Monday, March 30, 2015

Maximizing Methylation with Diet and Lifestyle

A report from just 9 days ago points to hypermethylation to help with ALS and talks about developing drugs for this, as if ALS patients have time to wait for drugs.  The link to the report follows for anyone that wants to review it.

So, what can be done to improve methylation now?  I did a search and one of my favorite pro-health doctors came up, Dr Mark Hyman, with his post "Maximizing Methylation: the key to healthy aging," so this is good advice for everyone, but it is especially something to consider how this might be implemented if you need to improve methylation now.

Right from the post, Dr Hyman has these suggestions to measure you own methylation,

Measuring Your Own Methylation Process
To find out if your methylation process is optimal, ask your doctor for the following tests:
  • Complete blood count – Like our friend Mr. Roberts, large red blood cells or anemia can be a sign of poor methylation. Red blood cells with a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) greater than 95 can signal a methylation problem
  • Homocysteine – This is one of the most important tests you can ask for. The normal level is less than 13, but the ideal level is likely between 6 and 8
  • Serum or urinary methylmalonic acid – This is a more specific test for vitamin B12 insufficiency. Your levels may be elevated even if you have a normal serum vitamin B12 or homocysteine level
  • Specific urinary amino acids – These can be used to look for unusual metabolism disorders involving vitamins B6 or B12 or folate, which may not show up just by checking methylmalonic acid or homocysteine
But, if dealing with ASL my feeling is just do what you can to implement the advice on how to increase your methylation.

  1. Eat more dark, leafy greens – Dr Hyman says eat 1 cup a day of vegetables like bok choy, escarole, Swiss chard, kale, watercress, spinach, or dandelion, mustard, collard, or beet greens. Dr Terry Wahls from "Minding your Mitochondria says each 3 cups per day of leafy greens.
  2. Get more Bs in your diet 
  3. Minimize animal protein, sugar, and saturated fat – Animal protein directly increases homocysteine. 
  4. Avoid processed foods and canned foods 
  5. Avoid caffeine 
  6. Limit alcohol to 3 drinks a week
  7. Don’t smoke – Smoking inactivates vitamin B6 (and folic acid.)
  8. Avoid medications that interfere with methylation – Drugs like acid blockers, methotrexate (for cancer and arthritis and other autoimmune diseases), oral contraceptives, HCTZ (for high blood pressure), and Dilantin (for seizures) can all affect levels of B vitamins
  9. Keep the bacteria in your gut healthy – Take probiotic supplements.
  10. Improve stomach acid – Use herbal digestives (bitters) or taking supplemental HCl
  11. Take supplements that prevent damage from homocysteine – Antioxidants protect you from homocysteine damage. Also make sure you support methylation with supplements like magnesium and zinc
  12. Supplement to help support proper homocysteine metabolism – 
    Folate (folic acid)

    Vitamin B6
    Vitamin B12
I had to further look at "bitters," and it seems we evolved to have bitters in our diet and they've practically disappeared.  Too much bitters can be toxic, but have them regularly improves our immune system.

Bitter greens like radicchio, dandelion greens, rapini, endive, kale, daikon and arugula contain phytonutrients that support the liver as it manages cholesterol, balances hormones, detoxifies the blood and metabolizes fats.

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