How to Detox Heavy Metals with MTHFR Illustration

How to Detox Heavy Metals with MTHFR: An Overview (2024)

by | Aug 7, 2023

The MTHFR gene produces an enzyme essential for the methylation process. Methylation is a biochemical process involved in a wide range of bodily functions, including the detoxification of heavy metals.

People with MTHFR gene mutations have a reduced ability to methylate, which can make it difficult for them to get rid of heavy metals regularly. This can lead to a variety of neurological, cardiovascular, and reproductive problems.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to detox heavy metals with MTHFR. We’ll do this by exploring natural ways and clinical interventions to support methylation.

So, are you ready to dive in?

The Role of Methylation in Heavy Metal Detoxification

Methylation is a biochemical process that refers to the transfer of a methyl group (CH3) from one molecule to another. This process basically keeps your body running because it’s linked to DNA repair, gene expression, and detoxification.

Methylation is also involved in the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters play a role in mood, sleep, and cognitive function.

A hologram of synapse and neurotransmitters

A deficiency in methylation can lead to a variety of health problems, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and cognitive decline.

Yet, what we’re concerned about here is that a decreased methylation rate leads to the accumulation of toxic heavy metals in the body over time. As a result, they can damage cells, tissues, and organs, and might lead to a variety of other health problems.

Now, the MTHFR enzyme (called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) plays a crucial role in the methylation process.

So, people with MTHFR gene mutations have a reduced ability to methylate. This can make it challenging for them to detoxify heavy metals like normal people.

How to Identify if You Have an MTHFR Gene Mutation

There are a few ways to identify if you have an MTHFR gene mutation.

One is to get a genetic test, and another is to look for common symptoms that people with an MTHFR gene mutation have experienced.

Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is the most accurate way to identify if you have an MTHFR gene mutation. Some of the most common genetic tests include:

  • Whole genome sequencing: A test that analyzes the entire genome for any genetic mutations.
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) testing: A test that analyzes specific areas of the genome for specific mutations.
  • Gene panel testing: A test that analyzes a group of genes for specific mutations.


Some people with MTHFR gene mutations may have symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings.

However, not everyone with an MTHFR gene mutation will experience these symptoms.

Ultimately, if you’re concerned that you might have an MTHFR gene mutation, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will likely order a genetic test or help you identify other symptoms that may be associated with MTHFR gene mutations.

Natural Ways to Support Methylation and Detoxify Heavy Metals

Luckily, there are some easy, natural practices to help you detoxify heavy metals if you have the MTHFR mutation. By following the tips in this section, you can improve your methylation status and reduce your risk of heavy metal toxicity.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Smiling young woman eating a healthy salad

A healthy diet is essential for supporting methylation and detoxifying heavy metals. Foods that are rich in nutrients that boost methylation, such as folic acid, B12, and choline, can help detoxify heavy metals.

Some of the best foods for methylation and heavy metal detoxification include:

  • Leafy green vegetables: Leafy greens are a great source of folate, which is a key nutrient for methylation. Some good examples of leafy green vegetables include spinach, kale, and broccoli.
  • Fruits: Fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals that support methylation, such as B12, choline, and selenium. Examples of these nutritious fruits are berries, citrus fruits, and bananas.
  • Whole grains: Whole grains have plenty of fiber, which can bind to toxic metals and remove them from the body. Think along the lines of brown rice, quinoa, and oats.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds contain high levels of selenium—a mineral that supports methylation. A few examples you can incorporate into your diet are almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.

2. Take Supplements

In addition to eating a healthy diet, taking supplements can help to support methylation. Some of the best supplements for heavy metal detoxification include:

  • Folic acid
  • B12
  • Methylcobalamin
  • Choline
  • Selenium

3. Avoid Processed Foods, Sugar, and Alcohol

Processed foods, sugar, and alcohol are all high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and calories. They can also contain large amounts of artificial ingredients and preservatives, which can interfere with methylation.

In addition, processed foods, sugar, and alcohol can all contribute to inflammation, which might hinder the detoxification of toxic metals.

4. Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is a great way to improve your overall well-being and achieve optimal health, and it can also support methylation and detoxify heavy metals. Better still, exercise does a wonderful job of reducing inflammation, which can contribute to heavy metal toxicity.

In addition to that, it improves circulation, helping to remove toxic metals from the body.

Try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise four times a week. This could include activities such as walking, running, swimming, or cycling.

5. Reduce Stress Levels

When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones that can disrupt the production of methylation. That’s why you should educate yourself on the best ways to deal with stress if you have MTHFR.

You may try your luck with yoga, meditation, spending time in nature, or listening to music. Or, try to get better sleep at night, as being well-rested helps soothe stress to unimaginable degrees!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with an especially anxiety-inducing event, talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or another trusted person. Letting your negative feelings and emotions out may take some burden off your chest, especially with a mental health specialist.

A mid-aged woman breathing deeply in a forest

6. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential for methylation and heavy metal detoxification. When we sleep more restfully, our bodies are more capable of repairing damage and removing toxins from the body.

Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not someone who easily falls asleep at night, there are a few things you can do to improve your sleep quality, such as:

    • Stick to a sleep schedule: Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
    • Create a soothing bedtime routine: This could include listening to music, talking to a loved one, reading a book, or taking a relaxing bubble bath!
  • Avoid watching TV or using electronic devices right before bed: The light from these devices can interfere with sleep by suppressing the production of melatonin.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool: Darkness promotes the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Noise and light interfere with peaceful sleep, so make sure your bedroom is a secluded safe haven.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Caffeine is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep, while alcohol may disrupt sleep later in the night.
  • Get regular exercise: Exercise makes you tired, which may help improve sleep quality.
  • Nap during the day if you need to: A short nap during the day can increase alertness and productivity. But avoid napping for more than 30 minutes, as this can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
  • See a doctor for your sleep problems: Chronic sleep problems such as insomnia require a doctor visit as soon as you can. There may be an underlying medical condition contributing to your sleep problems.

Clinical Interventions for Heavy Metal Detoxification

In some cases, clinical interventions may be necessary to help detoxify heavy metals for people suffering from MTHFR. These interventions may include:

  • Chelation therapyA process that uses chelating agents to bind to heavy metals and remove them from the body
  • Iridology: A method of assessing the health of the human body by examining the iris of the eye. Iridologists can identify areas of the body that may be affected by heavy metal toxicity.
  • Detox baths: Baths that contain Epsom salts, baking soda, and other minerals that can help to draw out heavy metals from the body

Of course, these interventions should only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

To Wrap It Up

Heavy metals can be a real pain to get rid of, especially if you have the MTHFR mutation.

But don’t despair! There are many natural ways to support methylation and detoxify heavy metals. These include eating a healthy diet, taking supplements, avoiding unhealthy food and drinks, getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting more sleep.

So, if you’re concerned about heavy metal toxicity, you can rest assured that there are steps you can take to protect your health. Talk to your doctor about your risk, and start making some changes to your lifestyle today.

Your body will thank you for it!

John Landry, BS, RRT

Written by:

John Landry, BS, RRT

John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others live a healthier life.