What is the Best B12 for MTHFR Mutants?

The best B12 for MTHFR mutants is… not easy. Just like everything else about being an MTHFR mutant – but the good news is that there is a logical process of discovery that you can go through to find the best B12 for your own brand of mutant-hood.  Also, if you’re a little fuzzy on the MTHFR particulars this is a great place to start for the basics and this article will help you figure out if you’re an MTHFR mutant.

Obviously the Best B12 for MTHFR Mutations is Methyl-B12 (methylcobalamin) Right?

Nope. At least not for everyone.  It makes sense on the surface that if you can’t methylate well then you probably don’t methylate B12 any better than you methylate folate. The problem is that nothing about methylation issues is “on the surface.” Let’s look at a diagram from Dr. Amy Yasko’s awesome website, which focuses on MTHFR mutations and autism,  to help to understand this further:

Awesome (and kind of intense) view of that methylation cycle that helps to show the best B12 for MTHFR mutants from Dramyyasko.com

Awesome (and kind of intense) view of that methylation cycle that helps to show what B12 is best for MTHFR mutants from Dramyyasko.com

Just to clarify, what you’re looking at is a huge, complex, multi-step chemical reaction. Each of the green arrows signifies a vitamin or co-factor that is important for that step of the reaction.  The boxes are particular genes that also influence that step of the reaction. You’ll notice the MTHFR gene that we all know and love at the bottom left of the diagram. You’ll also probably notice that the whole picture is so much bigger than just those two genes (eek!).




The big green arrow for B12 comes straight down between the two big wheels of the methylation cycle.  There are two genes that can change that step of the process, which are called MTR and MTRR. Both MTR and MTRR genes code for enzymes that convert homocysteine to methionine. Both of these enzymes need methyl-B12 to work and your body especially needs B12 support if you have the MTR or MTRR mutations. So, in theory, the best B12 for MTHFR mutants should be methyl, and this is a great place to start but sometimes clinically this doesn’t pan out. Often clinically hydroxycobalamin, which is a slower-release, longer-acting form does much better.

Methylcobalamin, or methyl-B12, is still the best first choice. It makes the most logical sense, it’s the most rapidly active form and it’s already methylated so your body doesn’t have to convert it to anything for it to work.  It’s also the most rapidly acting (and therefore rapidly broken down form) and because of this some people with MTHFR mutations have problems with it. Especially the MTHFR mutants who have severe side-effects from taking 5-MTHF. If you’re not sure if that’s you then read more here.

Signs Hydroxycobalamin (hydroxy-B12) Could Be Better For You:

  • You take methyl-B12 and don’t notice any difference in energy level, mood or really anything else.
  • You have the MTR or MTRR mutations but don’t respond to methyl B12.
  • You have started slowly taking methylfolate but quickly started having side effects.
  • Your blood levels of B12 show up too high, but you still have symptoms of B12 deficiency.
  • Even taking a good dose of methylfolate and methylcobalamin your homocysteine levels don’t come down.
  • You take methyl-B12 and kind of start to freak out.
  • You’re taking good methyl-folate, other good B-vitamin support, and you don’t feel better at all, or feel worse.
  • You take methyl-B12 and on blood tests you still show up B12 deficient.
  • You also have the COMT or MAO mutations,  that change the way some of your neurotransmitters are broken down.

The bottom line is that if you start a good protocol with methylfolate and methyl B12 and don’t feel any better, or feel worse then either you started with too high a dose, or hydroxycobalamin (hydroxy B12) would be a better choice than methyl B12.

The Benefits of Hydroxycobalamin or Hydroxy B12

  • Hydroxycobalamin is used more slowly by your body and so can help to maintain steadier levels of B12
  • It helps prevent methylfolate from forming too much nitric oxide in your body, which helps to reduce side effects of 5-MTHF.
  • It easily converts to methyl B12
  • It helps reduce cyanide in the body (totally unrelated, but it’s a bonus!)

So does this mean hydroxycobalamin is the best B12 for MTHFR mutants? Well – no. The best B12 for MTHFR mutants is always unique to that particular person. It means that your total picture determines what’s best for you.  The logical place to start is with a methyl B12, but if that isn’t giving you the results you want or if you’re having a lot of side effects from the mthylfolate you’re taking then try switching to a hydroxycobalamin form. For many of you it will help to get you feeling energetic and happy and all the things we should feel every day.



18 thoughts on “What is the Best B12 for MTHFR Mutants?

  1. Lisa

    Hi, my 11 yo son has been recently diagnosed with both mutation of MTHFR (c677T and A1298C) heteroz.
    His blood shows high levels of B12, normal levels of other B vitamins. Low level of folid acid ( 3.8) and low hormones. Should he be taking Methyl B12 supplements? Homocistein level is 8 ( normal range here is Europe) for now. Thank you for your help, Lisa

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Lisa,
      I would say he should certainly be taking methylfolate since his folic acid is low, but talk with his doctor about it as well. Homocysteine isn’t a great marker for some people because there are a lot of different ways to reduce that level that don’t depend on the MTHFR enzyme. The B12 seems like it is a really important piece for some people with MTHFR mutations and for others it doesn’t make much of a difference. I would stay start with the methylfolate and if you’re not seeing the changes and results that you would like to see then maybe add either a methyl- or hydroxy-B12. I hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. amber

    Hi there! Thank you for the great article.

    I’ve read that its recommended ,based on my own mutations with MTHFR, COMT and VDR, that I should be taking “All three types with less methyl B12” do you know which 3 types of, I assume b12, she is speaking about possibly know a vitamin that would be a good fit for those requirements? Thanks so much for any info, these mutations are a confusing map to navigate.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Amber,
      Yeah – it’s super confusing to navigate. And honestly, I don’t think there’s really any “one size fits all” protocol, so generally, I’d suggest trying different products to see what feels best for your body. I haven’t seen a mixed B12 product that I like but my guess would be that they are talking about the three most common forms of B12, which are cyano-, methyl- and hydroxy-. It’s easy to find inexpensive B12 of all three types individually, so maybe try to cobble together something that works for you from those? Do keep in mind that some people with MTHFR mutations don’t respond tremendously well to methyl-B12. Keep me posted – I’d love to know what your experience is!

      Reply
  3. Tina Coyle

    I recently started taking a supplement with b12 as “Glycoprotein Matrix”. I have avoided all supplements in the past due to my crazy reactions to them, including terrible headaches and anxiety spikes with any and all forms of b12. I started on a low dose and am getting a light headache and noticing a small uptick in anxiety. I was wondering if this was a detox response and I should stick it out and wait for symptoms to pass before increasing, or if it is something I should avoid all together. I am currently being treated for chronic lyme and this supplement came highly recommended to help my body with the treatments in general.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Tina,
      So – certainly talk with the practitioner who is managing your lyme because sometimes the lyme also can give odd reactions to things. My feeling about it would be to try to look for food sources of B12 but potentially avoid the supplements. There can be a detox-type reaction with B12, but there are also people who just react incredibly badly to it for mysterious reasons. I would guess you might be one of those. Do you know if you have any mutations involving MTRR or the more B12 concerned part of the pathway? For some poeple with B12 issues it helps to also take methylfolate, but again talk with your practitioner because it might not be recommended for the rest of your protocol. Let me know what you decide and how it all works out!

      Reply
  4. Lynn

    I am compound hetero MTHFR. Normal COMT. I was told that I would do better on a mix of B12 such as methyl and adenos.

    Would it be better to purchase individual L-Methyl Folate (like Metafolin) and B12 (Methyl/adenos mix) or is it ok to buy them combined into one pill/tablet?

    Trying to make up my mind between separate or single or if that is even an issue.

    Thanks….

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Lynn,
      Generally, I like B12 separately because the absorption through the stomach is really low (REALLY LOW) so it’s always best to get that one sublingually. The 5-MTHF absorbs better through the stomach, so I would say separately.

      Reply
  5. Ana Rodriguez

    Thank you for this awesome, thorough information and recommendation.
    Recently I discontinued all of my physical health supplementation. In some respects I feel better and in other respects I feel a need to resume supplementation.
    Researching MTHFR is shedding light on why discontinuing my supplementation may have had a positive effect on my mental and physical health. Of course I have also taken other measures recently to reduce my exposure to sources of stress and triggers.
    One thing that is becoming clearer and clearer to me is that I need to be working with a competent practitioner. My body is one-of-a-kind and I need a practitioner that will partner with me as I explore what is best for me as a unique individual.
    Finances are proving to be a significant hurdle. Over the last 15 years my health has deteriorated to the point of limiting my outings/activities to two hours Maximum. In addition almost all of my money making activities are now out of the question due to the rapid onset of pain when I engage in them. Sewing, carpentry, design work, juice bar… Even engaging in physical therapy can be more debilitating them beneficial at times.
    Hoping to reengage in life and puzzled as to how best to go about it!!!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Ana,
      I completely agree – anybody who says that there is one answer for everybody has not talked with very many sick people! We’re all so different. And honestly, I think for a lot of people it’s easy to get into a situation where you take every supplement that sounds good and then end up doing as much harm as good. Taking a break from them sounds like a great idea and of course reducing your stresses and triggers will help. Sounds like you’re on the right path! Keep me posted. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Anna

    Thank you for your posting. It really helps me.
    I have a 5 yr old (born in 2011) son on the autism spectrum.
    My son has got a MB12 injection twice recently. He weighs 17 kg and was shot with 0.04 cc. But after the second shot (Nov 30), he showed very frequent urination, which he has not usually done before. He peed every 20-30 minutes, and seemed not to be in control of it! It lasted about a week ( during the week, I didn’t add a shot to him) and stopped just yesterday (Dec 7). Now I am just wondering if he should be given MB12 again at lower dosage or switch to HB12.
    He showed both good effects and bad effects after MB12 shot: Longer eye contact and more focused, less hyperactivity vs Increased stimming (mouth-seeking in particular) behavior and extraordinary frequent urination which is explained above.
    I am in dire need of your advice. Look forward to hearing from you!

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Anna,
      So – with such a mixed response I would certainly talk with the doctor who prescribed the B12. I haven’t heard of the frequent urination before, but as you know with autism spectrum everyone seems to break down at their weakest points and that could just be a vulnerable spot for your son. My gut feeling would be to try a lower dosage first because it might just be a detox reaction (not that this makes it easy, but it does mean we’re on the right track). If that isn’t successful then switch over to HB12. Of course talk with the prescribing physician about all of this, but that would be my gut feeling. Great luck and keep me posted – I’d love to know how he does!

      Reply
  7. rose

    i took methyl b12 and got severe side effects that i still havent recovered from

    headaches etc which have improved but not completely

    what can you recommend please

    detoxing seems to help somewhat

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Honestly I’d take a break from all B12 until your symptoms subside and do everything you can to take extra care of your body – clean diet, lots of water, as much sleep as possible, detox baths or sauna. Anything like that. Once the symptoms decrease then maybe try starting a tiny dose of tydroxycobalamin, which can be an easier form for MTHFR folks to tolerate. Crazy how taking the methyl form can kick off such a horrible cascade of symptoms, isn’t it? Honestly it really just pushes all of those pathways too quickly and kick-starts detox and that can feel bad if we do it too quickly. So take great care of you and pamper yourself a little until things calm down, then start again and slowly with the hydroxy form

      Reply
  8. Leslie

    MY 18 yr old daughter has Lyme and is Compound Heterozygous. Her doctor had her take Methylcobalamine shots. She began swelling especially in the legs and ankles. No correlation was made until several weeks had gone by. Now the doctor has prescribed the Hydoxycobalamin which we are still waiting to be shipped. I was told that this should resolve my daughter’s swelling. Is this all we really need to do to reduce the swelling that she has had for what is now almost two months? It is concerning to me that we may not be doing all we can to reduce this swelling. She also has a bruise on her leg that is taking an extraordinarily long time to heal. Is swelling a common occurrence for people with this mutation and methylcobalamine? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Leslie,
      It isn’t a common reaction that I’m aware of, but the Lyme might also have a hand in how she responds to the injections. It’s so hard to say because with a complex picture like MTHFR on top of Lyme disease we don’t really know what is doing what. My only suggestion for the swelling would be lukewarm epsom salt baths just to encourage circulation and drainage. Also the usual things like elevating her legs whenever possible. With the swelling any bruising on her legs will take longer to heal because the swelling compromises her circulation a bit so that is to be expected. Did the doctor suggest waiting for the swelling to go down before starting the hydroxycobalamin? It might be a good idea to talk with the doctor about it – partly to give her body a chance to calm down and partly so that when you start the hydroxy you can tell if it also causes swelling (because there is always a chance that it could if the methyl form did). Hopefully the hydroxy will be far easier for her body, but really we never know 100%. Good luck and keep me posted please! I’d love to know how she feels with the hydroxy.

      Reply
  9. Michael (NW)

    Hi,

    I’m MTRR ++ (I have one that is ++ and one that is +-). I do feel better with Methyl-B12. In fact, it took 5000mcg to 10,000mcg to notice a big difference. But, I’ve been reading that B12 can increase histamine? Yet, I thought it helped to convert Homocystein to Methionine which is anti-histamine… I just wondered how much Methyl-B12 is recommended for MTRR. I haven’t read much on recommendations.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Michael,
      Great question, and not an easy one to answer. Because you have the MTRR mutation that really changes the way your body uses and methylates B12 specifically we don’t really have a good idea about how much you might need. To be honest, it seems the dosage even in non-mutants is highly variable as well because so much depends on absorption. I’ve seen patients who respond to 1000 mpg and I’ve also seen patients who get nothing out of any oral dose but will respond to injectables. It’s just all over the map. If 10,000 mcg is making a difference for you then stick to it – in this case there isn’t a “right” dose. In terms of the B12 increasing histamine thing, I’ve seen it on other websites but when I dig into the research, I can’t find any links between taking B12 and high histamine. There are clearly links between B12 deficiency and higher histamine levels, but none in published medical research (as per pubmed search) that show the reverse. My guess would be that some website made a correlation in error and everyone else has just parroted that assuming that they did their research and it’s accurate information. I hope this is helpful!

      Reply

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