Want to get rid of toxins? Feeling stressed? Not sleeping well? See why healthy methylation affects your overall health.
You’re probably familiar with the term detox. But have you heard of methylation before? Did you know that methylation is the key to optimizing detoxification in your body?
And that’s not all.
Methylation is one of the most significant processes at work in your body. Every day, every second of your life, the methylation cycle regulates vital biochemical cycles in your body.
In the first part of this series, I’ll delve into the basics of methylation and why the methylation cycle is so important. In subsequent articles, I’ll deep dive further. In each piece, I’ll give some takeaway points to help you improve your health and performance.
What is methylation?
Methylation happens continuously in every cell in your body. From a chemical perspective, methylation is the process of bonding a single carbon and three hydrogen atoms called a methyl group to another molecule. Demethylation is the process of removing a methyl group.
You can think of methylation and demethylation as a series of on/off switches controlling most of your body’s functions and affecting how you feel and function. There’s a health risk to any of your body’s functions if there are too few methyl groups or the methylation cycle is interrupted. For example, research links impaired methylation with all autoimmune conditions (1).
Why is methylation so important?
Methylation plays a vital role in facilitating and supporting many tasks in the body.
Methylation and detoxification
Methylation is one of six pathways of the second phase of hepatic biotransformation, the medical term for what’s often called detoxification that occurs in the liver.
The methylation process helps convert the toxic amino acid homocysteine into a beneficial amino acid, in this case, methionine. If your body cannot methylate properly, toxins build up in your bloodstream. Eventually, this can cause further problems, such as cardiovascular disease, increase in body fat, and loss in drive and progress.
Methylation is key to optimizing detoxification and losing body fat (particularly in the legs). Why? I’ll explain in subsequent articles.
Methylation and brain function
Methylation plays a crucial role in producing the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Dopamine is essential for training drive and muscular contraction. Serotonin is fundamental for recovery and deep sleep.
Therefore, optimal methylation plays a critical role in getting the most out of your training, your food, and your sleep. I’ll explain the how’s and why’s further in this series.
Methylation and resilience
Everyone has some degree of stress in their lives and have experienced the adverse effects of stress on performance and wellbeing in some way. However, everyone responds to stress differently.
While many factors influence one’s perception of stress, certain genes such as COMT (Catechol-O-Methyltransferase) and their effect on methylation make someone more or less sensitive to stress. Methylation regulates how effectively your body can detoxify catecholamines, the chemicals of stress.
Optimal methylation controls how well the brain and the body react to stress. Improving methylation is, therefore, a key component to optimize resilience. And resilience is a crucial component to everyday performance, in and out of the gym and life.
How to improve methylation
Your body is continually changing to adapt to your environment, stress levels, and exposure to toxins. That’s why the same basic things you always hear me talk about — proper sleep, healthy diet, low stress, and work-life balance — is what your body needs to function well. These core strategies apply equally to improving methylation.
From a nutritional standpoint, supporting and improving methylation is primarily through supplementing methyl donors. That’s why I advocate supplementing with YPSI ‘Methyl Komplex’, a top product designed to optimize methylation in your body.
In the next article in this series, I’ll talk more about how to improve methylation to support your short and long term health.
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