Mg deficiency affects MTHFR? Really?…

by Morley Robbins on May 23, 2013

I’ve often wondered in the last few years why Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, “the Dean of Magnesium” has a fascination with Yeast Infections… Well, a post on the Magnesium Advocacy FB page by one of our MAG-pies, Angela Meister, (May 17th, at 8:45am) prompted me to look deeper into the MTHFR gene mutation issue, and unbeknownst to me, delve into the wacky world of Yeast Infections!… (If you haven’t read this important article by Dr. Ben Lynch, please do so at your earliest convenience.)

So what does Mg deficiency have to do with MTHFR gene? Apparently, plenty!…

This is a wonderful article, and Dr. Ben Lynch is to be commended for writing it! This blog highlights some important information about the MTHFR gene mutation and what some key factors are that trigger its malfunction – a very vogue and contemporary nutritional issue today. In fact, after the obsession folks have with Hormone-D, I’d say this has to be the topic-du-jour.

That said, I’m not buying it… Anyone surprised?

Key to this article is the diagram below which highlights the various players in the Methionine Pathway. Dr. Ben is spot on with his focus on the Methionine Synthase [MS] enzyme, but apparently he and most other practitioners have overlooked a profound issue facing Americans and their penchant for

processed foods.

As he notes, “[MS] Enzymes do not work well if they: 1) lack the active substrate such as methylfolate (Vit-B9), 2) lack cofactors such as methylcobalamin (Vit-B12), and 3) are exposed to inhibiting compounds such as heavy metals, solvents, chemicals, and toxins.” OK, I’m totally on board with all that. But then he goes the extra mile to point out that MS has a few potent inhibiting compounds — one of which is produced by Candida. And that product is? Acetylaldehyde!


That totally changes the landscape of the MTHFR “mutation” issue… It does?!?… Yup, and now I’m beginning to understand how this “genetic crisis” is upon us, and how it is eluding the best and brightest in the healing arts.

It turns out that Acetylaldehyde is a byproduct of ethanol metabolism… Hmmmm…. In fact, as you dig into this topic, you come to learn that there are four classic routes that bring Acetylaldehyde (AH) into our bodies and brains – btw, AH is a very potent neurotoxin. It’s actually quite destructive, as anyone who’s had a hangover knows. Yes, it’s excess AH that brings us to our knees after a night of too much partying!  And those four key routes of AH arrival are:

  1. Alcohol consumption
  2. Candida Albicans (the “Yeast syndrome”) – which produces alcohol
  3. Exhaust from cars and trucks
  4. Cigarette smoking

Wow… these are all classic “Stressors!” that drain the body of Magnesium. So why would the body create a neurotoxin that is so destructive and not have an antidote to neutralize it? Well, it turns out that, in fact, there is another key enzyme that enters the scene: Aldehyde Dehydrogenase. And lo, and behold, it turns out that Magnesium (Mg++) helps ensure proper activation and functioning of this key enzyme in our body. It’s job — break down the AH and turn it into Acetate, which can then be used as fuel in cellular energy production within the Krebs Cycle.

So, what do we now know? These key “Stressors!” are known stimulants to increase the production of Acetylaldehyde. But they are also known triggers for Mg loss. What is well known and documented is that Alcoholics convert alcohol (Ethanol) to AH very QUICKLY, but convert AH to Acetate very SLOWLY. And what we also know is that Alcohol is the fastest sugar on the Planet, but it’s also a known diuretic, meaning it causes significant Mg loss in the urine, thus explaining why the AH cannot be flipped to Acetate due to ineffective Aldehyde Dehydrogenase enzyme – all for lack of this vital, catalytic mineral we affectionately know as “Maggie!”

What is also known, is that overuse of Antibiotics, Birth Control Pills, Cortisone/Pregnisone, as well as “Stress!” (which actually causes increased production of Cortisone… not an insignificant fact, btw!…), excessive sugar consumption and malnutrition also lead to Yeast overgrowth, which then causes an increase in AH in the gut. OK, OK, so what’s the big deal, and why should I care, especially given the MTHFR issue?

Alrighty, I totally understand your impatience… Let’s take a look at the figure below:

Sooooo, here’s the recap… Know anyone who’s taken antibiotics – multiple times? Taken Birth Control Pills? Under constant “Stress!”? Has a craving for sweet food/beverages (Starbucks anyone?!?…) In effect, there’s no one in America that hasn’t been exposed to these “Stressors!” which lead to excess Candida, and thus a Yeast Infection, and subsequently Magnesium loss — now I’m beginning to understand Carolyn Dean’s obsession with this issue!

There are three important take-aways from this information:

  1. The really BIG news is the effect that increased Acetylaldehyde has on the Methionine Synthase (MS) enzyme. According to Dr. Ben, this toxin (AH) brings MS to its knees. And by virtue of that, it totally disrupts the Methylation and Sulfation Pathways as noted in the diagram at the start of this article. Wow, even I’m impressed! But this dysfunction is NOT due to a “gene mutation!” – it is very much Epigenetic (as I’ve always suspected…) due to excess “Stressors!” and the lack of proper minerals, especially my favorite, Magnesium, prevents the proper breakdown of this neurotoxin, Acetylaldehyde… Note: the “Stress!” of AH causes the metabolic dysfunction.
  2. It’s worth noting the metabolic affects that excess AH has on both the health of our Red Blood Cells, as well as the health of our gut, as noted on the far right column of the diagram above. These are powerful impacts that affect access to Oxygen throughout the body, energy metabolism (lack of B1 & B3), Brain function (lack of B5), as well as the function of our Adrenal Glands (lack of B5), which then affects our ability to respond to “Stress!” — only intensifying our loss of Magnesium.
  3. And finally, what I want the reader to note is that an important and ubiquitous source of “alcohol” in our diet comes by way of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Mind-boggling to think about, but this so-called sugar, converts to ethanol, just like the more traditional alcohols do. The implications are staggering as we begin to assess how pervasive this sweetener has become in our national diet.

My head is spinning with the implications of this new dimension of dysfunction. Truth be known, it’s cranked my Mg Burn Rate! I’ll get over that, but my concern is that there are millions of unsuspecting Americans that have no clue how their daily diet of processed foods and sodas are fueling this neurotoxin (AH) to disrupt major metabolic pathways that then lead to serious chronic conditions.

Please keep in mind, this is a preliminary, working model. It’s subject to challenge and to change – all of which I welcome. My only request is that folks read this blog a couple of times slooooowly to fully process its many implications. This is subtle, but serious stuff. And it underscores, yet again, just how disruptive improper enzyme function(s) can be to create metabolic chaos, and dis-ease. Another notable example would be the three enzymes (LCAT, Lipoprotein Lipases, and HMG Co-enzyme-A reductase), that are ALL Magnesium-dependent, that spawned a global empire of Statins due to Cholesterol and Triglycerides run amuck — again, all for lack of Magnesium.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’ll look forward to your thoughts, your comments, your suggested revisions, and oh yes, your follow-up questions…

A votre sante!…


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