MTHFR+ and Thimerosol

MTHFR+ and Thimerosol

Click the link for a ten minute discussion: MTHFR+ and Thimerosal

If you are MTHFR+, you have special problems with thimerosal, the mercury-laden preservative that is used in flu shots and other vaccines.

Thimerosol has the chemical structure and formulation that is depicted in Figure 1.


Thimerosol is a problem because it releases organic mercury into your body. Organic mercury is an old and familiar poison. The Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland demonstrates just how long it has been common knowledge that mercury causes neurological degeneration. The Hatter was ‘out of his mind’ because people who made hats were known to use mercury and suffer neurological damage in the process.

Mercury in even nanogram amounts inhibits a key enzyme in the biochemical pathway that makes methyl groups, that one-carbon, three-hydrogen structure that is so important for so many critical functions in your body. Methyl groups help to turn genes on and turn genes off. Methylation is involved in the regulation of DNA, both your body’s own DNA, as well as viral DNA.

Methylation silences DNA. In viruses, it acts to keep the virus static, to keep it from reproducing and becoming an infection. Methylation is the attachment of a methyl group on to another molecule. You may not have enough methyl groups in your body, and a lack of methylation is the result. You may not have enough methyl groups because of an enzyme problem like MTHFR+, or because you’ve been exposed to an enzyme poison such as mercury. Lack of methylation allows DNA that should be quiet to be expressed.

Viruses insert into your body’s DNA. When you do not have enough methylation, those viruses are no longer quiet and can grow and proliferate. The MMR vaccine is a live virus vaccine. Two out of the three viruses in the MMR are retroviruses. A retrovirus is the kind of virus that can insert itself into your DNA. Someone with adequate methylation may tolerate this vaccine because the injected and proliferating virus can be kept quiet. Someone without adequate methylation is at risk.

Figure 2 depicts o-mercaptobenzoic acid. O-mercaptobenzoic acid is a drug which is used to treat HIV.


HIV is a retrovirus so it can insert its DNA into your DNA sequences, both reproducing and living in your cell as a host by doing this. Many drugs that are used to treat HIV and cancer work by inhibiting the enzymes in key pathways for the synthesis of DNA and RNA bases. DNA and RNA bases are purines any pyrimidines. They are required for the production of new cells. This drug is used for both aids and cancer in which diseases you have rapidly growing cells that you want to stop from dividing. If you inhibit DNA synthesis, the cells can’t divide. In the case of HIV or cancer, that’s a benefit. In the case of a child whose body is needing to develop, or anyone wanting to have normal gastrointestinal mucosa or immune function, it works against you.

Looking at the chemical structure of Thimerosal in Figure 2, you can see that it is very similar to that of this drug. Cleavage can occur at the sulfur-mercury bond, and the release of ethyl mercury happens. Many researchers and clinicians have been primarily concerned about the release of organic mercury from Thimerosal. But if you look at what is left behind after mercury is cleaved off, you see a molecule that is very close to the chemical structure of o-mercaptobenzoic acid, a chemical that can inhibit the growth of a retrovirus by acting on its ability to make DNA.

The biochemical pathway that MTHFR+ affects is the same one that makes DNA bases. If you have a problem with MTHFR and someone injects you with thimerosal, you are going to have double trouble trying to make new DNA. In particular, you will not be able to make thymidine because thymidine has to be methylated, and MTHFR+ inhibits your ability to make methyl groups.

But take a look at Figure 3. The chemical structure of thimerosal is very similar to the DNA bases themselves. Look at thimerosal drawn two different ways as in Figure 3.


It conforms to the basic structure of pyrimidines and purines. You can see how thimerosal can substitute in the DNA for some bases. Bases are also called nucleotides. It is known that mercurated nucleotides, nucleotides with a mercury molecule deliberately put on it, will incorporate into your DNA.

So now we are looking at three ways that thimerosal is a problem:
• first, because it adds an enzyme poison, mercury, to your body;
• then, once the mercury group is cleaved off, the molecule that is left behind is very similar to one that can inhibit enzymes in your DNA base forming pathways;
• and, finally, the molecule you are left with can form up like a DNA base, incorporate into your DNA and get stuck there. Your DNA is not going to work properly with that foreign molecule there.

I hope this helps you understand the many ways in which thimerosal can interfere with your biochemical functioning. I hope this helps you ‘just say no’ to vaccines that contain thimerosal, like the flu shot, which is recommended for the young, the sick, the pregnant and the elderly, just the people who are most vulnerable to the problems of this drug.

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About Nancy Mullan, MD

Some people call Dr. Nancy Mullan the MTHFR genetic medicine expert. Dr. Mullan works with people who are struggling with chronic disease or other significant illness, who are willing to use diet and genetics-based nutritional supplementation, and who want to increase wellbeing and energy, enhance immunity, lift mood, fine-tune genetic function, and get their lives back. Dr. Mullan has studied at a number of exceptional institutions: the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics. She excels at integrating the results of biochemical and genetic testing into sustained clinical improvement for you. She has succeeded with patients who confounded the specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Stanford, and many well-known integrative medical doctors. When recommending her, her patients say, “This is the woman you need to talk to. She really knows how to handle tough clinical problems.” Dr. Mullan's specialty areas are MTHFR+, methylation genetics, and genetics-based nutritional supplementation. Within this context, she most often works with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Women’s Health Issues, Thyroid Disorder, Gastrointestinal Disorder, and Heavy Metal Toxicity.
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