What is Methylation?
Methylation is one of your body's most important biochemical processes and it happens in every cell and every organ of your body, billions of times every second. In medical jargon, it is is the process of taking a single carbon and three hydrogens, (known as a methyl group) and applying it to countless critical functions in your body. Methylation helps to repair your body’s DNA, detoxify the body by recycling molecules, protect blood vessels by controlling homocysteine, and keeps the body’s inflammation levels to a minimum.
What impacts Methylation?
In many ways, methylation keeps you running – but what keeps it running? A large number of factors contribute to how, where, and when methylation occurs in your body. However, there are two factors that rank above the rest: genetics and diet. In this article, we'll focus on diet and lifestyle changes that you can make in order to maximize your body's methylation.
What are the risks of a Methylation Meltdown?
Should the methylation process be impeded or interrupted in your body, the results could range from minimal discomfort to a major health crisis. Patients with methylation problems are at higher risk for osteoporosis, diabetes, cervical cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, depression, mood problems, autism, ADD, dementia, stroke, and heart disease.
Addressing your underlying methylation deficiencies can improve your energy levels, mood, neuro-transmissions, as well as your immune response. It can also cause positive impacts in balancing hormone levels and controlling blood sugar levels.
Motivated to learn more? Read on.
Top 5 Questions about MTHFR
5 Simple Steps to Maximize Methylation
#1 - Find B Family Vitamins
Optimum levels of the B-vitamin family are necessary for keeping the methylation process running. Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are essential for healthy methylation. Although you may not need both so talk to your doctor to determine what dosages are ideal for your body.
#2 - Focus on the Folate
The word folate comes from foliage, meaning plant leaves. Many fruits and vegetables are good sources of folate and many processed foods – from flour and cornmeal to pasta and rice – are fortified with folic acid (of course, whole food sources are always ideal). Keep in mind that folic acid and folate are not one and the same: folic acid is a folate. The problem is that many people with methylation problems (genetically) cannot convert folic acid to folate and should therefore avoid folic acid, even in fortified grains. Natural folates (particularly dark leafy greens) are ideal because they do not contain synthetic folic acid, which can sometimes be problematic.
The recommended folate amounts vary from one person to the next, so it’s best to talk to your doctor to determine your ideal dosage.
#3 - Eliminate Vitamin Villains
To avoid depleting your body of the B vitamins it needs, avoid excess animal protein, processed sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. You should also avoid consuming foods that are depleted of vitamins, such as processed foods and canned goods.
#4 - Improve Stomach Acid
One of the easiest ways to minimize malabsorption (generally caused by digestive diseases, food allergies, and aging) is to improve your stomach’s acid levels. Try using herbal digestives (bitters) or taking supplemental HCI. Avoid taking medications that are known to interfere with stomach acid levels and methylation.
#5 - Get a Healthy Gut
A healthy gut is essential for proper vitamin absorption. Consider having your digestive tract evaluated for dysbiosis, pathogenic bacteria, or other malabsorption problems. This will ensure that the bacteria in your gut are healthy and that you can absorb the vitamins and nutrients you consume.
MTHFR and How Nutrigenomics Can Help