Methylation 101: The Key to Optimal Health

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The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
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Methylation is a simple chemical process that happens in our bodies on the cellular level but isn’t exactly simple for some. Certain people struggle with proper methylation, which means their bodies can’t utilize B Vitamins effectively as energy as well as eliminate toxins which can cause oxidative stress and result in chronic illness.

 

 

What is Methylation and Why is it Important?

Methylation is a vital biochemical process that occurs in every cell of our body. It is responsible for many critical functions, such as gene expression, DNA repair, neurotransmitter synthesis, and detoxification. In simple terms, it involves adding a methyl group (-CH3) to a molecule by enzymes called methyltransferases. This process can modify the structure and function of various molecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids.

For example, methylation of DNA can regulate gene expression, which is essential for normal development and cellular function. Methylation can also impact the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which affect our mood, behavior, and cognitive function. Additionally, methylation is involved in detoxification pathways, which help to remove toxins and harmful substances from our body.

Moreover, methylation can influence our risk of developing certain diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. For instance, abnormal DNA methylation patterns are often found in cancer cells, which can lead to abnormal gene expression and contribute to tumor formation. Methylation of certain genes has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Key Functions of Methylation in Your Body:

Methylation plays a crucial role in our body. Here are some of the key functions of methylation:

  • Gene Expression:
  • Methylation can turn genes on or off by adding or removing methyl groups from the DNA molecule. This process is called epigenetic regulation and can influence our risk of developing certain diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

  • Neurotransmitter Synthesis:
  • Methylation is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate our mood, behavior, and cognitive function.

  • Detoxification:
  • Methylation is essential for the detoxification of harmful substances, such as heavy metals, environmental toxins, and drugs. It converts these substances into less toxic forms that can be eliminated from the body.

  • DNA Repair:
  • Methylation is involved in the repair of damaged DNA, which can help prevent mutations and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases.

     

     

    Diseases Associated with Methylation Problems: 

    Individuals with methylation problems may be at an increased risk of developing certain diseases. Abnormal methylation patterns have been linked to a variety of health conditions, including:

    • Cardiovascular Disease: Methylation of certain genes has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, and heart failure. Abnormal methylation patterns may contribute to these conditions by altering gene expression and impairing normal cellular function. A study published in the journal Atherosclerosis found that DNA methylation patterns were significantly different between individuals with and without coronary artery disease.

    • Neurological Disorders: Research has shown that methylation defects are associated with various neurological disorders. For example, it has been found that individuals with autism spectrum disorders had significantly different DNA methylation patterns compared to neurotypical individuals. Another study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found that abnormal methylation patterns were associated with depression. Methylation is critical for the synthesis and regulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Methylation defects can disrupt these pathways and contribute to neurological disorders.

    • Cancer: Abnormal methylation patterns are often found in cancer cells, which can lead to abnormal gene expression and contribute to tumor formation. Methylation defects have been linked to various types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer. Abnormal methylation patterns have been found in various types of cancer. For instance, a study published in the journal Cancer Research found that abnormal methylation patterns were associated with breast cancer development. Another study published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics found that methylation defects were associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

    • Autoimmune Diseases: Methylation is involved in the regulation of the immune system, and abnormal methylation patterns have been associated with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Methylation is involved in the regulation of the immune system, and abnormal methylation patterns have been associated with autoimmune diseases. For example, a study published in the journal Clinical Immunology found that DNA methylation patterns were significantly different between individuals with and without lupus.

    • Birth Defects: Methylation is critical for normal fetal development, and methylation defects during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida and cleft palate. For instance, a study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that prenatal exposure to a chemical that inhibits methylation was associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects.

     

     

     

    How Can We Optimize Methylation?

     

    There are several ways to optimize methylation and support our overall health. Here are some strategies that you can implement now:

      • Eat a Healthy Diet: 
    A balanced and nutrient-dense diet is essential for optimal methylation. It should include foods that are rich in methyl donors, such as Folate, Vitamin B12, Choline, and Betaine. Good sources of these nutrients include leafy greens, eggs, liver, beans, and whole grains (we recommend gluten-free grains).
      • Supplement with Methyl Donors: 
    If you have a methylation deficiency or a genetic variant that affects methylation such as MTHFR defects, you may benefit from taking methyl donor supplements. These include Folate, Vitamin B12, TMG and more. Pure Thera Pro Methyl B Complete is a comprehensive methylation support formula that contains many of these nutrients in optimal amounts.
      • Manage Stress: 
    Chronic stress can impair methylation and lead to a range of health problems. Therefore, it is crucial to manage stress through relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
      • Exercise Regularly: 
    Regular exercise can boost methylation and improve overall health. It can increase the production of SAMe, a key methyl donor, and promote the expression of genes that are involved in energy metabolism and oxidative stress.
      • Avoid Toxins: 
    Toxic substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and environmental pollutants, can interfere with methylation and cause oxidative damage. Therefore, it is important to minimize your exposure to these toxins as much as possible.
    It is important to note that while methylation defects can increase the risk of these and other diseases, not everyone with methylation problems will develop these conditions. In fact, many functional medicine physicians believe that disease outcome is 75% lifestyle governed and only 25% genetics.

    Additionally, many factors can influence disease risk, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. If you suspect you have methylation problems, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

    Pure Thera’s Methyl B Complete is a high-quality dietary supplement that supports optimal methylation and overall health. Methylated B Vitamins help your body’s methylation process run smoothly, particularly if you have methylation issues such as the genetic mutation, MTHFR.
    References:

    Zhang, D., et al. (2018). Abnormal DNA methylation as a molecular mechanism for vascular aging. Atherosclerosis, 268, 1-6.

    Nardone, S., & Elliott, E. (2016). The Epigenetic Regulation of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10, 1-13.

    Kang, H. J., et al. (2013). Spatio-temporal transcriptome of the human brain. Nature, 478(7370), 483-9.

    Flanagan, J. M., et al. (2009). Altered tissue DNA methylation in cancer. Epigenetics, 4(4), 221-4.

    Lee, H. S., et al. (2014). Aberrant DNA methylation of interferon regulatory factor genes in lupus patients. Clinical Immunology, 154(1), 141-153.

    Sengupta, S. M., et al. (2016). Environmental toxicants and maternal DNA methylation patterns in the offspring: a review. Reproductive Toxicology, 66, 111-118.