Methylation is one of the most important biochemical processes happening continually in nearly every one of our cells. Down at the cellular level, methylation is simply the addition of a methyl group (CH3) to another molecule which ‘activates’ the receiving molecule. Once activated, these molecules can now perform their jobs of keeping our body systems running smoothly.
A common example of methylation is the addition of a methyl group to folate, which converts it into the active form of folate known as 5-MTHF (methylfolate). Unlike the man-made form of folic acid found in processed foods and cheap supplements, the body can directly use methylfolate in all of the important cellular processes where folate is required. *
People with the MTHFR genetic mutation have difficulties activating folate due to a genetic mutation that affects the ability of the MTHFR enzyme to add a methyl group to folate. Thus, people with MTHFR often find they feel much better when they supplement with methylfolate which helps them maintain folate status and proper methylation.*
Dr. Lynch began his epigenetic research with the MTHFR gene, and its role in producing the active form of folate (5-MTHF) for DNA and total body methylation. He found that without adequate levels of B12, methylation cannot occur. Adequate vitamin B12 is needed to convert homocysteine to methionine, and therefore B12 is needed for folate to properly support methylation processes. Because of this, you will find that all of our multivitamins, prenatal vitamins, and B vitamin complexes have potent doses of both B12 and folate contained in their "active" forms: 5-MTHF and methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin.*
Not everyone needs a methylated supplement just because they have mutations in their MTHFR gene. MTHFR genetic mutations are very common, and occur in about 40-60% of the population according to Dr. Lynch and his research team. However, if you are deficient in B12 or folate, or need support for your homocysteine to methionine conversions, consuming certain nutrients may support your genetic mutations simply by bypassing them, or providing cofactors for the affected enzymes to help support their natural increase in activity. This is only necessary if lifestyle and environmental changes have been addressed, as stated in Dr. Lynch's national best-selling book Dirty Genes. Dr. Lynch recommends reading Dirty Genes prior to starting a supplementation routine.*
Genetic mutations require lifestyle, environment, and diet changes that support genetic expression and the reduction of oxidative stress. Supplements act as a great tool of support, but, as Dr. Lynch states, should not be the first choice. Genetics is a deeper level of health, that should be addressed by your health professional in combination with your current symptoms: remember, a genetic test does NOT report on how your body is "acting" right now - just what you were born with.
With that, genetic testing is extremely useful in understanding long-term health and personality differences between people. Consider Dr. Lynch’s StrateGene Genetic Analysis Tool for more information.
If you are looking for methylation support, consider our top-selling supplements to help you along your journey*:
- Optimal Methylate Chewable - Our newest methylation support product that provides a low dose perfect for those just starting out, or for greater dosage control.
- Active B12 with L-5-MTHF - A potent combination of methylated B12 and methylfolate in a great-tasting lozenge. #1 BEST SELLER!
- HomocysteX Plus - Specific for homocysteine support.
- Hydroxo B12 with Folinic Acid - Potent and non-methylated form of B12 and folate for those who are sensitive to methylated nutrients.
- Optimal Prenatal - Great for men and women looking to conceive, or during pregnancy/breastfeeding. Top 10 BEST SELLER!
- Optimal Multivitamin Minus One - Non-methylated one-a-day multivitamin.
- Optimal Multivitamin Methyl One - Methylated one-a-day multivitamin.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.