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What Is Methylation And Why Is It Important?

The body goes through a lot of different processes to run smoothly and keep itself at optimal health when going up against external toxins, the natural ageing process, and a modern lifestyle.

Each of these individual processes has its own specific job to do – whether it be to help regulate sugars in the body, transfer the appropriate amount of oxygen to the body’s organs, or keep the digestive system running properly. However, none of these processes would be possible without methylation.


What is methylation?

Every cell in the body has a role in the way the body functions. Methylation is a metabolic process that occurs in each and every cell. Without it, life would cease to exist. Over 200 reactions in the body depend solely on the methylation process and the body’s level of health is decided by the quality of methylation that occurs during each and every reaction.

The methylation process works as an on-off switch in the body and is directly responsible for gene expression and DNA changes over the course of a lifetime. It does this by transferring chemical fragments called methyl groups (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms, or CH3) to other molecules, turning them either on or off, depending on how the process is working and what the body needs at that time.


Why is methylation important?

The process of methylation is critical to the overall function of the body and is the main attributor in what cells get reproduced and what cells die off. As an example, if methylation occurs in a tumour cell, it decides whether that cell takes on new life – or shuts off, avoiding the spread of cancer cells throughout the body.

Generally speaking, methylation is important simply because without it, the body would cease to run properly, eventually leading to a shutdown of processes.


Image by ColiN00B on Pixabay: Methylation takes place in cells in the human body to ensure it is functioning at an optimal level.


What is the purpose of methylation?

As mentioned above, the overall purpose of methylation is to keep the body running as smoothly as possible and to help ward off chronic disease and ailments. So specifically speaking, why does methylation happen? Simply because it has to. The top functions methylation serves throughout the body are neurotransmitter production and degradation, hormone processing, immune function, gene regulation, the production of energy, and the production of myelin.

Neurotransmitters are the body’s communication cells. They are required to send messages from the brain to all other organs and areas to make sure they’re doing what they should be doing, at the exact moment they should be doing it. If the body were to stop making neurotransmitters, it would shut down completely, because without the nervous system, it is nothing. At the same time, the overproduction of neurotransmitters can lead to chronic anxiety and fatigue, so methylation also occurs to degrade the unused neurotransmitters to avoid an unnecessary surplus.

Hormones also play a key role in how the body functions. For example, too much oestrogen can lead to cancer. When methylation occurs, it processes the hormone levels to ensure that there is enough of each, clearing out the rest. Methylation also helps to build the immune system by helping the body create immune cells. Without proper immune function, the body is susceptible to chronic disease and autoimmune disorders.

Myelin is the coating that surrounds and protects nerves. Without it, the function of those nerves can be less than ideal. Methylation acts as a ‘repairperson’ when those protective coverings get damaged from things like viral infections or improper metabolic function.

Finally, methylation is responsible for turning food into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy for the body.


The MTHFR gene mutation

The MTHFR gene (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is a gene code of the enzyme responsible for breaking down homocysteine (an amino acid found in the body). People have two MTHFR genes, and the mutation doesn’t occur in everyone. When it does occur, it doesn’t affect any two people the same. In some cases, when a mutation of this gene occurs, it can cause problems in the healthy levels of homocysteine, leading to improper function or inactivation of the enzyme altogether.


Image by Madartz Graphics on Pixabay: The MTHFR gene is found in everyone, but the mutation is a unique occurrence.


Homocysteine is the result of the process of breaking down proteins in the body. If there is too much present, it can lead to heart disease, glaucoma, mental health disorders and blood clots. When the mutation occurs, it can affect the overall processes of the body, compromising immune function that can lead to chronic diseases such as scoliosis, anaemia and depression.

For those who suffer from chronic illnesses, the MTHFR gene mutation can cause further breakdown in their ability to supplement and treat their condition because it often depletes the body’s stores of vital nutrients. Fortunately, there is a simple aid in helping to speed up the gene’s processes and proper function of the body. That simple aid is diet to address the nutritional deficiencies that can be attributed to the mutation. Adding foods that are rich in vitamin B12 and taking folic acid supplements can help build up depleted stores in the body caused by the overproduction of homocysteine (which is caused by the MTHFR gene mutation).

Featured image by Public Domain Pictures on Pixabay


BCA’s Dr. Hollenhorst specialises in pain management and heavy metal detoxification. If you have any questions regarding how heavy metal detoxification and chelation therapy could help patients with Lyme disease, please email us at