Improve your methylation

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As we have seen in faulty methylation, under-methylation, or over-methylation can cause mental health symptoms.

Once you have established whether you under-methylate, or over-methylate with the help of a health practitioner, they can then help you work out a treatment plan. Below are some guidelines which may also help.

If your mental health symptoms are due to under-methylation:

Correct your nutrition and supplement for under-methylation

High protein diets should be avoided as most protein contains histidine, an amino acid used by the body to produce histamine.

The optimal diet is essentially vegetarian, with whole foods including complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits and only moderate protein.Eva Edelman, Natural Healing for Schizophrenia and other mental disorders (Eugene, Oregon: Borage Books, 2001) 53

Methionine is an amino acid precursor to SAME. which can donate methyl groups to the
methylation cycle.

Methionine boosts methylation.William Walsh, Nutrient Power (New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub., 2004) 74.

Foods that are high in methionine include:

  • Egg whites
  • Halibut and other fish
  • Soy beans
  • White beans
  • Brazil nuts

SAMe and methionine help break down histamine by methylating it.Walsh, William – Methylation and Epigenetics – http://secondopinionphysician.com/tag/undermethylation/.

Foods that are associated with high histamine levels include:

  • Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles, wine, yogurt, mature cheeses and fermented soy products, cured, smoked and fermented meats such as salami and sausage, etc.
  • Tomato products
  • Spinach
  • Canned fish products
  • Citrus fruits

Folic acid and high levels of vitamin B3 or B5 should be avoided as they can increase histamine levels.Walsh, William – Methylation and Epigenetics – http://secondopinionphysician.com/tag/undermethylation/.

Supplement with:

  • Methionine
    • Methionine is an amino acid precursor to SAM-e. It boosts methylationWilliam Walsh, Nutrient Power (New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub., 2004) 74.
  • SAM-e
    • SAMe (s-adenosyl methionine) is a naturally occurring amino acid manufactured from methionine, which is found in protein-rich foods, and produced by the liver. It is present in all the cells in our body, and is essential to multiple chemical reactions, including the creation of important neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine
    • SAM-e has been found to be low in the elderly, and those suffering from depression and chronic stressShawn M Talbott, The Cortisol Connection (Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 2007) 240.
    • SAM-e has been shown to be as effective as prescription antidepressant drugs to alleviate depression. ”A study has shown that people improve within a few days of starting to take SAMe” Shaun Holt and Iona MacDonald, Depression: Natural Remedies That Really Work (N.Z:Wairau Press, 2011) 152.Shawn M Talbott, The Cortisol Connection (Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 2007) 240.Shaun Holt and Iona MacDonald, Depression: Natural Remedies That Really Work (N.Z:Wairau Press, 2011) 152.
    • Supplement 200-1200mg a day divided in 2 to 3 doses for mood benefits Shawn M Talbott, The Cortisol Connection (Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 2007) 240., Vicky Edgson p. 79
    • It should be taken with 50mg of B6 and B12 and 200mg of folic acid
    • Precautions
      • Once a balanced mood is attained, cut back gradually to a maintenance dose. However, the longer it is used the more beneficial the results Vicky Edgson, 79
      • Take it under supervision, as there is a risk of serotonin syndrome
      • Do not take it before bedtime as many people find it has a stimulating effect, and ideally take it on an empty stomach
  • TMG
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3
  • Vitamin B6
    • Vitamin B6, with B9 and B12, are essential for methylation Patrick Holford, Patrick Holford’s New Optimum Nutrition Bible (London: Piatkus, 2004) 63.
  • Vitamin D
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Kava Kava
  • Inositol
    • Inositol is one of the primary second messengers in neurotransmission. It’s especially useful in reducing anxiety and enhancing sleep William Walsh, Ph.D Commentary on Nutritional Treatment of Mental Disorders

Walsh, William J., Laura B. Glab, and Mary L. Haakenson. “Reduced violent behavior following biochemical therapy.” Physiology & behavior 82.5 (2004): 835-839., Walsh W PhD – The Critical Role of Nutrients in Severe Mental Symptoms – http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/the-critical-role-of-nutrients-in-severe-mental-symptoms/

  • Folic acid
    • Folic acid, folinic acid, and methylfolate can reduce serotonin/dopamine neurotransmission by an epigenetic mechanism; this reduces the folate benefits of improved methylation and serotonin synthesis William Walsh, Biochemical Individuality and Nutrition, http://www.walshinstitute.org/biochemical-individuality–nutrition.html
    • Evidence shows that folic acid supplementation improves methylation. DNA methylation requires S-adenosylmethionine as a universal one carbon donor which is obtained from the methyl groups derived from folate Irwin, Rachelle E., et al. “The interplay between DNA methylation, folate and neurocognitive development.” Epigenomics 8.6 (2016): 863-879.
    • Population-based studies show that maternal folic acid intake is associated with reduced risk for ASD in the child. Studies have then tested whether in high-risk families for ASD giving folate supplementation reduced the risk in siblings, particularly from the angle of DNA methylation. These studies show that children whose mothers did not report taking a prenatal vitamin and consumed no folic acid during the first month of pregnancy were several times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD. Folic acid supplementation and ASD were associated with trends in global DNA methylation in the child Schmidt, R. J., Crary, F., Iosif, A. M., Dienes, J. E., & LaSalle, J. M. (2014). Periconceptional Folic Acid-Containing Supplements and LINE-1 DNA Methylation in the MARBLES Prospective Study of Autism Spectrum Disorder. JOURNAL OF WOMENS HEALTH23(10).
  • DMAE
  • Choline
  • Pantothenic acid supplements William Walsh, Nutrient Power (New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub., 2004) 74.
    • Pantothenic acid affects methylation by affecting histone function. Pantothenic acid is part of the coA in acetyl-coA, which is vital for energy production in cells Choi, Sang-Woon, and Simonetta Friso. “Epigenetics: a new bridge between nutrition and health.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 1.1 (2010): 8-16.
  • Vitamin B12
    • B12 can go both ways — it can either bring about a dramatic improvement in some people, or in others it can worsen symptoms Eva Edelman, Natural Healing for Schizophrenia and other mental disorders (Eugene, Oregon: Borage Books, 2001) 53

Correct your nutrition and supplement for over-methylation

If your mental health symptoms are due to over-methylation:

Supplement with:

  • Folic acid
    • Evidence shows that folic acid supplementation improves methylation. DNA methylation requires S-adenosylmethionine as a universal one carbon donor which is obtained from the methyl groups derived from folate Irwin, Rachelle E., et al. “The interplay between DNA methylation, folate and neurocognitive development.” Epigenomics 8.6 (2016): 863-879.
    • Population-based studies show that maternal folic acid intake is associated with reduced risk for ASD in the child. Studies have then tested whether in high-risk families for ASD giving folate supplementation reduced the risk in siblings, particularly from the angle of DNA methylation.These studies show that children whose mothers did not report taking a prenatal vitamin and consumed no folic acid during the first month of pregnancy were several times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD. Folic acid supplementation and ASD were associated with trends in global DNA methylation in the child Schmidt, R. J., Crary, F., Iosif, A. M., Dienes, J. E., & LaSalle, J. M. (2014). Periconceptional Folic Acid-Containing Supplements and LINE-1 DNA Methylation in the MARBLES Prospective Study of Autism Spectrum Disorder. JOURNAL OF WOMENS HEALTH, 23(10).
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6 (in the form of P5P)
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Dr Richard H Stuckey- “Targeted Nutritional Treatment of mental Illness” http://www.biobalance.org.au/_downloads/targeted-nutritional-treatment-of-mental-illness.pdf

Increase intake of animal skin, cartilage, and gelatin consumption in order to provide B vitamins and proteins which naturally counter excess methylation. Willam Walsh – http://secondopinionphysician.com/tag/overmethylation/.

  • Methionine
  • SAMe
  • Inositol
  • TMG

Adverse reactions are likely to occur as this will further increase methylation.

How to Improve overall methylation

  • Ensure that diet has good sources of methionine and is not only relying on vegan or vegetarian sources
  • Reduce red meat and dairy intake as it can lead to excess of methionine
  • Reduce level of consumed alcohol, as it rapidly depletes glutathione stores
  • Eat plenty of leafy greens and some organic liver – good sources of the nutrients needed for optimal methylation
  • Improve stomach acid levels to aid digestion of proteins
  • Address yeast overgrowth
    • Candida releases toxins including acetaldehyde, which inhibits methionine synthesis
  • Increase the levels of essential methylation co-factors
    • Zinc, magnesium, folic acid/folate, B6, B2 from green leafy vegetables, nut and seeds
  • Address sensitivity to gluten and/or casein
    • They can have an inflammatory reaction on epithelial cells
    • Histamine is cleared via methylation and is linked to inflammation and a contributing factor to leaky gut and allergies
  • Detoxify heavy metals, chemicals, mycotoxins etc.
    • Arsenic, cadmium, benzene & air pollution are associated with reduction of methylation in human tissues
    • Check your exposure to excess copper (through copper pipes etc.)

Activation of the sympathetic nervous system produces catecholamines which rely on methylation for their metabolism.