Combating MTHFR deficiency and its role in children’s anxiety & depression

MTHFR stands for methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase. It is an enzyme that converts the folate you eat (found in green leafy vegetables) into the active form (5-methyltetrahydrofolate). All the folate you eat has to be converted to the active 5-MTHFR in a pathway in your body. Without the MTHFR enzyme, it's likely you have about a 50% (or more) loss of function of the MTHFR enzyme.

Genetic testing is available (by taking a cheek swab in children) to determine if you have one of the two mutations. Depending on the nature of the inherited gene variant, the function of the folate enzyme pathway in your body is decreased, affecting how much active folate you have available. Folate is essential for a plethora of bodily processes.

Why is folate important?

* Synthesis of DNA, RNA and SAMe. Proper cellular function is critical for our good health and energy

* Amino acid metabolism (for neurotransmitter, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine production and detoxification) and therefore appropriate mood regulation, helpful to protect against anxiety and depression

* Formation and maturation of RBC (red blood cells), WBC (white blood cells) and platelet production.

* Detoxification

For all of these functions to take place, the body needs folate to be converted into the active 5-MTHFR with the help of co-factors such as B2, B6 and B12 (through a process called methylation).

In order to ensure your body is getting the folate it needs and the co-factors, supplementation is required. Green leafy vegetables are also a fantastic source of folate, naturally found in vegies such as:

Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, Rocket. Check out my blog for a fantastic broccoli soup recipe, a favourite in our house especially during winter.


400g Broccoli, Trimmed and Chopped

1 Celery Stalk

1 Onion, Diced

2 Garlic Clove, Minced

1 Teaspoon of Parsley

1 Teaspoon bone broth concentrate (meadow and marrow)

1 Litre of Vegetable Stock

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Black Pepper


In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic and diced onion.

Cook until softened for about 3-4 minutes.

Add the broccoli, celery and stock. Bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce to low heat to simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and cooked.

Add in the parsley and then blend the mixture until smooth.

Put the soup back on the stove to re-heat and add salt and pepper and seaweed (sea power) for seasoning.

Kate Rabbitt