Blog Post

MTHFR & ADHD

MTHFR also known as methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase is an enzyme in your body that is responsible for converting folate in your diet, into activated folate that your body needs to be able to perform many important tasks.  When you have mthfr gene mutations you can easily end up with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), this is because mthfr gene mutations reduce your ability to convert folate into activated folate and the consequences are massive when it comes to mental health problems, bad behavior, poor concentration and learning difficulties.

How MTHFR gene mutations contribute to ADHD

MTHFR gene mutations are very common and are often overlooked by mainstream medicine who are quick to write a prescription for ADHD medications rather than attempt to find the cause, which is more often than not a nutritional problem linked to a genetic disorder.  While it’s true that those with ADHD have problems with neurotransmitters it is also true that those very neurotransmitters rely heavily on the right type of nutrition in order to function properly.

MTHFR gene mutations indirectly disrupt important nutritional pathways and ADHD is often the result of this disruption, this is because folate directly controls brain and nerve function.  Once your active folate goes down, this causes a chain reaction of events chemically in your body that lead to many complex problems, so it’s no wonder that those with ADHD have problems with behavior, concentration and learning.

Its important to understand that having a folate deficiency is only the beginning of a much bigger problem when it comes to ADHD, especially when the folate deficiency is the result of a gene mutation.  You see folate once converted by methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase(MTHFR) into activated folate then goes on to work with all of your B vitamins, all of which play a role in brain function to some degree or another and then you have to factor in how each of the B vitamins also go to work with other vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Nutritional deficiency in ADHD

When it comes to ADHD the word “focus” seems to be the main problem, it suggests that if a person with ADHD can be more focused then they will have less problems.  When we consider that folate is needed for brain development, brain function, is needed for other B vitamins to do their job and is needed to utilize protein, it is easy to see how “focus” can be lost in such a complex problem as ADHD and how over prescribing drugs can get out of hand when what is really needed is nutrition.  Here we will explore in simple terms how a person can end up with ADHD from having a mthfr gene mutation.

First level of MTHFR ADHD problem

MTHFR gene mutation = Reduced ability to properly convert and use folate from your diet or nutritional supplements leads to folate deficiency.

Folate deficiency

  • Underdevelopment of the brain and nerves during pregnancy
  • Reduced ability to support brain and nerve function
  • Reduced ability to use amino acids responsible for neurotransmitter production

Folate deficiency symptoms as they relate to ADHD

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor memory

Second level of MTHFR ADHD problem

The second part of the mthfr and ADHD problem is related to the B complex of vitamins that needs folate to work and how they contribute to causing ADHD.  The following deficiency symptoms of b complex vitamins as they relate to ADHD…

  • Vitamin B1 – Brain function & make use of protein (amino acids). Deficiency symptoms include Irritability, poor concentration, poor memory
  • Vitaminn B3 – Brain function.  Deficiency symptoms include insomnia, poor memory, anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Vitamin B5 – Essential for brain and nerves.  Deficiency symptoms include poor concentration, anxiety
  • Vitamin B6 – Essential for the utilization of protein (amino acids), brain function, natural antidepressant. Deficiency symptoms include depression, nervousness, irritability
  • Vitamin B12 – Irritability, anxiety

You can easily see how all of the B complex vitamins can’t work properly in the presence of mthfr gene defects and how they all relate to mental health symptoms.

Third level of MTHFR ADHD problem

The third part of the mthfr and ADHD problem is related to a reduced ability to use protein such as amino acids properly.  Amino acids are the building blocks of the body and mind however in the case of ADHD and mthfr important amino acids aren’t utilized properly.  Many of the important neurotransmitters that we need that actually prevent ADHD are made from amino acids with the help of activated folate and the B complex vitamins.

This means that those with mthfr gene mutations and ADHD will often have low neurotransmitters and limited resources to replenish them.  Neurotransmitters have many important roles and largely control how we feel, how we think and how we behave, some neurotransmitters are designed to increase our response to external environmental stimulus and others are designed to decrease our response, in the case of ADHD its simply a matter of having unbalanced neurotransmitters with some switch on and others that normally maintain balance are not operating to control the other neurotransmitters thus the end result is altered unwanted behavior, lack of focus, poor concentration, learning difficulties and or hyperactivity.

See the MTHFR test that’s great for kids here, easy test, done at home, no needles, no pain

MTHFR A1298C & ADHD

One of the mthfr gene called A1298C is a major cause of ADHD, this is because the A1298C gene mutation directly affects the production of neurotransmitters.  In those that have the mthfr A1298C gene mutations there is reduced ability to recycle biopterin which is essentially the major neurotransmitter pathway that leads to the production of:

  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine
  • Metanephrine
  • Melatonin

MTHFR & ADHD Treatments

ADHD has long been treated with medications and classed as an unknown in terms of causes, but it is clear that MTHFR gene mutations often play a significant role in being the underlying cause of ADHD along with many other environmental and or external factors that influence neurotransmitters.  If you have ADHD or have been diagnosed with ADHD it is well worth testing for MTHFR gene mutations as a positive result could mean treating ADHD differently for you personally which can greatly improve your outcome.

Treating ADHD is currently done using a one size fits all approach, when you have gene mutations you are no longer likely to respond as well to a one size fits all approach because you are different, your body works differently and so it will respond differently to any treatment.  This also means that you are more likely to respond really well to a treatment that is designed for you personally, on that suits your genes and or your gene mutations.

The good news about ADHD and mthfr gene mutations is that specific targeted nutritional treatments go a long way to helping resolve the condition, in fact based on a number of studies those who opted for a nutritional approach to ADHD had much greater success in reduction of symptoms than those using prescription drugs.

Nutritional balancing is a great way to discover how you might be affected by certain nutrients that often get out of balance with MTHFR gene mutations.

Amino acid testing can also be a major advantage in discovering those amino acids that are deficient and those that are in excess, amino acids are very important in balancing neurotransmitters and those with ADHD and mthfr often do much better knowing which amino acids need more support.

Getting treatments for MTHFR is very important, this is especially true for those with ADHD, because ADHD involves neurotransmitter imbalances that can lead to severe depression its vital that those with mthfr and ADHD have professional support to ensure the best outcome.

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