The MTHFR gene + homocysteine

The MTHFR gene + homocysteine

Homocysteine is a non-protein forming amino acid which is associated with Parkinson's disease (+ vascular dementia, heart disease...) in several ways: MTHFR gene mutations raise homocysteine levels in PWP and several articles highlight this fact:

Homocysteine Level and Mechanisms of Injury in Parkinson's Disease as Related to MTHFR, MTR, and MTHFD1 Genes Polymorphisms and L-Dopa Treatment

Meta-analysis supports association of a functional SNP (rs1801133) in the MTHFR gene with Parkinson's disease.

A summary of the above articles are located on the MTHFR SUPPORT/Australia website:

In addition to possible MTHFR gene mutations raising homocysteine levels there is the (near) universal problem of raising homocysteine levels by taking the amino acid levodopa:

Homocysteine and levodopa: should Parkinson disease patients receive preventative therapy?

"Although B vitamin status and genetic factors are important modifying influences determining the degree of this elevation, the main cause appears to be therapy with L-dopa."

B vitamin status generally speaks of folate and, cobalamin (B12):

Cobalamin, folic acid, and homocysteine

"Cobalamin deficiency can lead to several adverse health consequences: folate trapping in the methylation cycle and subsequent impaired DNA biosynthesis; pernicious anemia hematologically, similar to that caused by folate deficiency; elevated blood homocysteine...."

Dr. Ben Lynch, an expert on the MTHFR gene:

Dr. Ben developed a really good B vitamin that has most of the good B vitamins that PWP need, it is called HomocysteX Plus:

The ingredients include:

Riboflavin (as riboflavin-5-phosphate sodium)25 mg1471%

Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate)15 mg750%

Folate (as Quatrefolic (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid, glucosamine salt)800 mcg200%

Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin)1000 mcg16667%

TMG (trimethylglycine - also called betaine)700 mg**

I take the above B vitamins separately and have found a source that happily combines them and after I run out of them I will try this supplement. It looks good but I additionally take thiamine because of possible depeletion caused by alpha lipoic acid (and acetyl l carnitine). Also, I found I need between 2,500 - 5,000 mcg (2.3 - 5 grams/day). And I will continue to use methyltetrahydrofolic acid (the bioavailable form of B6) at bedtime because it is a precursor of GABA which helps to make me sleep:

The final B vitamin I take is niacinamide/nicotinamide because it has many functions in the human body and is good for PD:

Pantothenic acid, B5, and Biotin are also good energy vitamins but do not have aclinical relationship with PD - though all the B vitamins work well together:

B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review

"This review describes the closely inter-related functions of the eight B-vitamins and marshals evidence suggesting that adequate levels of all members of this group of micronutrients are essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning."

8 Replies

  • LoL I thought you were really ticked off about a gene but decided to edit your self.

  • When I first read the acronym I asked if it was a joke. The MTHFR gene? Really....

  • Does taking levadopa increase levels of homocysteine???

  • Yes it can and the below posting by enjoysalad notes this with a reference to THE NEW PARKINSON'S DISEASE TREATMENT BOOK, 2nd edition, p.426.

    Regardless if you have high homocysteine levels or not, the B vitamins listed are all good for PD.

  • Silvestrov....thanks for the posting. I had read about the Homocysteine and Levodopa therapy connection in Ahlskog's book THE NEW PARKINSON'S DISEASE TREATMENT BOOK, 2nd edition, p.426. Ahlskog suggests that you request your neurologist to prescribe either Folbic, Folgard, or Folbee. I asked my son's neurologist, and instead he had my son take a blood test testing his B-12, folic Acid, and B-6. Turns out he was way above normal in all. The neuro said no problem except for the B-6. That could cause a future problem. You have mentioned in several postings that you take NIACINAMIDE/NICOTINAMIDE. You never mention your dosage or when during the day you take it. I have taken it for decades, 500 mg of NO-FLUSH NIACIN (inositol hexanicotinate), Solgar brand in the evenings, but about a week ago added a pill during the morning. My sleep has improved considerably. I am a HEALTHY 75 year old mom/caretaker of a 54 year old son with PD. I can only attribute the sleep to the added 500mg OR to less anguish/worry over my son. Your postings have helped me considerably. Today I started my son on the above NO-FLUSH NIACIN, 500mg in the morning. What do you think? I know all body systems are different as is PD in each person. I still persist. What dosage do you take? When do you take it? Do you think this added pill has contributed to my sleep? I suspect my dad had unDX PD. He intuitively did the right things. He quit his job at 55, much to my mom's chagrin. He would bike 3-5 hours a day. He drank tons of coffee, and his Kaiser MD had him on tons of supplements. That's where I got the Niacin idea. Among my dad's symptoms he suffered double vision, cervical dystonia, stiffness, etc. He was a frequent visitor to the chiropractor. He died close to 92. A very strong spirited WW2 veteran. So, about the Niacin............

  • According to the following web posting, "inositol hexanicotinate works as other B vitamins work to promote energy metabolism and nervous system health, it has not been shown to have any effect on cholesterol levels."

    If you are not trying to lower his cholesterol levels then this product is fine. I never used inositol hexanicotinate before because of nicotinamide (and I occasionally used niacin too).

  • Niacinamide dosing is one convoluted topic. In clinical trials regular doctors use it at 3000 mg/day. Orthomolecular doctors recommend the upper level is 6000 mg/day. Dr. Kaufman experimented with it and recommended 6 - 8 250mg doses of niacinamide a day because this is the amount the body can absorb at a single setting. Kaufman gave the 250mg dose every 1 1/2 hours. To avoid the side effects of large dose nicotinamide I take the smaller dose (250mg) every hour and a half. This way it does not matter if you take it with food or an empty stomach and you could take 3000mg/day (without consequences) if you so desire. Niacinamide is my preferred form of niacin due to its many applications including antimicrobial activity. It has antibiotic like killing ability and the #1 & 3 TB antibiotic's were derived from nicotinamide. Will get back to you about non-flushing niacin.

  • Thank you! Today I switched my son over to the NIACINAMIDE ( "NOW" brand. Per your suggestions I read the consumer reviews). Since my son is resistant to too many pills/supplements I am starting him off once a day. It is 500mg. I see where only 250 mg can be absorbed by the body at one time. I figure what is not used, the body will dispel. Let's see what the month ahead brings. I do see improvement in my son with the liquid Vit concoction (Vit C, CQ10, B-12 complex, EGCG).....more energy, more cognitive alertness. HURRAH!!!! Still have not started him on NADH. I take the NO FLUSH Niacin. So, no waste. Thanks again!!!

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