What is Vitamin Methylation and What Does It Do for You?
Methylation is a very critical process that takes place every second in your body. A few years ago, it was not a common term to hear. But with increasing awareness around this topic, you are likely to come across methylation a lot often.
What is Vitamin Methylation?
Methylation is a biochemical process that is associated with the B vitamins. It is a very crucial reaction that happens billions of times every day. During methylation, a single carbon and three hydrogen atoms attaches to another molecule. This is the biochemistry part of it. In layman terms, methylation is a subtle, daily process that is required to keep you healthy and vibrant.
What does methylation do for you?
Methylation controls a lot of biological activities, here are a few,
- Repairs the genetic material - the DNA and genetic expression.
- Keeps inflammation under control.
- Controls homocysteine, a compound that can damage blood vessels.
- Neutralizes toxic substances
- Produces energy from food
- Regulating the immune response, fighting infections and viruses. It optimizes the work of T cells and white blood cells.
- Balances mood and brain chemicals
- Repairing cells damaged by oxidation (free radicals)
Overall you need methylation for a wide range of metabolic functions.
What happens when methylation is interrupted?
Your body relies on a dependable stream of methyl donors from specific foods to support the methylation process. The four important components needed for methylation are methionine (an amino acid) and the B vitamins: methylfolate (B9), B6, and B12.
If you don’t have enough methyl groups or if there is a lapse or break in the methylation process, your health can suffer. Studies clearly link autoimmune conditions to improper methylation1.
What signs tell that you have poor methylation?
Unfortunately, there are no tell-tale signs for poor methylation.
However, if the following describes you, it is safe to assume you may be at risk of poor methylation,
- Eating a lot of processed food,
- Your menu includes fewer plant sources like dark greens and low in nutrients,
- If you experience chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia.
What factors affect methylation?
Poor nutrition: To get enough B6, B12, betaine, and folate, you need to eat plenty of leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, beans, and other veggies. If your diet lacks dark leafy greens, and predominantly meat-based, it may contribute to poor methylation. In addition to this, if you take too much animal protein, sugar, alcohol, coffee, and saturated fat, it may also deplete the B vitamins.
Heavy pollution/ smoking: Exposure to carbon monoxide from smoke and heavy pollutants (automobile, coal, and other industries) can inactivate vitamin B6 that is key for proper methylation. Studies show that other environmental factors such as UV radiation2, and high temperatures can also contribute to impaired methylation.
Medications: Certain drugs such as oral contraceptives, acid blockers, medications used for seizures can affect the B vitamin levels, and proper methylation.
Aging Decreased stomach acid: Aging and other conditions that can reduce stomach acid can interrupt with B12 absorption from food, which has an impact on the methylation process.
Genetics: People with the MTHFR gene mutation have trouble with the methylation process, even If there is adequate folate in their diet. It is estimated that about 40% may have this mutation3. The MTHFR gene instructs your body to make an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The term MTHFR is short for this enzyme. MTHFR enzyme is necessary to convert folic acid (vitamin B9) into methyl folate. Methyl folate is the usable and active form of vitamin B9 in the body.
A proper diet that provides enough B vitamins and supplementation with activated folate, B12, and other methyl supportive nutrients can help restore the methylation process.
Pick the right supplement do the job:
So when you have an MTHFR gene mutation, it is all the more vital to provide methylation support. But, taking high doses of folic acid supplements is useless, since your body cannot use the inactive folic acid.
NATURELO multivitamins provide folate in methylated form - quatrefolic 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). This is the most preferred form that is readily used by the body without having to go through the metabolic steps. They also provide other methylation supporting nutrients such as B6 (P-5-P) and B12 (Methylcobalamin), which can also be directly used by the body
1. DNA methylation and autoimmune disease, 2003 Oct;109(1):72-9
2. DNA methylation dynamics in aging: how far are we from understanding the mechanisms?, September 2018
3. A Genetic Mutation That Can Affect Mental & Physical Health, Sep 05, 2014