B-Vitamins, Mood, and Methylation — It’s Complicated

B-vitamins, building blocks of mental health?  Or B.S.?

There’s a great deal of misinformation on the internet regarding B-vitamins and health.  I know this because I’ve read most of it.  During the 5 years or so when I was researching how to cure my own asthma, I devoured every text I could find regarding the physiological effects of specific vitamins and minerals — especially the B-vitamins.  Large doses of B-complex or individual B-vitamins are recommended to improve mood, reduce PMS, reduce asthma symptoms, reduce the risk of various cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease, fight yeast infections, ward off mosquitoes, and prevent or cure numerous other ailments.

Which of these claims are based on reputable clinical research, and which are bullshit?

A quick overview — B-vitamins are water-soluble nutrients found in whole foods, and less so in refined/processed foods (unless they are added back in, as is the case with most white flour and breakfast cereals).  They are needed for various metabolic processes, are generally non-toxic, and deficiencies can result in serious illness and death.  The B-vitamins [wikipedia] include:

  • B1 (thiamine) — deficiency results in beriberi
  • B2 (riboflavin) — deficiency results in ariboflavinosis
  • B3 (niacin or niacinamide) — deficiency results in pellagra
  • B5 (pantothenic acid) — deficiency can contribute to acne
  • B6 (pyridoxine and other forms) — deficiency can lead to microcytic anemia or depression
  • B7 (biotin) — deficiency may cause growth problems in children
  • B9 (folic acid) — deficiency results in macrocytic anemia and can cause birth defects
  • B12 (cyanocobalamin and other forms) — deficiency results in macrocytic anemia, memory loss and other cognitive problems

Unless your diet is terrible or you’re a raging alcoholic, you’re unlikely to develop beriberi or pellegra.  However, many people can benefit from careful, controlled supplementation of one or more of B-vitamins. Clinical research supports supplemental doses of various B vitamins being effective in the following ways:

Mosquitoes — B1 won’t protect you.

In no way is the above list meant to be comprehensive — there are hundreds of clinical studies demonstrating positive effects from supplemental and dietary B-vitamin intake.  Other claims, such as the idea that B-6 can cure carpal tunnel, or that B-1 can repel mosquitoes, haven’t held up under clinical scrutiny.

Less frequently noted are the side effects of taking very large doses of various B-vitamins, which can include:

  • rapid and/or irregular heartbeat (B1)
  • poor circulation/cold hands (B6)
  • irritability, hostility (B6)
  • numb hands/feet, neuropathy (B6)
  • inability to fall asleep, interrupted sleep (almost all)
  • increased histamine levels, worsened asthma symptoms (B3, B12)
  • neon yellow pee (B2)
  • loose stools/diarrhea/nausea (niacin)
  • facial/skin flushing (niacin)
  • liver damage (high doses of niacin, niacinamide)
  • worsen acne (biotin)

I’ll share what I’ve learned and experienced — but consult your doctor before taking or stopping any supplements or medications.  I don’t have any medical training — I’m just an interested blogger.

Methylation, Health, and B-Vitamins

The same B-vitamins can affect different people in different (and even opposite) ways.  These differences may have to do with a genetic predisposition to being a “fast methylator” or a “slow methylator.” Methylation is a process by which a molecule donates or accepts a methyl group (CH3).  In biological systems DNA can be methylated, as well as proteins (lysine and arginine).  One type of protein methylation — the transfer of methyl groups from SAMe to histones — affects epigenetic expression (the degree to which certain genes are turned on or off).

The degree of protein and DNA methylation in an organism profoundly affects numerous aspects of physiology, including prenatal development, growth, metabolic levels, ATP (energy) production, neurotransmitter levels, metabolism of heavy metals, and susceptibility to cancer.  Problems with the methylation cycle may also be related to autism, mental illness, food allergies, asthma, and the development of heart disease.

So what influences rates of methylation?  Four factors, as far as I can tell:

  1. Genetic factors, especially variants in the MTHFR and COMT genes
  2. Psychological/emotional/physical stress
  3. Smoking and other environmental toxins
  4. Diet and nutrition (including supplements), especially B-vitamin and methionine intake

The effects of vitamins, even plain-old-regular multivitamins, are not trivial.  This study found that regular multivitamin intake reduced lung-cancer risk in former and current smokers by 43%, and that that risk reduction was associated with the methylated state of eight different genes (p16, MGMT, DAPK, RASSF1A, GATA4, GATA5, PAX5α, and PAX5β) involved in tumor suppression (adequate folate prevents these genes from becoming hypermethylated/turned off).  Eating green leafy vegetables and/or other highly pigmented fruits and vegetables also provided a more modest protective effect.  This study also found associations between folate and methionine levels and hypermethylation of the RASSF1A and MTHFR genes (also related to cancer suppression).  This study (PDF) found that hypermethylation of the MGMT gene was implicated in prostate cancer and was strongly associated with meat-eating and smoking, and less so with alcohol consumption.

Regarding the MGMT study, why would meat-eating be associated with gene hypermethylation?  One possibility is the higher availability of the essential amino acid methionine (a methyl donor) in meat diets (although vegetarian diets can still be high in methionine if they include eggs, soy, brazil nuts, and/or sesame).  There is some evidence that methionine restricted diets are associated with longevity, with effects similar to caloric restriction.  Another possibility is the (presumed) increased availability of folate (from green leafy vegetables and other vegetable sources) in the diets of the vegetarians in the study.  A third possibility is that the study didn’t control for other lifestyle factors associated with meat-eating that could have influenced MGMT methylation levels.

Edit: This study found that higher B6 and methionine levels protected against lung cancer.  Increased dietary methionine may in fact be protective against many forms of cancer.

One reason to take up smoking — multivitamins will have more of a protective health effect. Wait …

The Biochemistry of Mental Illness

So, can we say that folic acid and folate are good, and methionine is bad, and leave it at that?  Not so fast.  Carl Pfeiffer was a pharmacologist who studied schizophrenia, manic-depression, and other forms of mental illness.  Along with Abram Hoffer, he co-founded the field of orthomolecular psychiatry.  He hypothesized that most people suffering from mental illness could be categorized into one of the following three groups:

“Histapenic” (low-histamine) individuals exhibited the following:

  • low blood histamine
  • high (toxic) copper levels
  • low levels of zinc and manganese
  • low levels of folate and/or B12
  • high levels of homocysteine
  • slower metabolic rates (higher body fat)

These patients tended to suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, anxiety/panic attacks, hallucinations, hyperactivity, and depression (the latter especially in older patients).  Pfeiffer found that these people often benefited from large doses of folic acid, B12, B3, B6, zinc, and manganese.

“Histadelic” (high histamine) individuals exhibited the following:

  • high blood histamine and basophil counts
  • normal or low copper levels
  • low levels of homocysteine
  • higher metabolic rates (lower body fat)

These patients tended to suffer from depression, compulsions (like OCD), addictions (gambling/shopping/sex/alcohol, etc.), eating disorders (anorexia/bulimia), and phobias.  They reacted badly to folate — even dietary folate in fresh vegetables could worsen their depression (dubbed “salad bowl depression” by Pfeiffer).  They responded well to methionine and calcium supplements.

“Pyroluric” (pyroluria) individuals exhibited the following:

  • excrete large quantities of kryptopyrrole in urine
  • low levels of zinc and B6
  • “sweet/fruity” body odor/breath
  • pale skin, inability to tan

This condition, which could overlap with either of the other two or exist on its own, was associated with anxiety, depression, food sensitivities/celiac disease, social withdrawal, learning disabilities/ADHD, and autism.  More severe cases resulted in mental retardation and delayed growth and puberty.  In some cases psychological symptoms could be alleviated within just a few days with supplemental B6 and zinc.

Carl Pfeiffer

This paper from Pfeiffer goes into more detail, especially in regards to zinc and manganese supplementation and reactions to folic acid supplements.

Continued research in this field, carried out primarily by researchers at the Pfeiffer Treatment Center, has revealed that the first two types have methylation problemsThis paper from William Walsh goes into the details, but can be summarized as follows:

  1. “Histapenic” (low histamine) types are “over-methylators.”  They tend to have higher methyl to folate ratios, which can result in the overproduction of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin (via the BH4 rate-controlling process in catecholamine synthesis).  These types can benefit greatly from increased dietary and supplemental folate, B12, and other nutrients.  Here’s Dr. Walsh describing over-methylators on youtube.
  2. “Histadelic” (high histamine) types are “under-methylators.” They have low methyl to folate ratios, which can result in lower levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.  These types can benefit from supplemental methionine, SAMe, and inositol (methyl donors).  Here’s Dr. Walsh describing under-methylators.
  3. The third type, “Pyroluria”, is a genetic disorder which increases B6 and zinc urinary excretion, resulting in deficiencies of both nutrients and increased oxidative stress.  Here’s Dr. Walsh describing pyroluria.

While mainstream psychiatry has generally rejected the field of orthomolecular psychiatry in its entirety, some reputable papers (such as this one, published in The Lancet, and this one) allow that there may be relationships between folate levels, methylation processes, and mental illness.  While serious cases of schizophrenia are usually not treatable with vitamins alone (as is suggested by this study), that doesn’t mean that medical professionals should entirely discount the affects of vitamins on methylation processes when designing treatment protocols.  Schizophrenics may benefit from low methionine diets and the addition of B12, folic acid, niacin, zinc, manganese, and B6, but should avoid excess copper.  Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorders or intense phobias should probably avoid folic acid and manganese supplements, but may benefits from SAMe, methionine, inositol, and other methyl donors, as well as calcium and magnesium.  Depressed or anxious patients who don’t respond to SSRI’s might be pyroluric, and could benefit from B6 and zinc supplementation, as well as evening primrose oil (a source of GLA).  Numerous clinical case studies, like these, make me think there is probably some relationship between methylation processes and mental health.

So, if both cancer and schizophrenia are related to abnormalities in various methylation processes, is there any link between the two diseases?  There is; schizophrenics are less likely to get cancer.  Variations in the genes NRG1, AKT1, PIK3, COMT, PRODH and ErbB4 are implicated in cancer (when these genes trigger rapid, out-of-control cell replication) and schizophrenia (when the same genes slow down various cellular processes).  However, this study found that death rates from cancer were higher in schizophrenics than in the general population.  It may be significant that the latter study took place in France, where rates of either MTHFR polymorphism are extremely low (around 2%).

All Vitamins Are Not Created Equal

There is a difference between folate (absorbed from food) and folic acid (the synthesized form).  The former is methylated, the latter requires a methylation process to become biologically active (metafolin).  In terms of vitamin B12, the cheaper and more common cobalamin is non-methylated, while the more expensive hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin are methylated.

Could non-methylated folic acid, B12, and niacin supplements be helpful to  “over-methylators” because they “use up” methyl groups when they are metabolized in excess, thus normalizing the methyl to folate ratio?

Or is the truth more complex?  People with one of two common (about 50% in North America) polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene can’t effectively convert to (and/or use) active folate.  These types have low folate and high homocysteine, but can react badly to folic acid supplements (which can actually reduce blood levels active metafolin in people with the MTHFR gene variants), and do better getting folate from green leafy vegetables and other food sources (and/or supplementing with a methylated form, like l-methylfolate).

Edit: This study found that supplementing with methylfolate improved recovery for patients diagnosed with major depression or schizophrenia.

Nutritional Supplements and Medical DIY

Trying to understand methylation processes and how they relate to vitamin supplements and nutrition can tie your brain in a knot.  Most medical professionals are no help at all — they’ll get that “you’re one of those” look if you suggest that vitamin supplements have significant psychological effects.  Probably more than anyone else, parents of bipolar, schizophrenic, and autistic children have pushed the field of orthomolecular psychiatry forward — they are desperate to help their kids thrive and will go to great lengths to understand and experiment with whatever works, including nutritional supplements.

Karen DeFelice’s site is one example.  The It’s Not Mental site and DetoxPuzzle.com are two more.  There are dozens of others.  Many of these parents have effectively cured their children with aggressive nutritional interventions.  Common themes seem to be avoidance of gluten and casein, adding supplements to either slow down or speed up methylation processes (depending on the condition), balancing copper/zinc levels, and troubleshooting bottlenecks in various detoxification processes (phenols, sulfur metabolism, etc.).

My Own Self Diagnosis Process

I began this investigation of B-vitamins and methylation process in an attempt to cure my asthma.  Ultimately I discovered that a more-or-less paleo diet resolved most of my asthma symptoms, with some supplements being helpful as well (notably vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil, evening primrose oil, and vitamin C).  None of the B-vitamins proved to be helpful for asthma, and multivitamins often aggravated my symptoms.

I suspect I have one or both polymorphisms of the MTHFR gene, but if I do, that’s probably not related to asthma.

I do exhibit most of the less severe signs of being an “under-methylator,” including seasonal allergies, hypomania/overconfidence alternating with melancholy/demoralization, calm demeanor but high internal stress/anxiety, stong-willed/stubborn, low tolerance for stress, high libido, high motivation/ambition, perfectionism, a high desire for order/organization, addictive/compulsive tendencies, etc.

I experience a significant energy boost from B6 + zinc, which can quickly escalate into hostility/irritability/agitated depression.  I’m guessing somehow that nutrient combination spikes norepinephrine and lowers serotonin (I have no idea how), but it could be something else (maybe some kind of “detox” reaction, or homocysteine converting too quickly to cysteine).

I experience a calming, mood-boosting effect from taking niacinamide (higher serotonin?).  But too much niacinamide interrupts my sleep cycle and aggravates my breathing.

Taking B12 can improve my sleep, but only if I take it early in the day.

I seem to do well on a high protein, high methionine diet, but if I cut carbs too low I feel agitated and irritable (probably from low serotonin).

I’ve only tried taking SAMe (a methyl donor) a few times and I can’t remember the effects.  People I’m close to have found it to be extremely effective for carpal tunnel and fighting “the blues.”

Designing Your Own Supplement Program

Short of genetic testing (which is now a realistic and affordable option), looking at your family history from a health perspective is probably a good place to start when considering your own supplement program.  For example:

If Alzhemier’s runs in your family, consider supplementing with niacinamide.  Niacinamide may also be effective in reducing anxiety, including severe social anxiety.

If there are cases of cancer in your family, consider increasing folate levels from food sources and vitamins.  B6 may provide additional protection against colon cancer.

If you fall somewhere along the autism spectrum, considering supplementing with zinc + manganese, and restricting copper.

If you have asthma, you might try experimenting with a paleo or gluten-free diet, and supplementing with fish oil, evening primrose oil, magnesium, and C.  Some people have experienced relief from asthma symptoms by increasing vitamins B5 and B6.

If you think you might be experiencing negative side effects from a multivitamin, go cold turkey and see how you feel.  For people with either or both polymorphisms of the MTHFR gene, supplemental folic acid may actually be harmful.  Take methyfolate instead, or just eat more leafy greens and nutritious food and don’t take a multi.

Feel free to share your own experiences with B-vitamin and other supplements in the comments.  Hope you enjoyed this post — if you did please tweet it.

108 responses to “B-Vitamins, Mood, and Methylation — It’s Complicated

  1. Incredibly well-researched! Thank you!

    I developed asthma around 40yo. I’d always been “an allergic person” since childhood. After the asthma, I started getting hives. At first it was just intermittently ans to a couple food chemicals. Then followed years of severe chronic hives barely contained with multiple medications.
    It was only after finding my own children’s underlying issues with their supposed “mental illness” that I delved into my own biology.

    I, too, have a problem with methylation. I am on both methylated folate and methylated B12, and several other B vitamins. The SpectraCell test can determine if we are getting enough of these and other nutrients inside our cells, as there can be other issues, such as a vitamin D cell-receptor issue necessitating taking higher levels of vitamin D3.

    Some doctors use testing from Genova Diagnostics, such as one called the NutrEval, possibly in conjunction with others to get a better picture of what is going on and how your methylation is going, and general health. The solution to the methylation may be a matter of not just supplementing, but healing your gut, addressing sleep issues, hormone issues, and generally taking a look at general health.

    In the meantime, the best cure to my own asthma was the same as for getting rid of my hives. I got off foods I didn’t even know were contributing to my problems – gluten, dairy, soy, eggs… I am still and “allergic person.” But at least I am on many less medications, feeling better, and no longer carrying around an emergency inhaler. I no longer “have asthma.”

  2. Jeanie — thanks for your comment and for sharing your own experience. I wonder what exactly the link is (if any), between MTHFR variants, methylation, folic acid utilization, and allergic diseases. The Danish study I linked in this post couldn’t find a link to the C677T polymorphism, but I wonder about the A1298C variant (which is related to the use of active folate in BH4 production). I’m curious to know which form of MTHFR I have — I think I’ll get tested.

  3. This is incredibly interesting and may provoke me into a little more detective work. I’ve had problems with mood disorders for years, mostly SAD syndrome, low energy and seasonal allergies, eczema etc.. I’ve always thought that I have a tendency to an addictive personality and over the past couple of years have been unwell having developed CFS/M.E. I’ve experimented a lot with diet, and the only thing I know for sure is that I feel generally better on a high protein, low carb diet, but this is far harder to keep up in winter. I also eat lots of green but haven’t noticed a problem. So maybe I’m also an under methylator? I do take a good general vitamin supplement, and extra magnesium but perhaps I’ll investigate SAMe and see whether that’s a useful consideration.

    I sometimes feel as though I’m shooting in the dark, so thanks for researching all of this. Maybe testing is the way forward for many of us?

  4. JD! This is amazing. I’m always impressed when people have time for a blog but I’m grateful as hell when the blog is as useful and informative as yours are. I have developed asthma too (it’s minor and I mostly ignore it. But…). I know that I might need to deal with it at some point. The tips for cancer prevention are helpful too. My mom has had more cancer than you can imagine. She has nine lives apparently and manages to remain spunky and involved. Thanks again for generously and articulately sharing your research.

  5. This study is interesting — folic acid supplements in mice increased asthma risk in offspring (via epigenetic inheritance/DNA methylation).

    http://www.nationaljewish.org/about/mediacenter/pressreleases/2008/asthma-epigenetics2/

    I wonder if folic acid supplementation is behind skyrocketing asthma rates in developed countries … and maybe autism too.

    Here’s the full paper:
    http://www.jci.org/articles/view/37171

  6. Hi J.D.
    Awesome and timely. I need vitamin help!
    I’ve noticed Rose’s temperment is effected by nutriets, but haven’t been able to figure it all out, as I have been in a drastically low Vit. D brainfog, and maybe messed myself up w/ too much vit. C, thyroid problems, and ???
    Anyhow, I’d love to help Rose (and myself), and the answer is somewhere in this blog, but I think I need to talk to you…
    Thanks, as ever, for diving right into the science. And the description of what doctors do when people like us show up.
    (Oh, Rose is the 6 year old formerly known as Hazel Rose – Rose only has 4 letters, compared to 9 in Hazel Rose, a fact she noticed and acted on just before Kindergarten last year)
    :) elise

  7. You need to contact Dr. David Brownstein, Dr. Stephen Smith http://www.nwhealthcare.net (Explaination of MTHFR, Grids showing treatment and disaeses it causes as well as a video lecture that Dr. Rawlins does around the country on Deplin) and Dr. Neil Rawlins-OBGYN Both Dr. Stephen Smith and Dr. Rawlins have the a variant of the MTHFR Genes and are based out of Richland WA. They have an MTHFR protocol that works as well as Pam Labs has Deplin, Metanx and Cerefolin NAC that all help with MTHFR.

  8. I have tested positive for the MTHFR Gene A12098/T677C as well both of my children. My sister and her 2 children have also tested positive for the same. My first cousin recently was tested and she has the double T677C!

  9. Thanks for the information Ellen. I believe this is the chart you are referring to:
    http://www.mindmeister.com/12694596/mthfr-related-health-problems

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  12. I have a friend with undiagnosed mood disorders (depression, aggressiveness, peaks of childish joy). I taught her how to look at herself in a critical light to properly diagnose “symptoms”, and she eventually managed to accumulate a ton of B-related vitamin deficiency symptoms over 6 months.

    Seeing as how she was already on a multi that I had recommended her (very high dosages) and did not see an improvement, I posited that MTHFR was a possible culprit. We tried MethylGuard PLUS from Thorne Research for her and it was miraculous. I hadn’t seen her for two weeks after giving her the bottle, and I thought it had been a gradual process, but no. She says the change happened on the very first day (which makes sense considering we’re talking about water-soluble vitamins), although a morning dose was better for her.

    We’re in the process of getting her tested for the mutation and figuring out if low to medium dosages of methyltetrahydrofolate could be more economical. Bottom line: the impact this can have is real and massive.

    • Interesting. I also recently switched to a Thorne multi (Basic Nutrients V) after learning which MTHFR variant I have from my 23andMe test. I have the AG variant of MTHFR 677 [Rs1801133], which according to some sources means I convert folate to methylfolate somewhat less efficiently than those with the GG or “normal” variant. Since the change to methylated forms of folate and B12, my sleep pattern has changed (I’m sleeping more deeply and continuously). Could be the vitamin change, could be winter, could be something else … but worth noting.

    • One of my MTHFR kids actually took the precription product, Metanx for a while since she needed both methylated folate and B12. I later found out I, too am deficient and take two products. There IS a test that can be done to monitor levels inside our cells – using lymphocytes – via SpectraCell laboratory. (Obviously, with this condition, serum levels are fairly useless).

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  14. If you have the MTHFR 677 mutation, you also need more b2 — riboflavin. Riboflavin is SO important, very underrated, misunderstood — it helps your body convert all the other b’s, and is critical especially for b6 and folate utilization. If you were having trouble supplementing w/b6 as above, then b2 should help with that.

  15. Hi, a couple of years ago, I thought I had a B12 deficiency because I had pretty much all of its symptoms listed on line. I took about 83,000% of my daily B12 in the form of sublingual methycobalin. After taking it for a few months, my grades went up, but i felt like I was no longer in love with my boyfriend and felt cynical about life, people, marriage, and having children. I know methylation helps you see the consequences of your behavior better, and I was wondering if you could tell me if there’s a connection. I definitely feel less needy.
    Also, since I took those vitamins, I have had two episodes of psychosis, including auditory hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. They were set off by medications, but I’d never had these episodes before. I’m 22, and I was 19 when I started taking B12. I was wondering if there could be a connection with all of this, like maybe I threw my myelin sheath out of whack or caused other vitamins to be depleted by taking such a large dose of B12 for a total of 6 months. I’ve asked my doctors, and they have no idea and seem to think it’s just in my head. i
    I don’t know if this helps, but before taking the vitamins, I was already diagnosed with ADD inattention, depression, and significant anxiety issues, including social anxiety. Do you think there is a connection between any of this? Thank you for any help you can give. Your piece was very informative and interesting.

    • Hello Annie,

      First of all, no, it’s not in your head.

      Medications lower your cellular levels of vitamins, and sometimes even minerals. On top of that, your B-Vitamins are almost all antagonists towards each other. That means you can deplete your own levels just by dosing yourself too high. You will feel great for a while because you’ll be compensating for the deficiency, but you’ll most likely overshoot.

      Let me know if you want a step-by-step for fixing this situation.

      Take care,

      William C.

      • Hey, William, thanks so much for acknowledging my issues. I would absolutely love a step-by-step for solving this situation!!! I thought I might have overdosed too, but I have not found anything on the internet about what to do about it. Everywhere just says it’s non-toxic so you’ll be fine, ha. You can email me at acdoland@gmail.com

    • Hi Annie. Extremely high doses of vitamin B-6 for prolonged periods can have neurotoxic effects, but I’ve never heard of permanent damage from B12. In general, I think it’s a good idea to find the minimum effective dose for vitamin supplements, and not exceed that dose. Even non-toxic water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C can have side effects for some people.

      Some people have had good results taking niacinamide (a form of B3 — different than niacin) for social anxiety, and there’s some clinical research to support this.

  16. Thank you for your reply. I might try niacinamide.

  17. Annie, You might want to find an Integrative Medical doctor and have him/her find out your levels withIN cells via SpectraCell Laboratories.
    Also, you say things happened while on medications. Sometimes after fixing a problem, the same medications you used before may no longer be appropriate. Lastly – the body can change. Some people can start becoming paranoid and psychotic on medications used for that same thing (called a paradoxical reaction) or react that way even to asthma and allergy medication!
    Best bet – see a doctor really knowledgeable in this area.

    • I’d never heard of that before. Very intriguing. I’ll talk to my parents about it. I know some other B vitamins and calcium are important for schizophrenia. The medications I took that caused psychosis were prednisone and ciprofloxacin. I didn’t release how much some medicines can deplete you of nutrients. Have you or someone you’ve known had their nutrient levels tested before with that kind of technology? Thanks for your help!
      Annie

  18. Hi, JD and Jeanie. First of all, thanks for all the help! I told my mom about the nutritional testing, and we are going to look at it together the next weekend I come home from college.
    I had been eating sweetened yogurt, so I am going to get unsweetened next time I go to the grocery store. I’ve tried Kefir first and liked it, so may get some more of that as well. I actually have raw sauerkraut, so that’s convenient. Do either of y’all recommend a brand of yogurt?

    I also read the cipro can deplete calcium and iron, so I am taking good supplements for those as well. I’ve read that calcium can affect schizophrenia too. Thanks again :)

    • I just noticed that Clover Organic kefir contains L. rhamnonsus, which is the same general strain that reduced anxiety in mice (via influencing GABA levels in the brain, mediated through the vagus nerve). This kind of research is still in very early stages — there’s no evidence yet that the same effect would work in humans. But as long as you don’t have a negative reaction to dairy products, it probably can’t hurt.

      Here’s another article on that same study:
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110829164601.htm

      • Thanks, J.D. Right now I am drinking green tea because the l-theanine makes me feel calm. I believe it effects Gaba as well. I didn’t see Kefir in Whole Foods when I went to buy my groceries, but i’ll keep a look out. I am definitely into things that can’t hurt, haha.

  19. Just a correction. I didn’t mean to type vitamin D2. I meant vitamin D3. That is a very important distinction. The daughter who used to have “schizoaffective” not only needed extra vitamin D3 because of the polymorphism, but she also had low intestinal absorption of calcium and required a highly absorbable liquid form of it she got from the doctor’s office (although it is sold without a prescription).

  20. Ahh ok, D3 makes more sense. Hopefully I’ll get my nutrient levels tested and figured out. The medicine I’m staying on to prevent hallucinations is pretty expensive, so I am definitely into alternative therapies. Did she doing anything else to treat (not hide) her schizoaffective symptoms? Thanks!

  21. Please look into this…I have been battling systemic candida for years, many conventional doctors do not research the correlation between chronic inflammation and parasites. The connection between parasites and asthma is astounding, along with the prevelance of toxic heavy metals, and lowered immunity, which in turn makes one susceptible to all forms of infestation. We are, after all, just organisms, and oftentimes people feign ignorance to the fact that with the plethora of enviromental toxins we are faced with daily, decreased nutrients in our food supply, and exposure to thousands of species of parasites via water sources, pets, etc. This is not just a “third world country” disease, parasites and worms are very prevalent today in America….however big pharma does not wish do shed light on this because to suggest so would mean the key to fighting many chronic and debilitating diseases. They would rather prescribe costly drugs that mask symptoms, not eradicate the root cause of the disease.

    YOU HAVE WORMS

    By Michael Biamonte, C.C.N.

    The subject of intestinal worms is probably very frowned upon or avoided by most people, including doctors. The truth of the matter is, based on my current research, one out of six Americans has actual living worms inside his body.
    There are many types of worms. There are tapeworms which are long, opaque, thin, ribbon-like sort of noodle-shaped things, which live in the intestines, can grow well over fifteen feet long, and specialize in consuming your food. This can cause you to be chronically hungry but not able to gain weight.

    There are round worms that can grow sometimes up to a foot long and just look literally like a worm out of the garden. There are pinworms which are smaller worms which actually resemble a pin in shape and size. These are usually very close to the anal area and cause a lot of itching. There are even worms which live in your bladder which many times look like a fish with a head or a tail and can be expelled through the colon when taking the right medicine.

    There are worms that live in the liver and actually can migrate to other parts of the body and take up residence there.

    The typical symptoms of worms include all types of gastrointestinal stress, rectal itching, itching on the skin and throughout the body, all manner of digestive discomfort which could include constipation and diarrhea. A crawling feeling is very commonly reported by people who have worms.

    There are other symptoms but the main ones would be: anemia, chronic fatigue, inability to gain or lose weight, insatiable appetite (hungry all the time but never satisfied), any general gastrointestinal distress such as bloating, burping and belching. Key signs are rectal itching, especially when it seems to be worse between one and three a.m.. Some patients also report a worsening of these symptoms that we’ve already mentioned when the moon is full! It seems that worms living in the body become more active when there’s a full moon. I guess if a wolf or dog howls, worms can be more active!

    These are some of the key signs of worms. There are many others, but these tend to be the most outstanding.

    How do I know that one out of six people have worms? In my practice we see many people who have chronic fatigue (which can be caused by a host of different viruses) and also chronic candida (a yeast infection in the intestines, vaginal, or genital area in men). Recently, we gave all the patients that we have with these conditions–which number in the hundreds–herbs which would expel worms if indeed these patients had them. To my amazement, 50% of those who took the herbs called up to tell us that they were seeing strange things in their feces. Very commonly, the scenario went like this: The patient took the herbs, then began to feel an increased amount of rectal itching or itching on the skin, increased amount of burning upon having a bowel movement, or an increase in some type of wet or moist feeling in the rectal area. This was then followed by abdominal cramps and pain upon which the person had to have an urgent bowel movement. Having the bowel movement, the patient reported seeing worms in their stool or in the toilet water. Some only saw a few, but one patient actually saw an entire handful! Luckily for these patients the worms were dead, as the herbs had killed them.

    Statistically, after going over all the records, I found that it was just about half the patients. This tells me that 50% of all the people with chronic fatigue and candida have worms.

    Loosely figuring, if one out of three people in this country has an overgrowth of candida or one of the viruses that are known to cause chronic fatigue, and if we conclude that half of all our patients with those conditions had worms, then we can compute that one out of six Americans probably has worms.

    We can only guess how many people with gastrointestinal complaints, chronic fatigue, anemia, and the other symptoms I’ve mentioned, have worms–and it’s being completely overlooked by their doctors! In America, most physicians and health practitioners would consider that we’re too hygienically clean to ever have such a thing. Maybe in third world countries, but not here. Well, I’ve got news for all those practitioners and doctors. If they take a good walk down the streets in Manhattan and take a look at who’s handling the food we buy, they’ll find that it is mainly people from third world countries who are ignorant to our hygienic standards. So, it’s no wonder that American could be getting worms without having to travel to third world countries!

    If we examine the common causes of why one would have worms, we find this: 1) eating sushi or improperly cooked meats will cause worms; 2) eating vegetables or fruits not properly washed could also cause worms if they are exposed to fecal matter, even in tiny amounts. 3) sexual practices which involve the rectal area and involve contacting feces can also pass worms.

    Exactly how one would get worms is pretty simple. Someone eating improperly or raw cooked meat, fish, chicken or some other food that has had some contact with feces. The next step is that the food comes into your stomach and if your stomach does not make enough acid to destroy harmful bacteria in the food, worms or eggs which might already be present in the food will pass into the digestive tract where they begin to grow. Bacteria, mixing with improperly cooked flesh, will actually give rise to eggs of different types of worms. Beef, poultry, pork, fish, all individually have their own unique types of worms that will grow from them. Once these worms begin growing in the intestinal tract many of them will start to reproduce and lay eggs. Worms generally are male and female, so they literally reproduce and the female drops her eggs into the intestinal tract where they hatch. The next thing you know, you have a living colony of these things in your intestines. Then the symptoms begin.

    Several factors have to be present for the person to be susceptible to worms. The stomach would be low in acid, the digestive juices that the body makes from the pancreas would be low, or the bile from the liver would be deficient. Normally, these juices aid in destroying organisms before they’re able to grow and mature. A weakened immune response also would be involved. Many times people with candida and other microscopic parasites already have the perfect home in their intestinal tract for worms to grow. (For our purposes in this article, parasites refer to organisms seen only with a microscope while worms can be seen with the naked eye.) The worms settle in and nest and multiply and soon they’re all living together in harmony, much to your dismay.

    In order to properly eliminate worms from your system, one must first eliminate the other infections, whether they’re bacterial, fungal, yeast, viral or parasitic. Then you would take herbs that would literally purge the worms out. Fasting for at least a 24-hour period before taking the worm expellers is ideal. Veterinarians have done this for years, but many doctors don’t seem to utilize this. Once the worms are eliminated, herbs that would be able to destroy the eggs they leave behind should be taken for at least a month to make sure the worms don’t come back.

    The worm purging should also be done every few weeks to kill any eggs that have grown into mature adults. Then we normalize the intestinal tract and digestive system to prevent the situation from ever reoccurring. You would need to take certain natural substances which can absorb any harmful toxins in the intestines and clean it and make it germ and poison free. The next step is taking natural substances to strengthen the digestive system and make sure you’re producing enough digestive juices so any future organisms that are ingested can be killed. Substances like FOS, which feed the friendly bacteria, need to be taken to build up the friendly bacteria and increase your own immune response. There are natural substances we now know of which do increase the immune response in addition to the friendly bacteria.

    All these things need to be done to ensure the person has eliminated the worms and they won’t come back. When this is done we can start to correct vitamin deficiencies and boost the person’s overall immune system so that the problem doesn’t return.

    A person who has had worms once in the past is definitely more susceptible to getting them again. The reason for that is most people who have had worms and eliminated them have not gone through these other steps after initially killing the worms.

    Most of our patients who have expelled worms have reported the greatest increase in energy and well-being after the worms were eliminated; even more so than when their viruses or candida were eliminated, or any other infection! One by one, man or woman, they all reported the greatest improvements in their overall energy after they expelled worms. That really makes you wonder!

    Michael Biamonte holds a Doctorate of Nutripathy, and is a New York State certified Clinical Nutritionist. He is a professional member of the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists,The American College of Nutrition and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. He is listed in “The Directory of Distinguished Americans” for his research in Nutrition and Physiology.

    For an appointment, contact our office at:

    Michael Biamonte, C.C.N.
    139 Fulton St.
    Suite 507
    New York, NY 10038
    (877) 223-3066

    ©1997 – Current Year: MTB Management, Inc.
    ©1997 – Current Year: MTB Management, Inc.

    Back Top of Page
    Check out these websites!!!! EYE OPENING!!!!
    http://altered-states.net/barry/newsletter406/index.htm
    The different ways that bacteria can affect the human body are:

    An infection which weakens the immune system and allows other biocontaminants which would normally be under control to affect the human host.
    An infection to a healthy immune system that has been transmitted by airborne inhalation. (Tuberculosis and Legionnaires Disease)
    A contagious bacterial infection that can be found on any surface where an organism might grow or attach.
    By being transmitted from the excrements of rats, squirrels, and birds. Often these bacteria will become airborne by attaching to tiny particles and moisture.
    By causing or contributing to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, chronic fatigue, irritability, depression, dermatitis, respiratory infections, asthma, sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, Legionnaire?s Disease, meningitis, tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia, allergic rhinitis, chronic bronchitis, humidifier fever, cold and flu-like symptoms, and many other conditions of compromised health.
    By releasing endotoxins that are also infectious agents.

  22. I’m just wondering whether anybody here would like some live kefir? For the past couple of months I have been culturing my own kefir from actual live grains, (not a starter powder) and because they grow at a steady rate I often have some extra grains which I dry. I live in the UK but have sent a small packet of my dried grains to my daughter in the USA and they’ve been very successful. Kefir is just about the best probiotic you can get which is why I’m now supplementing my diet in this way. I’ve also written a leaflet with instructions for culturing which I can include. So if anybody is interested I’d be happy to supply some for free if you’d be willing to make just a small contribution for postage and packing?

    Please email me if you’re interested.

  23. Also – not sure why because I’m rubbish with all this gravatar stuff – I appear to have logged in as Saraji10, but I’m also Sara who commented above, way back in September!

  24. manganese what is the dose?

  25. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-b9-000722.htm

    Prednisone and cipro both deplete folate, as does b12. Perhaps that is why after high doses of b12 those meds induced adverse effects, whereas before they didn’t. High levels of B12 are also known to be antagonistic to iron.

    Not sure about the link re folate during pregnancy causing asthma, there are other studies/claims that refute that (though who knows whether impartial or what have you). Though it is interesting to consider the timeline for rise in asthma vs folate supplementation, I’m mindful that correlation does not equal causation. It’s also interesting to consider the apparently not insignificant number of alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency cases that are mistakenly diagnosed as asthma.

    Good article and interesting discussion in the comments. Testing in my country is archaic and I wouldn’t know where to start.

    • Thanks for the comment. For those that want to check their gene for alpha-1-anti-trypsin deficiency, it’s one of many traits you can view on your 23andMe profile.

      • Is the MTHFR mutation available on the 23andMe results as well? Couldn’t see it on their list.

        • You have to search the raw data.

          MTHFR 677 is at Rs1801133 (GG/CC is “normal”, AA/TT is 30% of regular activity). When people talk about a “MTHFR mutation”, they usually mean AA at Rs1801133.

          MTHFR 1298 is at Rs1801131, but I don’t know how to interpret the results. Here’s a post on the topic:
          http://mthfr.net/mthfr-a1298c-mutation-some-information-on-a1298c-mthfr-mutations/2011/11/30/

          MTHFR 1793 is at Rs22749746, but isn’t included in the 23andMe data (so far).

          You can either enter the SNP in the search, or use a link like this once you’re logged in:

          https://www.23andme.com/you/explorer/snp/?snp_name=Rs1801133

          Some other SNPs in the raw data that are interesting (to me at least) include:

          COMT (how fast dopamine is broken down) rs4680

          DRD2 (dopamine, error avoidance) rs1800497

          OXTR (oxytocin) Rs53576, Rs1042778, Rs2268490, Rs237887

          5-HTTLPR (stress resilience) rs25531

          MAOA (how fast multiple neurotransmitters are broken down) rs6323

        • As I understand it, they look at SNPs in MTHFR in two separate tests:
          1- The test done for “Neural Tube Defects” uses the MTHFR gene. 23andMe does SNPs and so lists many items as such rather than by the gene the SNP is in. Here is what it said they were looking at in my report: “copies of rs1801133 (also known as C677T) in the MTHFR gene”
          2- The other is “High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)” saying,
          “[Researchers] found that each copy of a G at rs17367504 in the MTHFR gene was associated with 0.89 times the odds of high blood pressure.

          When the daughter I talk about in my book was genetically tested, it was not via 23andMe, although I have been tested that way since I was in a research study and got the 23andMe for free. If I recall correctly, I think she first was tested from Kimball genetics. It was some years ago.

      • Sorry, replied to this post because your one below does not have a reply link.

        Yes, the following would also be of interest to me, especially considering the amount of foods that contain phenols/flavones/whatever that affect/inhibit MAO A and or B, tyrosinase, etc etc.

        On the whole, have you found the 23 and Me report useful? Have you been able to effectively/consistently improve mood/health?

        I have not been able to tolerate any B-vitamins without adverse effects, it doesn’t matter which one it is or which brand, combo, individual, etc, nor any supplement for that matter (e.g. chelated minerals). One of the possibilities I looked at is the fact that vitamins/minerals etc are manufactured via fermentation using Aspergillus, but mentioning stuff like that is when you start to get strange looks so I keep it to myself. I coughed up a fungus ball at one stage, and suspected Aspergillosis (living in a place in which I found black mould, Aspergillus Niger, also the same mould used in citric acid production).

        COMT (how fast dopamine is broken down) rs4680

        DRD2 (dopamine, error avoidance) rs1800497

        OXTR (oxytocin) Rs53576, Rs1042778, Rs2268490, Rs237887

        5-HTTLPR (stress resilience) rs25531

        MAOA (how fast multiple neurotransmitters are broken down) rs6323

        • I think it’s extremely useful. Part of the benefit is psychological … I learned I was actually low risk for several diseases that I assumed I had a higher risk for (based on family history). I’ve also made dietary changes, like consuming less dietary iron, and changing to a methylated form of B-vitamins. Here’s my post on the service, highlighting both benefits and potential concerns:

          http://jdmoyer.com/2011/10/08/the-1-most-important-inexpensive-yet-terrifying-thing-you-can-do-for-your-health-today/

          • Thanks for reply. Re consuming less dietary iron, is that due to iron storage issues?

            • One mutation for hemachromatosis … not expressed but iron levels have always been within normal range but on the high side when I give blood. And in general it’s a good idea for men to limit iron intake unless there is potential anemia.

            • I gather you were able to see the hemochromatosis mutation on 23andMe.

              In the results, are you able to clearly see these details? I understand what you mentioned in an above post re MTHFR, but am presuming as this is one of the things tested for that it’s more obvious rather than having to read screeds of data? I haven’t seen an example of the results.

              Apologies for the many questions, your responses have been helpful :-)

  26. Yes … you can drill down on the details for each SNP that is related to a particular disease or trait (I think there are at least four related to hemachromatosis). Here’s an example page with the overview:
    https://www.23andme.com/health/Age-related-Macular-Degeneration/

  27. And, to be clear, I’m not an investor, they’re not paying me, and I don’t know anybody who works there. I just think it’s a great service.

    • “And, to be clear, I’m not an investor, they’re not paying me, and I don’t know anybody who works there. I just think it’s a great service.”

      That didn’t cross my mind, however now that you mention it *suspicious face*

      Joking. Personally, I don’t think anyone who has posted what you have would be.

  28. I have been completely lost for 3 years. I’m 32 now had a stressful life but now I’m unemployed, socially anxious, low sex drive, pale skin, wheat intolerant and lost completely, I was tested and found to be low In B2, B6, B12, selenium and vitamin D along with an exhausted nervous system and adrenal glands. I’m not sure if I have Pyroluria or Low histamine? My doctor gave me anti depressants which do nothing. 5HTP helps a little. Someone help me I’m begging xx

  29. Interesting post. I’ve actually been going through a very similar process. Unwittingly and despite being treated for vitamin deficiency by my doctor, I’ve been ill to the point of severe malnutrition. I’ve managed to pull myself back from the brink with high doses of folic acid, L5-methyltetrahydrofolate, B12, fish oils and other vitamins and minerals. Prior to that I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, not realising that I had a severe folate deficiency and while being treated for B12 deficiency.

    I think that folate deficiency is actually the main problem very many people have. It results in B12 deficiency, problems with the digestive tract and hence absorption of other vitamins and minerals and leads to, essentially, malnutrition. Obviously, folate and B12 deficiency result in macrocytic anaemia which should be straightforward for a doctor to diagnose. Unfortunately, however, diagnosis is often made difficult by the fact that folate and B12 deficiency often coincide with iron deficiency(or microcytic anaemia). Many doctors are unable to diagnose this either from blood tests(high MCH in a full blood count) or symptoms. Normalisation of the full blood count by reducing MCV, MCH and increasing RBC(conversely increasing MCV and MCH for those with just iron deficiency) will give the best platform for determining further intervention and supplementation.

    I feel that the fundamental issue of anaemia is what must be addressed by people who are either borderline or completely anaemic. Once this is resolved by supplementing with folate, B12 and iron, they should ensure that their digestive tract is functioning normally and that their gut flora hasn’t been damaged by prescription antibiotic use. After that, they should ensure that their inflammation levels are reduced by measuring homocysteine and cholesterol. Levels can be reduced by omega 3/6 supplementation.

    If you’re interested in my approach to improving full blood count parameters as a measure of progress, feel free to email.

  30. Hi JD!!! Thank you for sharing all your research! SO many people are suffering out there, like me, and are in meds. I’ve been on
    antidepressants since 1994, tried to wean off many times and literally cannot do it. I’ve been to at least 15 different Dr.’s. I’ve been miserable pretty much my whole life-I’m almost 40. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to die. I still wouldn’t mind going…but I have 4 kids-that was always the dream.
    I am very sure I have Pyroluria:
    I had a test run by a Naturopath back in 2005, I had elevated pyrrols. 47 to be exact.
    I’ve had tingling/numbness in extremities for over 11 years. I’ve had countless rage episodes, impatience, a huge need to have my life go very specifically.
    I’ve even had somewhat psychotic episodes.

    I tried to tell my new Dr. about Pyroluria, which she never heard of and didn’t look into. I showed her my labs. She hardly listened to me, because she was convinced that I had a MTHFR polymorphism, so I went with it. She ordered a Genova Dx NutraEval, which cost us $800 we didn’t have. (Husband lost job 17 months ago)… The test showed no MTHFR polymorphism, so now she thinks I have comt defect. She said to go in her methyl B’s, methyl Folate, vesselcare and fish oil. I’ve been a raging, psychotic bitch!! I told her the methyl B’s made me worse and she told me to restart them. She also put me on NAC because she said the tests revealed severe glutathione depletion and amino acid metabolism disorder, high oxidative stress and very low antioxidants. Please, please help me. I can’t go on. I see it hurting my kids when they see me freak out. I also have adrenal fatigue/issues. Part of the vesselcare is inositol. We can’t afford to go to anyone else…we’ll have to put our house up for sale
    this May. Sorry this is so long, I’ve been suffering since I can remember-age 9.
    Thanks, Laura

    • Couple more things… I’ve had ferritin tested many times and the docs always say it’s very low. I think my last count was 5.
      I’ve been told by past docs that I have B 12 deficiency. Our whole family just went Gluten free, we eat organic chicken, and red meat. We make smoothies with kale, fruit, carrot juice, spirulina.
      I think that’s it. I’m on 10-20 mg of Lexapro, depending on time of month. I have severe Pms too, in addition to the rest.

    • Hi Laura — sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I’m not medically trained, so I can only speculate and not give advice. Have you tried high doses of B6 and zinc+manganese? That would be the treatment for pyroluria, according to Pfeiffer.

      In terms of medical tests, I am very happy with the service 23andMe provides (genome analysis), and the price just went down to $100. You can find out which COMT variants you have, as well as everything else you ever wanted to know about your genome.

    • Hi Laura – I’m no MD or anything either and only share this in case it helps prompt your own thinking. You sound very similar to me in terms of stage of life, reactions to things etc etc. I’m a similar age – I recently turned 41.

      From what you describe it sounds like:
      High manganese (perhaps due to excess storage in liver)
      and/or
      Low copper
      and/or
      Low iron

      (Normal manganese with low iron is ultimately the same as excess manganese. Low iron can be caused by low copper – see copper deficiency anemia).

      Do you have frequent menstrual cycles or infrequent ones?
      (e.g. cycles of normal length or shorter/longer?)
      Do you have issues with low blood sugar?

      I have similar responses to fish oil and methyl folate. I can’t touch fish oil because I get full on rage when I take it, and it seems most other things that are supposed to help people do not help me AT ALL. I have my own theories re me and the fish oil etc but won’t go there.

      I (have tried but) avoid supplemental manganese like the plague – it makes PMT worse as it’s VERY estrogenic. Great it you are low estrogen (e.g. post menopause). Terrible if you have excess estrogen!

      High intakes of zinc are terrible for thyroid. So please be careful if you go down the pyroluria path.

      I find I might get a brief reprieve from ONE dose of NAC but I can’t continue to take it. Sulfur opposes copper – NAC is a sulfur amino. In my case, the info re detox reactions does not apply to NAC or anything else I’ve tried. Are any of your meds in sulfate form?

      I personally avoid any b-vits and most supplements to be honest, including zinc (iron antagonist and copper antagonist – iron/ferritin needs copper). I actually find copper helps but only specific forms of it (e.g. not glycinate nor sebacate).

      I find things that oppose manganese have helped at times (e.g. potassium, calcium, iodine), but some manganese antagonists have the downside of opposing iron (e.g. calcium) or copper (B6, vit C). If copper is depleted you might find you get a very brief holiday then deteriorate quickly.

      I’ve found potassium bicarbonate to be the most beneficial so far because potassium is a copper synergist and it doesn’t seem to antagonise iron (I also tried potassium chloride and gluconate without success). I think carbonates/bicarbonates are beneficial because I read (on Wikipedia, yes, I know, shoot me) that:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transferrin
      “For the iron ion to bind, an anion is required, preferably carbonate (CO2−3).”

      I’ve found most supplemental forms of iron do not help. I recently found a different, specific type which seems to be better than others but won’t post it for now as I don’t want anyone to think the reason I’m typing this is to promote it. Previously I’d tried everything from iron sulfate to ferritin to freeze-dried liver to eating raw liver.

      The reason this other iron apparently works (backed by peer reviewed studies etc), is because it does not break down until it reaches a more alkaline environment in the intestine where iron is absorbed. Also of benefit is the fact that the absorption of this form of iron is not reduced by food (or some meds). However, I find I can’t take too much without adversely affecting copper.

      Anyway – hang in there Laura :-)
      Hope some of this helps.

    • Re: “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to die. I still wouldn’t mind going”

      P.S. This is something I would think/say, DO think/say, e.g. I wish there were euthanasia centre’s you could go to and opt out, “I’ve had enough now, I gave it a fair attempt, please just let me off the planet”. Or something like that. Maybe a lethal overdose in a packet. Take one and don’t call in the morning etc :-)

      I’ve also “been miserable pretty much my whole life”. Anti-depressants don’t work for me. You can guarantee that if a side-effect is that it might worsen depression, then it does. And it stays worse. Or I am left super-glued to the floor, unable to move/need to sleep 48 hours a day. It certainly seems as if the medical profession still thinks the only neurotransmitter that needs fixing is serotonin. Heh. Sad face.

      I don’t know if you are aware there is a thing called Manganism? (Aka “Manganese Madness”). Excessive storage of manganese is known to cause mental illness. They treat it with L-Dopa. “High levels of manganese can produce violence and other mental changes, including a psychiatric disorder resembling schizophrenia.”

      Hope you get the help you need Laura. If your GP or doc isn’t listening, please find another one. I know that’s easier said than done. I’m tired of explaining the same shit over and over to doctors who can’t even tell you the side effects of the medications you’re on or the ones that they’re trying to prescribe you, and accuse you of “being difficult” or “knowing too much” if you dare to be informed yourself.

      • Interesting idea re: manganese toxicity. There are definitely documented cases, but there is usually an environmental source (welding, or even manganese blue paint before modern pigments). Here’s one article:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3090741/

        • I’m talking more about instances of excess due to liver damage/medication/drugs/other supplements/physiological reasons etc. Quite a few cases of people (women) developing mental illness later in life etc, after manganese (and/or iron or anything else) has had time to build up. Probably not on Pubmed though :-)

          As I noted in my post, normal manganese with low iron/low copper is essentially the same as high/excess manganese.

          Hair analysis would be the way to go if you don’t want to spend time/money via process of elimination. Many advocate hair analysis as a better tool/indicator of hormone imbalance as well.

        • The other thing to watch out for is B12 opposes iron. If iron is low then B12 will antagonise.

          B12 also opposes potassium. Low potassium is also associated with neuropathy issues. Folic acid antagonises potassium.

          Many people look to things like B6 for peripheral neuropathy etc. Personally I’d start with electrolytes before mega dosing on anything else.

    • Hi Laura,

      There must be a reason why your doctor wanted to test you for MTHFR. I would suggest that this is probably an avenue worth exploring. Folate deficiency is a major problem for a lot of people and it was actually the cause of my illness which I have now resolved. It also leads to B12 deficiency which is often what is picked up first by doctors. Unfortunately, many of them fail to recognise folate deficiency and treat the B12 which leads to very severe problems down the line. I also believe that folate deficiency is a factor in much so-called mental illness and can cause psychosis.

      Do you suffer from diarrhea? That is a symptom of folate deficiency. Also, if you have had a full blood count recently, what was you MCH? MCH is the same as MCV: if either are high, you have anaemia, i.e folate/B12/iron deficiency. HIgh MCH particularly implies deficiency in all three.

      If you are anaemic then this is the first thing that you need to resolve.

  31. I am hetero mthfr and I also have low b12 which I take injections for. I recently Noticed in the last six months have been experiencing extreme depression and uncontrollable rage. I did get the copper iud 2 years ago and I started thinking I was becoming toxic. The last week I have started taking zinc supplements and extra b6. Huge improvement.

    • Copper levels can be tested for. I think mine were done to see intracellular levels, via SpectraCell Labs. For too high copper levels, I was given Moly-B (molybdenum). We get all kinds of toxicities – not just elemental ones. Glad to hear you figured out what you lneeded. I wish we did not require any supplements. I always worry about balance. Taking one nutrient can interfere with others. I have read that getting them in *real* foods allows our body to use them or not as needed. Unfortunately, our food supply, (and often what I have chosen to eat in the past) has inadequate nutrition.

  32. Kudos !! Wanted to say Awesome and most Informative Independent Research Information I have Ever read on this Topic Issue. I Myself have been Devouring and Researching these findings an trial and error workings on myself.

    Tired of self medicating and ready to Pursue Whole hardedly a career as a Physicians Assistant.

    Need more like you. R u in the medical field ?

  33. FYI, the following is a great site to use for analysing your genetic Methylation data from 23andme:

    http://geneticgenie.org/methylation-analysis/

    & Dr. Amy Yasko is one of the Pioneers on this topic.

  34. I have anxiety and sometimes insomnia. Got 23andme done, turns out I have really shitty methylation pathyways, particularly by the the way my body uses b12 (MTRR). This made sense, as I was glutathione deficient.
    I am going to try SAM-E tommorow and see if that helps. Methylcobalamin helps.

    • MTRR A66G? If so, I have that too and I’ve found by far the best treatment is injected hydroxocobalamin(B12). AFAIK his gene means that methylcobalamin is used too quickly. I think that hydroxocobalamin is relatively slowly methylated and drip feeds methylcobalamin into your system allowing better uptake.

      You need to inject hydroxocobalamin but it’s easy to learn subcutaneous injection techniques. Ask your doctor for help.

  35. I inject cyanocobalamin as is, does that not do much? Yea it is homozygous recessive for MTRR A66G

    • Cyano may not be the best choice: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/9192785/?i=1&from=cyanocobalamin%20(c-lactam)%20inhibits

      I would switch to hydroxocobalamin if I were you. Have you had a full blood count lately? What’s your MCH?

      • Ill talk to my doctor about it. I take methylcobalamin sublingually now. Is MCH a blood test I should get done?
        I started SAM-e this morning, maybe to help with the methyulation process.

        • Methylcobalamin is a methyl donor as is SAMe. I didn’t notice any additional benefit from SAMe myself perhaps because I was injecting methylcobalamin.

          MCH is one of the parameters of the full blood count. It can point to macrocytic/microcytic anaemia even if MCV is normal. If it’s high, as mine was, this can indicate combined macro/microcytic anaemia. In my case, daily folic acid and hydroxocobalamin every other day brought it down into the normal range. I think the microcytic anaemia was caused by a candida infection, acquired as a result of antibiotic use, which actively destroys red blood cells to get at the iron.

          I’m still learning and experimenting. NHS in the UK hasn’t a clue about any of this stuff. Keep reading and hopefully you’ll find what works for you.

          • How frequently do you inject hydroxycobalamin. Also, is it much more expensive?

            • I’m trying to inject every other day. I’d prefer to do it every day but the injections cost around £1(UK sterling) per jab and I have to buy them from Germany. No idea about US prices.

  36. How frequently do you inject hydroxycobalamin. Also, is it much more expensive?

  37. A wonderful detailed piece of scientific account about biomolecules. As a science teacher in third world part of this earth, i was looking for some information on the relationship between methylation and libido. Am so concerned because the school going children are “fed” with methyl-rich meals to lower their libido. Does this have any longterm effect on them?? Kindly reply. Disturbed teacher.

  38. It would be nice to see updates to some of your commentary. In particular, as it happens I do not consume any alcohol, yet there was a period of time unexplained vomiting resulted in an extreme B1 deficiency.

    Such a deficiency can result within a period as short as 10 days to 2 wks and most certainly can lead to sign & symptoms of both dry and wet Beriberi manifestations. FWIW, it was not even a blip on multiple doctor’s radar.

    Thank you for making note of this detail; because although reports may relay it is rarely seen these days in the western hemisphere unless one is an alcoholic, that is not necessarily the case.

  39. Am I likely an over-methylator? Whenever I have taken Methylcobalamin I get the following symptoms: depression, hoplessness, roid-rage-like-irritability, heavy head, & dry burning eyes.

  40. Maybe you can help? I am bi polar and was trying to supplement my body to stay/get healthy. It seems every time I take a multi vitamin I get rageful and aggressive and super scatter brained. Can’t focus or even sit still. What could be causing this particular reaction? Anything I might try to avoid from your knowledge? Thanks

    • It sounds like avoiding multivitamins altogether is your best bet. If you eat a nutrient rich diet you’re unlikely to develop any deficiencies.

    • I disagree. I suspect that you might be extremely vitamin deficient and the reaction is due to your body having nutrients all of a sudden. This happened to me many years ago. I just stopped taking the vitamins because I didn’t know any better and it was several years before I was diagnosed.

      Investigate you methylation defects at a genetic level with the help of a good naturopath ASAP. Read about things like the MTHFR gene, mutations of which cause problems absorbing folate which is vital for DNA synthesis and creating neurotransmitters.

      • I would look into doing 23andme only 99$,!genetic testing it looks at several other snps that are involved in methylation. I am heterozygous for Moa-a which can cause aggressive, OCD and personality disorders when combined with a comt mutation.

        • Yes, that’s what I’ve done. I’d still recommend trying to find a naturopath with deep knowledge of methylation defects to help though. It’s not easy to do it for yourself. Both routes are expensive but a good naturopath might save you cash in the long run.

          • Even if deficiencies are the problem, multivitamins might not be the best approach. Some forms of non-methylated vitamins (folic acid, B12) can actually reduce physiological usage of bioactive forms (folonic acid, P5P B6, methyl B-12). On the other hand megadosing with with bioactive forms may ramp up neurotransmitter production to the extent that you feel overstimulated or aggravated. Trust your body on this one; if a supplement makes you feel bad, don’t take it.

            Agreed that knowing your genetic profile may be helpful, especially in regards to MTHFR.

            • Sorry, I should’ve been clearer in my reply. I was really objecting to your statement that if she ate a nutrient rich diet she wouldn’t have any deficiencies. I think most people have a range of deficiencies and would be well advised to supplement.

              As I said, I had a similar reaction to a multivitamin which was actually a warning sign of severe deficiencies. It would probably be wise to stop taking the multi for the moment while she is tested for her deficiencies by a competent doctor, e.g. a naturopath with knowledge of genetic issues with methylation. However, I am certain that she needs a very comprehensive supplement regime as soon as possible.

    • Hardly what I’d call weighing in. 23andMe seems to be being extremely cautious on this which is fair enough. They don’t want to go out on a limb when the research is in its infancy.

      However, there are many very sick people today who simply can’t afford to wait for a scientific consensus which may take decades if, indeed, it ever arrives.

      Pregnancy is certainly a situation that puts increased demands on a person’s folate. Other, equally important, situations include: childhood growth spurts, adolescence, stress, illness, alcohol consumption, drug taking(pharmaceutical or otherwise), dieting and exercise. These situations can be demanding for those without an MTHFR mutation, never mind those with.

      Contrary to 23andMe, in excess of half the population have diets deficient in folate. It’s hardly surprising that folate deficiency is considered such a serious public health issue that in the US, flour is fortified with it.

      I think that anyone with health issues should be screened for this SNP and others including MTRR A66G which is implicated in vitamin B12 deficiency. It’s cheap now and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  41. Just stopped by for the first time and have something to share. For those interested in getting more out of their 23andme results, check out geneticgenie.org. It will analyze the raw data and cross reference against the works of a well known methylation specialist. It’s free and well worth the effort.

  42. I was diagnosed hetero A1298C and a normal C677T. I have very high RBC folate and b12 with moderately high to high homocysteine of “16″ (depending on whose scale you believe). My doc sees this as a failure to convert the folate and b12 into active forms. Podiapn was prescribed (5mg of methyl folate), and when I took only 1/2 capsule to start i literally thought i was going to die. i hope i’m not in homocysteine “checkmate” since i don’t tolerate supplemental b’s.

  43. @ Glen- How is your BHMT pathway? Supplementing with Trimethyglycine should help to lower the high homocysteine levels… Also- what happened when you took 1/2 (2.5 mgs) capsule of methylfolate? Maybe start with a much lower dose like 400 mcg’s and see how that effects you…

  44. @ Adam-yes my recent switch to TMG seems to be a VERY good fit right now along with a product called Flavay and intermittent liposomal vitamin C. I believe all these to be great and effective products. For the record, I have no financial interest in any of the products. Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a great IP article about TMG, Flavay has been around a very long time, and if you google “New Zealand swine flu cure with vitamin C”, you will link to a 60 Minutes documentary on youtube that is so amazing it will seem incredible. Also, and this is a long story, i may have gallbladder issues in the mix, even though testing shows nothing wrong…i understand this is not an unusual scenario. I have tried very small doses of the M-folate, etc. and it was intolerable. A local Dr./personal friend said people with impaired gallbladder function will not tolerate supplemental B vitamins, but she could not recall the source of the information.

  45. Supplimentation is more complicated than a particular one being good for you or not. It’s also about what the suppliment is made from and how it is absorbed. An example of this is B12, which often cannot be absorbed by some, especially older people who lack the cofactor in their stomach so need a suppliment in sublingual form. Also most B suppliments are made from yeast so, as I’m allergic to yeast, make me feel very ill. So alternatives have to be found. I recently took B2 to help with allergies and asthma. Later relised that it had been made from yeast even though the container stated yeast free. I realised something was wrong when my asthma suddenly got worse on the secord day. Your article is very helpful but you could try other suppliments to help with your asthma / allergies. Always buy the most pure form and where impurities have been filtered out. I find powdered MSM helps with detox, Pura EPA fish oils helps lower inflammation and depression, powdered dried milk thistle herb helps cleanse liver and detox and buffered Vit C. powder improves adrenal function and lowers inflammation.

  46. Vitamin D3 supplements, taken in mega quantities, have increase my Vit D levels from 17 ng/mL to 80 ng/mL, I now take 10k IUs of D3 daily as maintenance and my Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms are gone, which was the goal, I did this after reading a John Hopkins University Study where they found 100,000 IUs of D3 in an on/off dose (1x dose) to be more effective than light therapy… but as an added bonus, I also no longer need my asthma inhaler! No more asthma symptoms, wheezing, whatsoever! Note: when taking mega doses of D3 you should also take k2 supplements to facilitate calcium moving from your arteries to your bones & teeth. Google that for verification. When I miss several days of D3 (I can be forgetful,) Iknow to get back on track when wheezing returns.

  47. @ Glenn- Lithium orotate will help usher B12 into the cells. You said after taking that much methylfolate you felt like you were going to die. What does that mean? What were the symptoms? Sounds like maybe you were having a reaction downstream in the methylation cycle when you jumpstarted it by adding the methylfolate. Not turning B12 into the active form could be problem in the MTR or MTRR Gene, or Lithium deficiency as lithium is required to get B12 inside the cell along with a carrier from the gut.Methy B12 is the active form of B12, have you tried that? Can you handle Methyl Donors ok? But the reaction leads me to believe you were deficient in Methylfolate and thus not methylating correctly and when you added the methylfolate it jumpstarted your methylation cycle and you either have a SNP later in the Cycle prolly COMT or MAO, as CBS would tend to drain the Homocysteine. Have you done your genetic profile?

  48. I’m pretty sure I am low in B vitamins but all this MTHFR stuff is very confusing to me. I suffer from depression and anxiety, not sure where to start. Can anyone recommend any supplements? I can’t really afford tests. I’ve tried Niacinamide before and it did have a calming effect. But I think I’m probably deficient in the main B’s since I cut grains and lots of other foods from my diet due to intolerances. I probably get some B12 from red meat.

  49. I just came across your site. I’m just coming down from what felt like a psychotic reaction to 7.5mg Deplin. Does this sound at all possible? After stopping taking it for one day, my symptoms seem to have declined. Very scary.

    • CJ- Yes a very common occurance with so much methylfolate. Nicotenic acid can help sponge up extra methyl donors. Sounds like u are having a reaction downstream probably to do with COMT…

  50. Pingback: Can the B vitamins vanquish hot flashes? | The menopause histamine connection

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