Do You Have This Genetic Defect? Up to 50% of People Do!

MTHFR - DNA #mthfr #genetic defect (2)

 What is MTHFR and What is So Important About Methylation?
6 Facts About This Genetic Defect You Need to Know.

I have it.  I have a genetic defect.  To be exact, it’s a MTHFR genetic mutation.  No, MTHFR is not a swear word but I will admit that I was a bit dramatic when I found out I had it.  Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental illnesses run in my family!  I’ve done my internet research.  I’m doomed now, I thought.  I’m lucky though. I happen to work with one of the very few MTHFR-certified doctors in Ohio.  This is what I’ve learned.

First, here is a little bit of background.   The official name of the gene is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.[1]  “MTHFR is the gene’s official symbol.”[2]  The MTHFR genetic mutation was first discovered as a result of the human genome project. The gene produces the MTHFR enzyme and people who have this mutation have a reduced ability to process folic acid/folate (which are not the same by the way) into something their body can use.  There are more than fifty known MTHFR variants; the two primary ones are C677T and A1298c.

The three symptom areas affected by the mutation are:

  1. Central Nervous System disorders due to improper production of neurotransmitters causing things like depression, aggression, postpartum depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.[3]
  2. Cardiovascular problems due to high homocysteine levels causing heart attack, stroke blood clots, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, miscarriages and congenital birth defects.[4]
  3. Environmental poisoning due to low levels of glutathione (the body’s natural detoxifier) causing, among other things, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, liver and kidney dysfunction, hypertension, tachycardia, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, immune problems, hair loss, and rashes. [5]

Now, here is what I have learned:

1.  First, even if you have the MTHFR defect, it may not be expressing itself and may never express itself. In other words, you could have absolutely no problems due this defect ever!  A gene expresses itself when it produces a protein.  In the case of a genetic defect the protein being produced is causing harm.  Your doctor, after a thorough case history, exam and testing, can tell you whether any symptoms are due to the gene’s expression and what to do if the gene is expressing itself or if it is not.

2.  Your doctor can order a blood test to find if you have these genetic variants. Or, you can do a full genetic profile at 23andme does a great job, but if you have the defect, you must find a doctor with the proper training to help you find out what exactly it means to you.  Again, it might not be expressing itself at all.

3.  If you have the mutation, there is a problem with your methylation pathway. Methylation affects more than 224[6] different processes in our bodies.   When we interrupt the methylation process, it disrupts essential bodily functions.  Some of these processes are cellular repair, detoxification and neurotransmitter production and healthy immune system function. So, if the gene is expressing itself, it is critical to have the issues with your methylation pathway addressed by a properly trained doctor.

4.  Treatment protocols are complex and depend on which MTHFR gene is mutated, what pathways, and the affected areas.  Protocols also depend on how many and what combination of mutations you have.  More on this in a future blog post.

5.  Treatment will include supplementation and dietary and lifestyle changes. Depending on the gene affected, combination and quantity of defects, your treatment recommendation may include the following instructions[7]:

* Avoid folic acid or any vitamins that contain it. It can block the methylation pathway. If you pregnant, this will need, address this with your doctor.
* Avoid antacids as they block absorption of vitamin B12 and other nutrients.
* Measure homocysteine levels properly. There are a lot of companies out there that claim to test for and treat MTHFR.  Be wary. Look for a doctor with proper training.
* Inform your family members so that they can test for the MTHFR mutation.
* Eliminate gluten (especially wheat)
* Eliminate or cut dairy from your diet (use goat or a nut milk)
* Sauna or sweat somehow 1-3 times per week.
* Limit processed foods
* Eat food the colors of the rainbow.
* Filter chlorine from your drinking water and drink 2 liters per day.
* Eat small frequent meals with some form of protein limited to .7 grams per kilogram of body weight.
* Address all current and future dental corrections with a biological dentist.
* Do not eat, drink or store anything in plastic.
* Eat grass-fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free meats and eggs.
*Supplementation may include one or more of the following: methylfolate, methylcobalamin, betaine in the form of TMG, NAC, glutathione, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, riboflavin, curcumin, mixed tocopherals (vitamin E), silymarin (milk thistle), EPA/DHA, phosphatidylcholine, nattokinase, vitamin C, vitamin D3, comprehensive multivitamin/multimineral, probiotics. Do not take any of these vitamins without consulting a doctor.

6.  Finally, other than the few sources here that I’ve listed, avoid doing your own research on the internet. It will just confuse you and turn you into a crazy person.  I know. I did it.  Find a doctor you trust.  Make sure you understand what he is telling you and follow his/her instructions.

So, ready for some good news?  My MTHFR gene is not expressing itself!  I admit that I had to hear it a few times from my doctor before I accepted the fact that I’m as healthy as I was before I found out I had it.  I admit that I went down the “rabbit hole” when I first heard the news trying to pin every little health symptom I had on my “defect.”  I admit that I almost made myself sick trying to figure out if I was sick.  I hope this article will help you avoid all of that.  Get tested, find a trained doctor you can trust and don’t make yourself crazy on the internet!

If you’ve been diagnosed with a MTHFR mutation, are you happy with your treatment?  Are you feeling awesome and in a good place emotionally?

Caroline Boardman
February 28, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Chiropractic Physician

To Make An Appointment, Click Here.

[2] Id.
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[5] Id.
[6] Dr. Ben Lynch,  This website will give you accurate information.
[7] See id.

3 Tips to Make Your Job or Career Change a Healthy One!

There is no doubt that switching a job or career is a stressful event in anyone’s life often causing people anxiety and affecting their health when they need to be at their best. This is even worse if you were fired or laid off from your job. In this case, a person’s stress level ranks 8th out of all major life stressors on the Holmes and Rahe scale at a 47. To put that in perspective, number one at a rating of 100 is the death of a spouse. What is also amazing is how often people are changing careers and jobs in our current job market; the average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working lives. On top of that, about 30% of the total workforce will change jobs every 12 months. This is a lot of people who are walking around with a highly increased stress level and that is taking a serious toll on their health. For instance, increased and prolonged stress can cause higher blood pressure, heart conditions, sleeping problems, upset stomach, diabetes, decreased energy levels, brain fog, depression and anxiety just to name a few. So what can we do to combat the harmful effects of this stressful event but also help a person’s brain and body to excel in their next career chapter?

Adrenal Support

The adrenal glands are the factories for producing the body’s stress hormone, cortisol, and these glands work overtime to keep up with the racing thoughts and uncertainty. So to support these tiny glands, it is wise to avoid substances that are going to cause your adrenal glands to pump more cortisol before the well runs dry and a person is left in a state of constant fatigue.  Stay away from caffeinated beverages, sodas and coffee the best you can. On top that any substance that affects your blood sugars will have an effect on your cortisol levels, such things like sugary snacks and food, high carbohydrate foods and alcoholic beverages. Exercise is key to helping the body use up your stress hormones and decrease the effects of having excess cortisol in the system. Supplementation can also help keep these important glands health. The clinical research has several references to the health benefits of adaptogenic herbs. These herbs help to support your body and keep your body’s chemistry within range.

Brain training

Everybody has strengths and weaknesses in their brains; there are functional differences in the way certain pathways fire in the brain and how active or under active these pathways are. More importantly, a qualified healthcare practitioner trained in functional neurology can name this weakness in your brains function and then match it up with a treatment or exercise to make these pathways work better. This is not only important to help rehab the damage that is going on in person’s brain when they are under stress but to also getting that person’s brain firing better so they can do their next adventure.


This is a great treatment modality to help a person regulate the electrical activity in their brain. The first step is to do a brain map were a cap with 19 different sensors read the electrical activity in a person’s brain. It is then compared to a statistical analysis comparing 1000s of other people who are the same age and gender to see what parts of the brain have too much or too little activity. After we gather this information, it is time to train that part of your brain through operant conditioning. This is when we reward a person’s brain when it is in a good brainwave frequency. We reward through sound, a video or through a game. The overall outcome is a sharper calmer brain.

A new career or job is exciting.  Get yourself ready!

Dr. David Hardy, DC
February 21, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. David Hardy, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.


Don’t Be Afraid of Fear!

Don’t Let Fear Overcome You!

Fear is one of those emotions that can absolutely stop you in your tracks… it can cripple you and stop you from moving forward. It can make you think things are there that really aren’t and it can make you do silly things for fear of some other recourse.

I hate scary movies, haunted houses etc., but I like doing something that scares me to my core that I can choose and control. For example, when I went bungee jumping. To most, that’s very scary and they wouldn’t ever do… I was scared but I still did it and afterward, I felt like I could conquer the world. But as I really started to think about why I’m not where I want to be I realized it’s because I’m afraid. I really thought about it for a long time and decided to do some research to help me figure out my fears and the best way to get over them.

I found some blogs that helped me:

This article on overcoming anxiety and fear is brilliant. It illustrates, very quickly, just how powerful our minds are and how our imagination can trick us into seeing or believing things that aren’t even true, or haven’t even happened yet.

Here’s how the beginning of the article starts:

Legend has it that Nasrudin was walking alone at night when he saw a group of people approaching in the far distance. Instantly, his imagination began to toy with him: “They are surely robbers!” he thought. “No, why just robbers? Murderers, cutthroats! About to set upon me, a lonely traveler, leave me for dead and steal all my possessions! How are my wife and children going to cope without me?!”

This is a powerful article that provides 33 ways to overcome fear. One of the great things about this article is that it doesn’t pull any punches. If you need a bit of a ‘wakeup’ then this is the article you should read.

I won’t ruin the surprise of what’s in store, but suffice to say if you need a big ole’ kick in the pants, then this is the article you need to read!

If you’re worried about something in your business, then this article is for you. As entrepreneurs, we are constantly taking risks, and we recognize that there is always the unknown in the risks we choose to take.

Where the danger comes in is when we allow our fears of the unknown to stall us, to stop us from taking a leap of faith. This article provides three very clear and doable ways to overcome this fear and keep moving forward.

A snippet from the article:

One thing I want you to understand is that fear is absolutely normal. Even the best experience fear from time to time. The key is to not let fear hold you back and prevent you from taking action and go after what you want in life.

Here are a few podcasts[1] about fear:

FEAR NOT: Living Beyond Your Fears –  By Billy J. Atwell

In this podcast, Billy J. Atwell interviews people and neuroscientists to inspire YOU to live a life beyond your fears. Fear is part of everybody’s journey, and on Monday’s and Wednesday’s episodes of FEAR NOT, his guests share one of their biggest fears they’ve had to face and what they did to overcome it. On Friday’s episodes, he interviews neuroscientists and other specialists to discuss what fear is, how it affects our brains, and what we can do to override it. Every episode is full of wisdom and examples to inspire you to face fear to become YOUR truest self and to get YOUR deepest held hopes and dreams.

The Other F Word – A podcast about the stories that make us human

Taking the shame out of failure: The Other F Word. Join conversations about the messy, tragic, funny, inspiring stories that make us human.

After listening and reading I’m ready to take on the things that were holding me back – without having to make another jump. Although I still want to jump out of an airplane one day…. I’m just realizing maybe heights is one of my fears. Don’t let anything hold you back from what you want. Walk into the fear don’t run away from it!

So what are you afraid of?

Nancy Boardman
February 14, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. David Hardy, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

[1] To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.



Healthy Valentine Sweets for Your Sweet!

Valentine’s Day is here.  We are all looking for that big box of chocolates that we always get. You know the one, red, heart-shaped with ribbons and flowers, with all those gooey filled chocolates inside.  Nope.  Not this year.  This year we are going to make our own sweets, so we can stay healthy and follow our proper eating plans.  There’s no reason to cheat when we have these recipes we can use.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies – gluten free and vegan


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup vegan buttery spread softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour*
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 2 Tablespoon vegan buttery spread melted
  • 1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugarInstructions

Instructions for the cookies

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat vegan butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the applesauce, mix until combined.

Combine gluten-free flour, cocoa, and salt and add to the wet ingredients a little at a time until incorporated.

Divide dough into 2 equal parts; flatten each portion into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Place 1 portion of dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Make sure your rolling pin is coated with GF flour. If you haven’t tried to roll GF dough before, it can be sticky! Flouring the surface and the pin help make it easier. Cut out round shapes with a two-inch fluted biscuit cutter like this. Carefully lift the rounds up with a thin spatula and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes for 2-inch cookies. (Keep an eye on them since the dough is dark, it’s hard to tell when they are done! Don’t let them burn! Let them cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to wire racks.

Instructions for the filling

With a hand mixer, mix the butter and non-dairy milk. Add the confectioner’s sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until smooth.

The filling should be thick but spreadable. You may not need all of the confectioner’s sugar. (The filling does indeed taste exactly like Oreo filling. Yay!)

Once the cookies are completely cool, frost one cookie and then top with another cookie and press together. These should be stored in the refrigerator due to the non-dairy milk in the filling.

Recipe Notes   

*A number of gluten-free flour blends work well here: Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour Blend, Living Now Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour. Make sure you choose a flour that is safe for your dietary needs.

Recipe from the Pretty Bee

The Easiest Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend regular flour works in this recipe, if you are not GF
  • 1 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup organic canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the dry ingredients. (This step is important, especially with gluten-free flour. Otherwise, you’ll have lumps!)

Add the organic canola oil, vanilla, vinegar, and water. Mix together by hand, and don’t overmix. Stir in the dairy free chocolate chips.

Pour into an 8-inch square Pyrex dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 26-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar once cool.

Recipe Notes  

I have tried this with Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour, and Enjoy Life Foods All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour.

You can use this to make cupcakes – reduce the baking time to about 13-15 minutes. Makes about 12 cupcakes.

Recipe from the Pretty Bee

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups


  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter I used JIF Natural
  • 1 Tablespoon ground golden flax seed meal
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar


Line a mini muffin tin with paper candy cups (or they might be called mini muffin cups).

Place the dairy-free chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir, and if they are not fully melted, microwave in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until they are smooth and melted.

With a spoon, drizzle some melted chocolate in the paper candy cups. Take the spoon and spread a little bit up on the sides of the paper liner as well. Put the mini muffin tin in the fridge so the chocolate hardens, about 10 or 15 minutes.

Put the peanut butter in a separate bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds so it softens. Remove from microwave and stir in ground flax seed and confectioner’s sugar, mixing until well combined.

Remove the muffin tin from the fridge and put a small spoonful of the peanut butter mixture in each liner. Flatten slightly with the spoon.

Put a spoonful of the remaining chocolate over each peanut butter filled cup. Make sure it totally covers the top of the peanut butter.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 20-30 minutes. When serving, you may want to take them out of the fridge for about ten minutes so the chocolate isn’t too hard to eat.

Recipe Notes 

  • use almond butter or another nut butter
  • use sunbutter if you’d like to make these nut free
  • use crunchy peanut butter
  • sprinkle some sea salt flakes on top

Recipe from the Pretty Bee




Vegan Crispy Rice Chocolate Caramel Truffles


  • Truffles:
  • 1 cup beet sugar (or organic cane sugar)
  • 1 fifteen ounce can unsweetened coconut cream
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 14 ounces dark vegan chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup crisp rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
  • Toppings: melted dark vegan chocolate, dark unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened shredded coconut, flaky salt, edible gold dust


In a heavy medium-sized saucepan add the sugar, coconut cream, and coconut oil and place the pan over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the caramel gets golden around the edges, this will take about 8-10 minutes.

When the caramel is all smooth and melted remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and add the chocolate. Whisk the chocolate into the hot caramel until it is melted and smooth.

Pour the hot chocolate caramel ganache into a pyrex bowl and cool to room temperature.

When the ganache has cooled, fold in the Rice Krispies and then put the bowl of truffle base into the refrigerator and chill until cold and solid.

Prepare a sheet pan with a sheet of wax paper.

Use a small scoop to make little rounds (I make mine about 1 tablespoon big with a melon baller) and roll it into a ball with your palms.

Place the truffles on the prepared sheet pan and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until chilled. Then roll in cocoa powder or coconut, or dip in melted chocolate and top with sea salt, coconut or gold edible dust.

Store in an airtight container or in the freezer.   

Recipe from Heather Christo


These recipes are pretty, easy and really delicious.  So, start baking and have a great Valentine’s Day!

Barb Schrader
February 7, 2018

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. David Hardy, Chiropractic Physicians
To schedule an appointment, click here.