According to Dr. Mark Hyman, 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, controls homocysteine (an unhealthy compound that can damage blood vessels), helps recycle molecules needed for detoxification, and it helps maintain mood and keep inflammation in check.
When methylation occurs, methyl groups are created. If the cycle (between methionine and homocysteine) runs slowly or gets stalled, the lower availability of methyl groups can further affect genetic expression.
To keep methylation running smoothly, you need optimal levels of B vitamins (especially B12, B6 and B9). Without enough B vitamins methylation breaks down, and the results can be catastrophic. A breakdown in methylation also 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
The key to avoiding all of these problems is to maximize methylation. That means avoiding the things that cause your methylation to break down, testing to find out how well your methylation is working, and including the things that support proper methylation.
According to Dr. Hyman, 8 factors affect your Methylation Process:
2. Poor diet: You need to eat plenty of leafy greens, beans, fruit, and whole grains to get adequate levels of vitamins B6 and B12, betaine, and folate (B9). Egg yolks, meat, liver, and oily fish are the main dietary sources of vitamin B12 — so long-term vegan diets can be a problem. Plus, certain compounds can raise levels of homocysteine and deplete the B vitamins. These include excess animal protein, sugar, saturated fat, coffee, and alcohol.
4. Malabsorption: digestive issues, food allergies
5. Decreased stomach acid: it impairs absorption of B12.
6. Medications: Drugs like acid blockers, methotrexate (for cancer and arthritis and other autoimmune diseases), oral contraceptives, HCTZ (for high blood pressure), and Dilantin (for seizures) can all affect levels of B vitamins.
7. Other conditions: hypothyroidism, kidney failure or having only one kidney, cancer, and pregnancy
8. Toxic exposures
Tips to optimize your Methylation Process:
Dr. Hyman summarizes these:
1. Eat more dark leafy greens
2. Get more vitamin B in your diet
3. Minimize animal protein, sugar and saturated fat
4. Avoid processed and canned foods
5. Avoid excessive caffeine
6. Limit alcohol to 3 drinks a week
7. Don’t smoke
8. Avoid medications that interfere with methylation
9. Keep bacteria in your gut healthy
10. Improve stomach acid
11. Take supplements that prevent damage from homocysteine
12. Supplement to help support homocysteine metabolism.
If you would like to assess the status of your methylation through testing or you would like to optimize your diet to ensure a correct methylation process please let me know.
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