Methylation is a chemical process that happens in nearly all the cells of the body, thousands of times every second. In chemistry we describe the process as the addition of a single carbon group with 3 Hydrogens, to a molecule. Where once there was simply a Hydrogen (H), now there is a Methyl group (CH3).
This endless addition and subtraction of a methyl groups has been described as the ‘currency of the body’. We need enough methyl groups to feed all the chemical reactions dependent upon them, just like we need enough money to pay for all the things we need in life.
Adequate methylation ensures that your DNA is completely formed and repaired, so that when the DNA is ‘read’, you can make normal proteins and enzymes.
When methylation is disturbed, RNA is substituted for DNA in the base pairs of our genes. The base pairs are named Adenine (A), Thiamine (T), Guanine (G) and Cytosine (C). When we poorly Methylate an RNA base called Uricil (U) is inserted instead of a Thyamine (T). When the DNA is read, the body makes a faulty protein or enzyme.
This error occurs and is repaired by the body thousands of times every minute, by slicing out the incorrect bases and inserting the correct ones. However, each time DNA is repaired, it becomes more fragile and eventually it can’t be read at all. The progessive fragility of our DNA is what we call ageing.
Aside from building and repairing DNA, so that we can make healthy proteins and enzymes, there are numerous other functions of Methylation.
-Methylation turns on and off genes.
-Methylation recyles Homocysteine. If not recycled Homocystein levels become high, damaging collagen-containing structures, most importantly blood vessels. High Homocysteine is always present in cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). Good methylation significantly reduces the risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). This is one reason why.
-Methylation transforms toxic compounds in the body allowing for their elimination, so it’s often described as being involved in detoxification and liver function.
-Methylation is required to make a substance called SAMe; it’s the precursor for 250 enzymes and the main DNA regulator. SAMe is only second to ATP (energy) in the number of enzymes that require it. Most SAMe is used to make our cell membranes. SAMe breaks down Histamine and it plays an essential role in reducing free radicals (oxidative stress).
-Methylation is required to build and breakdown neurotransmitters so it can be a cause of depression, anxiety, autism and learning disorders.
-Methylation is required to process hormones, specifically the estrogens, whose toxic intermediates are carcinogenic. So good methylation reduces the risk of cancer.
-Methylation is required to build our immune cells.
-Methylation is essential to make the protective coating for nerves, damage to which causes of pain, tingling and even paralysis when Methylation is deficient.
-Methylation is required to produce energy (ATP) so fatigue is often a symptom of methylation dysfunction.
-Methylation is required to build healthy cell membranes, whose importance I cant emphasise enough, because the transport of everything a cell needs and eliminates occurs through the cell membrane.
Ask Alice to show you the Methylation and Folate cycle so you can better understand why what she recommends for you will help you be healthy.
Dr Alice is among the most well informed practitioners in Australia when it comes to Methylation. She is often in communication with biochemists, compounding pharmacists, naturopaths and integrative medical doctors about the most recent discoveries and research in this field.