An Australian clinic is leading the global charge in the fight against a little known gene mutation that may be causing multiple miscarriages and preventing thousands of successful pregnancies. MTHFR Support Australia is the only dedicated MTHFR (methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase) clinic in the world, and one of just three global leaders in the field.
MTHFR is an enzyme that converts folate into the active form required for a number of the body's health functions, including preconception and pregnancy, and if a gene mutation exists, the chances of a successful pregnancy may be compromised. So prolific has the MTHFR mutation become that leading IVF providers Genea and IVF Australia have just commenced testing for it, however the problem is that even when the mutation is discovered, the majority of health practitioners are unaware of what to do next.
Carolyn Ledowsky, founder of MTHFR Support, has seen first hand the devastating affect that the gene mutation has on people, especially those trying to fall pregnant. After running an international support clinic for two and a half years, she is now launching a globally accessible online prenatal program designed to educate and assist anyone thinking of starting a family, regardless of whether or not they have been tested for the MTHFR mutation.
'MTHFR has numerous health implications," she explains, 'but one of the most significant is pregnancy. I've treated couples who have experienced twelve to sixteen failed IVF attempts, which is heartbreaking, and in the majority of cases, one of the couple has had the MTHFR gene mutation the whole time. I've got dozens of clients who believed they would never have children, but who are now parents – plus they are generally healthier and happier than ever."
Affecting both women and men, MTHFR mutations can be addressed via professionally prescribed vitamins, and diet and lifestyle changes, which is where the online program comes in. Through a weekly series of video segments, the preconception course will consist of bonus videos from experts and provide step-by-step guidance for anyone wanting to fall pregnant – regardless of whether the MTHFR gene mutation exists. From basic education to testing for the gene through to correction if it exists, and from nutrition that assists pregnancy to environmental and toxicity assessments, the MTHFR Support online program provides the foundation for a healthy pregnancy for both men and women.
MTHFR Support's online program will launch on 29th February 2016.
Registration for participation is now open.
You can also register for the FREE webinar every Tuesday at 7.30pm to learn about the MTHFR gene and to ask Carolyn questions.
Register at: http://www.mthfrsupport.com.au/preconception/
Carolyn Ledowsky is the founder of MTHFR Support Australia. She is a naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist with a Bachelor of Herbal Medicine, Bachelor of Naturopathy, Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and Diploma of Nutrition. She has also studied courses in genetics at Duke University (Genetics and Evolution) and The University of Maryland (Genes and the Human condition – from behaviour to biotechnology).
Carolyn's debut into the world of MTHFR commenced when she noticed that so many of her patients had high red cell folate levels in their blood work. She embarked on a mission to discover the significance of this and this led her to the MTHFR gene. Carolyn now sees chronically ill patients who have searched, sometimes for decades, to find the reason behind their ill health. Most of her patients have MTHFR mutations and/or associated methylation disturbances. These disturbances then go on to affect thyroid, adrenals, hormones, detoxification, energy pathways and anxiety and depression. Her expertise is in understanding these highly complex biochemical pathways.
Carolyn is a regular speaker at MTHFR events and provides both patient and practitioner training through her many webinars/presentations and on-line learning environments.
Question: What is MTHFR Gene Mutation?
Carolyn Ledowsky: The MTHFR gene is a really important gene that helps the conversion of our folate to the active form. So let me explain that a bit more: when you eat leafy green vegetables, your body has to then go through many metabolic processes to ensure that the folate is converted into what we call an active folate. This active folate is called a methyl group. This methyl group then acts as a master switch for really important process in our body like:
Turning genes on and off – like turning off cancer promoter genes, helping repair and build DNA, helping our immune cells and hormones, supporting neurotransmitters and they're also responsible for the methylation cycle for energy.
Question: How does MTHFR Gene Mutation affect women?
Carolyn Ledowsky: As you can tell by the number of functions the MTHFR gene plays a part in, the MTHFR gene mutation means that several different functions aren't able to happen correctly – thi.
Question: Does MTHFR Gene Mutation only affect women?
Carolyn Ledowsky: No, the MTHFR gene mutation affects both men and women – it's definitely not a female only problem! The MTHFR gene mutation can affect the quality of sperm, which is why it's important both members of a couple get tested.
Question: Why is folate crucial in preconception and pregnancy?
Carolyn Ledowsky: Folate controls DNA methylation – which means it controls the quality of your DNA. A lack of folate has been linked to neural tube effects, allergies, autism and recurrent pregnancy loss – . These are all vital to having a healthy pregnancy.
Question: How can you reverse the mutation?
Carolyn Ledowsky: Reversing the mutation is possible by creating balanced methylation in the body, which is done by increasing folate-containing foods into your diet It's important to understand the difference between folate, which is natural, and folic acid, which is the synthetic form. Having folic and I'd suggest avoiding folic acid containing foods. Other steps, like avoiding allergens and reducing exposure to toxins, as well as stress management is vital. There's plenty more, which I discuss in my MTHFR Support Seminar.
Question: Can this only be offered to patients in Sydney?
Carolyn Ledowsky: No – we can cater to anyone, everywhere. I'm highly aware that there are few experts in MTHFR gene mutation around the world, so I wanted to make sure that my expertise was available to anyone no matter where they're from.
Question: How do the web seminar' work?
Carolyn Ledowsky: By signing up for the course you receive preconception care – something you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Question: Can you share with us a couples success story?
Carolyn Ledowsky: I had a patient that had been being trying to conceive for almost 6 years when she came to see me. No one really knew the reason why she was having the issues she was having.
We tested her for MTHFR gene mutation and found out that she had it, a very specific kind that meant she had a 70% down regulation in her active folate, which is crucial for good DNA. So we came up with a specially formulated programme for her to ensure that her folate levels were optimal. And very excitingly, it worked - Ana conceived twins and now has two beautiful babies – a boy and girl!
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Interview by Brooke Hunter