Methylation 101

The methylation cycle:

We are living in exciting times when new knowledge of epigenetics is opening doors to disease prevention and management. We can no longer trust “one size fits all” protocols. We must address each individual’s unique genetics and exposures to create a bioindiviualized programs. Epigenetics is a breakthrough in how we address disease and emotional dysfunction!

Methylation is a process critical for creating and maintaining DNA and new cells. It involves adding chemicals called “methyl groups” to proteins, DNA and other molecules. Methylation is important for the entire life process. It affects detox, aging, and survival. Dysfunction in methylation affects new cell synthesis which can contribute to autoimmunity. When genes are not methylated it can trick the immune system into reacting against itself.

Individuals with genetic methylation mutations have difficulty making regulatory T cells. T cells help the body control the B cells and prevent autoimmune antibodies. If you are not making adequate T cells, then you may end up with auto immune antibodies. Methylation also plays a role in the ability of the immune system to recognize foreign bodies. If it does not recognize foreign bodies, it cannot respond to them. In this way, assisting the function of the methylation cycle could be a key in managing autoimmune disease.

SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is the most active methyl donor in the body. If we don’t have enough SAMe or if it cannot be recycled properly, we can see issues of neurotransmitter imbalance, difficulty with detoxification, issues with the formation of myelin surrounding the nerves and cellular energy generation.


Supplement for Immune Balance


When dealing with autoimmune or chronic disease it’s critically important to look at how the immune system works.

The immune system is separated into two parts: Th1 response and Th2 response. T1 cells are pro-inflammatory and T2 are anti-inflammatory. The Th2 response stimulates B cells which help generate antibodies. When we talk about immune issues we are also dealing with some sort of antigen. An antigen can be a bacteria, mold, parasite, virus, allergy, chemical or a heavy metal. The first immune response is the Th1 which is the “police force” that will attempt to get rid of the invader. If this response is ineffective the Th2 system will kick in and create antibodies against the antigen. This is how our body was originally designed to keep us healthy. In most cases this works and the antigen will be destroyed. However, if we are dealing with something such as a food allergy or a heavy metal that cannot be killed, then the immune system is firing without productivity. If the body is confused about what is the true problem, the immune system will simply attack your own healthy tissue. Sometimes the immune system gets out of balance and either the Th1 response or the Th2 response becomes dominant.

Lets use the example of the Th1 system becoming over active and dominant. The immune system will fight until it finally becomes fatigued and will take a break. Usually the result of the “moment of seize fire” will actually feel like a relief and your symptoms will diminish. In autoimmune disorders, the discomfort and pain is actually as a result of the immune system at war. Your immune systems is out of balance and is confused to the point it is attacking your own body… thus the name “autoimmune”. Ironically, as your body starts to recover, the immune response kicks in again followed by the symptoms and pain returning. It’s a vicious cycle and it can be very confusing to determine what is actually causing the pain. I find this to be a common problem with people who come to me after years of dealing with Lyme Disease or autoimmune issues. Many people are being prescribed the wrong type of immune stimulant and they are actually empowering their body to attack themselves. The key is that immune stimulants are different and are designed to stimulate in a particular manner. The supplements that designed to stimulate Th1 may be the opposite of what the body really needs. There is a huge lack of information in this area. I have found very few natural practitioners are taking immune balance into consideration. When I was given this information during my struggle with late stage Lyme Disease, I experienced a huge relief by stopping the supplements that were doing me harm.