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Methy what?

It is time to talk about those dirty genes of yours…

Have you wondered if the reason for your health conditions is in fact your genes?

Genes are the blueprints of our bodies. Our genes carry information that affects our health, our appearance, and even our personality! Genetics is so much more than whether you get your dad’s eyes, or your mom’s hair colour or even your grandfather’s height.

The gene we are going to talk about is Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR). People have two MTHFR genes, inheriting one from each of their parents. Mutations can affect one (heterozygous) or both (homozygous) of these genes. The MTHFR gene provides instructions for your body to make the MTHFR protein, which helps your body process folate. Your body needs folate to make DNA and modify proteins.

Any defect in the MTHFR enzyme may cause under or over methylation. This defect in methylation can lead to insufficient folate conversion which can further cause limited methyl groups conversion, thus resulting in accumulation of toxic elements such as heavy metals and other chemicals.

Although it may sound like a complicated process, methylation is the basis for life.

What does methylation do in the body?

It helps embryos first develop and grow and then assists in gene expression, nutrient conversion and many other bodily processes.

Methylation supports functions of the cardiovascular, detoxification and neurological systems, just to name a few. You can see why it’s important to support normal methylation, including to prevent certain symptoms and diseases from developing.

Your body needs certain enzymes and nutrients, especially folate and B vitamins, to carry out the methylation cycle. Oxidative stress and inflammation are capable of interfering with the process.

Methylation and demethylation, which is the opposite process, basically work together to control different functions throughout the body.

Within the human body, methylation plays a role in:

  • DNA expression

  • Embryo development

  • Cellular energy production

  • Neurotransmitter synthesis

  • Hormone production and metabolism

  • Inflammation and immune responses

  • Conversion of the amino acid called homocysteine into another amino acid called methionine; this helps keep cholesterol levels balanced and reduces the risk for cardiovascular problems

  • Conversion of important nutrients from one’s diet into active vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

  • Fat metabolism

  • Stress response (“fight or flight response”)

  • Detoxification processes, including of the liver, that helps eliminate heavy metals and toxins


Methylation also allows the body to make a number of other important molecules, including:

  • Melatonin, which helps with sleep

  • Serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite and more

  • Norepinephrine, which is involved in arousal and motivation

  • Glutathione, often called the body’s “master antioxidant” that fights free radicals

  • Coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant involved in energy production and healthy aging

  • Nitric oxide, which facilitates vacillation of blood vessels and circulation

  • L-carnitine, an amino acid that supports metabolic processes and cellular energy

  • Cysteine, an amino acid that helps make protein and form collagen in the body

  • Creatine, needed for skeletal and muscle function

  • Taurine, an amino acid that supports the heart, nerves and brain


Some symptoms that might be experienced due to poor methylation include:

  • Changes in cholesterol levels

  • Cognitive impairments

  • Low energy

  • Mood and sleep-related issues, including ADHD, depression, anxiety, IBS and insomnia

  • Digestive problems

  • Migraines and headaches

  • Autism

  • Potentially higher risk for certain diseases, including ADHD, Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.


Methylation is broken down into 2 categories. Under methylation and over methylation.  

The hallmark of under methylation is low levels of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and methionine as well as very high levels of folic acid.

Common symptoms of the condition can include:

  • Depression, Anxiety and related mental health conditions

  • Allergies

  • Poor quality sleep

  • Irregular moods

  • Poor memory

  • Obsessive compulsive behaviours

  • Addictions

  • Migraines

  • Fatigue

  • Intolerance to heat

  • Nausea

  • Excessive saliva production

  • Joint stiffness

  • Excessive sweating and skin that is warm to the touch.


Over methylation is associated with insufficient levels of folate and other B vitamin cofactors required for the methylation cycle. Though over methylation is less common, it's still a problem we see fairly regularly. So I suspect that over methylation is actually a bigger problem than we've yet to discover. The end product of methylation is called SAMe, when your body becomes over methylated there's too much SAMe floating around.

Some of the common signs of over methylation:


  • High anxiety and hyperactivity

  • Rapid speech

  • Low libido

  • Dry eyes and mouth

  • Low motivation

  • Self-mutilation

  • Paranoia and paranoid schizophrenia depression

  • Sleep disorders

  • High threshold to pain

  • Eczema

  • No seasonal allergies

  • Artistic or musical ability

  • Obsession without compulsion

  • Pacing and nervous legs


Lower levels of methylation have also been associated with more ADHD symptoms in childhood due to increased neurotransmitter release during brain methylation before birth.

Methylation has a major role to play in our mental state as well. Take a look at these emotional issues that can come with methylation issues:

With all that being said, some of the common conditions associated with methylation disorders include:


·      Infertility or pregnancy-related complications - methylation helps in promoting foetal growth and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Multiple miscarriages are a big red flag that there is a problem with methylation.

·      Hormonal imbalances - methylation plays an essential role in detoxifying and metabolising oestrogen. Hence, it can lead to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), PMS (premenstrual syndrome), fibroids and endometriosis etc.

·      Mental health disorders - methylation is responsible for many mood modulating neurotransmitters such as adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. If there is a disturbance in any of the neurotransmitter levels then it can have a negative impact on our mood and mental health leading to anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and much more.

·      Cardiovascular disorders - methylation helps in the regulation of levels of homocysteine. If there is an increase in the level of homocysteine then it can result in inflammation and free radical damage.


·      Autoimmune disorders - Methylation is very crucial for the regulation and repair of the immune system.

·      Histamine intolerance - allergies are caused due to enhanced production of histamine and result in various symptoms such as itching sneezing watery eyes and running nose. This excess histamine is controlled by the methylation process.

·      Memory problems - Homocysteine can damage our neurons and result in inflammation. To prevent any memory problem, our body needs to produce more melatonin and serotonin which happens through methylation. The key nutrient for our brain is phosphatidylcholine and this can only be produced via methylation.

·      Chronic fatigue - methylation helps in the production of energy and maintains the functioning and the health of various organs such as thyroid gland, adrenal gland and also enhances the nervous system.

·      Inflammatory conditions - Continuous inflammation can affect your body and availability of methylated molecules in the body

·      Digestive problems - poor bile production can result in digestive problems as bile has antimicrobial properties and prevents the overgrowth of bacteria. It also helps in increased absorption of fat and other nutrients. 


Now you are probably wondering how you clean these dirty jeans of yours… and the good news is we have these “special detergents” (supplements) available at our health shop ;)

The nutrients that are crucial for supporting methylation are:

1.     5-MTHF (active folate)

2.     Methylcobalamin (active vitamin B12)

3.     Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate (active vitamin B6)

4.     Riboflavin 5’-Phosphate (active vitamin B2)

5.     Magnesium

6.     Betaine (also known as trimethylglycine)

7.     Vitamin D

There is one product we stock that contains majority of these nutrients in it and it is the Methyl Care. We highly suggest taking this supplement as well as adding in the following:

1.    Essential Health Vitamin D3 Complex

2.    Myo-Inositol Choline

3.    L-Methionine

We do strongly advise booking a hair analysis for the Full Body Analysis to get the holistic approach, especially if you a struggling with a specific health issue such as Hormone Imbalances, Auto Immune Disorders, Mental Health Disorders (anxiety, depression, ADD, ADHD, etc.), Allergies, and Digestives Issues. Although poor methylation is the cause, you need to support the whole body.

We also offer the Genetic testing should you wish to dive deeper into the world of genetics. Trust me when I say, it is worth it in the long run, not only for you, but your family line. Some of the benefits of doing genetic testing are:

  • A sense of relief from uncertainty 

  • A greater understanding of your health and your cancer risk

  • Information to help make informed medical and lifestyle decisions

  • Opportunity to help educate other family members about the potential risk 

Now is the time to take control of your health! Let us at Health Basket help you. We are NOT just a health shop. We offer you solutions


Take a look at our online shop to order online

Take a look at our amazing testimonials

Take a look at our Facebook page

Take a look at our wellness centre in Durban KZN where all the magic happens



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