As seen on Today Tonight, Adelaide GP Dr. Peter Tunbridge believes that up to half of Australia’s population (and the rest of the world) could be unknowingly carrying a genetic defect which can cause weight gain.
MTHFR and weight loss, what does it mean for you?
“It’s called the MTHFR gene polymorphism and the actual problem that occurs is that these people can’t change naturally occurring folate or folic acid supplements, into the active form that the body requires to carry out its biochemistry,” said Dr. Tunbridge.
By supplementing the diet with a daily dose of Methylfolate which is an activated form of folate, and adhering to a comprehensive diet and exercise program, many patients have experienced significant weight loss success.
Methylfolate is available around the world but is only available in Australia with a prescription from your naturopath, but you can order from www.iherb.com and the brand that I recommend is Thorne which makes a great B complex with all the activated B vitamins which provides a better balance.
As a result people with the faulty gene store fat instead of burning it off. It’s also been linked to chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Integrative medicine expert, Dr. Tania Ash: “It is in a capsule form, you take it as a once a day daily supplement. At this point of time we would recommend it as ongoing treatment.”
Dr Ash prescribed a course of the activated folate to patient Graham Little. Just 500 micrograms a day appears to have helped him shed eleven kilos in two months.
“My weight was exploding, and it’s managed to curb that issue completely and yeah, I recommend it,” Little said.
“He’s reported that his energy levels are the best they’ve ever been for years he’s got excellent mood stability now he doesn’t have the mood swings that he used to have before he came to see me,” Dr. Ash said. “So if you can add something back into their diet which is very simple and safe to do which will help that process then that’s a massive step for that group of people.”
I am a strong believer that there is no magic pill for weight loss but if you are eating the right diet for your body type and doing an exercise program and still having trouble losing weight, well you could be one of those people who has the gene defect which could cause difficulty losing weight, and the Thorne B Complex maybe what you need to help remove those unwanted kilo’s.
You can organize a test through your doctor which costs about $70 just for the MTHFR gene, or you can order a test through 23andme which test for 1,000’s of genes for $149 plus postage, this does not come with a report but a consultation will help you to interpret your results.
A comprehensive gene test is the best option as different genes interact with each other and you cannot just treat one gene in isolation. Your gene’s are not your destiny and your diet, environment and lifestyle can have a big effect on how they express themselves. By having a gene test you will learn the best way for you to improve your health now and prevent disease in the future.
If you have had a genetic test with 23andme or ancestory.com I can help you interpret the genetic data and give you all of the health information in regards to cardiovascular health, weight loss, nutrient abosrption and much more. Your genes are not your destiny and knowing your genetic strengths and weaknesses can help you prevent these conditions from occurring.
There is a lot more to genetics that just the MTHFR gene and for some people they can actually feel worse if they take methylfolate, or take it in the wrong dose. Genes like COMT and MAOA can affect how much folate and what form of folate that we can tolerate which is why doing a more comprehensive gene test is a better idea that just testing MTHFR.
Knowing that you have the MTHFR gene is like having an important piece of the jigsaw puzzle, but it is necessary to have all of the other pieces of the puzzle to optimize your health.
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. He is a registered naturopath with the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA) and works with clients from all over the world via video or phone consultations. He is a degree qualified naturopath from the Endeavour College of Natural Medicine in Australia with 18 years of experience. He uses advanced testing methods, nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, and lifestyle advice to help you stay healthy. He is a Kalish Method-trained practitioner that keeps updating his education with Chris Kresser. Michael completed Dr. Terry Wahls practitioner training program, a 12-month program with ongoing training that helps understand the underlying cause and treatment of MS and autoimmune conditions. He keeps up to date with the latest research into health and natural medicine through the Metabolic Fitness Pro course with Dr. Bryan Walsh.