The root word Epi means above, so epigenetics means above genetics. Alternative medicine as adopted this word to describe living above our genetically predetermined DNA profile. Some people have stronger genetic profiles than others and if you are not blessed with a strong constitution you might wonder “what can I do to improve my genetics?”
This is one of several pathways of detoxification that occurs a billion times per second in our bodies. It occurs in every cell and in every organ. A methyl group in chemistry is written this way: CH3. Methylation is when a methyl group is donated to help detoxify potentially dangerous chemicals that we are exposed to in our environment. This would include medications and our own hormones. It helps to process estrogen, is associated with infertility, is involved with DNA and RNA synthesis, and makes myelin which covers our nerves like insulation. It builds important immune fighting cells, helps in energy production, and builds neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine.
Simply put, enhanced methylation is one of the keys in improving our genetic ability to detoxify, and "unlock" our genetic potential. If it isn’t functioning optimally then neurological dysfunctions, cardiovascular problems, anxiety, and immune issues result.
5MTHF: bioactive folic acid and why it's important
This is 5 Methyl Tetrahydrofolate, the most biologically active form of folate (vitamin B9). Research is showing that taking folic acid or folinic acid may not get converted adequately by the liver and intestinal tract into this biologically active form.
One of the main functions of 5MTHF is the conversion of homocysteine (an amino acid that in excess causes inflammation), back into another amino acid methionine. Failure of this happening leads to the overproduction of homocysteine. 5MTHF isn't the only source of methyl donors or the only nutrient needed to metabolize homocysteine adequately. Vitamin B12 (methyl cobalamin), zinc, B6 (pyridoxyl 5 phosphate), Copper, Vitamin C, Choline, Serine, B3 (niacin), B2 (Riboflavin 5 phosphate) Glutathione, and magnesium are also important in reducing homocysteine and inflammation.
5MTHF can be derived from eating raw green leafy vegetables. The word folic is derived from the latin word folium (leaf or foliage), hence the importance of adequate amounts of green leafy vegetables. The simple solution is too just eat more salads or to incorporate green smoothies or vegetable juice into our diets. That would help but it turns out two out of three people living have a genetic problem; a defect in their genes causing the MTHFR (methyl tetrahydrofolate reductase) enzyme to have an abnormal shape and a limited ability to donate methyl groups!
There are 50 known variants to this mutated gene, but the two prime mutations appear on chromosome 1. The sites on chromosome 1 are called C677T & A1298C. If you have one of these mutations (called heterozygous) it is said that your methylation ability is operating at 50-70%. If you have both mutations (called homozygous), it is estimated that your methylation ability is at 7-10%. It has been found that 98% of autistic children have both mutations!
The word toxic is heard frequently today. The environment and the myriad chemicals we are all exposed to is an example of that. Clearly it would be advantageous to know that our bodies can handle these chemicals.
Methylation is an important pathway for the body to detoxify exogenous and endogenous chemicals. Any genetic defect affecting that ability is important to know so that proper steps can be made to improve our health. Testing homocysteine levels on a blood test and seeing levels above 7.0 is reason to suspect a methylation defect.
SpectraCell www.spectracell.com is a company specializing in innovative lab testing including MTHFR defects. If Lab Corp.or Quest won’t approve this test, then a kit can be brought to a specific draw center and for the price of $40.00 the genetic markers above can be tested. They also provide other unique testing as well.
Please contact the office if this is something you would like to have tested.