In case you have not yet heard the term methylation, there is a very good chance that you will start soon hear about it a lot more. More and more people are beginning to understand the importance of this particular biochemical process. Methylation is a key component of overall well-being, and even so, there are plenty of misconceptions and myths about it today and are unfortunately more common than facts. It would be beneficial to understand methylation and know how to handle it, giving you an edge on staying healthy. Here is all you need to know about methylation.
What is Methylation?
What exactly is methylation? Biochemically speaking, it is when a “methyl group” is made out of three hydrogen atoms where one carbon atom is linked to a different molecule. The thing that makes it less reactive is when a methyl group is attached to an organic molecule. And if it is plainly speaking, methylation is a process in which molecules are made more stable. The process is important for numerous metabolic functions in the body.
It balances out neurotransmitter activity and hormones, for starters. Also, it regulates protein synthesis as well as cellular energy. Methylation processes DNA/RNA, which are the molecules. They are responsible for reading our genetic information and for storing it. Methylation also repairs DNA as well as it optimizes the function of T-cells. T-cells, or those that are unfamiliar, are white blood cells. They play the main role in the immune response.
What is the significance of methylation?
The body is a complex machine with numerous gears and switches that must all work properly for the body to function properly. Consider methylation and its inverse action, demethylation, to be the mechanism that allows the gears to turn and turns biological switches on and off for a variety of systems in the body.
How Does Methylation Take Place?
The body receives CH3 from a universal methyl donor known as SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine). SAMe readily transfers its methyl group to other substances in the body, allowing the cardiovascular, neurological, reproductive, and detoxification systems to function properly.
Unfortunately, the system that produces SAMe is dependent on a critical B vitamin, 5-MTHF, turning on one switch (also known as active folate or methylfolate).
Simply put, if there is enough 5-MTHF present, the methylation cycle will function properly.
Before it can be used in the methylation cycle, folic acid from the diet or supplements must be converted to this active form, 5-MTHF. Unfortunately, approximately 60% of Americans have a genetic mutation that makes it difficult for their bodies to produce enough 5-MTHF.
When the methylation switch is turned off and not producing enough SAMe, a number of important molecules cannot be produced efficiently, including:
- Coenzyme Q10
- Nitric Oxide
People who have symptoms of chronic illness, usually the ones like fatigue, or some neurological symptoms, insomnia, and mood disorders, such as anxiety, are being told that the reason is poor methylation and that it is the cause of their problem. Although, that is not true, and this is considered to be a huge misconception.
Poor methylation just enhances the problem. One of the biggest culprits is actually the western diet. The body needs a steady stream of methyl donors, or to be precise, from certain foods so it would be able to support all metabolic functions which depend on methylation.
What to Do?
It would be more than wise to consume the right diet. It needs to be rich in methyl donors. Afterward, the body will decide what is best to use these nutrients. For example, Jamie Hope, an expert from https://methyl-life.com, had a careful supplementation with the right form of foundational nutrients. Because of that, she could reverse the damage and has found a better way to live. As a start, a paleo-style protocol is a good choice. For that, you would need lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, low sugar, adequate-protein, and higher fat as well.
Also, it would be wise to include a lot of methylation adaptogens. Usually, they are found in dark chocolate, cinnamon, green tea, and blueberries. Red wine and even coffee are high in polyphenols. In case you are interested in a specific test, in order to uncover the main issues of your health concerns, here are some recommendations which you could consider:
- Food sensitivity testing
- General blood checkup
- Test of organic acids test
- Test the stool
A huge role in methylation proficiency is genetics. Around 50 percent of the population does carry the mutated gene for an enzyme called 5-MTHF for MTHFR. This gene is needed so it could convert homocysteine to methionine. This amino acid is essential for the whole methylation process. 40 percent of the population carries at least one MTHFR mutation, while 12 percent of the population has a double mutation.
However, having MTHFR mutations can be less of a factor in chronic illness, which some experts think. The evidence is linking the concerns of fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis, and Parkinson’s disease, for instance, to the presence of the mutated reductase gene 5-MTHF. It has been shown by scientific research a very small increase in the rate of occurrence of chronic illnesses in individuals that are affected.
7 Methylation-Required Nutrients
Even if an individual has a genetic mutation that slows down the methylation cycle, there are seven specific nutrients that can help it perform optimally.
- 5-MTHF (active folate)
- Methylcobalamin (active vitamin B12)
- Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate (active vitamin B6)
- Riboflavin 5’-Phosphate (active vitamin B2)
- Betaine (also known as trimethylglycine)
- Vitamin D
Glutathione is one amongst many methyl “donors,” and it is an essential antioxidant. Glutathione is also very important for many processes in the body. For young, healthy people do not need supplementing, although aging and chronic illness put a lot of pressure on the body. For that reason, some additional glutathione can be more than beneficial. Another way to support the methylation process is to take SAMe.
Here was the brief and yet important information about Methylation and some simple steps that can help you support and enhance it, regardless if you have MTHFR gene mutation or no. It would be wise to take all necessary steps to stay active and, of course, to keep stress low if possible. Also, it is of great importance to remember to have supplements and a great diet full of nutrients to pave a path toward a healthy, long, and vibrant life.