Methylation is a chemical process that happens billions of times per second in every cell of the body. Methyl groups are transferred and donated between many different molecules which change their structure and function. Methyl groups act like billions of switches which turn genes on or off, help regulate mood, detoxify hormones, produce energy, and promote healthy aging.
Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from the diet are needed to keep this process running smoothly. There are also genetic factors and oxidative stressors which can affect how well this pathway works.
Why is Methylation important?
Methylation is needed to create DNA and RNA and regulate gene expression. It helps make creatine, which is needed for skeletal muscle contraction. Methylation is involved in basic energy production, fat metabolism, immune responses, vascular health, and cell membrane repair. It produces and metabolizes neurotransmitters to regulate mood. Methylation also works to neutralize toxins and hormones.
Methylation defects have been associated with many clinical conditions including, but not limited to cancer, autism, ADHD, congenital and neural tube defects, cognitive decline, depression, cardiovascular disease, and schizophrenia.