4 Essential Oils to Use with MTHFR

For years now, I’ve been claiming that if we give the body what it’s supposed to make, it becomes lazy and eventually stops producing it. Some examples include:

  • melatonin

  • folic acid

  • glutathione

  • CoQ10

  • vitamin D

In all honesty, making such statements makes me nervous; yet, there is a bit of empirical evidence to back these claims up i.e. scores of people taking vitamin D supplements, although, the U.S. population remains ‘epidemically’ low … OR those taking melatonin require more and more of the hormone to sleep. Unfortunately, studies supporting these points are not widely available. However, not because they’re untrue; there’s money to be made with the positive outlook. Negative aspects don’t sell products; benefits do. Yet, it’s truly in our best interest to look at both sides., While the ‘right hand’ is rather encouraging, it’s wise to pay attention to what the ‘left hand is burying.’

Consider folic acid and vitamin D for a moment. ‘We’ have been adding these nutrients to foods since 1998 and the 1930’s, respectively. Both are manufactured by man when used to fortify foods or produce supplements. Vitamin D, typically D3, is often referred to as cholecalciferol which is produced through the irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol extracted from the lanolin found in sheep's wool. Well, actually in foods where animal by-products are not desired, companies use ergocalciferol a.k.a. D2 which is derived from a fungal sterol called, ergosterol. Folic acid, on the other hand, is the result of combining chemicals (which does not include folate) in labs and distributing it to supplement companies around the world. The same can be said for vitamin D.

On the flip side, these very same nutrients are produced by the human body'; folic acid comes from the processing of folate (found in foods) on the MTHFR genes a.k.a. folate cycle. This is because folic acid is a metabolite of folate and required for converting a number of amino acids into other proteins for further enzymatic activity. The challenge we face is two-fold:

  1. MTHFR deactivation

  2. Neurological disorders in the unborn

The MTHFR deactivation is the result of epigenetic changes. Understanding the cause of this is like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. Because the fortification of foods with folic acid has only been going on for just over 20 years, my suspicion lies with the introduction of vitamin D. What I mean by this is vitamin D is a hormone the body produces through photosynthesis; hence, the nickname the sunshine vitamin. However, it is in fact a hormone a.k.a. steroid compound. To begin consuming a hormone the body is supposed to make is going to stop production of the hormone altogether. This is evident as the body ends production of vitamin D when it has enough regardless of the source. Interestingly enough, the introduction of vitamin D fortified milk had nothing to do with low vitamin D levels, and everything to do with improving calcium levels. We can make a fairly good guesstimate as to why this is; the bioavailability of minerals in milk is diminished to the pasteurization. Therefore, adding vitamin D to the milk products was a promising move as vitamin D assists with calcium assimilation.

"‘They’ absolutely have good reasoning. The same can be said for folic acid, and I’ll say more about that in a few. For now, I want to focus on the changes to the MTHFR gene. Again, it’s difficult to lay blame on just one thing. The epigenome is wired to adapt and has been doing so for thousands of years. At the same time, since the mid-1300’s, our use of technology has exploded; and by technology, I’m talking about our ability to extract various chemicals from plants and use them for specific purposes i.e. morphine as well as turn them into pharmaceuticals and now nutraceuticals.. Please don’t be fooled by the idea that ‘they’ are extracting these nutrients from plants, today. They’re not. They’re recreating them in labs. The same can be said for constituents in essential oils. To be perfectly frank, if they’re extracting these from plants, then what are they doing with the rest of the plant. Or for that matter, where are they growing these plants and why don’t we have access to more fresh foods? One argument is folate is unstable in food due to being water soluble; so, the production of folic acid offers stability and higher potency.

Getting back on track … besides everything we had already been introducing into the human lifestyle for centuries, the addition of vitamin D definitely contributed to epigenetic changes. The body activates and deactivates genetic activity every second of the day; therefore, when it no longer needs to produce vitamin D, adjustments are made throughout the hormonal system to accommodate the change. This is a natural reaction as the body consistently ‘seeks’ homeostasis. What’s more, alterations along the epigenome must occur in order to facilitate the changes. The one point that is not outwardly discussed is the ability of nutrients to regulate and modify gene expression; yet they do, and we know this.

The really tricky fact here is the difference between nature made constituents and manmade which is synergy. Well that and the understanding that nature responds differently to life affirming energy versus that which is fabricated, taking me back to the idea of synergy. Scientists recognize the power of synergy and attempting to recreate because … manmade offers stability and potency. While this sounds like a decent belief, nature is organic and flows through cycles. It’s not meant to sit on a shelf indefinitely, or at the very least, for long periods of time. Essentially, if our diet consists of fresh wholesome food, then we’re getting enough folate.

If that’s the case, then why are ‘they’ suggesting we take folic acid?

Because we’re seeing a rise in all manner of health problems. Keep in mind, the use of folic acid was only introduced in the mid-1990’s; right around the time the Human Genome Project began. Since that time, ‘we’ve’ uncovered a large population of people living with MTHFR deficiency which indicates the body is not producing the folic acid it needs; therefore, take it with the hope of offsetting or preventing trouble. Yet, another point that makes sense, but…..

The more we take this chemical (because manmade folic acid is not a natural nutrient), the longer the MTHFR mutation / alteration remains. Remember, ‘we’ know nutrients and chemicals have the ability to influence genetic expression. Sounds like a serious problem; we have a genetic deficiency that continuously compromises epigenome activity, producing oxidative stress, etc; what other choice do we have?

Lipophilic chemicals modify genetic expression. How? As they combine with lipids, they are transported into the cells, regulating receptor activity along with binding promoters of specific genes. Lipophilic chemicals are both manmade and found in nature.

With this in mind, essential oil constituents are lipophilic chemicals and have the ability to influence genetic activity throughout the body. Research has shown that certain essential oil components are capable of affecting various cellular actions. In the case of MTHFR, it is agreed that geraniol supports folate cycle processes. What’s interesting is these same studies also indicate geraniol’s ability to improve glutathione production. Of course ‘it’ does; activation of the folate cycle leads to improved activity along the rest of the methylation pathway (epigenome). Please know, this is not a forever fix; simply because you live on planet Earth and are subject to both emotional and environmental stress. This of course triggers continual changes and the reason using essential oils on a daily basis is a wise decision.

4 Essential Oils to Use with MTHFR

  1. palmarosa ~ contains geraniol, soothes the autonomic nervous system, improves digestion and the breakdown of macronutrients, regulates gut flora (read more on this oil)

  2. east indian sandalwood ~ contains santalol which is recognized for its ability to assist with estrogen metabolism; this is significant given the number of hormonal changes going on due to MTHFR deficiency and possibly the consumption of vitamin D. Epigenetic changes affect CYP450 enzyme function, diminishing the bodies ability to properly metabolize estrogen, potentially leading to such things as breast cancer, glaucoma, lung cancer and /or prostate cancer. With MTHFR deficiency, it’s fair to say the body is distressed and estrogen is the primary signaling molecule responsible for activating both the immune and autonomic nervous systems.

  3. ambrette seed oil ~ regulates HPA activity (hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal), essential for modulating the stress mechanism (hear more on this oil)

  4. roman chamomile ~ high in angelates and according to research, this oil has ability to slow down the production of the stress-induced hormone, ACTH, otherwise known as the stimulating adrenocorticotropic hormone. In other words, roman chamomile assists with hormonal regulation

You will notice that only one oil listed contains geraniol, and that is plenty. The body can do a lot with just a little bit, especially when we seek to stabilize the system, rather than focusing on the need to control or fix. The body isn’t broken, defective or a mutant. It’s simply responding to the information it is receiving. Sadly, it’s being misinformed which suggests malfunction due to inflammation and symptoms; however, when we approach it from this perspective, we tend to go over board with very specific remedies. Yet, MTHFR deficiency is not the only concern; hence, I encourage a combination of oils with different constituents in order to modify the systemic changes that are complicating the issue.

While its true, each epigenome is unique, starting with a blend such as this, 2 to 3 times a day plus sniffing it from time to time, will promote positive changes. With time, your oil selection will need to be changed due to the ongoing adjustments; yet, for now, this is an excellent place to start.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this or if you’d like a personal consult to assist you with practicing this level of health care.

In closing, as for the melatonin, glutathione and CoQ10; these are all produced in the body. Melatonin from the conversion of serotonin, glutathione through the glutamine cycle, and CoQ10 through the metabolism of homocysteine. When these processes don’t occur, we struggle to sleep, feel anxious, and experience the advancement of additional inflammatory reactions.