Methylation is a chemical process for methyl groups –CH3 are added to molecules in our body, molecules like, genes, or enzymes, or hormones, amino acids, and so on, to activate their function. It controls genetic expression and determines whether a particular gene is turned on or off. Every gene in every one of our cells is ultimately regulated by the process of methylation.
The body’s main methyl donor is SAMe, (S-adenosylmethionine), SAMe travels around the body providing methyl groups to molecules in need. Once activated, these molecules can perform their jobs. A common example of methylation is the addition of a methyl group to folate, which converts folic acid into the active form of folate known as 5-MTHF, (5- methyl-tetrahydrofolate) People with the MTHFR genetic mutation have difficulties activating folate due to a genetic mutation that affects the ability of the MTHFR enzyme to add a methyl group to folate.
For this reason, people with MTHFR often find they feel much better when they supplement with methylfolate. Another example of methylation is the addition of a methyl group to homocysteine (a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease) to convert it into methionine, a harmless amino acid. The addition and removal of methyl groups to and from DNA are responsible for turning genes on and off. When our methylation system fails, we have genes turned on when they should be off and turned off when they should be turned on. This can cause serious consequences to our health.
For optimal health, we need to optimize our methylation.
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For more on methylation visit my previous blogs