When it comes to allergies or other respiratory ailments, adrenal and liver function must always be considered as they are connected like a triangle, beside food sensitivities, which can also be in the mix with persistent Lyme disease.
Regarding liver detoxification, there is a specific process that can play a role in an inability to detox endotoxins from infections, antibiotics, allergies, skin allergies, food sensitivities and many more ailments. This process is called methylation and it is a complex biochemical process, which occurs in our liver. Methylation can be a health or disease game – changer for many, it is estimated that roughly 30% of individuals are affected with challenges in this detox pathway and it appears to be on the increase.
This is not (yet) accepted in conventional medicine, psychiatry, cardiology or pediatrics – and it certainly was not mentioned at the 2015 Women’s Health Congress I attended in Washington DC beginning of the month. There, the message was still a very strong push of symptom suppression and long-term pharmacology.
Methylation is a process that takes toxins, chemical estrogens and pollutants of all kinds, and breaks them down into fat and water-soluble compounds in the liver. Only then can the body get rid of these toxic molecules through the bile, colon and the urine (and skin – gotta sweat!). With all the toxins we are dealing with today, you can image how important it is, that this process is working 24/7 — and working well. If the liver is clogged up with excess hormones and chemicals or the kidneys are not functioning well because of dehydration, lack of electrolytes, use of medications or alcohol consumption, you can understand why the body is having a tough time getting rid of “the junk in the trunk” – and how toxins can accumulate inside the body over many years. All excess toxins are deposited into body fat. If you cannot metabolize the toxins because of challenges in methylation, you cannot lose weight – even if you eat kale salads all day long!
It is something that is personal too, and I have done investigative blood and saliva genetic testing on myself. If methylation works, great, but if not, it can cause major problems for the body, brain and mood chemicals, called neurotransmitters. There are a select group of psycho-pharmacologists who are addressing methylation, however, this is certainly not mainstream and it will not be so, sadly, for a long time. In any complex health situation, i.e. Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue syndrome, methylation is a contributing player besides infections, esp. viruses, gut issues, chronic brain, mitochondrial dysfunction and body inflammation.
We inherit our genes from mom and dad; they determine our looks, shapes, eye colors, sex, height, and pollen allergies! And more. We also inherit certain mutated genes that can create problems IF THEY BECOME SWITCHED ON. The switching ‘on’ is called genetic expression. Methylation requires e.g. specific forms of B12, other B vitamins, folate, minerals including selenium, magnesium, zinc, a super anti-oxidant called glutathione and various enzymes plus additional factors, so it can keep us well.
The whole process is like a fancy wristwatch: Every part matters, just like all parts are needed in a watch keep perfect time! All vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes work together like a lock and key that facilitate the many important detox processes, so we can live a healthy and happy life.
If you are already supplementing with B-12, you want to make sure that you are also using a form of folic acid (preferably in the folate form, which is easier for many individuals to absorb). Do check your vitamin B-12 levels in your blood (as well as vitamin D, esp. after the long winter.)
Methylation also plays a role in our personality, our likes and dislikes, out tolerance for substances, e.g. alcohol, sulphur rich foods e.g. garlic, or turmeric, yes, some individuals cannot tolerate turmeric well. Another example is if you suffer from sneezing attacks in bright light or when eating, this too can be connected to methylation challenges. Being highly allergic to chemicals or having multiple food sensitivities can also be indicative of possible methylation challenges. This detoxification process is a key factor in keeping us energetic, young and healthy with a stable mind, while we are busy living our daily life.
This is one of the reasons I do believe in using an herbal liver supplement, the environment is just too darn toxic for what our body can handle. If an individual is on medications, this must be discussed with a practitioner, especially when it comes to anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds or cardiovascular related meds that must not be cleared from the liver. For general information purposes, I do recommend products that contain milk thistle or dandelion. (Do consult with a practitioner first to see if this is right for you, esp. if you are using meds.)
For all of us, food must come first and do eat those dark leafy green veggies like dandelion or kale, the radishes and beets – with the beet greens too. (Unless you are on a blood thinning medication called Coumadin). All dark leafy greens must be cooked, steamed or sautéed. EATING A RAW KALE SALAD is not a great idea, even though it is trendy and popular. Dark leafy greens contain oxalates that can induce kidney stones too. Oxalates bind the calcium as such we need to cook dark greens to break down the oxalic acid (This applies to the cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages too that contain thyroid inhibiting properties if eaten raw.)
Methylation plays an important role in keeping inflammation in check. Chronic inflammation disrupts our gut health, immune function, and blood sugar balance, damages our blood vessel linings and interferes with hormones while also creating chemicals that harm us—and age us. Even though acute inflammation is actually a good thing, as the immune system trying to fight off infections and heal damaged tissues, it is a double-edged sword.
Any challenges in methylation will contribute to inflammation and accumulation of biotoxins from mold, and the toxins from vector borne infections. All of this keeps us sick and it must be investigated if an individual is not responding well to therapeutic Lyme treatment.
Methylation is also involved in:
- The cholesterol metabolism, clearing out sticky and rancid fats that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Methylation influences numerous aspects of heart and cardiovascular health, including blood vessel integrity, blood viscosity, inflammation and lipid balance. With any cholesterol challenges, diet, thyroid function, gut health, sex hormone imbalances inflammation and methylation must be addressed…. Yip, I am talking about investigating root causes. Just taking a statin will lower LDH but it will NOT address the source of the lipid imbalances and the side effects will actually harm you, especially with the increase in blood sugar, damage to enzymes that affect your mitochondria and the depletion of B vitamins and minerals. Do not stop any medications without talking to your doctor.
- Close communication with the immune system, offering us protection from bugs and viruses that enter our body. If the methylation process is compromised, dormant viral and bacterial infections can now become active.
- Protection against cancerous mutations of our DNA protects us from brain health, chronic illness challenges and shuts down harmful viral activities that will cause chronic fatigue and neurological diseases. We might have genes that make us vulnerable to diseases, but methylation can neutralize them, thus we do not get the cancers or disease, e.g. Alzheimer’s or Asthma.
- Switching ‘on’ of harmful dormant genes in our body that now can create big problems for us. Any crisis, stress, trauma, or ‘final insult’ can trip a switch in our circuit and now our wiring is not functioning properly anymore. Symptoms appear; sometimes they are very serious e.g. seizures, panic attacks, adult-onset asthma, bipolar behavior, digestive problems – and it can happen very suddenly. Think of it as a switch has tuned on a genetic predisposition that was silent, non-symptomatic, like a turning on a light by flicking the switch. Processed foods, our super-busy and stress filled lifestyle, acquired infections e.g. Lyme or mold, and toxins in the environment also are big players that turn ‘on’ harmful genes. This is called epigenetics and you will learn more about it later on.
- Estrogen and testosterone regulation. Yes, methylation even affects our ability to reproduce and to have a successful pregnancy!
- Methylation affects hemoglobin production and this is one clinical marker on a blood lab that can be a clue. (However, I never hang my hat on one marker! It is the interpretation or multiple markers, medical history, trauma and symptoms that matter.)
- Is a regulation master: It tells our RNA (ribonucleic acid) what function to do, i.e. it gives a job description to cells, with work orders too. You sure hope that someone who gives orders knows what they are doing!
A variety of organic foods from plant and free-range animal sources can provide all the nutrients required for this process, but only IF the nutrients are absorbed and enough nutrient-dense foods are consumed in relation to daily stress management. If the diet is insufficient, with not enough vegetables and protein sources, the whole process becomes compromised. After a certain amount of time—and that varies from person to person—symptoms, mood challenges and weight problems will occur.
You can imagine that it will affect us adversely if the methylation process in the liver is not working well. If you react adversely to alcohol or medications, or suffer from really tough migraines, you might want to consider that your methylation and turned ‘on’ genetic weaknesses are in play. Our genes come from our mother and father – so we are a big genetic melting pot from both sides of the family. As much as we love ‘em, we get their genetic weaknesses too! How we eat and live in today’s world plays a big role in the of our gene pool wellness.
Lyme disease and co-infections have the ability to activate dormant genes that make it more difficult for our body to function. Histamine build-up, accumulation of toxins, pyrrole, cognitive and neurological function are severely compromised once health supporting genes are dominant by inherited and activated genetic weaknesses. Targeted nutrient supplementation in conjunction with antimicrobial treatment, detox and drainage protocols, and nutritional modifications become part of an integrated strategy.
NY Integrated Health