Blog Post

Can MTHFR gene mutations cause autoimmune disease?

Autoimmune disease is becoming a very common term these days and there is very good reasons for it, but can MTHFR gene mutations lead to the cause of an autoimmune disease?

The short answer is yes, however there are also other genes that are better known to be problematic for autoimmune disease, let’s explore the problem….

How MTHFR gene mutations can cause an auto immune disease

The first important fact about autoimmune disease is to understand that it takes several things to develop an autoimmune disease and genetics is just one of those factors that can trigger the disease.  Having an active MTHFR gene mutation means having a percentage loss of function of one or more of your nutritional pathways, this means you essentially have a disadvantage when it comes to having the resources you need to prevent an autoimmune disease and this often means having a compromised immune system and or having dysfunctional organs that would normally function to prevent disease and support good health.

So the first way that MTHFR can cause an autoimmune disease is by nutritional deficiency.

Infections, MTHFR & autoimmune disease

Next, one of the things that compromised MTHFR genes cause is poor immunity or what ends up being infections.  Infections can be obvious or they can be low grade and constant e.g. they come and go.  Infections are a very common trigger of autoimmune disease rather than being the cause and we know that many people who have tested positive for MTHFR gene mutations have a strong history of infections.

Infections that can trigger an autoimmune disease include:

  • Bacterial
  • Virus
  • fungi
  • Parasites

Some of the more common infections related to MTHFR gene mutations include:

Epstein-Barr virus (Glandular fever/mononucleosis) – This virus in in the herpes family of viruses and is commonly found in people with MTHFR gene mutations.  This particular virus is known to trigger 33 different autoimmune diseases.

Cytomegalovirus – This virus is also part of the herpes family of viruses affecting approximately 40% of adults at some point or another in life.

Helicobacter pylori – This is a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers and even stomach cancer.

Chlamydia pneumoniae – This is a bacteria that commonly causes infections such as bronchitis, pharyngitis and pneumonia.

Norovirus – This is a virus related to gastroenteritis (stomach flu).

Streptococcal infections (strep) – This is a bacterial infection often involved in throat infections.

Hepatitis C – This is a virus that attacks the liver.

Lyme Disease (Borrelia Burgdorferi) – This is a bacteria contracted via a tick bite.

Stress, MTHFR & autoimmune disease

Stress can play a big role in triggering an autoimmune disease.  People with compromised MTHFR gene mutations often have a lower tolerance of stress due to having poor methylation.  When a person becomes stressed the body tends to burn up more resources trying to deal with the additional stress, this will tend to lower the immune system and energy levels also suffer.

Other gene mutations that cause autoimmune disease

While MTHFR plays a significant role in triggering an autoimmune disease its important to look at other gene mutations that are well known for triggering autoimmune disease.  A large number of genes have been found to be associated with specific autoimmune diseases.  Most autoimmune diseases are the result of having several compromised genes at the same time and one or more of the many different triggers some of which have been mentioned above.

Autoimmune diseases run in families, this is direct evidence that faulty genes are part of the problem but don’t get confused here, just because you have a relative with an autoimmune disease doesn’t mean you will get it too and if you do, it may very well not be the same one either, it all depends on many complex factors.

While there are many gene mutations that can trigger an autoimmune disease often HLA genes (Human Leukocyte Antigen) are involved.  HLA describes the process whereby your immune cells recognize and respond to any potential threat and in the case of autoimmune disease these genes get confused and start attacking your own body.

Preventing & treating autoimmune disease with gene mutations

There is often a misconception that if you have gene mutations that can trigger an autoimmune disease that there is nothing you can do about it and similarly if you already have an autoimmune disease there isn’t anything you can do about it which is simply not true.  There are specific ways that start the process of an autoimmune disease which means there are specific ways to stop the process.

Genes respond to change in circumstances, these may be environmental factors, infections, specific foods, toxic metals, emotional stress, nutritional factors and intestinal permeability.  Finding out what your gene mutations are and resolving these other triggers can change the way your immune system responds and so resolves the problem.


Did you have any questions about the MTHFR & or auoimmune disease?  Contact us here.

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