Methylation occurs in every cell of the body, all the time. Methylation starts when a methyl group is created and combined to various functions in the body, for example, taking nutrients from our foods and converting them into useable forms to make energy. Methyl groups are also used to make healthy cells and neurotransmitters, remove toxins, fight infections, and protect the body from oxidative stress and free radicals. Individuals with MTHFR mutations have an impaired ability to methylate and are unable to convert folic acid into 5MTHF, which is a necessary nutrient the body needs. Fortunately, there are ways to improve methylation through lifestyle choices, diet, and supplementation.
Ways to support healthy methylation:
Get a healthy amount of sleep.
While you are sleeping, the brain gets rid of built-up stress and toxins within it, and turns over a clean slate helping you feel refreshed and focused upon awakening. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours a night). Your body needs a chance to relax and refresh for it to take on another day and perform to the best of its capabilities.
Sleep deprivation causes:
- Body to age faster at a cellular level
- Slow metabolism, higher risk for gaining weight
- Cognitive performance declines: memory loss, foggy brain
- Immune system weakened
- Mood diminishes
Certain foods aid in digestion and nutritional support that the body needs for methylation and can help you feel motivated and full of energy. On the other hand, there are many foods that do the opposite, making it harder for your body to methylate and in turn load up the body full of toxins.
- Eat leafy greens: kale, broccoli, asparagus
- Eat Anti-inflammatory foods: beets, celery
- Avoid processed foods: cereals, pasta, bread
- Avoid foods and supplements with folic acid
- Eat anti-oxidant rich foods: berries, artichoke
Promotes healthy methylation by inhibiting hypermethylation, helping your body to balance and properly methylate. Along with aiding in healthy methylation this super food also helps digestion by stimulating the gallbladder to produce bile, which starts the digestive process. Need additional digestive support? Click here for digestive enzymes that help with healthy bile flow.
The methylation cycle feeds off stress, which is why it’s necessary to eliminate stress and take time for yourself. Chronic stress can lead to an imbalanced methylation cycle, and can cause one to over-methylate resulting in other genes turning on/off. Stress can also cause under-methylation causing energy to be sacrificed to certain body processes which can create issues and symptoms. Find a way to destress that you enjoy. Take a walk, draw a bath, meditate, read a book, or exercise. Make time for yourself and keep those stress levels down.
Exercising gets your heart pumping, your endorphins running, and locomotion to certain areas of the body. This can reduce inflammation which ultimately affects your ability to methylate. Go out for a run, lift some weights, try yoga, do anything that gets your body moving.
- Increases oxygen and blood flow
- Activate the production of new mitochondria resulting in extra energy
- Improves mental health and mood
- Strengthen bones and muscles
- Control weight
Lastly, it’s necessary to have a functioning methylation system. Sometimes the body can’t get enough folate and B12 through diet, fortunately you can supplement with MTHFR friendly vitamins and nutrients. L-Methylfolate and Methyl B12 are needed to create methyl groups which are normally created from the conversion of folate or folic acid in the diet. For individuals with MTHFR mutations, they have the inability to process folic acid and convert it into a useable form. They can compensate by the dietary changes mentioned above or by taking L-Methylfolate and Methyl B12 in the form of a supplement.
Biome IQ created a MTHFR friendly supplement with L- Methylfolate, methyl B12, Betaine, and vitamins B2 and B6 that helps optimize methylation. Pure Methylation can be found here.
Already know you have MTHFR and want more information on your specific mutation? Click here to take our MTHFR survey.