Breakdowns in the Methylation Cycle
I got my results back from the genetic testing I did at 23andme.com. I spent the first couple of days completely engulfed in the wealth of information I gathered from my genetic make-up.
But it didn’t take long for me to feel completely overwhelmed by it all, Lol. This came primarily from the fact that I have a lot of issues with my methylation cycle.
The methylation cycle plays a big role in healing as it helps to break down bad estrogens and removes toxins from your body. Enough mutations in this pathway leads to multifactorial health issues, including endometriosis.
Additionally, having a well functioning methylation cycle is important as this system helps correct problems with other genes in your body. (There are 25,000 or so other genes in your body regulated by methylation).
I couldn’t help but think that these genes made up my destiny. How was I ever going to get better with things so messed up?
Luckily, not all hope is lost thanks to studies within the field of Epigenetics, where these mutated genes can be manipulated to work as they should with the help of supplementation.
Analyzing Methylation Mutations
NutraHacker gives me a breakdown of:
- Genetic mutations in regards to the methylation cycle
- What the gene’s primary function is
- The consequences of mutation
- Which supplements to take and avoid
This was definitely helpful but also quite overwhelming considering the long suggested list of supplements for me to take. The investment I’d have to make to take them all was staggering, Lol.
So what did I do? Honestly, I shut my lap top and stepped away from it all for a week or so. The overwhelm led to paralysis.
But…. I couldn’t get the information out of my head and I knew that I needed to do something.
B12 in the Methylation Cycle
I picked up a book recommended by another endo sister called Feel Good Nutrigenomics: Your Roadmap to Health by Dr. Amy Yasko.
Dr. Yasko is an expert in DNA/RNA based diagnostics and has done a lot of study about the effects of mutations in the methylation cycle and how to supplement to instigate Epigenetic changes.
Her book did a good job explaining the methylation process. After finishing it up, I gathered that vitamin B12 plays an important role in the methylation cycle.
However, not all types of B12 are equal as not all B12 can be easily changed to what is needed for reactions in your body. Hydroxy, methyl, and adenosyl are all three forms.
Hydroxy B12 is more easily converted to the form that is actually used for reactions in your body.
In review of my supplement recommendations, Hydroxy B12 was recommended for me due to mutations in my COMT genes. (NutraHacker suggested that I avoid methyl B12 and methyl donors).
This of course lead to wonder…. what is the COMT gene?
Effects of Mutations in the COMT Gene
Further investigation into my COMT mutations helped me make a pretty strong connection with why I am the way I am. I felt like I was reading a resume of my life, Lol.
Mutations in COMT are connected with a “worrier” type personality who has continued focus, and meltdowns under high stress. This worrier type is prone to:
- Auto immune disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Mood swings
- A strong response to stimulants including caffeine
Most relatable to endometriosis (and similar estrogen dominant conditions like fibromyalgia), COMT mutations affect the breakdown of bad estrogens.
Higher estrogen levels results in:
- Worse PMS
- Sleep disturbances
- Pre-menstrual migraines
- Carbohydrate cravings
- Breast soreness
- Heavy periods
B12 and Lithium Connection
After reviewing Dr. Yasko’s book and the connection I made with my COMT mutations, I decided that this was a good place to start.
As mentioned, to help with COMT mutations, NutraHacker recommended I take hydroxy B12.
Before adding hydroxy B12 in, however, Dr. Yasko recommends testing Lithium levels through a hair metal test. Levels should range from 650 – 3100 micrograms for a 150 lb (70 kg) adult.
Lithium plays a big role in B12 transport. Apparently the majority of us with a range of health issues are low in Lithium. So adding in B12 before Lithium is in balance may cause further depletion of Lithium.
If Lithium levels are low, then supplementation can be made. This supplementation should be made with potassium support. If Lithium levels are low, Dr. Yasko recommends running a hair metal test or blood test every couple of months to see where you are at.
To note: if you are on thyroid medication or taking iodine then higher doses of Lithium may be needed as iodine competes with Lithium.
On the Positive Side?
I feel better knowing that I have a starting point into improving the issues with my methylation cycle. Like I said, the whole process has been kind of overwhelming, but the “worrier” in me wouldn’t let me just do nothing, Lol.
The whole examination into my personal genetics has really opened my eyes. While the process is overwhelming right now, I have already connected different factors into why my body has taken on the diseases it has.
This information is a starting point in providing Epigenetic support to help my body function better and overcome its shortcomings. With this comes hope that this all may be able to be overcome 🙂
The study of individual nutrigenomics looks to be the future of personalized medicine. I am excited to be in the midsts of it. Will keep you updated on my progress.
What about you? Have you opened a similar can of worms? What have you learned from you own genetic profile? I’d love to hear from you….