity to enrich the body with foods and nutrients it really needs to function properly.
MTHFR mutation requires some dietary changes if you want to remain healthy.
But this doesn’t mean your diet should be bland, tasteless, and lack deliciousness.
There are many foods you can eat with MTHFR mutation, and in this post, I’m going to talk about them.
MTHFR and Folate
Isn’t folic acid supposed to be bad for people with MTHFR gene mutation?
It is, but I’m talking about folate.
Before I get into further discussion, it’s important to address common confusion regarding this subject.
It’s not uncommon for people to use terms folate and folic acid interchangeably as they refer to the same thing.
Folate is vitamin B9, i.e., a naturally occurring form of this vitamin.
On the other hand, folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, i.e., what you get from supplements, fortified products…
Even though MTHFR gene mutations can inhibit the conversion of folate you eat into the active folate, you should still strive to obtain this micronutrient from natural sources.
Supplementation isn’t the answer because, as I’ve mentioned, the body doesn’t process folic acid properly in people with MTHFR variants.
Your body needs folate for many functions ranging from the production of red blood cells to lower risk of congenital defects, healthy pregnancy, decreased risk of depression, healthy heart…
The best thing about folate is that you can find it in many food sources.
Good sources of folate include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Leafy greens
MTHFR and Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells and DNA.
This micronutrient is also necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
People with MTHFR mutation need to make sure they consume enough vitamin B12.
MTHFR mutations affect the way the body uses vitamin B12.
This happens because certain variants (A129C and C667T) decrease the amount of active folate produced in the body.
However, the use of vitamin B12 requires the active form of folate.
In other words, without enough folate, the body can’t get the most out of vitamin B12, which is why you need to enrich your diet with this micronutrient.
That way, you can avoid problems associated with deficiency.
Vitamin B12 deficiency and MTHFR mutation tend to work together to increase homocysteine levels and damage the nervous system.
This leads to serious complications such as cognitive impairment and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Higher homocysteine levels also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and events such as heart attack and stroke.
It’s easy to become deficient in vitamin B12 if you have MTHFR mutation, but you can get this micronutrient from foods such as beef, chicken, eggs, fish, turkey.
The best sources of vitamin B12 are animal-based, but make sure to avoid common pitfalls.
Avoid processed meats and other processed foods, for that matter.
When consuming meat make sure, it’s grass-fed and organic.
On the other hand, if you’re a vegan and vegetarian and strive to avoid animal-based foods, you may want to up the intake of plant-based sources of vitamin B12.
The best plant sources of this important micronutrient include nutritional yeast, tempeh, algae/seaweed, and mushrooms (especially shiitake and lion’s mane mushrooms).
MTHFR and Vitamin B6
It would be impossible to discuss what to eat with MTHFR mutation and leave out vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, takes part in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
This micronutrient also participates in the production of neurotransmitters.
As you can easily conclude, MTHFR and vitamins from B-complex have a complicated relationship.
Vitamin B6 is associated with the MTHFR gene through the same metabolic pathway.
You see, vitamin B6 is a cofactor for the enzyme serine methylhydroxytransferase (SMHT), which works in conjunction with the MTHFR enzyme.
The defective MTHFR gene makes it difficult for the body to process B vitamins, including B6.
Interestingly, levels of vitamin B6 in the body of people with MTHFR mutation can be high, although you’re formally deficient.
This unusual scenario happens because vitamin B6, like other vitamins from this family, can accumulate in the bloodstream, but it’s not properly utilized and sent to cells where they are needed.
You can find vitamin B6 in different foods such as asparagus, avocado, salmon, tuna, eggs, beef, spinach, sweet potato, bananas…
When it comes to eggs, go by the same rule as with meats, opt for organic kinds.
Other Best Foods To Eat With MTHFR
If you have an MTHFR gene mutation, there are plenty of food options.
As I’ve mentioned above, you can enrich your menu with different vegetables and other foods.
All your meals can be delicious.
But besides folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, there are other nutrients to keep in mind when choosing ingredients for your next meal.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2) – acts as a cofactor for MTHFR. The low status of riboflavin may interfere with the metabolism of folate, especially in people with MTHFR mutations. Find riboflavin in almonds, collard greens, eggs, green peas, fish and seafood, spinach, sesame seeds.
- Vitamin C – interacts with three variations of the MTHFR gene to modulate folate levels. For people with these variants, proper folate levels are critically dependant on the consumption of vitamin C. Find this micronutrient in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, fruits, sweet potatoes, red and green hot chili peppers.
Your diet also needs vitamin D3, vitamin E, turmeric, Omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods For People With MTHFR
Throughout this post about the best foods to eat with MTHFR, I focused on different nutrients you need to help you focus on foods that contain them.
It’s easy to find foods that have a specific nutrient, and there’s always something you like.
What we can conclude, based on the nutrients and best foods above, that your menu needs:
- Salmon and other fish
- Eggs (with yolk, organic)
- Collard greens
- Beef (grass-fed, organic)
It’s easier to adjust your diet and have a healthier lifestyle…