Methy (CH3) is involved in a variety of biological processes. Methyl based substances include glutathione (an interacellular antioxidant), carnitine (involved in fat metabolism), creatine phosphate (used in ATP for energy production), epinephrine (adrenaline) and phosphatidylcholine (used in the nerves responsible for memory).
Adding this methyl group to another chemical compound is known as methylation, a process which is taking place about one million times per second in the human body.
Methylation is one of the six major pathways of liver detoxification and helps to break down excess neurotransmitters and hormones, including estrogen, epinephrine, dopamine, melatonin, histamine and serotonin. It also eliminates homocysteine, a compound associated with an increased risk of heart disease, as well as many chemicals.
Methylation is also involved in epigenetics, the process by which gene expression is regulated. Poor methylation can contribute to may genetic problems, and balancing methylation can help to control or regulate these issues.
Disturbed methylation is common in people suffering from various forms of mental and emotional problems, including, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and certain behavioral disorders. It has been suggested that disturbed methylation (either over methylating or under methylating) may be involved in more than 50% of all mental disorders.
Overmethylation can be linked with a lack of motivation and libido, obsessive thoughts, high anxiety, food and chemical sensitivity and excessive body hair (hirsutism). Undermethylation can be linked with obsessive-compulsive behaviors, seasonal allergies, phobias and addictive tendencies. Poor methylation may be present with Lyme’s disease, stroke, dementia, cardiovascular disease, depression, certain forms of cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Clearly, if we want to be healthy, we need to make sure we’re methylating properly. If you’d like to learn more about methylation, join us for this month’s Herbal Hour. We’ll tell you about the problems associated with poor methylation and how we can use nutrition to make sure we’re methylating well. Don’t miss this important information.