Methylation, Pregnancy & Neural Tube Defects

Pre-conceptional supplementation to support the methylation cycle helps to prevent miscarriages. Mutations in the MTHFR genes of the methylation pathway as well as mutations that lead to decreased B12 are risk factors for neural tube defects. Mutations in the methylation pathway, specifically methionine synthase, methionine synthase reductase as well as abnormal homocysteine levels are risk factors for having a child with Down’s syndrome. It is important to consider methylation pathway mutations when looking at supplementing folate during pregnancy. One way to understand this more easily is to think about the studies on folate and neural tube defects. Using folate during pregnancy helps to decrease the risk of neural tube defects. This is not changing the DNA but having a regulatory effect on the ability of the DNA to be expressed, known as epigenetics. Now, if folatecan make a difference in DNA expression, but you have a mutation so that you cannot use folate appropriately, then taking folate may not do any good; it is almost as if you never supplemented at all. Running a nutrigenomic test to determine the form of folate that will bypass mutations in your folate pathway will enable you to supplement with the appropriate form of folate and should help to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in a similar way to the use of plain folate in the absence of mutations in this pathway. The genetics of the parent are reflected in the child.  So that if a pregnant mother has mutations that make her unable to utilize plain folate, you should consider testing the infant for similar weaknesses in this pathway. The sooner that you know if and where a newborn’s genetic weaknesses reside in the methylation pathway the sooner you can start to supplement to bypass these mutations. Remember by supplementing properly you should have the potential to bypass and compensate for the mutations. If this is commenced from day one you do not allow time for virus to build up (remember that methylation is necessary to silence virus). In addition, some of the mutations in the methylation cycle make it difficult to make new T cells, which are a critical part of your immune system. If chronic virus is not building then it cannot hang onto and store heavy metals. This should help to prevent huge stores of metals in the chronic virus in the system. If as suspected, virus and metal loads from vaccines are related to the autism epidemic and if a newborn does have some weakness in their methylation pathway, you have the option of supplementing with the appropriate nutrients prior to vaccination. This may make it easier for the immune system of infants to react to vaccines in the correct fashion. If the methylation cycle is working properly from day one it should help with myelination, immune regulation, the ability to make new DNA and RNA that is needed for growing cells.