Friday, November 18, 2011

Folate and B12

Over the summer I tested positive for the MTHFR mutation. There is a lot of disagreement among doctors on whether or not this can cause miscarriage. People who have this mutation in their genes have a harder time converting folic acid to folate. Everyone knows that folate helps reduce birth defects. At that point I could not tell if MTHFR was even a factor in my infertility but I thought just in case I get lucky I do not want to worry about birth defects. I did not want to worry that I was not getting enough folate or b12 so I decided to start supplements.

I waited for three months and then I got my levels tested. I went off the supplements for  a few days before the test. I was shocked when the results came back. They were very high. My folate came back at 2,451 (normal is 468-1,258). My B12 was 1,577 (normal is 211-946)

I freaked out that I overdosed. I went to the internet and most sources said that it was better to have too much than not enough. Being deficient in folate or b12 can really mess you up. I even read that low levels can cause fertility problems.

I do eat a lot of salad and broccoli and they both are high in folate so I guess I do not need the supplement every day. I may take one  a week to be sure. It was interesting that they said  a high folate level could mask a B12 deficiency. Well I do not have to worry about that.


  1. Every time I read your blog I learn something!

    After pestering my Napro doc for the MTHFR testing I came back negative.

    My guess that it's better to have food sources rather than supplements to boost your levels. Have you thought of consulting a naturopath?

  2. JB: Do you see a naturopath? I found the American Association of naturopathic physicians. I read about it and it was interesting. I do not think this would be covered by insurance. It said that my local Dr was licensed out of state bc my state does not recognize this field. Her fees were reasonable but not something I can do right away. I am going to keep this in mind for the future. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Hi there,

    I am MTHFR gene mutation test positive too! I have to take 5mg of folate every day for the rest of my life (1000 times more than RDA). In australia, you must have a prescription for it, because for the average indv, that amount of folate in the blood is toxic. But for MTHFR people, its not toxic.

    Folate is the vitamin in food, the body converts it to folic acid and then to folinic acid, by the special enzyme we don't have. So high levels of folate is not to worry if you have MTHFR (your body can't do much with it).

    Low folate levels can cause infertility. SO does low B6 and b12, iron and vit D.

    Folate plays a vital role in hormone production and low folate causes a woman to not ovulate regularly. I read that in Australia, folate deficiency is the most common reason a woman fails to ovulate regularly.

    MTHFR is a rare cause of folate deficiency. More common causes are colitis (inflamed intestine can't asorb it), poor digestion problems (poor stomach acid), poor liver function, antidepressant medication, auto immune diseases like coeliac and crohn, and of course poor diet (smoking, drinking, drugs, not enough fresh fruit and veg).

    If you suffer from anaemia, abdominal bloating, poor muscle tone, then deficient folate could be the cause of infertility. Ask for homocysteine blood test and check for anaemia - these are the clues.

    I've been trying for a year to conceive, got the MTHFR diagnosis 3 months ago and my naturopath prescribed vit b complex of b6, folinic acid and b12 , plus the prescription folate supplement. also took iron and vit D to boost red blood cell count. 3 months later I am now 5 weeks pregnant! : )

  4. oh, yes, and I had i miscarriage 6 months ago, which triggered the testing for the MTHFR defect. Definitely MTHFR causes miscarriage. Anaemia is the most common problem for MTHFR people, we don't make enough red blood cells! Your body can't produce enough blood in the endometrium lining as the embryo needs it - uterus has difficulty sustaining the embryo.

  5. Hi there
    I also just found out that I have MTHFR homozygous. I have started vit supplements. Would like to know if I also need vit. D. I also have low ferritin so I am taking Iron:)
    I will update you. Thanks for warning about that it is also possible to get too much.
    Mrs Austria

  6. PS, at least it is interestin that we both have MTHFR and infertility.


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