Methyl Group, Methylation, Methyl Trapping: What Are They?
There is a lot of confusion around ‘methyl group’, ‘methyl donor’, ‘methylation’.
I’ve created a quick cheat sheet here for you.
- Carbon + 3 hydrogens (CH3)
- a substance that is capable of donating a methyl group to another compound. Simply because something has a ‘methyl group’ does not mean it can donate it.
- 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.
- Uracil + CH3 = Thymine
- Histamine + CH3 = N-methylhistamine
- Homocysteine + CH3 = Methionine
- Norepinephrine + CH3 = Epinephrine
- Serotonin + Vitamin B5 + CH3 = Melatonin
- Guanidoacetate + CH3 = Creatine
- TMG (Betaine or Trimethylglycine)
- DMG (Dimethylglycine)
- Sarcosine (Methylglycine – a weak donor)
Not Methyl donors:
- CoQ10 (any type)
- Glycine (but can support methylation indirectly by increasing creatine synthesis)
- Folinic acid
- DIM (diindolemethane)
- I3C (indole-3-carbinol)
- Nitrous oxide
- Acetylaldehyde (from yeast and alcohol)
- Hydrogen peroxide (a free radical / oxidative stress)
- Nitric oxide (product of NOS enzyme)
- TNF alpha (inflammation)
- IL-6 (inflammation)
- LPS (bacterial infections)
- 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
Methyl Conserving means these compounds require a lot of methylation in order to be made. By taking them directly, your methylation does not have to work hard to make them.
Over 80% of your SAMe, which is your body’s primary methyl donor, is used to make creatine and phosphatidylcholine. By taking creatine and phosphatidylcholine, your SAMe does not get used up to make them.
Creatine, phosphatidylcholine and carnitine support your methylation without having to take methyl donors!
Methyl burning is the flip side. Niacin and lysine are two compounds which use up your methylation in order to process them.
Lysine and niacin are very much needed by our body to function. It is important to know that if we take many grams of niacin or lysine, we may be reducing our methylation capacity.
Stress is a major methyl burner. A great way to support your methylation is to reduce stress.
How can you reduce stress in your life?
Methyl blocking means these things slow or reduce your body’s ability to methylate.
In order to methylate, one needs to identify methyl blockers and remove them bit by bit. As these methyl blockers are removed, methylation may proceed as it needs to.
Are you wondering if ‘X’ or ‘Y’ is a methyl donor?
Other related questions?
Comment below and I’ll review it and then add it to the appropriate list.