Blog Post

Bipolar Disorder & MTHFR

Do you have mood swings?

Could it be bipolar disorder?

Is your bipolar disorder caused by MTHFR gene mutations?

Bipolar is a mood swing disorder that is strongly associated with manic depression, those with bipolar disorder experience periods of depression followed by periods of elevated mood and can easily change their moods quickly without even being aware that it is happening.  Those with bipolar are often unaware of the dramatic changes in their mood and how it affects them and those around them.  Others are very conscious that they are having mood swings and feel out of control to do anything about it.

There is much debate about the causes for bipolar disorder and one which stands out from all others is the genetic disorder MTHFR.  MTHFR is a gene mutation that causes a down regulation of an important enzyme that is responsible for the metabolism of folate, when this happens it causes all sorts of health problems such as mthfr conditions, some of which are mental health problems, one of which is bipolar disorder.

Genetic disorders like MTHFR are often found to be causing conditions such as bipolar disorder.  Certain gene mutations such as MTHFR C677T & A1296C can interrupt normal brain cognition that greatly affects mood balance and further interferes with neurotransmitters, which makes it hard for people with bipolar to stay in any kind normal mood balance.  This is not uncommon, statistically 50% of western populations have mood swings to some degree or another and over 50% of that same population are said to have a gene mutation related to MTHFR, no coincidence here.

Symptoms of Bipolar disorder and MTHFR gene mutations

Different mthfr gene mutations can cause different symptoms of bipolar so your symptoms are dependent on which gene defects you may or may not have and how severe your symptoms may be for you as an individual.  Depression and manic depression is one of the main symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, mthfr gene mutations cause a reduction in the utilization of folate and one of the main symptoms of folate deficiency is depression along with irritability and difficulty concentrating, so you can see the strong relationship between bipolar disorder and mthfr.

Here are the main symptoms of bipolar associated with MTHFR:

  • Mood swings (uncontrollable mood changes)
  • Manic Depression (serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior.  From the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other.)
  • Mania (periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and or over-activity.)
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Migraines
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Dependency on drugs, alcohol or stimulants to maintain mood
  • Low mood with racing thoughts
  • Feeling tired but unable to go to sleep
  • Feeling of constant high mood (unable to relax mentally)
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

How MTHFR causes bipolar disorder

We already know that an inability to use folate properly contributes to depression, so lets take a look at how mthfr gene mutations cause bipolar.  As we have mentioned previously folate is a nutrient that normally comes in your diet and it is also often artificially added to many food products & supplements in the form of “folate” or “folic acid”, those with one or more of the mthfr gene mutations can’t metabolize these additives or supplements which leads to a folate deficiency that contributes to depression, but this is only the beginning when it comes to bipolar disorder.

Folate deficiency then causes a chain reaction of nutritional imbalances (e.g some nutrients become deficient while others build up and become excessive).  Once these nutrients become unbalanced this interferes with providing your brain, with important nutrients that it needs, in order to produce the neurotransmitters that prevent mental health problems such as bipolar disorder and mood swings.

There are two main types of mthfr gene mutations that affect and or cause bipolar disorder these include:

MTHFR gene mutation C677T and bipolar disorder

This gene mutation mainly contributes to the reduce ability to use folate which causes nutritional imbalances that causes adverse affects on other vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids, this wide spread imbalance leads to reduced ability to maintain mood, reduced ability to break down homocysteine needed for production of neurotransmitters and to produce DNA that is vital for proper brain development, growth and repair.

MTHFR gene mutation A1298C and bipolar disordor

This gene mutation mainly contributes to the reduced ability to properly produce neurotransmitters that directly affect mood.  This gene mutation is considered a neurotransmitter pathway inhibitor, this means that a person is less able to make important neurotransmitters that support good mood and mental well being.

MTHFR & Bipolar Testing

If you have been diagnosed with bipolar it is well worth testing for mthfr gene mutations to see if they may be causing the problem, this is because if you are positive for one or more of the gene mutations then specific treatments can help restore good mental health.  Bipolar disorder is a serious problem, if you identify with the symptoms on this page but you have not been diagnosed for bipolar at this point, it is often better to test for mthfr gene mutations to establish your genetic status, this is because mthfr gene mutations are behind a large percentage of mental health disorders.  Checking yourself for other symptoms of mthfr and or other conditions including any family history of the mthfr conditions is also important.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

There are many ways that bipolar disorder can be treated, often mainstream health services attempt this by manipulating brain chemicals to restore some kind of balance.  Bipolar and the symptoms of bipolar are clear signs of other problems that need addressing which can’t be fixed by covering up symptoms and hoping that the problems will go away.  Treating bipolar the right way means understanding whats really going on that is causing the problems and taking the right actions to correct the imbalances, this offers the best outcome for those who suffer from bipolar disorder.  Genetics play one of the biggest roles in determining our overall health, so it makes good sense to treat bipolar from a genetic perspective and testing for mthfr gene problems is a great place to start.

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