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Uric Acid –A Common Denominator for Dementia, High Blood Pressure, High Blood Sugar, and Weight Gain

by Mila McManus, MD

Did you know that high uric acid levels play a central role in increasing our blood sugar, blood pressure, and body fat?

It is fairly common knowledge that high levels of uric acid in the human body can cause Gout, a sudden arthritis which attacks joints causing significant pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in joints.  It usually affects one joint at a time, typically a big toe or knee. Did you know that high uric acid levels play a central role in increasing blood sugar, blood pressure, and body fat?  In fact, elevated uric acid levels are now being considered as a diagnostic criterion for metabolic syndrome. It’s possible to have high uric acid levels without any obvious symptoms…until the wheels fall off the cart!

Elevated uric acid levels lead to endothelial dysfunction (think of tight/stiff arteries rather than relaxed and dilated blood vessels), increased oxidative stress, microvascular damage, reduction in nitric oxide bioavailability in the endothelial lining, and contributes to cognitive decline as it directly and indirectly damages blood vessels of the brain. Endothelial cells are the main type of cell in the lining of blood vessels, lymph vessels, and the heart. Consequently, elevated uric acid levels negatively impact health in the cardiovascular, blood circulatory, metabolic, and lymphatic systems, as well as joints.

From a dietary standpoint, the best way to prevent elevated uric acid is to eat and drink a clean, whole food diet while maintaining stable blood sugar. Most importantly is to avoid excessive fructose from fruits, all high fructose corn sugar/syrup, as well as other high fructose sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. High fructose corn sugar is found in fast food, breakfast cereal, bread, and baked goods, sweetened dairy products, candy, canned fruit and soups, and soft drinks as well as salad dressings, ketchup, and energy drinks. Grapes, watermelon, and dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, apricots, and apples are also intensified forms of fructose.

To have your uric acid levels checked, discuss dietary adjustments, or explore ways to manage gout and other health issues related to high uric acid levels, schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare practitioners or nutritionist on staff.

If you want to take a deeper dive into learning about uric acid, I recommend reading Dr. Perlmutter’s book called Drop Acid (also available on Audible).

Reference: OrthoMolecular – Uric Acid, practitioner informational sheet/UAX-Pro. Permission granted 1/16/2023, NH.

By |2023-02-01T09:04:40-06:00February 1st, 2023|Articles, General|

Methylene-Tetra-Hydro-huh?

By Dyvette Warren, PA-C

Edited by Mila McManus MD

MTHFR

Beginning in the womb, and throughout your life, your personal health and happiness, mental capabilities, and propensity for disease are heavily influenced by genetic as well as non-genetic factors, including DNA mutations, nutrition, exposure to microorganisms and toxins, stress, and other environmental conditions.

If you suffer with, or have a history of, migraines, depression, insomnia, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, chemical sensitivities, arthritis, pain, IBS(irritable bowel syndrome), heart disease, stroke, DVT(deep venous thrombosis, ie: blood clot), pulmonary embolism(blood clot in the lungs), side effects with hormones (e.g., birth control pills), miscarriages, autism, birth defects, failure to thrive, anemia, epilepsy, psychosis, ADD/ADHD, seizures, or take prescription medication, particularly those for cancer and autoimmune disorders, we highly recommend that you get tested for an MTHFR gene mutation. This is a piece of the healthcare puzzle that can be treated.

What does the MTHFR gene do?

MTHFR gene provides instruction for making an enzyme called methyl tetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme helps amino acids form proteins and influences detoxification efficiency and production of neurotransmitters. A mutated MTHFR gene produces defective enzymes that may perform only 20% – 70% as well as the non-mutated version, depending on the type of mutation.

You ability to effectively break down toxins and eliminate heavy metals, including copper, will be limited. High copper levels deplete zinc levels which can be related to ADHD, depression, headaches, acne, frequent colds, worsening thyroid function, sensitive skin, easy bruising, adrenal stress and more. High copper levels also make it difficult to raise iron levels. Supplementing with Vitamin C and Zinc can help to detoxify and reduce copper levels. Consult with your functional medicine specialist before starting supplements.

A high homocysteine level may develop with an MTHFR mutation, thereby increasing your risk for heart disease, blood clots, stroke, elevated blood pressure, dementia, psychosis, and seizures. A thorough history, along with MTHFR testing, is recommended if you have a high homocysteine level or a history of any of the above listed diseases.

With MTHFR mutation, homocysteine has a difficult time converting to glutathione, the body’s main detoxifier and antioxidant. This contributes to a buildup of toxins and heavy metals in the body.

Also with MTHFR mutation, your body will have reduced capability of converting the inactive forms of folate (folic acid) and B12(cobalamin) into active forms called methyl-folate and methyl-cobalamin.

The Journal of Molecular Psychiatry states that, “Schizophrenia-like syndromes, Bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia have all been associated with one or more of the mutations of the MTHFR gene”.

It is likely that MTHFR DNA variation may affect the response to many different medications that affect brain function. Long term use of methotrexate, for example, is associated with elevated homocysteine levels and methotrexate toxicity in patients with MTHFR mutation. We recommend knowing your MTHFR status prior to starting any type of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy neurotoxicity is highly associated with MTHFR mutation. Proper supplementation and future treatment options will need to be discussed with your functional medicine specialist and oncologist once your MTHFR status is known.

Treatment

Although you can’t change this defective gene, you can help it do its job more effectively.

Repairing your digestive system, including optimizing your gut flora (ie blend of microbes in your gut), should be the first step in improving your health.

Methyl-cobalamin and methyl-folate are additional treatment which will be used by your body for detoxing. You may need to start with a low dose to avoid detox effects such as fatigue, muscle pain, headache, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, achiness, etc. Always consult with a functional medicine specialist prior to starting therapy. Click here to read about Active B-Complex by Prothera.

Avoid toxins, including those absorbed through the skin. Look at household cleaning supplies and wear gloves when using chemicals for cleaning. Check your lotions, soaps and deodorants. Use aluminum free deodorants, and use soaps and lotions with the fewest ingredients. We are now offering Pure & Simple Bar soap at our TWIHW facility and it’s just that! You can also visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ which is a database where you can discover what toxic chemicals are in your cosmetics, lotions, and sunscreen products.

Eat healthfully and organic when possible, avoid processed food, don’t smoke, and limit alcohol intake. These measures will help to decrease toxins in the body and will leave the methylation cycle free for other important functions.

There are more than 40 different MTHFR mutations that can be passed down from your mother and/or father. Only two of these are known to be particularly problematic: C677T and A1298C. You might also hear the words homozygous and heterozygous when discussing MTHFR mutations. Homozygous means that you inherited a mutation from your mother AND your father and, therefore, have both copies of the defective gene. Heterozygous means that you inherited the mutation from either your mother or your father and, therefore, have only one copy of the defective gene. If you already know that you have an MTHFR gene mutation, consider having your children’s status tested.

MTHFR testing is offered several ways at our facility (prices are subject to change):

  • Saliva test kit that you do yourself at home and mail into the lab. This test is $125 and tests for C677T and the A1298C mutations as well as for another mutation called COMT which is also associated with mood disorders and dementia.
  • Add-on test at Spectracell Laboratories when ordering a nutrient analysis. The add-on price is $40 and tests for C677T and A1298C.
  • MTHFR can also be ordered through Quest lab who will attempt to bill your insurance; however, we’ve found that many insurance companies will not cover the test and this would result in Quest billing you, the patient, ~$400.

 

References:
http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/mthfr/
http://mthfr.net/mthfr-research/2012/01/27/
BMS Neurology, Effect of MTHFR
US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health
Genetics Home Reference, Your Guide to Understanding Genetic Conditions
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
American Heart Association
Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Holisticprimarycare.net
New England Journal of Medicine
Journal of Human Genetics
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By |2017-03-01T17:36:12-06:00November 4th, 2015|Articles, General|