How Well Do You Methylate?
Did you know it is possible for you to be an over, under or superstar methylator?
Without getting into the weeds and scaring you off, Methylation is a biochemical process of attaching a carbon and three hydrogens to many critical molecules in your body. The process of methylation influences your immune system, cancer risk, genetics and detox pathways, and many others. So, put simply methylation is absolutely critically to health and mental wellbeing!
Attaching a methyl group is a natural biochemical process that maintains balance in the bodies system. Methyl groups, both adding and subtracting them, is essential to build things and break them down, turning them on and turning them off. Cells, hormones, neurotransmitters, toxins and lot of other molecules responsible for how you think, feel and function need to be in balance.
Some of the most clinically relevant things we review are whole blood histamines and homocysteine’s. Both require a methyl group in order to be metabolised or broken down and eliminated. If we don't efficiently break down and eliminate any one thing – even a good thing – we end up with too much.
In the case of homocysteine, that can turn into heart disease and inflammation. In the case of histamine, that can mean depression and allergies.
How Methylation Works:
Methyl groups and the process of adding or subtracting a methyl group is a well-conserved process. Nature, the body included, doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel every time it needs to turn something on or off, make or break down something so this process of methylating and demethylating happens all over the body. This explains why poor methylators might complain of seemingly unrelated maladies like digestive issues, infertility, dementia, fatigue, heart disease, and allergies. This simple biochemical step is happening everywhere!
MTHFR is the A-list celebrity of SNPs, the Angelina Jolie or Beyonce of DNA. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (yep, that’s why they call it MTHFR!!). This is the part of our DNA that codes for the enzyme responsible for adding a methyl group to folate, an important B vitamin.
Now for just a teeny bit more of the chemistry of genetics: SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms refer to variations in your base pairs or the coding of our DNA.
Don’t Methylation Panic!
Put simply, each and every one of us are a genetic miracle. The fact that we exist is a miracle. However, there is such a thing as over and under methylation.
There’s a common pitfall when talking about methylation status, particularly with patients suffering from depression. Many patients are told to start taking not only methylated B12 supplements but also methyl folate supplements when they learn they have an MTHFR variant. Folate supplementation decreases serotonin activity even in the methyl folate form. This means that although a depressed patient may benefit from methyl donors like methyl B12, methionine, SAMe or TMG they may actually be reducing serotonin activity if they also add methyl folate.
Elixir Compounding Pharmacy specialises in Advanced Nutrient Therapy. If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health condition contact Elixir today. We offer complementary face-to-face and phone consultations where we can assess symptoms and recommend a tailored advanced nutrient treatment protocol.