I originally posted this in a private forum, but after much thought I decided to put it up on my blog so others can have access to this information. It’s difficult for me to admit I struggled with depression in a public forum, but I think I’m finally ready. I hope someone finds this useful and it helps 🙂
Back in 2015 I started experiencing depression. At first I thought it was the normal kind – I had a lot of stuff hit me in a short amount of time so I had reasons to be depressed, but it kept getting worse. Eventually it was so bad I didn’t even want to get out of bed. My sadness felt like a 1000 lbs of physical weight being carried around. I was so miserable I didn’t even want to be around myself, I was lost and I didn’t know what to do. So I did a little research and found that it may possibly be related to a thyroid problem. I went to see my PCP. I told him my problem and that I wanted to get my thyroid tested, but he wasn’t interested in doing those tests – he wanted to put me on antidepressants immediately. I pressed that I’d like to first have my thyroid tested. He told me I needed to “man up” and admit I have clinical depression. I was stunned and very, very angry. It told him I have clinical depression all through my family and if I need to take antidepressants I’ll gladly do it, but that I’d prefer to not mess with my brain chemistry until I rule out a thyroid disorder. I eventually stormed out of his office and never returned.
I went to see my psychiatrist instead. I had been working with her to manage my issues with ADD. I don’t know why I didn’t think to go to her first, but I’m relieved that I did eventually. She had my thyroid tested as well as had some other bloodwork done. My thyroid came back as low performing, but still within an acceptable range. What was far more interesting was the results of my DNA testing. Turns out I had two copies (ie: 1 from mom and 1 from dad) of the C677T genetic mutation, also known as MTHFR mutation. This MTHFR gene mutation inhibits the way the body processes folic acid and other important B vitamins. I always struggle to properly describe what this is but basically it means I can’t properly break down an amino acid called homocysteine and eventually my folate levels (vitamin B9) end up depleted. The side effects are still being researched, but this mutation is so far believed to cause some of the issues below, and the risk is possibly increased if a person has two copies of this mutation.
- cardiovascular and thromboembolic diseases (specifically blood clots, stroke, embolism, and heart attacks)
- bipolar disorder
- colon cancer
- acute leukemia
- chronic pain and fatigue
- nerve pain
- recurrent miscarriages in women of child-bearing age
- pregnancies with neural tube defects
The fix? I started taking L-Methylfolate which can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. I am specifically taking MethylPro L-Methylfolate 15 mg + Cofactors once a day. After a couple weeks of taking this supplement, the clinical depression cleared and I haven’t had any issues with it since.
I’m not saying this is a cure-all, not in the least, but it’s not widely known so I thought I’d share so others can have another place to check if they start experiencing the same symptoms.