Dear Pharmacist: I met you at a book-signing and you said something that stuck. You told me that if I have allergies, fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities that I may have a “methylation” difficulty. You also told me not to take Green Coffee Bean extract. Can you please tell me more? --S.J., Vail, Colo.
Methylation, it’s a big word that you probably don’t think applies to you, however, read on because knowing about methylation could improve or save your life.
Just look at the list of people who might have a methylation problem: Children with autism, anyone with a seizure disorder, neurological condition, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, severe Lyme disease, chronic infections, diabetes, allergies, fertility issues, miscarriages, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, anxiety or any psychiatric illness. That’s the short list. Oh, and if you are extremely sensitive to medicine, or to nitrous gas (given by the dentist) you might have a methylation problem too.
You see, as humans, we all have an enzymatic pathway going on in our body at all times called “methylation.” It has numerous life-sustaining functions. One of it’s primary purposes is to convert folate from your meals into glutathione, a potent antioxidant which neutralizes poisons. A problem any where along this metabolic pathway spells illness. My concern is that your symptoms are being heavily medicated when it’s just a problem of methylation, that can be addressed by a physician in-the-know.
Methylation snps (pronounced snips) are genetic problems but it’s not always a genetic problem. About 45 percent of people have a genetic issue, but blockages in this pathway can happen if you take certain medications or have certain nutrient deficiencies. Green coffee bean extract is incredibly high in catechols and those block methylation. Same deal with potatoes (regular or sweet), tea and coffee.
Testing for methylation is often covered by insurance.
Because people with a methylation difficulty have trouble eliminating poisons, they build up in the body and that’s what causes all the health concerns. Opening up the roadblock helps clear your body of poisons and that should reduce symptoms.
If you can’t methylate properly, you cannot produce CoQ10, carnitine, creatine or ATP (energy). You will also have nerve pain. That’s because the methylation process helps make the protective wrapping around your nerves. Some medications are what I call “drug muggers” of nutrients which are needed for the methylation process. Among them are methotrexate, metformin, antacids, acid blockers, estrogen-containing drugs, and nitrous oxide.
Drinking alcohol will pretty much shut down your methylation. I’m out of space here, so if you’d like more information about testing and supportive supplements, sign up for my free newsletter, if you haven't already, and I’ll send you details. By the way, some doctors recommend high dose folic acid and vitamin B12 but this is not always helpful, and can in fact be harmful.