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What is Methylation and Why Should You Care?

While weight loss is important, what's more important is the quality of food you put in your body - food is information that quickly changes your metabolism and genes.

Mark Hyman

The process of methylation is more important than you may think. It can impact everything from fat metabolism, to energy production, and even contributes to DNA production. So, let’s explore what methylation is, and why you should even care.

What is Methylation?

Simply put, methylation is the chemical process of transferring one carbon and three hydrogen atoms from one substance to another. Although methylation may sound foreign of scientific, you’re much more familiar with the process than you might think. It’s happening at a cellular level in your body, and in fact, occurs in every cell and tissue.

The process of methylation is critically important. It changes the way proteins behave, thereby impacting enzymes, hormones, and genes.

Why is Methylation Important?

The process of methylation contributes to all of the following: 

  • DNA production
  • Neurotransmitter production
  • Detoxification
  • Histamine metabolism
  • Estrogen metabolism
  • Eye health
  • Fat metabolism
  • Cellular energy
  • Liver health

In most healthy individuals, methylation takes place freely. Our bodies have a universal methyl donor called SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) which readily contributes its methyl group to support the body’s ability to perform the aforementioned functions. Yet, this becomes complicated by the fact that SAMe production is dependent upon 5-MTHF (methyl-folate), a B vitamin. In itself, this isn’t a problem, but the bad news is that up to 50% of the population has a genetic mutation, the MTHFR gene variant, which makes it difficult for the body to create enough 5-MTHF. [1] When we can’t initiate the methylation process, it impedes our ability to create a significant number of molecules, including:

  • Glutathione
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Melatonin
  • Serotonin
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine
  • L-Carnitine
  • Cysteine
  • Taurine

What Happens When Methylation is Impaired?

Disruptions of Methylation

Disruptions of methylation can contribute to the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cancer
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Inherited genetic disorders
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy or fertility complications
  • Decreased energy production
  • Decreased recovery

Because it contributes to detoxification, impaired methylation can allow toxins to build up in the body. As a result, a host of issues can arise. For example, researchers have established a link between abnormal DNA methylation and autoimmune disorders, such as lupus. [2] Disruptions in methylation have also been associated with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), [3] cancer, muscular dystrophy, and several inherited genetic diseases. [4] It can also contribute to conditions such as stroke, dementia, depression, and pregnancy or fertility complications.

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Beyond contributing to disease, however, methylation impairment can also take its toll on wellness even in disease-free individuals. Methyl groups control energy production, inflammation response, the repair of cells damaged by free radicals, and the production of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. These factors can make you feel as if your energy is depleted and your body is unable to recover as quickly as it should.

How to Improve Methylation in Your Body

Middle aged businessman eating salad in restraint while talking on his cell phone

Individuals with a healthy diet take in a variety of B vitamins, especially from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and bok choy. Dark leafy greens, asparagus, almonds, fish, and eggs are also rich in the B vitamins the body needs to support methylation. Yet, even the healthiest diet is likely to have some nutritional gaps, and it may be difficult to get enough B vitamins through food alone every day to support optimal methylation. Moreover, B vitamins found in food may not be in an optimal form for our bodies to use them most efficiently. When coupled with the prevalence of genetic issues, it’s no surprise why B vitamin deficiencies are seen so commonly.

To some degree, methylation can be promoted through many of the lifestyle adjustments you’d make to support overall health, such as reducing stress, alcohol intake, and exposure to toxins. These toxins burden the liver, which plays an essential role in methylation. Yet, in people with MTHFR gene variants or other issues inhibiting methylation, these behaviors alone won’t be enough to provide the body with enough 5-MTHF. Thus, getting tested for a deficiency is a good starting point for most individuals. If you are, you will likely be recommended for supplements.

What Active Forms of Vitamins are Essential for Improved Methylation

There are some vitamins and nutrients which can be supplemented to increase B vitamin levels, and subsequently methylation. It’s important to note, however, that with these vitamins, it is imperative that patients use the active form, which in most cases is already methylated. The non-methylated form, on the other hand, is less effective for raising 5-MTHF levels in the body.

For this reason, Cenegenics offers a special methylation formula which empowers the body by raising vitamin B levels to support methylation. It contains five ingredients which are essential to the methylation process, starting with 5-MTHF, the vitamin responsible for making the primary methyl donor SAMe. It also contains an optimal amount of methylcobalamin (B12), riboflavin (B2), and pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6). Finally, the last ingredient is known as betaine (trimethylglycine), which also acts as a methyl donor. Ultimately, these ingredients combine to return your B vitamins back to their peak for healthy methylation.

The Benefits of Methylation Supplements

Supplement pills in wooden spoon again grain background, herbal supplement in pill and capsule on wood table with green leaves

In addition to helping to keep autoimmune disorders at bay, methylation formula can facilitate overall healthy aging. It supports:

Methylation also protects the body’s telomeres, or the tails on DNA and chromosomes which can accelerate aging if not protected. This impacts the body not just physically, but mentally as well. Thus, methylation slows overall aging, in terms of both bodily function and mental acuity. This, combined with hormone regulation, boosted energy, reduced inflammation, and detoxification can help you feel better not just shortly after taking the supplement, but also far into the future.

Plus, as with all of our nutraceuticals, our methylation formula is manufactured in the U.S.A. and without any harmful additives. Because supplements aren’t nearly as heavily regulated as pharmaceuticals, it’s critically important to make sure yours come from only trusted sources. Our clinical nutraceuticals are pharmaceutically-tested and far surpass the quality of low-cost, generic retail supplements. That’s because we believe that what goes into the body directly influences the quality of health outcomes.

If you feel sluggish, achy, or otherwise under the weather, you could be suffering from the genetic defect that affects methylation. To find out more about what you can do to start feeling like the best version of yourself, contact your nearest Cenegenics location.

Next Steps in Understanding Methylation

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] The Permanente Medical Group, 2015. Retrieved from URL: https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Images/GEN_MTHFR_tcm63-938252.pdf

[2] Richardson, B. “DNA methylation and autoimmune disease.” Clinical Immunology. Oct. 2003. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14585278

[3] EA Vucic et al. “DNA methylation is globally disrupted and associated with expression changes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease small airways.” American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. May 2014. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24298892

[4] Robertson, Keith D. “DNA methylation and human disease.” Nature Reviews Genetics. 01 Aug. 2005. Retrieved from URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/nrg1655

  • Karen Rastatter says:

    Are your medical services covered by Medicare Part B?

    • Cenegenics Elite Health says:

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately, health insurance is focused on traditional medicine of treating disease vs what Cenegenics does, which is address underlying health issues proactively. Our experience has been that insurance will cover some but very little of preventive medicine but our patients do use their health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for Cenegenics services.

      Thank you,
      Cenegenics Elite Health

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