What is it and why is it important?
Methylation is a biochemical process involved in almost all your body’s functions. Methylation occurs when a single carbon and three hydrogen atoms (called a methyl group) are added to another molecule. The removal of a methyl group is called demethylation. Think of billions of little on/off switches inside your body that control everything from your stress response and how your body makes energy from food, to your brain chemistry and detoxification. That’s methylation and demethylation.
Methyl groups control:
- The stress response
- The production and recycling of glutathione — the body’s master antioxidant!
- The detoxification of hormones, chemicals and heavy metals
- The inflammation response
- Genetic expression and the repair of DNA
- Neurotransmitters and the balancing of brain chemistry
- Energy production
- The repair of cells damaged by free radicals
- The immune response, controlling T-cell production, fighting infections and viruses and regulating the immune response
If you have a shortage of methyl groups or a genetic SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism), the process of methylation can be interrupted, and people can become sick. There is research to suggest that impaired methylation is linked to autoimmunity.
So, what can you do to improve methylation?
- Eat dark leafy green veggies
- Get B vitamins and folate
- Get adequate amounts of magnesium and zinc
- Take probiotics
- Reduce stress
- Boost glutathione
- Get enough sleep, optimize your body’s antioxidants, Curcumin, exercise!