From Genes to Behavior: How MTHFR Mutation Can Shape ADHD

November 17, 2023 7 mins to read
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As a nutritional professional I became involved in researching DNA methylation and specifically it’s affect on the body’s ability to process certain nutrients (or forms of nutrients). I also authored a nutritional guide to ADHD, and have taken a special interest in nutrition for mental health and psychiatric conditions like ADHD, Autism, Depression, and schizophrenia (to name a few). In this article I dig into how an MTHFR gene mutation can shape ADHD and it’s symptoms, primarily through it’s affect on methylation.

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5 Ways MTHFR Mutation Affects ADHD

Methylation is a biochemical process in the body that plays a pivotal role in gene expression, DNA repair, and synthesis of neurotransmitters. Mutations in the MTHFR Gene can affect how the body processes certain nutrients like folate, B12 and methionine – essential for methylation. In turn anything that impairs methylation pathways, can affect how the body processes certain nutrients. This can become part of a vicious cycle (which i’ll get into later). But the end result is if the body can’t properly process these nutrients effectively it can put strain on the body, and lead to deficiencies – potentially contributing to various health issues both Physical like cardiovascular (heart) diseases or risk of certain cancers and Neurological like ADHD. It’s an oversimplification, but that’s the relationship in a nutshell.

MTHFR, Amino Acid Tyrosine & Dopamine

In ADHD, dopamine regulation plays a significant role. A MTHFR gene mutation can disrupt methylation, and methylation is involved in the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is crucial for brain function, mood regulation, and motor control.

MTHFR Enzyme & 5-MTHF (active folate)

Methylation isn’t just a fancy scientific term – it’s a cornerstone of brain health. When there’s a mutation in the MTHFR gene (like the common C677T or A1298C mutations), the efficiency of the MTHFR enzyme is reduced. This reduction can lead to a decreased production of 5-MTHF, which in turn can disrupt the overall methylation process. This affect on methylation, can directly influence brain function, which may provide insights into ADHD.

MTHFR Mutation & Folate (Expanded)

An MTHFR mutation can affect how our bodies process key nutrients, including folate. Folate is essential for various bodily functions including the creation of neurotransmitters like dopamine. This disruption can potentially contribute to neurotransmitter imbalances, influencing conditions like ADHD where dopamine plays a crucial role. An example of how this might help

Methylation & Dopamine & Dysregulation in ADHD

Since methylation is integral to producing neurotransmitters like dopamine, a disruption in the methylation process can impact dopamine synthesis. Reduced methylation efficiency may lead to lower levels of dopamine, which can have various neurological and psychological effects, such as issues with mood regulation, attention, and motor control. This is particularly relevant in disorders like ADHD, where dopamine dysregulation is a significant factor.

Genetics & Targeted Healthcare

MTHFR mutations could highlight a heightened genetic susceptibility to ADHD. Which can help professionals to offer a more personalized healthcare strategy targeted to an individuals unique genetic profile – especially beneficial for adolescents-teenagers, when the brain is still developing. But honestly anyone could greatly benefit from a methylation panel informed and genetic targeted, nutritional plan.

How to Test for MTHFR Gene

There is a genetic methylation at-home (cheek swab) test that I recommend. You can order it at home & their team of genetic and nutritional experts will send you back your results with a detailed report, written for you the consumer to easily understand, that explains everything around diet, supplementation, food & nutrition – that you can immediately start applying to your life to see results. Once you receive the results you can book an appointment as my patient, for help from a nutritional professional to set up a diet and supplement plan.

Conclusion

The relationship between Genetics (the MTHFR Gene), methylation, nutrition & conditions like ADHD is complex. We know that mutations in the MRHFR gene can affect methylation, and how the body processes nutrients like Folate, potentially affecting production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine – a big part of ADHD and how it displays in the body (it’s symptoms). A Methylation Test, is an easy, at-home cheek swab that, that you only need to do once in your life, but could provide insights to get a handle on your ADHD, and when used to design a targeted holistic nutritional plan, may even transform your life.

References

  1. MTHFR Gene and ADHD Studies:
  2. Methylation and ADHD Studies:
  3. General ADHD and Genetics References:

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any health care agency or government entity in Canada or the United States.

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