Methylation takes place more than a billion times per second in the body, affecting basically every cell of the body. Methylation is the addition of a single carbon and three hydrogen atoms (called a methyl group) to another molecule. The removal of methyl groups is called demethylation. These are figuratively countless numbers of on/off switches that regulate countless processes in your body including the immune system, DNA maintenance, hormone production, energy production and detoxification.
These reactions that occur when one molecule passes a methyl group to another make things like creatine, carnitine, CoQ10, phosphatidylcholine, melatonin, and loads of other really key substances in the body. Methylation controls sulfur metabolism, glutathione to control oxidative stress, and other sulfur metabolites like cysteine, taurine, and sulfate. Methylation also influences the production of our energy currrency, ATP.
Under or over methylation is just another way of saying that methylation is out of balance and this can cause serious health issues. Those who are considered under-methylated have trouble using methyl donors, therefore they may produce the same amount of methyl yet fail to ultilise them optimally. This can lead to a number of deficiencies in nutrients throughout the body.
The addition and removal of methyl groups control;
The immune response; fighting infections and viruses and controlling the inflammation response
Repair of damaged cells and the production of antioxidants (glutathione)
Genetic expression, maintenance and repair of DNA.
Detoxification of hormones, chemicals and heavy metals
Mood balancing -neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and melatonin are made by the methylation process
If a person is a poor methylator, it is suggested by researchers that they are likely to have low levels of zinc, calcium, magnesium, methionine and B6 and high basophil (white blood cell) count, high homocysteine, high histamine, high folic acid levels and high heavy metals. Histamine is one of the chemicals which requires methylation to be metabolised correctly; poor methylation can lead to high histamine and high histamine can deplete methyl groups which leads to poor (under) methylation. When blood contains high levels of histamine, the excess histamine is stored in the blood basophils (a type of white blood cell) and brain neurons. This in turn can result in low levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine – the happy chemicals.