Let’s talk about some of the enzymatic pathways in the methylation cycle which influence not only the way you feel from day to day, but also your risk of disease in the long run. But before we dive into the enzymes, let’s talk about the methylation cycle, and how it affects your health.
Why is it important?
The methylation cycle takes the nutrients from our food (and vitamins) to make the energy our bodies need to work properly. In genetics, Methylation is key for making all the chemicals in our bodies. It also makes healthy cells, balances our mood as well as removing toxins and fighting infections. It is quite amazing when you think how the processes involved can have such a significant influence throughout your body. When methylation is working, you’ll feel full of energy, in a good mood and feel generally well. When it is not working, you will feel tired, depressed, irritable, run-down, susceptible to infections, foggy-brained, and just plain “toxic.”
To understand this cycle better, think of dominos lined up in a circular pattern. When the dominos start to fall—each falling on the next, so when the enzymes start processing nutrients, one enzyme affects the next. The same occurs if one is out of line and doesn’t topple onto the next one (or it stops working), it causes a backup that inhibits the enzymes, and this affects how we feel and how well we function.
The methylation cycle is affected negatively by:
STRESS When you are emotionally or physically stressed (and your cortisol levels increase), the enzymes slow down and the amount of methyl produced decreases. At the same time, your body needs more methyl to help process the adrenaline produced by stress. This means that right when you are most stressed, you’re likely to feel worse!
Heavy metal toxicity, especially copper and mercury.
Oxidative stress, alcohol (yes, as in wine, beer and liquor),yeast die off, (whether from using herbs or medications) elevated nitric oxide (common with chronic fatigue, inflammation, autoimmune and Lyme disease), and food sensitivities with leaky gut. Note: nitrous oxide gas at the dentist will also increase nitric oxide.
What nutrients are needed for Methylation?
The Nutrients Needed as Cofactors (the base):Riboflavin B2ZincCholineTMG (in other products)Vitamin B6 (or P5P)LITHIUM (to help bring B12 to your cells)Magnesium w B6
The Key Nutrients (the catalyst):
Folate, specifically 5MTHF-5-methyltetrahydrofolate, the metabolically active form, but not folic acid which is the synthetic form used in supplements and fortified foods.B12 or methylcobalamin.It would seem taking them in a supplement form would be a good place to start, but some people actually feel worse starting out with these two because their bodies are not ready for them quite yet. For this group, the first step would be to start with a multivitamin or B complex and electrolytes that do not contain folate or B12 before graduating onto the real deal.
Does it all make sense now?
Probably not quite yet, but it’s going to be a reoccurring theme in the coming months, so don’t give up yet. Most of the deficiencies and diseases I treat, have their roots in the methylation cycle. Let me give you a simple example of how we are all affected by this process.
One way histamine is de-activated (eliminated) is by receiving a methyl group from SAMe (not the supplement). So if there’s low methylation, there is low SAMe, and then the histamine levels are higher because of the lack of methyl groups to deactivate it. Bottom line, if your allergies are terrible, and you take antihistamine medication, it helps the symptoms for sure, but until you address the issue with your methylation cycle, the histamine will just continue to rise. Magnesium and vitamin C are natural anti-histamines, and vitamin C can destroy histamine directly.
Next month; Are you an over-methylator or an under-methylator, and what other chemical process are affected in either case.