I have received a random email from Dr Mark Hyman regarding Methylation. When I had my legally required counselling with the result of my DIO2 gene test, the counsellor talked at great length about Methylation & she was recommending I take a test to check my methylation. I couldn't take in what she was saying, as she had just told me (on the phone) that I had a dodgy thyroid gene from one parent. Since then I have wondered about this methylation thing. It seems that many of the B vitamins helps to sort it out. That is probably why I'm feeling so much better lately -- I've been taking high dose multi B vitamins. Dr Hyman says :-
"Our knowledge around health is always changing and evolving. Wellness buzzwords that might have been novel even a few short years ago are now commonplace, and new ones are constantly emerging.
That’s why I’m writing to you today about methylation and the methylated forms of B vitamins. I have more and more of my patients asking about these topics. I will be splitting this newsletter into two parts.
Let’s dive into Part I: What is Methylation and Why Does it Matter?
Methylation is a key biochemical process that is essential for the proper function of almost all of your body’s systems. It occurs billions of times every second; it helps repair your DNA on a daily basis; it controls homocysteine (an unhealthy compound that can damage blood vessels); it helps recycle molecules needed for detoxification; and it helps maintain mood and keep inflammation in check. An enzyme, called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), carries out these methylation processes. When something goes wrong with that enzyme, which can happen in many different ways, health issues ensue.
To keep methylation running smoothly you need optimal levels of B vitamins. Folate, B2, B6, B12, and betaine are all needed in adequate amounts for methylation to work as it should.
Without them, methylation breaks down and the results can be catastrophic. In these cases, we see more birth defects like congenital heart disease and spina bifida, more cases of Down’s syndrome, and more miscarriage.
A breakdown in methylation puts you at higher risk for conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, cervical dysplasia and cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, depression, pediatric cognitive dysfunction (mood and other behavioral disorders), dementia, and stroke. It can also put you at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
To avoid all of these problems, the key is to maximize methylation. That means testing to find out how well your methylation is working, avoiding the things that cause your methylation to break down, and including the things that support proper methylation.
First, let’s start with the things that negatively impact your body’s natural ability to methylate: genetics, smoking, nutrient malabsorption, medications, toxicity, and a poor diet—especially if it’s low in leafy greens, fruits, and high-quality meats and eggs because their naturally occurring B vitamins are essential for proper methylation.
Because of the recent rise in MTHFR interest, I want to elaborate a little bit on the genetic piece of the puzzle. Genetic variations (also called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs) in the MTHFR genes affect the production of the MTHFR enzyme. The C677T and A1298C variations are the most widely studied. Without getting too deep into epigenetics, the short story is that we can inherit these SNPs from one or both parents, and the severity of symptoms can depend on which type it is and if we have one or two, and can also differ between individuals. A genetic blood test is required to determine if you have these variations.
The good news is there are lots of simple, natural interventions you can take to support your methylation process. Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter for more on how to test your MTHFR activity as well as what you can do to support it.
Wishing you health and happiness, Mark Hyman, MD "