Folic acid, migraine and the MTHFR gene

Based on a question asked in a forum, I thought I would look into a link between a mutation found in a gene that can increase homocysteine levels in the blood and is associated to a degree with increasing risk of vascular disease (stroke and heart attacks).

Higher homocysteine levels have been shown to be associated with migraine (especially with aura) patients in blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF – the fluid around the brain and spinal cord).

The question is whether the gene mutation (MTHFR) that can increase homocysteine is associated with migraine (trying to link these two through the folic acid part).

Two studies have looked at this – one a Turkish study of 150 migraine patients and 107 controls that found that a specific mutation C667T was more common in migraine sufferers than controls – and an Australian study, looking at two different mutations in a related gene (MTHFD1) in 520 patients with migraine and 520 controls, which found no link between the two.

These studies are often difficult to interpret given the numbers of patients involved (being relatively small in the Turkish study) and no firm conclusion can as yet be reached.

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