Understand Your Methyl Detox Profile
We have two copies of most of the genes we are born with – one from our mother and one from our father. We use the SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) generated from your unique DNA sequence to determine if one or both copies of your genes have a mutation at a specific location in a specific gene. If there are no mutations present, your result will be displayed as (-/-). If one gene is mutated, the result will read (+/-). If both copies have a mutation, the result is (+/+).
The terms heterozygous and homozygous are used by geneticists to denote whether one or both copies of a gene are mutated. Heterozygous mutations (+/-) may differ from homozygous mutations (+/+) in associated disease risk since a person with a heterozygous mutation will often still have one fully functioning copy of the gene. It is also important to understand that having a gene with a SNP mutation does not mean that the gene is defective or nonfunctioning, only that it is working with an altered efficiency. Sometimes this means that it is working at a decreased level, but it could also mean that it is functioning at a higher than normal efficiency, or that the gene is lacking regulatory mechanisms normally involved in its expression.
Although mutations can occur at any time during our lifetime, it is most likely that we are born with these mutations and will have them throughout our life. These inherited mutations have been passed down to us from previous generations (our parents and grandparents) and may be passed to future generations (our children). This may provide an explanation as to why certain traits or diseases “run in the family”.
Although we cannot change our genetic code, we can change how our genes are expressed. Research has revealed that our gene expression is not determined solely by hereditary factors, but it is also influenced by our diet, nutritional status, toxic load and environmental influences or stressors. This phenomenon has been termed “epigenetics”. Using epigenetic concepts along with a good understanding of the methylation cycle, researchers have begun to make recommendations to optimize genetic expression and help to restore health.
What’s the big deal about methylation?
Methylation is a core process that occurs in all cells to help your body make biochemical conversions. When people with genetic mutations is MTHFR are exposed to toxins, they have a harder time getting rid of them which can cause some very serious illnesses. The methylation process is responsible for:
- Cellular Repair: synthesis of nucleic acids, production & repair of DNA & mRNA
- Detoxification and Neurotransmistter Production: interconversion of amino acids
- Healthy Immune System Function: formation & maturation of red blood cells, white blood cells & platelet production
MTHFR is a key enzyme in folate metabolism, facilitating the formation of methyltetrahydrofolate, a required cofactor in the remethylation of homocysteine (Hcy) to methionine.
Heterozygosity for 677 (-/+) or A1298C (-/+) results in 30-40% reduction in MTHFR enzyme activity, which may moderately limit methylation reactions in the body.
- High homocysteine and disease risks are primarily associated with the (+/+) genotype.
- Possible marginally increased risk of essential hypertension and stroke; studies are mixed Possible slight increased risk of birth defects in the offspring, e.g., neural tube defects, cleft lip and/or palate, and Down syndrome; studies are mixed.
- Possible slight increased risk of gastric and esophageal cancer, the latter of which may be reversed with adequate folate intake
- Ensure adequate intake of dark-green leafy vegetables and other B vitamin-rich foods
- Take supplementation with methyl folate instead of folic acid, vitamins B2, B3, B6, methyl B12. Take 3 capsules of this B complex in the morning. 1000 mcg B12 and Folate.
Here’s ten tips for you:
- Avoid taking folic acid blocking or depleting drugs, such as birth control pills or Methyltrexate
- Avoid taking proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec or Prevacid or antacids, like Tums, which may block essential Vitamin B12 absorption
- Have your homocysteine measured, which if elevated may indicate a problem with methylation or a deficiency of B12 or folate. If your homocysteine is elevated, limit your intake of methionine-rich foods
- Avoid eating processed foods, many of which have added synthetic folic acid. Instead eat whole foods with no added chemicals or preservatives.
- Get your daily intake of dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard or arugula, which are loaded with natural levels of folate that your body can more easily process.
- Eat hormone-free, grass-fed beef, organic pastured butter or ghee, and eggs from free-range, non-GMO fed chickens.
- Remove any mercury amalgams with a trained biologic dentist. Avoid aluminum exposure in antiperspirants or cookware. Avoiding heavy metal or other toxic exposure is important.
- Make sure you supplementing with essential nutrients, like methyl-B12, methyl-folate, TMG, N-acetylcysteine, riboflavin, curcumin, fish oil, Vitamins C, D, E, and probiotics. If you are double homozygous for MTHFR mutations, you should proceed very cautiously with methyl-B12 and methyl-folate supplementation as some people do not tolerate high doses. Introduce nutrients one by one and watching for any adverse reactions. Use extreme caution when supplementing with niacin, which can dampen methylation.
- Make time for gentle detox regimens several times per week. These could include infared sauna, epsom salt baths, dry skin brushing, and regular exercise or sweating.
- If you have a known genetic mutation, share the information with parents, children and other family members and encourage them to be tested, too!
Listen to a radio interview about it from www.avivaromm.com
Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT) is a key enzyme involved in the deactivation of catechol compounds, including catecholamines, catechol estrogens, catechol drugs such as L-DOPA, and catechol metabolites of various chemicals and toxins, such as aryl hydrocarbons.
- 3-4-fold reduction in COMT enzyme activity, resulting in decreased methylation
- Increased risk of nervousness/anxiety (esp. when history of childhood trauma) and PTSD, due to higher baseline levels of catecholamines
- Acute or chronic stress may compromise working memory, decision-making ability, or mood, by producing supraoptimal dopamine levels
- Strong cognitive stability, e.g., ability to focus (due to higher brain dopamine) but lower cognitive flexibility (e.g., ability to adapt to external changes)
- Cognitive benefit may be most apparent as dopamine levels decline with age
Clinical Management Considerations
- Minimize stress, since catecholamines levels may already be high
- Ensure adequate B6, B12, folate, magnesium, betaine, and methionine to support formation of S-adenosylmethionine and prevent elevated homocysteine; S-adenosylhomocysteine inhibits COMT
- Support precursors for body to make SAMe (cofactor for COMT enzyme)
- Support cofactor Magnesium needs
- Increase food sources of methionine: eggs, fish, turkey, cheese, legumes, nuts/ seeds.
- Avoid Quercetin supplementations/
- Consider 400mg methionine 1-2 times per day
Food and Lifestyle is still KEY!
An individual’s nutrient status depends on many factors. Digestion, absorption, and assimilation impacts the availability of nutrients supporting methylation, so issues potentially interfering with that availability need to be addressed. Further laboratory assessment may be indicated.
For food and lifestyle based support of methylation:
- Address GI function, intestinal permeability, dysbiosis, and food sensitivities. Avoid offending foods and ingredients.
- Consume a variety of organic, whole, colorful plant foods providing fiber, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefit. Include omega 3 fatty acids. Consume enough protein from lean- antibiotic/hormone free animal sources and/or plant sources- legumes, nuts/seeds.
- Manage weight and regulate blood glucose.
- Hydrate well with filtered water. Overall fluid need = 1 ounce/kg body weight (~½ body weight in fluid ounces, unless fluid restriction prescribed by physician)
- Avoid sugar, refined/fortified grains, conventionally raised animal products, trans fats, charbroiled foods (avoid grilling and deep frying) .
- Avoid air pollutants, pesticides, bisphenol A, phthalates, automobile fumes, jet fuel, benzene, heavy metals, plastic food/beverage containers. Avoid high mercury fish- tuna, shark, swordfish, King mackerel.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Don’t smoke.
- Work with a nutrition expert who can tailor the eating pattern to meet individual requirements.
- Lead an active lifestyle. Adopt a moderate exercise routine. Consult an exercise specialist to individualize routine. Avoid over-training.
- Reduce and manage stress. Consider meditation, yoga, prayer, positive thinking, acupuncture, social interaction, journaling. Get adequate sleep.
Dietary sources of key methylation nutrients
leafy greens- spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens
legumes- mung beans, chickpeas , pinto beans, great northern beans, lentils, black beans, fava beans, kidney beans, soybeans, navy beans, pinto beans, black eye peas , split peas, peanuts
leeks, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocado, citrus fruit, beets, spearmint, rosemary, daikon radishes, basil, cilantro (coriander leaf), marjoram, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wakame seaweed, quinoa, kelp seaweed, bay leaf, parsley, shitake mushrooms, dill, okra, egg, artichokes.
spirulina, egg, paprika, chives, cilantro, spearmint, tarragon, shiitake mushrooms, parsley, almonds, fish roe, cayenne pepper, chili powder, soybeans, game meat, daikon radish, chervil, goat cheese, mackerel, brie cheese, sesame, liver-lamb, beef, chicken, duck, goose.
peanuts, sunflower seeds, chicken, shiitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, salmon, spirulina, pork cilantro, mackerel, parsley, beef, game meats, sundried tomatoes, tarragon, trout, lamb, chili powder, mustard seed, duck, cod, anchovy, liver- beef, lamb, chicken.
Agar seaweed, herbs, spices, bran, pumpkin seeds cocoa flaxseed, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, amaranth, rye, molasses, walnuts, quinoa, great northern beans, mung beans, teff, tofu, chickpeas, oats, daikon radish, bulgur, lambsquarters, hazelnuts, leeks, black beans, kidney beans, horseradish.
Vitamin B12 –
meat- beef, chicken, goose, pork, lamb, game meat , fish- mackerel, whitefish, salmon, cod, herring,snapper, trout, crab, clams, lobster, oysters, mussels, eggs, liver (lamb, beef, turkey, duck, goose, chicken) milk and milk products.
Oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chervil, beef, game meats, lamb, poppy seed, shiitake mushroom, cardamom, celery seed, crab, bison, turkey, pork, peanuts, pine nuts, cocoa, thyme, parsley, rice bran, basil, agar seaweed, cashews, lobster, mustard seed, dark rye.
Egg, cod, whitefish, sesame seeds, spirulina, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, buffalo, turkey, halibut, anchovy, Romano cheese, game meats, gruyere cheese, goat cheese, goose, duck, snapper, tilapia, mackerel, haddock, lobster, pumpkin seeds, sardine, herring, bison.