- October 26, 2013 at 3:00 am #111939
impossibleMemberTopics: 16Replies: 606
This topic is so information loaded that I have decided to post this in chapters. This first one broadly explains the basics of what the methylation cycle is and how and why it applies to us (sick people in particular). I will attach a typical symptoms/disease list to it. In the coming days I will post more briefly covering the individual parts of the methyl cycle, the nuts and bolts of its operation, its particular individual influences and interactions with the body and get a little into treatment-the hard and fast basics but mainly some what not to do’s and things to look out for.October 26, 2013 at 3:03 am #111940
impossibleMemberTopics: 16Replies: 606
Over the last twenty years a new front in medical research and treatment has really come into the light. Originally explored for a few specific purposes, the medical community (some of it anyways) is just now beginning to fully understand the total impact that this area of the human physiology is having on the health and state of disease of the population. This is the “methylation cycle”. Everybody has methyl reactions occurring in their body, billions of times a second. If you stopped methylating, your bodys chemistry would come to a screeching halt and you would die. A methyl group is a simple molecule comprised of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms (CH3). Basically, this molecule is attached to many different substances in your body, thus “activating” them into a form that is then directly usable by the body or into compounds that are necessary to create other things that are directly used. Health Diagnostics and Research Institute put it very well-
“Methylation is the process of controlled transfer of a methyl group (one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) onto amino acids, proteins, enzymes, and DNA in every cell and tissue of the body to regulate healing, cell energy, genetic expression of DNA, neurological function, liver detoxification, immunity, etc. This process is one of the essential metabolic functions of the body and is catalyzed by a variety of enzymes. Many case histories and several scientific articles have demonstrated that this methylation process is responsive to environmental conditions (toxic metals, organophosphates, infectious agents, etc.) and degrades with age, a process associated with a large variety of age-related disorders. Thus, with respect to the effect of methylation, it is a continuous struggle in life to adapt to the ever-changing environment. In fact, health and quality of life are highly dependent on the methylation process.”
Every cell is dependant upon methylation in many ways and the total physiology involved would probably require a large wall if one was inclined to create a complete diagram. We are going to focus on a small but very important area of the physiology coined the “methylation cycle” and its influence particularly on the body’s immune system, detoxification system, energy production and neurotransmitters. One must go into this with the understanding that in the human body, anything can influence anything. No one part of the human chemistry is removed from any other part of it.
This is a basic flow chart of the methylation cycle. It might look very complex and confusing at first, but makes sense with further education.
The diagram at the top simplifies the 2 most focused on parts of the cycle and is illustrated to make the point of their connection with and reliance upon each other. The left gear is the folate cycle and the right gear is the methionine cycle. The folate cycle has quite a few things relying it including DNA synthesis (and thus cell division and creation), proper neurotransmitter creation and breakdown, the creation of substances necessary for energy production, like CoQ10 and carnitine, as well as methylating folate (B9) to keep the methionine cycle operating. The methione cycle starts with converting homocysteine back into methionine (an amino acid and is actually the substance that is introduced into this cycle via food) and requires methylated folate (as 5 methyl tetrahydrafolate, folate that was activated in the folate cycle) and methylcobalamin (activated B12) to do so. Methionine is then converted into S Adenosyl L Methionine, or SAMe. Many have heard of this compound because its known for helping some with depression and other psychological issues, fewer may know about its pharmacological administration as an aid in liver detoxification . Its uses go far beyond just that, as it is the bodys main methyl group donor. Its main job is to supply methyl groups throughout the body to over 40 different proteins, lipids, metabolites, enzymes and even nucleic acids. SAMe is important in every major process that methylation is involved in. When used up, is converted back into homocysteine. Its at this point that the trans sulfuration pathway siphons off of this cycle (at 6 o’clock on the diagram) and an important part of that produces glutathione.
Glutathione is made up of sulfur and the amino acids cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. Glutathione is the bodys master antioxidant. It is the bodys master detoxifier. It is crucial in forming particular cells of the immune system, the ones that act as the orchestra conductor for the entire immune system. Energy production relies on glutathione. Glutathione is of HUGE importance in the body. When it is depleted by stress in the body, ie infection, toxins, trauma, or stress and/or production of it slows down, the whole organism begins to suffer and easily slips into a state of disease. Any form of disease ranging from autoimmunity to toxicity, any type of infection, cancer, heart disease, cfs, Alzheimer’s, you name it, can result from a depletion of available glutathione. Everyone that cannot quickly resolve an infection, is diseased, is constantly exposed to toxins, or that has a family history of any major disease NEEDS to have their glutathione level checked. It is beneficial to check for not only total glutathione, but reduced or oxidized glutathione as well. Both of these numbers are important as total numbers will tell you if you are capable of making glutathione properly and oxidized numbers can tell the state of stress in the body, how well its being recycled, and how much usable glutathione is actually available. If glutathione is low, it is imperative to implement therapies aimed at increasing it. There are many ways to do this and which ones are implemented (properly anyways) are dependent upon specific factors with each individual.
Back to the methyl cycle. Where do methyl groups come from? Food of course! Everything involved in this cycle is brought in via the mouth. But not everything needed comes in the form that the body needs it, or in the proper amounts. So the body must convert substances into other substances in order to get what it needs. These transactions are catalyzed by substances called enzymes. The body must also produce these enzymes. The genetic influence on the creation of these enzymes and their influence on the methyl cycle is what is being so fervently studied today. The term nutrigenomics was brought about as a name to characterize the action and influence between nutrition and genetics, or more specifically epigenetics-the expression of genes that can bring about different results from dna without changing dna itself. What goes in the mouth has a large impact on genetic expression and can also be used to circumvent the effect of genes as you will come to understand.
As most of us know, we get half of our genes from our mother and half of our genes from our father. The twisted ladder, or double helix, of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) encodes all of the information and instructions required to make the organism to which it belongs to. Your DNA is basically your blueprint. All of this information is encoded within the rungs of this ladder. Each rung is comprised of two nucleotides, set together end to end, and each nucleotide includes a nucleobase in its construction. There are four nucleobases- guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine. These are represented with their respective beginning letter- G, A, T, and C. Which of the 4 nucleotides is present in a given specific location on a strand of DNA is what determines exactly how the body is constructed and operates. Although no 2 people (with the exception of identical twins) have the same DNA, we have about 99.9% of our DNA in common with each other.
When Methylation Goes Wrong 🙁
Many factors influence the operating status of the methylation cycle. Things that keep that methylation cycle operating at a proper pace, like good overall health and nutrition, are good. Things that throw off the optimal pace of methylation, like toxicity, stress etc., are bad. For many of us, this is even an innate problem. When a mutation (deviation from the “normal” or difference that brings about undesired result) in the DNA that is responsible for the construction of the enzymes used in the methylation cycle are present AND expressed they can throw off the pace of the cycle. These mutations are called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or snp’s (prn. –snip). Depending upon the specific enzyme, snp’s affect the production of these enzymes one of two ways. They can either up regulate or down regulate the amount produced. If a down regulation occurs, it slows down the conversion of a substance in the methylation cycle. The lack of proper amounts of that substance will then hinder the production of the next substance in the sequence, and so on all the way throughout the entire cycle. Up regulations can cause too much of a substance to be drawn away from the cycle and create too much of another substance. All this can result in too many or too few neurotransmitters, an up or down regulated immune system, lack of glutathione, ammonia toxicity, and many, many other things. This can cause any number of problems from mild discomforts to autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc. For candida sufferers, this means having an immune system incapable of combating the infection and clearing its toxins out of the body inefficiently.
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