This month AOR is focusing on anti-aging so I thought I would answer this question of methylation as it is such a huge piece of an anti-aging strategy!
Methylation is defined as the addition of a methyl group (1 carbon atom bound to 3 hydrogen atoms) to a substrate (molecule upon which enzymes act). Some examples of methyl group substrates are as follows:
- Immune cells
- Environmental toxins
You can see from this list that these are very important items that the body needs to manage well if we are to age well. Thus, the functions of methylation with respect to these substrate groups are:
- DNA/RNA synthesis (turning on/off genes )
- Brain chemical production (e.g. dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine)
- Hormonal breakdown (e.g. estrogen)
- Creation of immune cells (e.g. NK cells, T cells)
- Creation of protective coating on nerves (i.e. myelin formation)
- Processing of chemicals and toxins (detoxification)
Here are some potential end stage examples of what happens when poor methylation takes place in the areas mentioned above:
- Anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s
- PMS, ovarian cysts, fibroids, PCOS
- Immune deficiency –chronic infections
- Neural tube defects, neuropathies, dementia, Alzheimer’s
- Chemical sensitivities, MS, CFS
For proper methylation in our bodies to occur, we need what are called cofactors for these reactions. Cofactors are “helper molecules” that assist in biochemical reactions, like methylation. If you look at the diagram, you see that vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid are needed. These are found in one of the AOR feature products this month - MaxMethyl. This formula has been specifically designed to help facilitate proper methylation processes in the body. It is a good formula to consider as part of an effective anti -aging strategy, in my opinion.
You may also be interested in:
Galway, J.G. Metabolism at a Glance. 2nd Ed. 1999. P.54.