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What's in Your Genes Can Effect Your Mental Health

Doctors in all fields have known for years that certain health conditions and diseases are linked to the genes passed down to us by our parents. The recent expansion in our understanding of the human genome and this process has brought exciting new treatments to those suffering from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADHD and more. So how do you know if you are effected? How do you know if you should be tested? Are there medicines or treatments if you are effected?  This article will answer these questions and more.

Medicine is now at the point where your individual genetics can be tested to see if and where certain health problems might be. When it comes to mental health issues there are a few genes that take priority and the most important is MTHFR gene. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This gene carries the code for the enzyme with the same name. This enzyme's job is to take inactive folate into its active form. When your genes have a mutation it is said that you have a polymorphism. This means the enzyme no longer has the right shape so it can't make active folate as efficiently. This is bad because only active folate can be used by the body and it has lots of functions.


The Effects of Active Folate

comparison of unique genesActive folates help us make neurotransmitters in the brain so we can think, sleep, and experience a full spectrum of emotions. Active folates also allow the body to make adenosylmethionine or SAMe. SAMe is responsible for many different functions in the body including, dna formation, cell membrane production, nerve sheath production, and reducing histamine. With MTHFR polymorphism all of the above functions are impaired. If you have had an ongoing struggle with depression, addictive behaviors, Anxiety, ADD, ADHD, etc, MTHFR polymorphism may be to blame. The consequences of chronically low or insufficient neurotransmitters lead many to seek help of medical professional through medications or to self medicate with drugs and alcohol. The severity of your mood disorder will depend on the type of genetic mutation you have. So, it’s vital that your MTHFR gene works exactly as it should.


So How Do You Know If You Have MTHFR Mutation?

It is estimated that as much as one in two people have an incorrect coded gene for this enzyme. That is a lot but some of the incorrectly coded genes may only manifest as minor sluggishness or low mood some of the time. If you had as reason as to why you felt this way it would give a lot a reassurance and there are several treatment approaches that can improve the symptoms. The testing for this condition is a simple blood test. Some insurance does cover it at local Sonora Quest and Labcorp locations. Most physicians and even naturopathic doctors don't know a whole lot about this genetic disorder other than it exists. In these case it is hard to convince them to order the test.

Spectra Cell is a company that runs the test through insurance with a $45 copay and you do need a doctor's order for it. The cash price will vary but Spectra Cell has a good price for this test. This polymorphism or a DNA change is sort of like a lottery system there are things you can do to treat the problem if you do have it.


Treatment For MTHFR Polymorphism

The basic treatment for MTHFR polymorphism is mostly to give activated folate. There is a prescription for this called Deplin and there are supplement forms available as well. While these options work well in most cases, other treatments can be given to help improve the function of the MTHFR enzyme itself and to improve all the metabolites that result from a poorly functioning MTHFR enzyme.

So if you are someone that struggles from mental health problems like Clinical Depression, ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, or even simple fatigue, you should test your genes. It could be a polymorphism and a simple treatment can make a huge difference in your life. This testing and treatment is available from the naturopathic doctors at Southwest Integrative Medicine. Southwest Integrative Medicine specializes in solving your health issues using both eastern and western medicine treatments for the most effective least invasive treatment options. To have your health assessed click on the link below for a free consultation. 


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