Support and Balance Healthy Methylation

Top Tips to Support and Balance Healthy Methylation

By Dr. Deedra Mason, Director of Clinical Education & Research

TO DO:

  1. Clean the house (…and keep it that way)
  2. Speak kindly to myself and others
  3. Be a good methylator

This last bullet on your to do list might feel like it’s out of your control, I mean it’s in your genetic blueprint right? Aren’t you “hardcoded” to be this way?  You either are or you aren’t a good methylator…Right?  Not so fast, let’s start with the defining terms.

Methylation: A methyl group is simply one carbon connected to three hydrogen atoms.  You guessed it, these organic powerhouses are found in your food and play a huge role in your gene health and your metabolic health.

What Signals Are You Sending?

Why do we care about methylation anyway? It’s because methylation pathways are literal switches in the body. These switches start or stop reactions, such as turning on a gene or activating an enzyme. When a methyl group is “lost” or chemically removed, metabolic reactions simply stop.  In other words, the gene is turned “off” and the enzyme is deactivated.  Let’s put this in context.  It is important for you to turn on inflammation to support an optimal immune response; it is just as necessary to be able to turn it off or that “proper response” may become a “problematic response.”  This is why having your methylation enzymes functioning properly is essential for your well-being.

Top Tips to Support and Balance Healthy Methylation

Just as there are many causes of poor methylation, there a plenty of things you can do that support methylation.

  1. Eat more dark green leafy vegetables. You want to eat at least one cup of vegetables like Bok choy, collards, swiss chard, kale, spinach, watercress. Even dandelion and mustard greens are important to support detoxification pathways and support healthy balanced methylation.  Dark green “leafies” are some of the most abundant sources of nutrients needed to optimize your methylation.
  2. Limit your alcohol to no more than three drinks per week. Not only does alcohol increase your risk for storing low density lipoprotein and triglycerides, but alcohol increases your risk for blood sugar abnormalities and cardiovascular decline. Alcohol also depletes your B vitamin levels which are essential drivers of a methylation.
  3. Keep the bacteria in your gut healthy and diverse. The best way to do this is to take a probiotic that has multiple strains that create a pro and post biotic environment.  I call these “The Weeder’s, the Feeder’s and the Bouncers.” You want a diversity of good gut bugs that can get rid of or compete with problematic gut bugs. You want those that can feed, re-populate and improve a healthy gut biome and gut barrier.  Additionally, you need the bouncers -the tough guys -the bruisers. You need the ones that can eradicate the pathogenic bacteria that are not just limiting your methylation pathways, they’re limiting your ability to properly balance your immune system.
  4. Utilize foods that are rich in B vitamins or take a complex of B-vitamins in supplement form to eliminate or decrease products of metabolism like homocysteine. Poorly metabolized end-products or synthetic food additives may increase your risk for mental emotional and brain aging decline.  In addition to B vitamins, zinc and magnesium are hugely important to support a healthy gut barrier, a healthy immune response, healthy blood sugar balance and to support healthy methylation pathways and metabolism.
  5. Make sure that your diet is rich in an select amino acids like L-tryptophan, glutamine, taurine, glycine and phenylalanine. It’s the combination of these amino acids that don’t just support healthy methylation pathways but are also the building blocks for neurotransmitters and master antioxidants in the body like glutathione.

For added support, especially if mental fatigue or emotional fatigue is your big concern, consider adaptogenic (stress relieving) botanicals.  Think Chamomile, valerian root*, scutellarin or lemon balm tea.  If tea is not your thing.  Simple “BLISS” creating botanical formulas can be an easy way to keep methylation and the world around us in balance.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.