Overwhelmed and Constantly Stressed? MTHFR might be Affecting your Neurotransmitters!

If you are one of the 40% that has an MTHFR mutation, not only do you have an increased risk for stress but also for feeling anxious. But why do you feel that general anxiety? If your methylation system was working properly, then most likely you would have the adequate amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline in your brain. If you have an MTHFR mutation and your methylation cycle isn’t working optimally then you will have a slower detoxification process resulting in increased inflammation in your gut. Without an optimal methylation cycle, your other bodily processes such as DNA repairs, energy production, and the formation of new neurotransmitters are sacrificed. Your methylation cycle has a hand in almost every one of your body’s processes, therefore, MTHFR mutations can make you feel uncomfortable in many ways.

Do you ever feel as if you are always on edge? Do you feel agitated, irritated, or have a hard time calming down? Are you constantly worrying?

If so then your body might have an excess amount of adrenaline due to a slow methylation and detoxification cycle not removing the excess amounts. Two other gene mutations COMT and MAO-A affect the rate at which your catecholamines are broken down which are dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline (1). If you just have an MTHFR mutation then your neurotransmitters are already having a hard time being made and broken down at an adequate rate but if you add in COMT and MAO-A mutations then the breakdown speed is even slower resulting in feeling like you are always stressed/anxious.

Think about what adrenaline does to you. It is your fight or flight response. In the wild, if an animal feels a surge of adrenaline they know that they need to be ready for anything, whatever threat they are exposed to at the time. Adrenaline makes you feel more focused, raises blood pressure, increases muscle strength, and energy production (2).

Conditions associated with high levels of adrenaline:

·      Insomnia: Having too much adrenaline bouncing around in your body as you are trying to fall asleep can make sleeping feel impossible. Your neurotransmitters are wired resulting in racing thoughts. On the other hand, if your body doesn’t make enough catecholamines, then you might constantly fall asleep (narcolepsy).

·      High Blood Pressure: Adrenaline raises blood pressure due to the increase in force and heart rate.

·      Arrhythmia: Abnormal beating of the heart can occur due to excess stress placed on the heart. The excess stress depletes the heart of much-needed nutrients such as magnesium and taurine. Click here for an MTHFR Friendly Magnesium Supplement.  

·      Chronic Pain: Excess adrenaline can result in oversensitive nerve fibers. This can bring about chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.

·      Poor circulation: Adrenaline pushes blood flow away from the gut and pumps your blood into your heart and lungs. This can cut off flow to the tips of the fingers and toes and bring about that tingly/numbness feeling.

·      Skin Reactions: Excess sweating.

·      Digestion Issues: Due to adrenaline pushing blood flow away from the gut, less oxygen occurs making it harder to digest food.

·      Bacteria Growth: Bacteria uses adrenaline to grow rapidly in the gut.

·      Anxiety/Mood Changes: Adrenaline starts out as Dopamine. Excess adrenaline results in less dopamine due to it being converted into Adrenaline. This can make you feel anxious, irritated, and moody (3).

Adrenaline is not the only contributor to anxiety. Inflammation also activates our fight or flight system triggering that anxious feeling. Inflammation is increased by poor diet (processed foods/not enough folate), poor digestion, infections, and fatigue. Once again, your methylation cycle needs to work properly for inflammation to be reduced and for neurotransmitters to stay balanced. Read our article on healing chronic inflammation here. 

How do you decrease stress and excess adrenaline?

1.  Improve gut health. Ridding the body of inflammation is an important step in having a healthy gut. Avoid processed foods, heavy chemicals, foods with pesticides, and genetically modified foods. If you’ve been exposed to environmental toxins, an MTHFR Friendly detox can help the liver eliminate these toxins from the body which reduces inflammation within the gut. Learn more about BiomeIQ’s Liver Detox here. 

2.  Sleep! Sleep is necessary to keep your body in the best health. Getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night is ideal for healing your gut. Having trouble sleeping? Magnesium Glycinate as one of the best forms of Magnesium for aiding in quality sleep. Magnesium Glycinate relaxes the brain, supports brain health, mental functioning, and a healthy mood. BiomeIQ’s Pure Magnesium Chelate can be added into a bath before bed, and the Magnesium will be absorbed through the skin. 

3.  Destress. Relax, meditate, and treat yourself. Enjoy a massage or a salt bath. Knowing when you need to sit down and rest even if your body is telling you to go go go! Sometimes you must say no to let your body refresh and recharge.

4.  Exercise. Exercising is a great way to get out that extra energy. Make sure you are exercising at an early enough time in the day otherwise you can have a hard time sleeping that night.

5.  Fix your methylation cycle. Figuring out what extra nutrients your body needs to function optimally is the best solution to having a healthier body. Cleaning up your gut and increasing the rate at which your body detoxifies is very beneficial. Read more on improving methylation here. 

High homocysteine levels or COMT mutation

For individuals with high homocysteine levels or a COMT mutation Trimethyl Glycine (TMG) is the most effective methyl donor. Some individuals have a hard time with methylated B vitamins because they can be over-stimulatory. As well, they are promoters/co-factors for many other pathways which means they can cause a lot of undesirable reactions. If you have a COMT mutation and are having a hard time with B vitamins a different form of methylation would be helpful. If you’ve had symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and depression then TMG is a good option to consider. TMG helps convert your anxiety-producing neurotransmitters (epinephrine/norepinephrine) back into your happy neurotransmitters (Dopamine).

BiomeIQ’s Methylation3 uses TMG, the specific form of methylation needed to help drive and support the conversion of neurotransmitters within the brain.  If you have an MTHFR mutation and are suffering from mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, and aggression then you might also have a COMT mutation. Click here for more information.

Do you have an MTHFR mutation? Take our survey to get information regarding your specific mutation.


1.  Kobayashi, K. (2001, November). Role of catecholamine signaling in brain and nervous system functions: new insights from mouse molecular genetic study. Retrieved August 02, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11764279

2.  (Cantab), A. C. (2013, May 18). What is Epinephrine (Adrenaline)? Retrieved August 02, 2017, from http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Epinephrine-(Adrenaline).aspx

3.  Holford, P. (2003). Depression: The Nutrition Connection . Retrieved August 2, 2017, from https://www.bing.com/cr?IG=73B65F0C29A9460CBAA94B537BEA2256&CID=05DDA30DEA6865B80141A9DFEB6E643D&rd=1&h=4VDmemU2apUlcQ0ZDPpW5kzFsZYS3fau1vBSd-EkYs0&v=1&r=https%3a%2f%2fpdfs.semanticscholar.org%2f78f5%2fe3ea9da5be7b8a5da9c9c3ff8ef540fb76c9.pdf&p=DevEx,5034.1