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OXIDATION & METHYLATION

If you are interested in long term health and slowing down the aging process then it is crucial that you keep oxidative stress in check. Oxidative stress, also known as free radical damage has been implicated in many degenerative diseases. It is caused by free radicals during normal processes like digestion, breathing and exercising. A healthy body will produce a small amount of free radicals. When production of free radicals becomes excessive, the antioxidant mechanisms of the cell become overwhelmed and free radical action cannot be controlled, leading to impaired cell function. The lipid membranes and the mitochondria within cells can become damaged. DNA may also be damaged leading to mutations and potential cancers.

Oxidative stress can effect cellular function at multiple levels and can contribute to;

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Atherosclerosis and resulting heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Allergic inflammation
  • Cardiac and cerebral ischemia
  • Various renal and liver disorders
  • Toxicity induced by certain metals, solvents, pesticides and drugs
 

ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants are compounds which prevent oxidative damage in biological systems. Interestingly, normal human metabolism will provide the largest component of total protection against tissue damage from oxidative stress.

When oxidative damage markers are high on the lab tests, supplementation of natural antioxidants is essential. This will include the following;

  • Vitamins A, C and E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Selenium
  • Coenzyme Q10 or Ubiquinol
  • Taurine
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Certain bioflavonoids
 

Due to the codependence of the antioxidant reaction sequences, a balanced intake of all the antioxidants is superior to individual supplementation. Magnesium deficiency can also increase oxidant loads so levels must be ideal when implementing oxidant reduction strategies.

METHYLATION

Methylation is a crucial metabolic process which happens in every cell and organ of our body. Life depends on methylation, taking place more than a billion times per second. Methylation is the action of a molecule passing a methyl group which is a carbon atom linked to three hydrogens to another molecule. It’s a basic biochemical process and disturbances in the methylation process can cause a huge number of disorders.

Methylation reactions make important substances such as:

  • Neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline among others
  • Creatine: Important in energy production especially within muscle
  • Carnitine: Crucial in the process of metabolizing fatty acids to create energy
  • CoQ10: Needed in the formation of energy and is cardiovascular protective properties
  • Phosphatidlycholine: Aids in healthy cell membranes and brain health
  • Melatonin: A hormone that is crucial for sleep regulation

Methylation is crucial for controlling oxidative stress through regulating things like glutathione production. Its role in ATP and energy production can also not be overlooked. Certain bodily systems are affected more than others when disorders of methylation exist, the brain and production of neurotransmitters is an example of this

Disorders of methylation can result in:

  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • ADHD
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cognitive and behavioural issues
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Miscarriages, fertility and problems in pregnancy
  • inflammation
  • Detoxification issues and heavy metal, environmental and chemical toxicity problems
 

 Methylation can affect just about any process in the body, with a propensity to affect the brain, cognitive issues, the gut and the detoxification system perhaps more so than other systems.

Methylation also controls the turning on and turning off when it comes to gene expression. A methyl group binds to a gene and will then change the way that a gene expresses itself. This process, known as DNA methylation is one mechanism that cells use to control gene expression. Recent research has proven that your genetic inheritance can be influenced by all kinds of environmental factors. This is the exciting area of epigenetics.

Epigenetics proves that environmental factors such as diet and toxins can change the functioning of certain genes and even affect future generations. The good news is that simple measures can be taken to avoid the damage that faulty methylation can have.

The Organic Acids test and specific oxidant stress lab testing can give an insight into your oxidation and methylation status. 

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