Why Can't I Get Healthy? How Improper Methylation May Be Affecting Your Ability To Improve Your
If you suffer from depression or anxiety and have tried medication, but still struggle with symptoms, your body may have difficulty with a biochemical process called methylation. Proper methylation is important for cognitive and emotional health. It also plays a vital role in cardiovascular health as well as detoxification. But that's not all it does. Methylation affects cellular health by influencing how your genes express themselves for better - suppressing certain cancer genes & keeping underlying inflammation in check - or for worse - silencing genes that suppress certain tumors and influencing genes associated with the development of autoimmune disorders. 1,2
Methylation & Your Mind
A healthy mind and mood require adequate amounts of properly functioning neurotransmitters. When your body's methylation process is impaired - be it from a lack of certain nutrients used in this process or due to a genetic defect in the methylation pathway - these important neurotransmitters aren't produced in the amounts needed for a sense of well-being. This imbalance can contribute to the development of depression, anxiety, ADD and ADHD. 3
Methylation & Your Body
Methylation plays an indispensable role in many bodily functions. It assists in the clearance of homocysteine - a substance that can damage blood vessels - and in hormone metabolism. And it helps your body absorb and assimilate nutrients effectively. Methylation also plays a vital role in regulating how your genes are expressed - that is, how the information contained in your genes is translated and put into action.
Proper Diet, Digestion & DNA: Key to Healthy Methylation
Healthy methylation can be affected by several factors:
Lack of B Vitamins:
Too litte B vitamins, especially folate, B6 and B12
Too much animal protein, saturated fat, alcohol, coffee, and sugar: These can raise your homocysteine level which in turn depletes B vitamins and causes damage to your blood vessels.
Too little Stomach Acid: It may sound like a good thing, but insufficient amounts of acid keep your stomach from doing its job in digestion and interfere with your absorption of B12.
Digestive Disorders: Any disorder, including food allergies, that impairs proper absorption of nutrients and vitamins
Medications: Acid blockers, Dilantin (for seizures), HCTZ (for high blood pressure), oral contraceptives, and methotrexate (for rheumatoid arthritis and cancer).
Smoking: Vitamin B 6 is inactivated through smoking
Genetic Variations: More than half of the population has genetic variations that affect the process of methylation
Other factors include: hypothyroidism, kidney failure, cancer & exposure to toxins
The easiest thing you can do to improve your body's methylation is to eat more foods rich in B vitamins:
leafy greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok choy & beet greens)
nuts & seeds: walnuts, almonds & sunflower seeds
If you are vegan, your diet can set you up for a B12 deficiency since foods like cheese, fish, meats, liver and egg yolks are good sources of B12. If you take Coumadin, you need to speak with your healthcare practitioner about safe ways to get enough B Vitamins without impacting the effectiveness of your blood thinner since leafy greens can interact with them.
It's also important to address any digestive problems or food allergies. Be sure that you take a probiotic supplement to keep your gut healthy so that you can absorb the nutrients and vitamins you get from your diet.
Finally, checking to see if you could have a genetic defect affecting your methylation pathyway is recommended. Since methylation is a complex process that involves numerous enzymes, identifying just where the problem lies can make a world of difference to your health. While getting adequate amounts of B vitamins is a crucial step in ensuring proper methylation, a genetic defect can limit your body's ability to utilize these vitamins. Moreover, taking too many B vitamins can also cause health problems - especially if you have a genetic defect.
Could You Be Suffering From Improper Methylation?
When it comes to improving methylation, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Getting the amount of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs is what really counts and is what will improve your mental and physical health. That's why it's so important ask your health care practitioner if you could be suffering from improper methylation.
Lab tests are available to identify vitamin deficiencies as well as problems with methylation. Genetic testing can go a long way to identifying defects in methylation, especially where key enzymes like COMT and MTHFR are concerned. These and other enzymes can also impact how well your body responds to medications used to treat issues like depression.
Specially-formulated nutritional supplements are available to support healthy methylation. Ask your healthcare practitioner if a targeted nutritional supplement might be right for you.
Vessel Care: promotes healthy homocysteine metabolism by providing the essential B vitamins and other nutrients necessary for methylation support.
Glycogenics: provides a balanced blend of high potency B vitamins and supportive nutrients for healthy energy metabolism, healthy stress response, and healthy homocysteine metabolism.
Blisphora: provides nutrients that play a role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Supports positive mood by providing nutrients like SAMe that support healthy methylation.
For more information on how methylation may be affecting your health and ways you can improve improve it through proper nutrition, contact us today.
1 Sharma A et al. DNA methylation alterations in multiple myeloma as a model for epigenetic changes in cancer. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology & Medicine. 2010 Nov-Dec; 2 (6): 654-69.
2 Greer JM, McCombe PA. The role of epigenetic mechanisms and processes in autoimmune disorders. Biologics. 2012; 6: 307–327.
The contents of this blog are intended for educational purposes only. The information presented here is not a substitute for proper medical attention, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before starting or making any changes to an existing treatment plan, exercise program or dietary regimen, and before using nutritional supplements.
~ Dr. Sarah Williams ~ Concord & Nantucket, Massachusetts ~