If the cycle of methylation is not working well a dangerous substance called homocysteine accumulates in the blood. High homocysteine levels cause serious damage to the cells and the DNA. This leads to premature aging – and premature death.
High homocysteine is closely involved in:
Heart and artery disease
Various types of cancer
Low thyroid function
IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome)
ME (Myalgic encephalitis)
and other serious degenerative diseases.
For example a raised homocysteine level can easily double or even quadruple the chances of atherosclerosis and other artery problems, leading to serious illness or death.
To improve methylation and thus reduce homocysteine there are two approaches:
To increase the elements in the blood, which supply the necessary methyl groups – primarily TMG (trimethylglycine) and SAM-e (S-adenosyl-methionine), and:
To make sure the nutrients, which enable methylation to take place all present in sufficient quantities – these are primarily vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc.
The target level of homocysteine in the blood is 6.3 µmol per liter of blood or less. If as high as 15 µmol per liter – and this level is not rare – the risk of coronary artery disease is quadrupled. A simple blood test will show the level of homocysteine present.
I’ve always taken very few vitamins, together with a multi-mineral - but never supplements. I currently take vitamin D, dessicated liver for b12, and then calcium (because I don’t feel like gnawing on bones or grinding egg shells - although perhaps they might be better sources) and a multi-mineral (to be safe). I get tons of folic acid from the food I eat. Zinc? Well that’s a reason to eat more oysters. Dunno. Somewhat skeptical of supplements. Beef liver actually contains folate as well - even though it’s not listed on my supplement data, so I’m not sure about the extent to which it survives in pill form. Anyway, this to me is a very interesting angle on eating healthily.