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Changing your diet to help with ammonia issues
Having a single or double A1298 MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrafolatereductase) mutation will lower levels of BH4 (made worse or better depending on other mutations) and will make it difficult to properly detoxify ammonia which can lead to various health problems/symptoms.
Other SNP (singular nucleotide polymorphisms) mutations such as NOS (nitric oxide synthase enzyme), SUOX (sulfite oxidase enzyme), CBS (cystathionine beta synthase enzyme). NOS mutations will lower levels of nitric oxide in the blood, further making it difficult to detoxify nitric oxide as boosting nitric oxide can help detoxify ammonia among other health benefits (for more information on boosting nitric oxide check out: http://jheldt.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-naturally-raise-Nitric-Oxide).
CBS mutations will affect the production and conversion of homocysteine into glutathione (a major antioxidant) and will produce more sulfur end products (if you have SUOX mutations will make it worse), and make it harder to detoxify and cycle ammonia through the body. SUOX mutations will affect your body's ability to deal with sulfur and also with ammonia as well.
Treating those with low Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4, fore more information check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrahydrobiopterin) and therefore a decreased ability to detoxify and process ammonia takes a two fold approach. The first part of the approach is limiting foods high in ammonia.
The other part of the approach is introducing supplements to help detoxify ammonia but also raise levels of BH4. Lowering foods in thiols/sulfur compounds may be necessary as well (but not always). Ammonia is typically found in foods with high protein. I would also recommend changing your diet to a paleo template/weston a price diet, as it eliminates a lot of problematic foods.
Supplementing with amino acids is highly recommended for someone that needs to go on a lower protein diet. Lowering protein intake may affect the amount of amino acids you intake as well. Amino acids may also help dealing with other methylenetetrahydrafolatereductase (mthfr) and detox snps (singular nucleotide polymorphisms) as well. While everyone requires different amounts of macro nutrients such as protein, fat and carbs for someone that needs to lower protein a 30/30/30 (rough percentage split of protein/fat/carb) would be a good place to start.
Here is a list of high thiol foods: http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/chelationnetwork/food/high-sulfur-sulphur-food-list/
Here is a list of foods high in ammonia: http://wholefoodcatalog.info/nutrient/ammonia/foods/high/
Do you have or know someone that has?
Yucca root (tablet)
Supplements to help lower ammonia and raise BH4
While lowering ammonia intake should be the first priority its also ideal to supplement with supplements that raise BH4 and lower ammonia. Yucca root is commonly used to lower ammonia in the body and I personally use an alcohol extract and yucca root capsule to get a double dose of yucca. L-orthinine I have found to be very helpful, I have tried using supplementing using powders and capsule form and found using capsules to be more efficient and effective.
Take it slow with using orthinine as it helps to detoxify ammonia in the Urea cycle (the pee/urine cycle), and have found it to help a lot with brain fog. You can take up to 3 grams of L-orthinine but its best to work your way up to that amount as there are sometimes side effects.
Supplementing with royal jelly and Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH co enzyme of B6, check out for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotinamide_adenine_dinucleotide ) also helps to raise levels of BH4 as well. As with all supplements its wise to start with one supplement at a time, and add supplements every couple of days. Also work the dosage you use for each supplement over time. This can help point out which supplements help the most, side effects and ones to possibly avoid. Those with detox/methylation SNPs can often have severe side effects and can be particularly sensitive so take it slow with supplements.
I also do a once weekly charcoal/magnesium citrate flush which is really quite simple to do. All it requires is using magnesium citrate and charcoal. I take two capsules of charcoal and 2-3 of magnesium citrate (about 800-1000 mg depending on supplement). I usually wake up a few hours after going to bed (I set an alarm) and take both at the same time. There are a few other ways to do a charcoal flush but I find that is the easiest way to do it. It will flush your body of ammonia and only needs to be done once a week.
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Yucca Root extract
Finding help with detoxifaction and methylation SNPs
Since I am not a doctor, naturopath or health specialist (I am an independent health investigator though), with no formal medical background I would highly suggest finding a qualified and competent health specialist.
Finding an mthfr specialist will help a lot with treating mthfr, detox and methylation snps. While you can do a google search for "mthfr specialist", "mthfr doctor", there are many doctors who have limited to little knowledge of how to treat or diagnose these health issues.
There has only been so much research done on these issues as well, which I believe to be behind many common ailments. I have found MTHFR support website, Insight Naturopathy, Amy Yasko and Dr Ben Lynch's website to be very helpful.
On the MTHFR support website you can find a directory of MTHFR specialists/doctors to help you. Amy Yasko as well as insight naturopathy does a lot of research into methylation, detoxifaction and other related complex health issues. I would highly suggest taking a 23andme test if you suspect you may be dealing with these health issues as well.
I would also highly suggest checking out Chris Kresser's website as well. Chris Kresser is a modern day real life "Dr. House" who researches, treats and writes about chronic and complex health conditions. He does touch on methylation and MTHFR from time to time but his website is invaluable. His approach is really innovative and unique in that everyone is unique and requires a unique approach when it comes to diet and treatment.
MTHFR support: http://mthfrsupport.com/
Amy Yasko: http://www.dramyyasko.com/
Dr Ben Lynch: http://mthfr.net/
Chris Kresser: www.chriskresser.com
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jheldt (author) from USA on August 21, 2016:
Oh nice, ya this is a bit of a dated article, I don't do as much research as I used to, but may look or get into it in the near future
Sterling Hill Erdei (MTHFR Support) on August 20, 2016:
What we know about people with elevated ammonia now is incredible.
90% of all individuals chronically ill have elevated oxalic acid in their bodies.
How does this happen?
Consuming GMO's and glyphosate can and will impact the glyoxalate metabolic process.
Running low on probiotics that are needed to break down oxalate.
Running low on B6 activity.
Running low on B1 activity.
Running low on B2 activity.
Running low on lysine.
Running low on zinc.
Running low on G6PD enzyme.
Running low on DAO enzyme.
When low on the above, the body will make endogenous oxalate.
CBS's cofactor is B6 which needs to convert into P5P and P5P needs lysine to be utilized in the body and any of these scenarios will shut down sulfation and "muck" up NOS and cause and elevation in ammonia levels.
The worst thing that you can do in this situation is to restrict sulfur. Opening up these pathways and replacing probiotics needed to break down oxlate are crucial.
Oxalate shares the same transport system with sulfation.
This is the short of it.
jheldt (author) from USA on February 16, 2016:
@brian, I think that it does help, I think too much ammonia can increase methyl groups as well, I know CBS and a1298 and a few other snps are connected to ammonia
@marianne thanks so much
Marianne on February 15, 2016:
Hi Jared - I can't thank you enough for all your info on A1298C plus adrenal fatigue and even the electrolyte drink... I am helping my 22 year old son navigate his way through the undermethylation mess and your specific products/brands/dosages really helps give an idea of how to go about some of the things we know must be done - such as eliminating ammonia and raising BH4. I am really impressed with your research and information! I was a bio major with coursework in genetics and have worked in biochem labs in research so this was a problem i felt we could tackle. It is a lot to take in, and I am grateful for any info we can find. And putting the Amazon links is awesome too! Thanks:)
Brian on November 12, 2015:
Do you find that doing these measures also helps from the draining of methyl groups (CBS) or does that still happen? Do these measures also tend to keep Taurine in balance?
jheldt (author) from USA on August 07, 2015:
hmm I'm not sure really, as long as you take the right supplements to lower your ammonia you should be fine I'm thinking, there should be some iodine supplements without ammonia or ammonium in them as well? Have you tried seeking health, thats one of my go to supplement brands.
anne on August 07, 2015:
Hi: I do no I have a +/+ for MTHFR and NOS and a +/- single of the CBS A mutations, but not sure if I should take Iosol Iodine? It contains some Ammonium iodide. It does seem to support my thyroid. Anyone have any information on this. Thanks
Mike on November 29, 2014:
30% protein is not considered low for someone trying to reduce ammonia/sulfur. Typically it's more like 10%-15%.
And, Paleo folks often end up eating lots more protein so paleo, in and of itself is not the answer (though I am mostly paleo).
jheldt (author) from USA on April 06, 2014:
Royal jelly is a recommendation I saw on insight naturopathy, as I believe it raises BH4 but can also help with cellular energy as well. I may be mistaken but royal jelly contains bee pollen. I would recommend trying royal jelly and seeing if that helps.
Susan Stewart on April 05, 2014:
I already know I'm hetro for a1298c, which means I have lower bh4 & elevated ammonia levels, I have not yet done my 23andMe, so I don't know what other SNPs I have... I've been taking bee pollen, so I found the royal jelly recommendation very interesting, I'm thinking bee pollen could substitute for royal jelly? I ready do charcoal flushes, and lean towards a Weston Price diet which is lower in protein. I found your article very informative & helpful. Thank you!
jheldt (author) from USA on October 08, 2013:
You make some good points, I have written about MTHFR and hypothyroidism elsewhere (not on hubpages). Most people with these mutations, especially MTHFR mutations seem to have mitochondrial dysfunction and/or hypothyroidism (I know from personal experience as well).
Typically ammonia is a problem eating too much meat or ammonia rich foods, although eating too much at one time, especially with certain mutations it can be problematic.
Most people that come across this will already have a good understanding of all of this, and I am still learning a lot as well, I've been reading pathways to success by Amy Yasko which has been a big help.
someonewhoknows from south and west of canada,north of ohio on October 07, 2013:
Not exactly easy reading for a lay person to understand the medical jargon here. I know ammonia usually has a smell associated with Indigestion and the smelly gas associated with over eating proteins especially eggs because of the sulfur in the yolks. Gas associated with starches usually has little or no smell that gas associated with proteins usually has due to not being fully digested. Both kinds of gas can be caused by eating too much at any one meal or a problem with dealing with energy utilization.
You don't mention anything about hypothyroidism being associated with this even though it may be significant.