Are You Chronically Fatigued? It Could Be Your Genetics
Your DNA is the story of your human body. Certain factors that influence how that story is turned into a functioning body can present in physiological symptoms. Namely, this process is called DNA methylation, and it can present as a wide variety of symptoms.
What is methylation?
Methylation is a biochemical process that happens billions of times per second in our bodies. It the addition of a carbon and three hydrogens to another molecule. This small addition “tags” or activates the molecule. Sounds simple enough but the complexity in which it affects our body is astounding. Methylation plays a role in major body processes including detoxification, immune function, DNA building and repair, energy production, mood balance and inflammation. As you can see by this list, methylation impacts every cell and tissue in our body.
What are symptoms of methylation issues?
Since methylation affects every cell in your body- it can contribute to many different medical conditions. Most commonly Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Adult neurological conditions, Autism and other spectrum disorders, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Miscarriages, fertility, Allergies, immune system issues, digestive problems, Mood and psychiatric disorders and aging. Given the broad range of disease processes impacted the symptoms can range from depression, anxiety, PMS, irregular menses, infertility, hair loss, skin rashes, headaches, difficulty sleeping, sensitive skin, allergies, acne, chronic infections and heart disease. I think we have all experienced one of these!
How do you test for it?
How well an individual methylates can be related to their genetics. About 40% of the population has a genetic variant on one or several of the 20 plus genes involved in this process. Genetic testing to determine if you have a variant is now accessible and relatively affordable. There are also both conventional testing through the major laboratory companies and specialty functional medicine testing that examines how well you are methylating in the given moment. At PIM, we consider MTHFR testing standard for all patients and recommend an very affordable test ($45 with insurance) through Spectracell Labs that you only need to complete one time. Schedule an appointment to get tested today!
How do you help support it?
Optimizing your methylation is key to better health and less symptoms. There are several simple ways to help support this process. The first would be to check your supplements and multivitamins for the correct form of B vitamins and folate- it is best to avoid non methylated B vitamins like cobalamin and folic acid because they can slow down and burden the methylation process. Instead look for adenosyl, hydroxy or methyl cobalamin and folate or folinic acid. Another gentle and safe recommendation would be to make sure you are getting enough magnesium and zinc- both are essential nutrients to the support our body in its ability to methylate.
In addition, it is helpful to support your body’s natural detoxification process. This can be done by limiting our toxin exposure- eating organic, avoiding products that contain endocrine disruptors, limiting alcohol and caffeine and drinking filtered water. We can also aid our liver and lymph in detoxifying by exercising regularly, using a sauna, dry brushing and eating vegetables rich in antioxidants.
PIM wants to hear from you! Do you have an experience with the MTHFR gene? Do you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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