A few months ago, my PCOS symptoms were bad. My hormonal acne was worse than it had been in two years, my period hadn’t stopped in a year and a half, and I cried almost daily.
Curious about what could be some of the causes of my PCOS symptoms not improving, and after trying various other polycystic ovaries treatment options, I decided to do a DNA test, which revealed that I have the MTHFR gene mutation, which is associated with a folate deficiency, and causes undermethylation (which can make anxiety worse).
A folate deficiency is one of the biggest causes of PCOS symptoms.
How PCOS and MTHFR Are Linked
So, how does the MTHFR gene mutation make polycystic ovaries symptoms worse?
If you have the MTHFR gene mutation, your body cannot produce the MTHFR enzyme, which is necessary to convert folic acid into its usable form. The MTHFR gene mutation is one of the most common causes of a folate deficiency.
Women with PCOS are usually advised to supplement with folic acid, as a treatment for symptoms, and to promote and support pregnancy. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, but for those who have the gene mutation, which is roughly 30-50% of the population, it will not help.
The folic acid will stay in your bloodstream, and it will not improve your PCOS symptoms. In fact, it can become toxic. It is best to supplement with methylated folate to deal with a folate deficiency, if you suspect or know that you have the gene, as your body does not need to convert it, and can use it easily.
MTHFR is needed for various processes in the body, such as making and repairing DNA and RNA, and processing your hormones. Your ovaries need MTHFR to produce eggs, which explains why a folate deficiency contributes to PCOS symptoms like not ovulating and difficulty falling pregnant.
Folate is part of the vitamin B family, and it is essential for developing a foetus and as a PCOS treatment. Great dietary sources include spinach, beef liver, broccoli, brussels sprouts, avocado, and asparagus.
If you are taking metformin as part of your polycystic ovaries treatment, note that it can interfere with your absorption of folate, which further causes a deficiency, so it is best to discuss it with your doctor if you are taking it.
How My PCOS Symptoms Improved After Switching to Methylated Folate as Treatment
Within days of starting to take a folate supplement, incorporating folate-rich foods into my diet, and making sure I do not take in any folic acid, my polycystic ovaries symptoms improved. My period finally stopped, my skin became a lot better, and my mood swings improved a lot.
It has only been a few months, and I am sure my symptoms will improve even more over the next year. As some women have managed to fall pregnant fairly quickly after switching from taking folic acid to taking folate, I have been a lot less stressed about my ability to conceive one day, even with my polycystic ovaries.
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