Yes it does look like there is a link between MTHFR and cardiovascular disease
You’ll often hear people talk about how obesity, diabetes, an inactive lifestyle, and poor dietary choices cause your risk of cardiovascular disease to rise.
Did you know that there are other risk factors around MTHFR?
When looking at what makes you more likely to develop heart disease, it’s important to go down to the DNA and cellular level, which is where your genes start to come into play.
With a large number of people having an MTHFR gene mutation, it’s important to understand what this means and how it could affect your cardiovascular system.
We’ll look closely at the complex relationship between gene mutations, lifestyle factors, and your heart.
How Does The MTHFR Gene Affect Cardiovascular Health?
When looking at the relationship between MTHFR and heart disease, it’s important to understand what this gene does.
The MTHFR gene, also known as methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, is responsible for ensuring the body can properly metabolize folate.
When you consume folic acid, the MTHFR gene helps to convert it into folate before the body is able to use the vitamin.
There are various functions that folate helps with MTHFR.
It serves as a building block for both proteins and DNA.
Additionally, folate also plays a significant role in ensuring homocysteine is converted into methionine.
During this conversion, methylation happens – and that allows cells to determine what genes they should activate and deactivate.
This is also where the link between MTHFR and heart disease comes in.
When you have certain mutations in your MTHFR gene, it can make the function of these genes less efficient. In turn, this may cause too much homocysteine to remain in your blood circulatory system.
Research has found that the most common mutation that elevates homocysteine levels is an MTHFR deficiency.
Why Be Concerned About Homocysteine?
Your body naturally makes homocysteine, a kind of amino acid that does play an important part in your health.
As we’ve mentioned, folate helps to convert this amino acid into one that the body can use and benefit from, which is called methionine.
When your body is unable to effectively break down and convert homocysteine, then you may start to experience adverse effects.
If you have high levels of homocysteine in your bloodstream, it can start to cause damage to the lining of your blood vessels and arteries.
This damage often occurs when levels of homocysteine rise above 50 mcmol/L, but ideally, you want to keep the concentration of this amino acid in your blood below 115 mcmol/L.
Over time, the damaged arteries and blood vessels cause a greater risk of developing heart disease.
Your body depends on blood vessels, as they need to carry blood to all areas of your body – and this blood contains important nutrients, as well as oxygen, that your cells use.
The accumulation of damage in your arteries does not only raise your risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s something that also makes you more likely to develop clots in your blood circulatory system, which can then lead to a heart attack.
Reducing Homocysteine Levels With An MTHFR Mutation
Now that you have a better understanding of how the MTHFR gene can lead to high homocysteine levels, it’s important to talk about how you can counter these effects.
It’s important to start with your diet. Consider which foods you eat and the nutrients they contain.
When it comes to the MTHFR gene, in particular, you should prioritize foods that are high in folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
These three vitamins are involved in breaking down the homocysteine in your body.
There are other lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce homocysteine levels, even if you have a mutation in your gene.
Try to quit smoking if this is a habit that you have taken on and make sure you drink alcohol in moderation.
You should also limit your daily sodium intake to a maximum of 2,300 mg.
Regular exercise can also do wonders and offers additional benefits for your body.
Conclusion on The Link Between MTHFR And Heart Disease
If you have certain mutations in your MTHFR gene, it can raise the level of homocysteine in your blood.
This effect also increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular complications.
Even though a link exists between MTHFR and heart disease, there are lifestyle factors that you can use to minimize the risk.
Follow the guidance we shared in this article to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.