February 6, 2024

The Benefits of having a Primary Care Provider who understands Functional Medicine: Understanding MTHFR and Its Impact on Your Health

Have you ever been told you are repeatedly low in B12 or Folate on conventional testing?

The Benefits of having a Primary Care Provider who understands Functional Medicine:  Understanding MTHFR and Its Impact on Your Health


In today's healthcare landscape, it's crucial to have a Primary Care provider who not only addresses your immediate health concerns but also delves deeper into the root causes of potential health issues.  In this blog, we'll explore a specific genetic variation, MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency), and why it's important to know about it. We'll also discuss the benefits of having a Functional Medicine provider as your Primary Care provider and the specific problems you can avoid by doing so.

Understanding MTHFR

MTHFR, or Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, is an enzyme crucial for the proper utilization of folate (Vitamin B9) in your body. It plays a significant role in a process called methylation, which is essential for various biochemical reactions, including DNA synthesis and repair, detoxification, and neurotransmitter production.

However, some individuals carry genetic variations in the MTHFR gene that can affect its function. Two common MTHFR gene variants are C677T and A1298C, and when present, they can lead to reduced enzyme activity. This reduced activity can result in lower levels of active folate and may lead to elevated levels of homocysteine, a marker associated with cardiovascular risk and other health issues.  Have you ever been told you are repeatedly low in B12 or Folate on conventional testing?  This is a big clue for a potential MTHFR issue.

Why It's Important to Know Your MTHFR Status:

  1. Personalized Healthcare: Understanding your MTHFR status allows your healthcare provider to tailor treatments and interventions to your genetic makeup. This personalization can lead to more effective and efficient care.
  2. Risk Assessment:  MTHFR variations have been associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, neural tube defects in pregnancy, mental health issues, and even certain cancers. Knowing your MTHFR status can help you and your healthcare provider proactively manage these risks.
  3. Nutritional Guidance:  Individuals with MTHFR variations may require specific dietary modifications and methylated B supplements (there are different types of B vitamins) to ensure proper folate metabolism. Your Functional Medicine provider can offer guidance on the right nutrition plan for your unique needs.

Benefits of Having a Primary Care Provider who is Certified in Functional Medicine

  1. Holistic Approach:  Functional Medicine providers go beyond just treating symptoms; they seek to understand the underlying causes of your health concerns. This approach can lead to more sustainable solutions that are not accounted for in conventional care practices.
  2. Personalized Care: Instead of the conventional treatment of just being told to take a generic B vitamin when a conventional lab test shows low B12 or low folate, Functional Medicine embraces the concept of personalized medicine, taking into account your genetics, lifestyle, and individual circumstances to create a tailored healthcare plan.  This includes knowing to assure one can absorb B vitamins in the gut as well as tailoring the supplement plan to the best type of B supplement, brand and amount.
  3. Preventive Care:  By identifying potential health risks early and addressing them proactively, Functional Medicine providers can help you avoid chronic diseases and complications down the road.  
  4. Comprehensive Testing:  Functional Medicine providers often use advanced testing methods, including genetic testing like MTHFR analysis, to uncover hidden health issues and design precise interventions.

Problems You Can Avoid by having a Primary Care and Functional Medicine Provider

  1. Misdiagnosis:  Functional Medicine focuses on the root causes of your symptoms, reducing the chances of misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatments.
  2. Reactive Healthcare: Functional Medicine providers emphasize prevention and early intervention, preventing the need for emergency or crisis-based healthcare.  Primary Care Providers who practice Functional Medicine can recognize the bio-markers that need follow up testing which may be against conventional guidelines, yet best for individual care.
  3. One-Size-Fits-All Approach:  Conventional care often treats patients on algorithms rather than individually.   Primary Care + Functional Medicine tailors treatments to your specific needs, avoiding generic approaches that may not be effective for you.


In conclusion, knowing your MTHFR status is just one example of how conventional care fails to look for deep root cause and treatment plans.  With a Functional Medicine provider as your Primary Care Provider, you can expect personalized, preventive care that addresses your unique genetic makeup and lifestyle. By understanding and managing factors like MTHFR variations, you can take a proactive approach to your health and avoid potential health problems in the future. Consider the benefits of having a Primary Care Provider that is also Certified in Functional Medicine for a more holistic and personalized healthcare experience.