There is a lot of confusion around ‘methyl group’, ‘methyl donor’, ‘methylation’.

I’ve created a quick cheat sheet here for you.


Methyl group:

  • Carbon + 3 hydrogens (CH3)


  • The act of giving a methyl group to another compound altering its chemical structure thereby changing it to something else. This is a carefully orchestrated transfer from one compound to another which requires an enzymatic process.

Methylation examples:

  • Uracil + CH3 = Thymine
  • Dopamine + CH3 = Norepinephrine
  • Guanidoacetate + CH3 = Creatine

Methyl donors:

Not Methyl groups (rumors)

  • Caffeine
  • CoQ10 (any type)
  • Serine
  • Glycine
  • Melatonin

Methyl conserving:

Methyl blocking:

Methyl Trapping:

  • When methylfolate and methylcobalamin cannot join forces and meet together.
  • This is typically caused by ‘methyl blocking’ or a deficiency of one or the other (methylfolate or methylcobalamin)
  • This can falsely elevate serum folate and/or serum cobalamin

There you have it.

It is really that simple.

Did I miss any? Are you wondering if ‘X’ or ‘Y’ is a methyl donor? Comment below and I’ll review it and then add it to the appropriate list.

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