MTHFR // SNP // SIBO
Folate is an essential B-vitamin required for DNA and RNA synthesis of cells for replication and general function. Naturally occurring folate should comprise 80% of folate in circulation, folic acid (synthetic) should comprise 0%. Folic acid entered the American diet in the 1960’s when folate deficiency was found to play a significant role in neural tube defects of the developing fetus, a serious and significant finding. This pioneered a movement to add synthetic folic acid to foods, labeling them “enriched” or “fortified”.
It has been postulated that 40% of the population has at least 1 copy of an altered MTHFR gene. Being a carrier of the polymorphism (altered gene) could mean that the folic acid consumed in your diet or in some supplements is binding to your folate receptor, preventing you from absorbing natural folate that you can utilize from food (leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes). The result is a deficiency in folate. In more recent years, research has found significant correlations between folate deficiency and recurrent miscarriages, ADHD, addiction, allergies, cardiovascular disease, Down’s syndrome, diabetes, mental health conditions (anxiety, depression, bipolar, Alzheimers, etc.), autoimmunity, and thyroid disease.
The good news is, folate deficiency and MTHFR gene SNPs are easily treatable with proper guidance by a trained professional. Acknowledging genetic SNPs or genes that are functioning suboptimally is, in our eyes, a large foundation of preventative medicine.
SNP (pronounced “snip”) stands for single nucleotide polymorphism and represents a type of gene mutation causing small errors in DNA replication. SNPs occur in humans naturally, about every 300
DNA replications. The significance of identifying an individual's SNPs can be critical to understanding their health patterns and disease risk. While SNPs occur in each one of us, when they happen in a significant part of the DNA strand, we can better understand how particular symptoms or health in general is influenced. For example, if it is identified that someone has a SNP on the gene that codes for an enzyme called GST that detoxifies arsenic and mercury then living in an environment high in those metals can cause an array of dis-ease. With the knowledge of where in a person’s individual genome a SNP is located can inform a trained physician how to optimize biochemical, neurotransmitter and hormonal pathways.
Understanding genetic SNPs is a complex story. There is not a clear and dry treatment for each determined SNP, it requires trained medical professionals with a clear biochemical background to help optimize your health. Genetic optimization includes dietary changes, lifestyle, supplements, exercise and perspective to reach a more optimal health.
SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and has been more recently identified as a common cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Bacteria is healthy to populate the large intestine and certain beneficial bacteria is okay to live in the small intestine. However, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can be problematic and has been identified as a common cause of gas, bloating, chronic fatigue, joint pain, food allergies/sensitivities, anemia and many other symptoms. At present, the list of symptoms and diseases associated with SIBO tally well over 100! Identifying the presence and type of SIBO is done with a breath test completed at home and treatment can often be tailored to support the patient with a blend of targeted antibiotics or botanicals and dietary improvements.