*I am not a doctor and this advice should not be taken as medical advice. These are my personal recommendations and you should seek the advice and council of your doctor with all issues related to your personal heath.
I’ve been deeply passionate about health and nutrition for almost as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until Joe and I started having issues getting + staying pregnant that I really started to learn more about what I was putting into my body.
You see, when we did our fertility-related blood work after our second miscarriage, my tests all came back normal except for one tiny thing. I have MTHFR. I’ve talked about it on the blog once or twice, but in summary, MTHFR is a genetic mutation that is incredibly common but frequently goes undiagnosed until other issues start to arise. These issues can, and frequently are, related to MTHFR but the research and information available is slim and hard to come by.
To summarize: People diagnosed with MTHFR lack the enzyme that converts folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) and B vitamins into the bio-available form our bodies can use. It seems like a little thing, but it’s really a BIG thing when you think about all the roles folic acid and B vitamins play in our bodies and overall health and well-being, including but not limited to fertility, blood clotting issues, anxiety, depression, energy and more. If you want to read more about MTHFR, you can do so here and here to start. And if you’ve never been tested for it, I would highly recommend doing so. You can go through a service like 23 and Me or your local doctor can do a simple blood test at the hospital.
After a couple years worth of research and reading, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on what this means for me and my family and how to best go about living with the condition. On a day to day basis does it impact me? Not really, but I can tell if I’m not taking the vitamins I need that I have lower energy levels and have a mild feeling of being unwell. Unfortunately, most doctors are a little behind in understanding MTHFR, leaving most of the research on how to move forward with this condition in the hands of the patient.
Obviously, vitamin supplementation with the correct kind of vitamins is extremely important. Taking large doses of folic acid does no good when your body can’t produce the enzyme needed to turn folic acid into a usable form. Because I have a double copy of the mutation (homozygous C677t) I take a prescription-grade vitamin called Metanx, which contains active folate, B6 and B12. But, because it can be very expensive, I’m rounding up my favorite non-prescription alternatives. Even if you don’t have MTHFR, or don’t know if you do, there is no harm in choosing a high-quality vitamin with active folate that is easier for the body to process.
Since I have a double copy of the gene mutation, we know that Ainsley has at least one copy (I hope to get her tested in the future) so we’ve also been supplementing a vitamin for kids that doesn’t have folic acid and instead contains folate. Trust me, finding a good one is harder than you might imagine. Finding a good vitamin that meets that criteria in a regular store like Target, Walmart or your local pharmacy? Practically impossible!
So, to save you time, I wanted to share with you what our family uses, as well as some other recommended supplements to consider. Like I said before, there really is no drawback to taking a vitamin like this, only up-side!
**Additionally, my doctor’s treatment plan, especially during times of trying to conceive, has included using baby aspirin to prevent blood clotting issues, so for those of you trying to conceive, that may be something to talk with your doctor about.