The benefit of B-vitamins in the methylation process
Of all the processes that occur within the body, it’s possible that the methylation process is the most important. What’s that? You’ve never heard of methylation? While that’s not really surprising, it is something that I’d like to remedy. After reading this I’d like for you to have a good understanding of what methylation is, why it is so important, and some thoughts on how you can improve this process.
What is methylation?
There’s a short answer to this that tends to be confusing, but with a little explanation we’ll get a good understanding. Science trigger warning, we will be talking about chemistry. I can already hear you holding your breath and seizing up a bit. Take a deep breath and let it out. It’s going to be okay. Remember, there’s no test at the end of this, just better understanding about what is going on in your own body.
The term “methylation” refers to a chemical process of adding something called a “methyl group” onto DNA, proteins, or another molecule. That’s it. You can relax now. We won’t be getting any further into the weeds about the actual chemical reaction in this blog. Now when you hear “methylation” you can think of one little chemical group being added to usually DNA or another protein. Sounds really simple, and it is. The complexity is in the variety of pathways that this little reaction impacts. It happens all over the body, and is occurring virtually every moment of your existence. So, why is it so important?
Why is methylation important?
Now that we know methylation is just adding one molecular group onto DNA or another protein, we can start to talk about what that does. When a molecule is “methylated” it generally means that it is either turned on or off, and then it becomes “demethylated” causing the opposite. For instance, when our DNA has been methylated (a methyl group has attached itself to DNA) it is a signal for that particular strand of DNA to be used to create proteins. This means that your genetic makeup is only one piece of the story. The way that your genes are expressed, called “epigenetics” is just as, if not even more important to the kinds of proteins you make.
As DNA is encoded into every cell you have, and is responsible for the replication of that cell, you can easily see how important methylation is to your overall health from just that one action. If this was the only place that methylation was important, it would still be one of the biggest influencers of our general health. However, this pathway is used to support energy production and immune function, create neurotransmitters (molecules used in our brains), reduce inflammation, production of glutathione, and metabolizing homocysteine. Don’t worry, we will spend some time talking about glutathione and homocysteine.
Glutathione is an amazing compound found throughout our body, but particularly in our liver. It has been called the body’s master antioxidant in that it travels through the body looking for free radicals and other harmful particles within our body. Glutathione finds them and destroys them allowing us to continue living healthy lives.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced as part of the methylation pathway, and is both necessary and dangerous. Elevated levels of homocysteine contribute to an increased risk in heart disease. So, while it is a necessary part of the process, it is equally necessary to metabolize it after its use. For that, we use the methyl pathway. It is transformed into something called “methionine” which ultimately helps to make more glutathione. What a wonderful process!
The importance of the methylation process cannot be understated. The more efficiently it is able to run, the greater benefits we see with our health. So, how do we continue to have it run optimally?
How can you improve your methylation process?
What we haven’t discussed here is what makes the methylation process run. There are 3 essential B vitamins needed to run the methylation pathway: pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). A deficiency in any of these B vitamins impairs your body’s ability to run the methylation pathway, and ultimately impacts all the processes we talked about earlier. Disruptions in these processes eventually lead to symptoms and disease, and can impact a whole variety of systems from heart disease to mood regulation. Deficiencies with B vitamins are potentially serious and unfortunately, all too common.
It is so important to supplement with B vitamins, and getting the right ones is crucial. Choosing methylated B vitamins allows for the methylation to run more efficiently and provides a more beneficial outcome. After my extensive research, I have created my own formulation of B vitamins that are both methylated and specifically designed to aid in recovery. They are called Methyl-Detox Recovery B’s and you can find more information about them here. I encourage you to do your research on this topic as well and invite you to stop by the clinic to pick up a bottle.
I’m encouraged to see so many people taking a concerted interest in their health and feel honored to share information and ideas that I have accumulated after years of practice. I look forward to connecting with each of you as you continue on your health recovery journey. Keep moving in the right direction and you’ll be closer to your goal everyday!