ADHD is genetic!
Well, yes, in some cases, but not exactly in the way one would expect.
We often assume that there is some ADHD gene, passed from parent to child, and the unlucky child who got the defective ADHD gene just can't concentrate.
The picture is much more complex and super interesting.
There is no ADHD gene, or at least it has not been isolated yet (I don't have very high hopes scientists will isolate it, they have been searching for quite some time).
How is ADHD genetic?
firstly, our personalities are quite genetic. We tend to have similar personalities to close family members. Two very introverted parents are unlikely to have a firecracker kid. It happens, but in those rare cases, we will always find a very energetic uncle, aunt, or grandparent to blame. An #InstantGratificationPersonality (ADHD personality) is healthy and adaptive, it is not the result of a defective gene.
Here's where things get intriguing. There are defective genes that would seem completely unrelated to behavioral or emotional dysregulation that could be causing some significant focus and concentration issues.
Enter MTHFR- #methylenetetrahydrofolateReductase. Despite the fact that about 50% of the Western population has at least one mutated gene of MTHFR, very few of us know about it. This is because the symptoms of this gene mutation, especially having "only" one mutation (meaning that only one parent passed this gene down) are very hard to pin down because they have a similar presentation to other disorders.
What is MTHFR and why should a person with ADHD care?
The MTHFR gene is tasked with using the amino acid homocysteine to create protein. When this system works smoothly, the end product is folate, a vital B vitamin. Now let's consider what happens if there is a gene mutation or two. #Homocysteine builds up in the blood, causing potential eye issues, blood clots, brittle bones, and Alzheimer's. In addition, when B vitamins are not circulating abundantly it can lead to brain fog, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, and lack of focus.
There is one additional significant factor. When a person had even one gene of MTHFR, their body does not eliminate #toxins, #molds, and #heavymetals properly. When these substances accumulate, a person can develop many #behavioral, #psychiatric, and #physiological symptoms which only resolve when the body gets help detoxifying them.
A picture begins to emerge.
If a person has one gene mutation of MTHFR, the symptoms would be subtle enough to be blamed on other causes. Two mutations have much more serious consequences such as dangerous blood clots and miscarriages and therefore may be more quickly diagnosed.
Consider the scenario of Having MTHFR, which is likely. You are not producing folate, your body is not eliminating toxins properly and you are not able to focus and concentrate.
If the root cause of these symptoms is not identified, you may land up taking #Ritalin
along with an #antidepressant and a sleep agent to quiet down all the pesky symptoms. You may have cold extremities, get sick often, or suffer from constipation. And everyone around will be telling you that it is either all in your head (we call that gaslighting) or will be throwing piles of unuseful, inaccurate diagnoses at you.
If you suspect that you may have the MTHFR mutation, go get a blood test! Check for excess homocysteine in your blood and if vitamin B is deficient, especially B9. #Bilirubin (liver) elevation is also a clue. If these are confirmed, ask for a #geneticTest.
Here is the wonderful news. Once you have identified the defective MTHFR gene, help is on the way! Taking methyl-folate instead of synthetic folic acid will go a long way. Strengthening detoxification pathways with NAC and glutathione are imperative. Cleaning up your diet and rehabilitating your gut with probiotics also helps. All of these changes must be made with the guidance of a functional medicine doctor.
So... is ADHD genetic? There is no ADHD gene, but genetic mutations can definitely contribute to ADHD symptoms.
Take good care of yourself and your family. Wishing you optimal health!
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