What is Methylation and Why Is It Important to my Health?
Methylation can be considered as simple as a biochemical process and at the same time, a complicated, intricate process central to our emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Methylation is essential for the optimal function of nearly all our bodily systems and occurs billions of times a second. The methylation process keeps inflammation in check, assists in repairing DNA, replenishes compounds necessary for detoxification and helps maintain a stable mood.
Because it can be difficult to visualize what methylation is, think of it as adding a tag to parts of DNA, and by adding a tag, changes the function of that gene. How methylation affects our DNA is important – one of the reasons is because many of us have genes that predispose us to certain chronic an d/or inflammatory diseases, even some types of cancers. We may be able to reduce our risk of developing certain diseases and cancer by optimizing our methylation. Methylation is an extremely important piece in the puzzle of achieving optimal health.
Maintaining a healthy nervous system is one of the best things we can do to support mood and cognitive function. Impaired methylation would be like having frayed electrical cords with vulnerable and exposed wires so it is an incredibly important structure in the nervous system. Myelin is a protective coating or insulation along the nerves, so if there is any injury to the myelin, we see chronic diseases develop.
Chemicals such as glyphosate (a broad-spectrum herbicide commonly known as Roundup) as well as hormones and estrogens found in many of our meat products have to be removed by certain genes associated with impaired methylation.
How Important Is Impaired Methylation to my Optimal Health?
The most important factors affecting methylation are largely under our control as they are diet and lifestyle related. A poor diet will negatively impact methylation. Anyone eating the standard American diet or a diet that includes a lot of processed and refined foods, will have increased inflammation, be nutritionally deprived of B vitamins, zinc and magnesium. Each of these vitamins and minerals is important cofactors in nutritionally supporting the methylation cycle.
Since almost all of the body’s systems are affected by methylation, the signs and symptoms of impaired methylation are numerous. Methylation can be associated with the production of important compounds needed in cellular energy production and metabolism. Cellular energy production is crucial not only for maintaining energy levels, but also the function of those cells which require energy to function optimally.
Our treatment options are individually and carefully analyzed and addressed based on the best outcome for the patient.
How Do I Know If I Have Impaired Methylation?
If you’ve already received a diagnosis utilizing the traditional health care system and feel that the prescribed treatment may have brought on additional health issues and hasn’t solved the underlying health issue, we would love an opportunity to visit with you. Or anyone looking for help with ongoing health issues that seem to baffle you and other healthcare providers, contact our office for a consultation.
Common health issues associated with Impaired Methylation:
- Poor Detoxification
- Weight Management
- Diabetes (Blood Sugar Handling Issues)
- Feelings of Anxiety or Irritability
- Poor Sleeping Patterns
- Lack of Energy & Focus
- Recurring Infections
- Chronic Pain
- Leaky Gut (Digestion Issues)
- Allergy Sensitivities
- Infertilit y/Pregnancy Issues
- Memory Issues
- Chronic Skin Problems
- Thyroid Issues
- Cardiovascular Problems
- Chronic Inflammation
- Joint Disorders
- Kidney Disease
If you’ve been struggling with any of these health issues and feel your ability to methylate could be part of the problem, please call our office at 605-274-7482 for a consultation.
How We Test & Analyze for Impaired Methylation
One of the tests we conduct looks for genetic predispositions as it relates to the methylation process. Genetic testing helps us know where to look for potential problems in the methylation cycle and assists us in tailoring treatment. However, it’s contributing factors such as lifestyle, diet, and environment that are more important in determining how someone is methylating.
We do a lot of functional testing on methylation, resulting in a variety of different types of methylation support. We want to do everything we can to optimize the methylation process because there are some things that we can’t change, but methylation is absolutely something that we can support and improve through a number of different means.
How Long Is Support Needed for Proper Methylation Maintenance?
We will repeat the functional methylation testing once someone has been on support for a couple of months and any underlying conditions have been noted. Since diet and lifestyles and environment can change, it’s important to see if there have been changes in methylation.
We are able to analyze and provide support to bring each patient back into balance, with consultation from time to time ensuring they remain in balance.
It is important to work with an experienced functional medicine practitioner because the research on methylation is so new and with new information continually coming out, trying to research on your own about the methylation process can create a lot of confusion. Dr. Wes takes all of that confusion out of the process by regularly attending continuing education and staying up to date on the most current research.
Dr. Wesley Heckel
Live Well Chiropractic & Allergy Relief