MTHFR... sounds like mother fucker and it sure can be if you have this genetic mutation. Having SNP’s In the MTHFR gene or the methylation pathway can contribute to SIBO. But what is the connection between, poor methylation, MTHFR, a sluggish gallbladder and SIBO?
A person needs to have a functioning MTHFR gene and Methylation cycle so that a methyl donor called SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine) is produced in sufficient quantities. The methyl donor SAMe then goes on to support over 200 other functions in the body by giving methyl groups to molecules or genes in need of SAMe in order to function.
What is MTHFR and what is methylation?
MTHFR is a gene in the methylation pathway that is responsible for converting folate into methylfolate which is the methylated active form of folate which then goes on to support the production of SAMe.
Methylation is the addition of a methyl group to a molecule which activates the receiving molecule. The “activated” molecule can then go on to support other functions in the body. SAMe is one of your body’s main methyl donors that is required as a co-factor for other genes by donating methyl groups.
One gene that requires and uses up the most SAMe in the body is the PEMT gene. The PEMT gene requires SAMe as a co factor to function so that phosphatidylcholine can be produced. According to Dr Ben Lynch approximately 70% of methylation is used up to make phosphatidycholine.
Phosphatidylcholine is key for helping to prevent fatty liver, the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder and for keeping the bile flowing smoothly out of the gallbladder.
Having a gallbladder that functions well, allowing the bile to flow smoothly when needed is key to preventing SIBO as bile is antimicrobial and helps to sterilize and prevent the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
If your methylation cycle isn’t optimal this can be a cause for a sluggish gallbladder that doesn’t release enough bile. As a result of insufficient bile being released from the gallbladder SIBO can develop.
I personally have several SNP’S in the methylation pathway and a PEMT SNP therefore a reduced ability to make SAMe and phosphatidylcholine which was why my gallbladder was sluggish allowing for SIBO to develop in my small intestine.
Having oxidative stress also inhibits the methylation pathway and the production of SAMe, therefore identifying what is triggering inflammation in the body and getting inflammation down is necessary to optimize your methylation cycle. I had inflammation and SNP’s in my methylation pathway along with a PEMT gene SNP which created a perfect recipe for SIBO to develop.
One of the best ways to support your methylation cycle and sluggish gallbladder to prevent SIBO overgrowth is by supplementing with phosphatidylcholine (optimal pc). Phosphatidylcholine can help to promote bile flow which is your body’s natural antimicrobial defence to prevent overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
By supplementing with phosphatidylcholine you will also be indirectly supporting your methylation cycle by freeing up the methyl donor SAMe to work elsewhere in the body as there will no longer be such a big demand by the body to use SAMe as a cofactor to make phosphatidylcholine. 200 other processes will be happy to have SAMe as a co-factor so these other genes can now do the work that they need to do.
As you can see everything is connected in the body and understanding your unique biochemistry and underlying cause to SIBO can massively help to improve your health and digestive symptoms.
If you are interested in running your genetic report you can do an at home saliva test using the ancestry DNA test kit. When you get your results from Ancestry DNA you an then upload your raw data through strategene to get your personalized genetic report.
I also highly recommend reading Dirty Genes by Dr Ben Lynch especially the PEMT gene chapter is you suspect you have SIBO or a sluggish gallbladder.
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Hey! I'm Amber, a nutritional therapy consultant helping people to improve digestion, beat the bloat and lose weight. Sharing weight loss tips, gut health tips and whole food recipes that are gluten free. Grab your freebie below:)
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