Has your doctor told you that you are a poor methylator, or that you have methylation related health concerns? Maybe you have come across a facebook post of a friend who said that they have a MTHFR gene mutation. The term methylation has become a popular health buzzword recently, and for good reason. It is a biochemical process that is involved in a lot of your body’s daily functions.
So what does methylation mean, and why should you care if you have this MTHFR gene mutation? Simply put, methylation is the addition of (demethylation the removal of) a methyl group (-CH3) to another molecule. Think of it like an ON /OFF switch that controls everything from your stress response to how your body makes energy from food, to brain chemistry and detoxification.
Methyl groups control:
- The stress (fight-or-flight) response
- The production and recycling of glutathione — the body’s master antioxidant
- The detoxification of hormones, chemicals and heavy metals
- The inflammation response
- Genetic expression and the repair of DNA
- Neurotransmitters and the balancing of brain chemistry
- Energy production
- The repair of cells damaged by free radicals
- The immune response, controlling T-cell production, fighting infections and viruses and regulating the immune response
If you have a shortage of methyl groups, or your methylation cycle is interrupted, any or all of these processes can become compromised, and you could develop symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, pain, infection, depression, cancer, etc.
How can you tell if you are having a methylation issue?
You need to get tested. You can order a genetic test from places like 23andMe to look for MTHFR gene mutations. You can also look at your standard CBC blood test that are routinely performed during your wellness visit at your doctor’s office by evaluating homocysteine measurements.
Other things that can depress your methyl groups include birth control medications, anti-depressants, diabetic medication, smoking and antacids.
How can you improve methylation?
1. Eat healing greens.
Eating dark leafy green veggies daily provides you with natural folate (a methyl donor), necessary for proper methylation. It is recommended to get a minimum of two cups of these healing foods daily. You can also add greens powders like our Bone Broth Protein Greens to a drink or smoothie.
2. Get B vitamins and folate.
B vitamins are methyl donors, especially folate, B6, B12 and riboflavin. Sources of B vitamins include fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, asparagus, almonds, sunflower seeds and walnuts. It is important to make sure that you do not have an allergy to any of these foods.
3. Support methylation with supplements.
Make sure you get adequate amounts of magnesium and zinc, which support methylation.
4. Take probiotics.
One of the problems with methylation is our inability to absorb nutrients, especially if you suffer from heartburn or other digestive health concerns. Probiotics help produce and absorb B vitamins and folate.
5. Reduce stress, booze, smoking and toxins.
Toxins burden your liver and use up methyl groups in addition to decreasing your Glutathione antioxidants.
If you are struggling with your health and you are looking for natural ways to reduce symptoms of anxiety/depression, pain, digestive issues, sugar issues, autoimmune conditions, blood pressure or cholesterol concerns, etc. then give Stanly Wellness Center a call at 980-355-7600 and schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Patrick Ess to see what he can do to help you restore your health.