Ask the Experts: Why are MTHFR mutations connected to thyroid dysregulation?
Our bodies have certain genetic weak points. These areas are typically the first to be affected or the most vulnerable to stress. Think about your family members, what are some of the health problems that run in your genetics? You could have family members with heart problems or some with high anxiety. On the other hand, you might have family members who have thyroid dysregulation. This weakness will put you at a higher risk for thyroid problems than the average person in the population.
Throw an MTHFR mutation on top of this risk, which can predispose you to become toxic more quickly, and a thyroid problem can easily be created. The American Thyroid Association states 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. Thyroids are sensitive to dysfunction because glands are easily targeted by toxins, they absorb toxins quicker than other parts of the body.
Just because you have an MTHFR mutation doesn’t mean you will feel symptomatic or develop thyroid issues. But if you have an MTHFR mutation and a thyroid weakness, and you start to take medication, develop an illness, or are chronically stressed, your body can get overwhelmed and this is when those symptoms start to occur. You should actively make lifestyle choices in favor of your genetics.
The Thyroid’s Job
The thyroid has an important job to do. It is tasked with controlling our bodies temperature and regulating a temperature of 98.6. For example, when you feel like relaxing in the hot tub at night, and you get into waters that are 100 degrees in temperature and higher, your thyroid is pumping away to cool down your body and keep it regulated. All day long, our tiny butterfly-shaped gland works by either speeding up or slowing down cells to make which maintain our temperature. The thyroid isn’t running the show though, the pituitary or the midbrain, is delegating to the thyroid how best to drive the body’s metabolism. The pituitary sends a signal known as TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, this signal tells the body to make more or less of the thyroid hormone.
After the body creates the TSH, it then starts producing T4 which the body uses to move its metabolism forward. T4 will eventually convert into T3 which is the active hormone that is telling the body to move faster. Bodies are extremely careful when making hormones because they must be used and they have a short lifespan. The pituitary is watching to see how much T3 is needed and will change its signal to have the body create more based on how much T3 is available.
We now know about thyroid, but where does the MTHFR mutation come into play? MTHFR is a metabolic condition which means it affects the metabolism. Individuals with MTHFR already have a slower ability to get rid of toxins, and less energy if their methylation isn’t optimal. When a thyroid becomes toxic due to an environmental toxin, such as pesticides in our fruits and vegetables, it starts to slow our metabolism.
The body will have plenty of T4 but it doesn’t have the energy or ability to create T3. Reverse T3 molecules will start to bind onto T3 receptors blocking their ability to get in. The dirtier cells become due to toxins, the less effectively they work resulting in reduced thyroid function. This is where thyroid symptoms start to occur. Most people with MTHFR have a swinging thyroid. The thyroid is going back and forth, between slow and fast all while trying to regulate itself to the middle.
Low Thyroid Symptoms (slow metabolism):
· Foggy brain
· Brittle nails
· Cold hands
High Thyroid Symptoms (fast metabolism):
· Easily startled
· Mood swings
How can you help your thyroid?
Start by fixing the problem at its cause. Find out the environmental toxins that are dirtying your cells and change your lifestyle to eliminate the toxins. Are you eating foods with pesticides? Did you take an antibiotic recently that disturbed your gut flora? Has your carpet recently been cleaned with harsh chemicals? Think about what could be affecting your body and make active changes to your lifestyle. Fixing your poor methylation by supplementing with L-Methylfolate and B vitamins can also be beneficial for creating more energy that your body can use to eliminate toxins. Click here for an MTHFR Friendly B complex.
Now that you know what the thyroid’s job is and the role MTHFR mutations play in thyroid health, you may be interested in learning how to heal and maintain your thyroid. Click here to read our article all about improving thyroid health.
Questions? Set up an appointment to speak one on one with our MTHFR Experts! We offer free 15-minute consultation phone calls. Click here to schedule an appointment.
Do you have an MTHFR mutation? Take our survey to get information regarding your specific mutation.
“General Information/Press Room.” American Thyroid Association, www.thyroid.org/media-main/about-hypothyroidism/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2017.
“How does the thyroid work?” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Jan. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072572/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2017.