Methylation is a metabolic process that happens a billion times a second in our bodies and it’s a process by which molecules, hydrogen atoms and carbons interact, create and convert substances that our body needs to stay alive and I mean that literally because breathing is methylation.
Methylation is responsible for how we use and convert food into energy. It controls immune response, repairs DNA, balances our neurotransmitters, controls inflammation, controls our stress responses and it detoxifies our bodies of chemicals, toxins and bad hormones. When you are sick with Lyme disease and co-infections or chronic disease this finely tuned chemical process can become disrupted. You might not have the right amount of hydrogen to carbon ratio to complete the methylation process because your diet might not contain the necessary nutrients our bodies need to carry it out. You may have infections like Lyme that are feeding on and thus stealing these nutrients that your body needs for methylation or you may be a carrier of the MTHFR gene mutation, a mutation that indicates your ability to methylate maybe severely compromised.
About 40% of the world’s population have an MTHFR gene mutation. The gene itself one of 20,000 we have within our DNA, carries instructions on how our bodies convert folic acid which we consume when eating food such as broccoli, spinach and legumes into methyl folate, the form of folic acid that is pivotal in the methylation process. Someone who carries the gene mutation can expect to produce 30-70% less methyl folate than somebody who doesn’t, depending on whether one or both of your parents carried the mutated gene. With an ineffective ability to methylate you can feel incredibly unwell, suffering with chronic fatigue and are more susceptible to disease. People who have a reduced ability to methylate are more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, ADHD, infertility, stroke and dementia. Not only that but MTHFR gene is responsible for producing serotonin our happy neurotransmitter. So you could find that someone who is suffering with a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar or schizophrenia and has a history of mental health in the family could have a mutated MTHFR gene.
Most significantly, particularly for Lyme patients the MTHFR gene is also responsible for producing glutathione the most powerful detoxifier in our bodies. Glutathione is responsible for lowering free radicals and oxidative stress but it also repairs damaged cells and DNA. Most people with chronic disease have low glutathione levels. You can read more about our master detoxifier here and why supplementing it can make a huge difference to your health and well-being.
The first port of call is to find out whether you have a mutated MTHFR gene, you can do that by testing your DNA with these guys. Not only do they test the MTHFR gene but they give you a report that assesses your gut health, neuro transmitters, mitochondrial function, diet, metabolism and inflammation.
People who find their ability to methylate is compromised need to take supplements to support this imperative processing system. Some of these supplements may need to be in an active form i.e. the body doesn’t need to convert it to be able to utilise it, it can be utilised straight away.
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