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.
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Important in fat and cholesterol metabolism. Mild lipotropic agent that removes fats from the liver and lowers blood cholesterol. Has been found in studies to improve symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) including infertility, with significant weight loss and increased HDL “good” cholesterol. Used to prevent plaque build-up and arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Needed for hair growth and strong healthy hair. Helps maintain healthy skin. Used to prevent and treat eczema. Considered a brain food as it works with choline in brain cell nutrition. Needed, along with choline, for the formation of lecithin, a key building block of cell membranes that protects cells from oxidation and forms the protective sheath around the brain. Essential component of myelin that coats nerves and regulates nerve transmission and may help treat nerve disorders. Has helped improve nerve function in diabetics who experience pain and numbness arising from nerve degeneration. Preliminary research indicates that inositol has a calming effect and may help treat depression, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.