Methylation is an extremely important biochemical reaction that’s happening every second in every cell of your body. On the cellular level, methylation is the process of transferring a methyl group (CH3) to a molecule, which activates the molecule so it can be used by the body. For example, attaching a methyl group to folate transforms it into the active form known as L-5-MTHF (L-methylfolate), which is the predominant form of folate found in the body and the only form that can cross the blood-brain-barrier. Likewise, adding a methyl group to homocysteine (a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease) converts it back into methionine, a harmless amino acid. The addition and removal of methyl groups to and from DNA are responsible for turning genes on and off. People with the MTHFR gene mutation (especially the C677T variety) can have significant reductions in methylation (even if they take plenty of folate) and may benefit from supplementing with activated folate, B12 and other methyl-supportive nutrients. When you have two copies of the MTHFR gene (homozygous) it becomes even more important to provide methylation support for your body, however, taking high doses of methylfolate can lead to over methylation. Common symptoms of too much methylation support include headaches, irritability, insomnia, runny nose, body pain, and itchy skin. L-5-methylfolate (L-5-MTHF) requires no additional metabolic steps to be used by the body, thus it is often the preferred choice for those with absorption or metabolic defects. Folinic acid (not folic acid) quickly converts to L-methylfolate as needed in the body, but is not “pre-methylated.” Folinic acid may be easier for individuals who are sensitive to methylated nutrients to tolerate than supplemental L-methylfolate.
Gliadorphin (also known as gluteomorphin) is an opioid peptide that is formed during digestion of gluten protein. Gluteomorphins are derived from gliadin, one of the main proteins found in gluten. It is usually broken down into amino acids by digestion enzymes. It has been hypothesized that children with autism have inflammation in GI tract, causing abnormal gut leakage of this compound. This is partly the basis for the gluten-free, casein-free diet. Abnormally high levels of gliadorphin have been found in the urine of autistic children via mass spectrometry testing. Corn, Soy and Gluten are used to make industrial adhesives. All three of these foods are capable and guilty of damaging the lining of the intestinal tract and leading to the malabsorption of calcium, iron, B complex, C, and trace minerals (e.g. zinc). This malabsorption or leaky gut syndrome contributes greatly to the ill health of the brain, immune system, and setting the stage for the action of these food-derived opioids. Both caseomorphins (derived from digestion of milk products) and gluteomorphins are morphine-like opioids that have been likened to drugs like LSD. They can be very sedating and addictive and help to explain why 75% of the calories in the standard American diet (S.A.D.) come from wheat and dairy alone. Food addiction is a very real thing, and these opioids play a huge role. Caseomorphins are formed during our attempt to digest casein, the protein that makes up 80-90% of the protein content of cow’s milk (versus 0-2% of goat’s milk). It is this same protein that can cause damage to the lower intestinal lining (duodenum) and a malabsorption syndrome similar to that seen in celiac disease, or gluten intolerance. Borden uses casein to make Elmer’s Glue. Perhaps knowing this information now, one might understand why pasta, bread and “grilled cheese” sandwiches are considered “comfort foods”.