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by Dr. Will Cole
Methylation is a biochemical process that your body relies on to keep you healthy and thriving. This process happens close to 1 billion times every second and controls your ability to detox and in turn, lower inflammation, produce neurotransmitters, and protect your DNA. Every cell of your body depends on methylation, so it’s easy to see why if methylation is not functioning optimally, you’re bound to have a few health problems. In fact, poor methylation has been linked to:
There are many reasons why methylation could be hindered, one being the MTHFR gene mutation. The responsibility of the MTHFR enzyme is to convert folic acid into folate which is the fuel for methylation. In fact, it is estimated that those with MTHFR gene mutations make 70% less methyl-folate than someone without the mutation.
There are two main MTHFR mutations – A1298C and C677T. Mutations of A1298C are linked to mood disorders since it plays a vital role in neurotransmitter function. When C677T is altered it can lead to high levels of inflammatory homocysteine which is linked with heart disease and autoimmune conditions.
Mutations in the MTR and MTRR genes can also contribute to methylation problems. These genes are both needed to produce B12 which is a methyl donor. Those with this mutation use B12 quicker than their body can produce it. Higher B12 intake is necessary, often with supplementation, to make sure you are getting the amount your body needs.
Close to 40% of the world’s population has an MTHFR genetic mutation but most don’t even know it. Genetic testing is important to determine if you have any of these mutations that are hindering the methylation process. This is a vital step in taking action on your health in order to reduce your risk for preventable chronic diseases that are triggered by various environmental factors. Everything from stress, diet, microbiome dysfunctions, and our exposure to toxins can do a number on our health. And without proper methylation we are left defenseless to combat this onslaught of health destruction. Some of the tests I run to look at methylation are:
- DNA Methylation Pathway Profile: This test looks at 30 different methylation SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). These results give you insight into what your specific genetic weaknesses and imbalances are since it looks at all DNA mutations that control methylation.
- Homocysteine: The amino acid, homocysteine needs to be recycled down by methylation. If methylation isn’t functioning properly, homocysteine will usually be high as well, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Microbiome labs: Gut problems like candida overgrowth and bacterial imbalances can further perpetuate methylation problems.
- Hair Metal Testing: This looks at lithium levels which plays a role in B12 transport.
Thankfully, there are many natural ways to support methylation:
1. Incorporate superfood medicines
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and okra, along with grass-fed organ meats are loaded with B vitamins which are the required fuel for methylation.
2. Support detoxification
Certain herbs and spices have powerful detoxification properties including cilantro, parsley, turmeric, and dandelion root. These are extremely easy to throw into smoothies and add to other everyday recipes.
3. Switch out your toxic products
Lesson the load on your detoxification pathways by swapping out your chemical-laden products for more green options. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource that lays out your best non-toxic options. Or better yet, make your own!
But for those who need to bring in that next-level support, supplementing with activated B vitamins will wake up your methylation pathways. I’ve personally curated The Methylator’s comprehensive formula with the highest quality B vitamins including folate (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate), B6 (Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate), B12 (methylcobalamin), B2 (Riboflavin 5′ phosphate), and anhydrous betaine (trimethylglycine). Together these five nutrients work synergistically with the rest of The Collection to support methylation and restore you to a state of thriving health.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
Photos: Ayla El-Moussa