The Methylation Cycle

The methylation cycle is a biochemical pathway involved in the production and distribution of methyl groups (CH3) in the body. Methylation is a necessary part of the majority of biochemical reactions in the body, and is a critical component of:

  • Detoxifying the body
  • Producing energy
  • Controlling immune function
  • Producing neurotransmitters
  • Synthesizing proteins
  • Repairing DNA
  • Controlling homocysteine levels
  • Keeping inflammation in check
  • Recycling key antioxidants

Identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which represent genetic differences, is important. Genetic variations are sometimes associated with an individuals’ susceptibility to certain diseases and/or conditions. For example, having defects in the methylation process can affect:

  • Speech
  • Language
  • Auditory processing
  • Reading comprehension
  • Focus
  • Socialization

Methylation increases sulphation, which aides in the excretion of heavy metals and the elimination of allergies (environmental and immune). Furthermore, methylation improves the production of glutathione, which is needed to neutralize and excrete both environmental toxins and pathogens out of the body.

Amy Yasko, PhD ND, is credited with pioneering the study of single nucleotide polymorphisms and the methylation cycle, specifically with regards to their effect on such childhood disorders as autism, ADHD, mitochondrial dysfunction and other chronic health conditions.

Yasko’s nutrigenomic testing focuses on identifying variations or weaknesses in biochemical pathways in order to provide nutritional shortcuts or bypasses for genetic mutations that affect health.

SNPs commonly affecting children’s health today include:

  • MTHFR
  • MTR
  • MTRR
  • CBS
  • SUOX
  • COMT

Some of the nutrigenomic tests pioneered by Yasko are now being offered by other laboratories such as www.spectracell.com and www.23andme.com.

Genes Aren’t Destiny

Despite having genetic SNPs and mutations, it’s empowering to know that beneficial diet and lifestyle changes that remove the total load of stressors can have profound impact on improving health symptoms and even cause the silencing of the expression of these genes. To this end, we highly recommend reading Dr. Ben Lynch’s Dirty Genes book, which we have reviewed here.