One of the most frequently asked questions we receive concerns the concept of methylation. At the core, MTHFR mutations are a methylation deficiency. But what is methylation? And what does it do?
Methylation is an important product that’s made by the mitochondria. One of its most important jobs, as a methyl group, is to flag toxins and prepare them for removal by the liver. When your body starts the detoxification process, and the liver looks for toxins to remove, anything with a methyl flag is metabolized. Therefore, a methylation deficiency is when a body takes in toxins all day long creating a very toxic environment and has no place to put the toxins.
For example, think about cooking something extremely smelly for dinner, perhaps a big fish cooked in onions. When you are finished eating, you are going to throw away the remaining fish. You toss it in your kitchen garbage can and go to bed for the night. However, the next day your kitchen smells terrible and you desperately want to take the trash outside and dispose of it. You decide to take the garbage from the kitchen outside to your garbage can where the trash sits until garbage day. On garbage day, you have to drag the garbage can to the end of the driveway and eventually it will be picked up.
Our bodies dispose of toxins in a similar way and go through many steps. First, built-up toxins are made water soluble through phase one of liver detoxification, they then move to phase 2 of the liver using methylation which pushes for removal through the intestines. Therefore, it’s essential to have the right ratio of vitamins and nutrients needed by your body and your specific genotype to allow you to move the garbage along the path to the point of elimination.
Methylation occurs in every cell within our bodies and has many other important functions.
- Creates healthy cells
- Creates new neurotransmitters
- Promotes the breakdown of neurotransmitters
- DNA repairs
- Energy production
- Fight infections
- Protects the body from oxidative stress
- Converts amino acids into proteins
MTHFR mutations are two prong mutations, meaning they first affect methyl groups and your ability to produce them. However, they also affect Folate Reductase.
What is Folate Reductase?
Folate Reductase is an enzyme and its job is to take folate that is eaten naturally and convert it into a reduced form. When vitamins, nutrients, and hormones are consumed bodies aren’t ready to use them, hence they store them and wait to activate different processes. Folate Reductase is the pathway that activate folates and converts it into 5-MethylTetrahydrafolate. This 5-MTHF occurs naturally in a body whenever you take folate and expose it to the enzyme folate reductase, thus making it reduced, or ready for use. Folate is needed for many important processes within the body. Folate is critical in supporting the energy cycle, and the energy cycle makes detoxifiers and methyl groups.
An MTHFR mutation causes both a deficiency in methylation and the inability to adequately convert naturally occurring folate into a reduced and usable form. Therefore, specific supplementation is often needed to improve methylation and increase folate intake.
Which vitamins and nutrients support methylation?
Bodies work in ratios, they are meant for many vitamins and nutrients to work together. The mitochondrial cycle relies on three B vitamins: B12, B6, and Folate. Folate helps create more methyl groups to be used for detoxification and the many other processes discussed above that methylation has a role in. Specific MTHFR mutations require specific amounts of these nutrients for methylation to work effectively. Methylated forms of B12 and folate are in the already reduced form making them easier for MTHFR affected bodies to absorb.
Looking for a supplement with the right ratio of B vitamins to support and improve your methylation? Biome IQ’s Pure Methylation is the combination of 3 B Vitamins: B12, B6, and Folate and adheres to the same ratio that the mitochondrial cycle prefers with the already reduced form of the vitamin folate Click here for more information.
High homocysteine levels or COMT mutations
In addition, for individuals with high homocysteine levels or a COMT mutation Trimethyl Glycine (TMG) is the most effective methyl donor. Some individuals have a hard time with methylated B vitamins because they can be over-stimulatory. As well, they are promoters/co-factors for many other pathways which means they can cause a lot of undesirable reactions. If you have a COMT mutation and are having a hard time with B vitamins a different form of methylation would be helpful. If you’ve had symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and depression then TMG is a good option to consider. TMG helps convert your anxiety-producing neurotransmitters (epinephrine/norepinephrine) back into your happy neurotransmitters (Dopamine).
Need an alternative form of methylation? BiomeIQ’s Methylation3 uses TMG, the specific form of methylation needed to help drive and support the conversion of neurotransmitters within the brain. If you have an MTHFR mutation and are suffering from mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, and aggression then you might also have a COMT mutation. Click here for more information.
Have questions regarding what supplements to take and lifestyle changes for MTHFR? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation call with our MTHFR Experts. We are happy to answer your questions and to help you get on the right path towards feeling better.
Do you have an MTHFR mutation? Take our survey to get information regarding your specific mutation.