The results are in, and the moment of truth reveals you have a genetic defect. Not to be alarmed, we are all mutants of some genetic malfunction. If, however, yours is of the MTHFR variety, your methylation capacity could be compromised.
An MTHFR polymorphism (defect) of C677T can cause the most dysfunction of the MTHFR enzyme. The MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) enzyme isn’t going to be able to properly metabolize folate leading to a potential host of problems including methylation.
No need to throw up your hands in genetic surrender. Your body just needs some extra TLC in order to facilitate methylation. As for the rest of you, before you throw up your hands in genetic supremacy, methylation can be impaired through the following risk factors:
- Poor nutrition
- Oxidative stress
- Metabolic defects
- Other genetic defects
What is methylation and why is it so important?
Methylation is the process of transferring methyl groups (three hydrogen atoms bonded to a carbon atom, known as CH3) from one molecule to another.
Methylation turns on genes, activates enzymes, drives detoxification reactions, influences hormone secretions and helps maintain normal metabolism of homocysteine, a potentially harmful amino acid metabolite.
According to Neuropsychopharmacology, when DNA methylation is altered as a result of developmental mutations or environmental risk factors, such as drug exposure and neural injury, mental impairment is a common side effect.i
Cancer has also been implicated through methylation defects. The Journal of Medical Genetics reported that through inappropriate silencing of growth regulating genes and simultaneous destabilisation of whole chromosomes, methylation defects help create a chaotic state from which cancer cells evolve.ii
Reduction in the activity of genes such as MTHFR increases levels of the potentially harmful amino acid homocysteine. Through the process of methylation, homocysteine is converted to methionine, however, the complex metabolism of homocysteine within the body is highly dependent on vitamin derived cofactors, vitamin B12, folate and vitamin B6.
Hyperhomocysteinemia is the tongue twisting name for elevated homocysteine levels caused by both nutritional (e.g. folate, vitamins B6 and B12) and genetic factors, including functional polymorphisms of key enzymes involved in homocysteine metabolism.
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Having elevated homocysteine levels can confer an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and neural tube defects.iii
Folate, B6, and vitamin B12 are involved in breaking down homocysteine in the blood. In fact, according to one study high doses of vitamin B6 decreased homocysteine serum levels in male patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.iv
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin has also been implicated as a nutrient to help reduce elevated homocysteine levels in those with homozygous C677T MTHFR mutations.v
In addition, to the B vitamins, Trimethylglycine (TMG) is also effective at reducing homocysteine. TMG bypasses the genetic mutation in MTHFR and can lower homocysteine directly, reducing the need for high dose L-methylfolate.
Trimethylglycine or Betaine is an important nutrient obtained from the diet from a variety of foods that can reduce elevated serum homocysteine concentrations. It is a compound that is rapidly absorbed, utilized and a source of methyl groups that helps to maintain liver, heart, and kidney health.vi
Taking just L-5-MTHF is not sufficient for those with MTHFR mutations which is why Dr. Benjamin Lynch provides a comprehensive complex to support normal levels of homocysteine and support the methylation cycle.
HomocysteX Plus by Seeking Health supplies bioactive forms of four essential B-vitamins together with betaine (also known as trimethylglycine or TMG) to synergistically support methylation processes and normal homocysteine metabolism. This formula is exceptional for those with defective MTHFR genes. To nutritionally support optimal methylation capacity, this product supplies folate, vitamin B12, B6, B2, and betaine in amounts and forms that are efficiently utilized and well-tolerated by the body.
Key Benefits and Actions of HomocysteX Plus:
- Supports homocysteine metabolism*
- Supports cellular repair*
- Supports normal sleep cycles*
- Supports detoxification*
- Supports healthy energy output*
We recommend taking one capsule per day, preferably with food, or as directed by a healthcare provider.
Reprinted with kind permission of Seeking Health