What the Heck Is Methylation…Everybody’s Talking About It?
Blog #7 - May 2, 2016
In my last blog, I talked about the GX Sciences Nutrigenomic test. Remember? We can predict with increasing precision who is more likely to develop specific diseases; who will respond positively or react negatively to a particular drug or supplement therapy; and finally, which nutrients are optimal for a specific individual’s treatment, health, and well-being.There are five different important categories to look at when it comes to your genomic report: Methylation, Neurotransmitter, Mitochondria, Detoxification and Inflammatory markers. So, the next five blogs I will be covering these categories in depth. So, let’s get started with the biggie: Methylation.
What Is Methylation?
Methyl groups are essential for normal DNA cell replication! They literally turn genes “on” or “off.” “Bad” genes can lead to birth defects, depression, cognitive decline, diseases and cancer and can be expressed by a depletion of your body’s methyl groups.
So… if you have depleted methyl groups and you’re exposed to a toxin, an infection, or even a severe emotional stress, then all of a sudden—whammo--you express the bad gene, which can lead to a neurodegenerative disorder like Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s, an autoimmune condition, or cancer.
This process of moving methyl groups around is necessary for the functioning of several biochemical reactions such as DNA and RNA synthesis, creatinine generation, immune responses involved in silencing viruses etc. Methylation reactions are involved in most body functions, to some degree. This is why compromised methylation can cause or contribute to almost all health conditions. When we look at your Genomix Nutrition profile we can determine whether you have an MTHFR polymorphism, (SNP). On average 50% or more of the population appear to have genetic weaknesses of the MTHFR enzyme, causing them to have some difficulty resynthesizing methionine from homocysteine, absorbing B12, B6 and folic acid. This can be a factor in cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and perhaps other health conditions such as fatigue and exhaustion. Methyl groups play a role in:
· Detoxification. Methylation is a primary method of removing toxins, by helping to convert fat soluble toxins to water soluble, so it can be excreted by the kidneys.
· Neurotransmitter synthesis and utilization. Methylation is part of the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin.
· Protein synthesis from our genes. Methylation is a key step in the formation of our enzymes and proteins.
· Protects the body’s telomeres. Telomeres are the “tails” on its DNA and chromosomes. As we get older these tails shorten. Methylation is involved in the preservation of these telomeres.
· Folate metabolism and cardiovascular health. Methylation is involved in converting homocysteine, back into methionine. Homocysteine is a dangerous amino acid that acts like the glue that holds plaque together in the artery.
· Hormonal regulation. Methylation is involved in balancing hormones in the liver, such as restoring the proper balance of estrogens, for example.
· Reduces inflammation by toxin removal, hormone balancing, neurotransmitter synthesis, and others.
· Helps protect the mitochondria. Methyl groups help adaptive energy production.
· Restores the level of SAMe to prevent depression, and other mental and physical effects on the body.
· Required to make coenzyme Q10. This vital substance is needed for heart health and for energy production within the mitochondria.
So, now you know how important methylation is. If you have an MTHFR SNP all of these processes can be compromised unless you have the right nutritional support. Next time we’ll talk about neurotransmitters.
Best of Health!
Radhia Gleis, Wellness Director
Radhia Gleis, CCN, is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist/Holistic Practitioner