For most people, their brain’s health is the key to living a long and strong life. Sadly, while we do monitor our other organs, we do not pay much attention to our brain. If we talk about health numbers, there are certain ways you can track it such as by monitoring your sleep hours, calculating height-to-waist ratio, BMI, blood glucose level, vitamin D, C-reactive protein and more.
So, what is it that you are forgetting? Your homocysteine level! For this, first, you need to know about methylation. It’s possible that you might have never heard of these terms. So, let’s get started:
What is Methylation?
Methylation is not just a buzzword. This process is extremely important for the overall functioning of our body. It is basically the removal and addition of a methyl group to a compound. Methyl is denoted by the letters CH3. In layman terms, the process of methylation is like activation and deactivation of a gene. When the methylation process is disturbed, it leads to impairment in Folate (a class of B vitamins) metabolism.
Benefits of Methylation
Methylation reactions impact our health’s crucial components such as:
- Citric acid cycle
- Protein synthesis
- DNA replication (supports red blood cell formation and growth)
- Gene expression
- Detoxification (removal of excess hormones, neurotransmitters and homocysteine)
- Brain health
- Energy production
- Cardiovascular health
- Helps normal nerve and brain function
- Supports normal mood balance
What is Homocysteine?
The active form of Folate 5-MTHF helps convert remethylate homocysteine into methionine. Decreased concentration of Folate results in elevated levels of homocysteine, which is a biomarker for various health concerns.
Again, in layman terms, homocysteine is an amino acid that occurs naturally and is produced by the methylation process. By now, you know that both processes are related. When methylation fails, the increase in the homocysteine level leads to serious health problems, two of which are Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
Problems that Can Be Avoided With Maintained Levels of Homocysteine
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Heart problems (heart attacks, coronary artery disease and stroke)
- Cognitive problems (dementia)
- Developmental and skeletal abnormalities
- Elongated limbs
- Behavioral problems (ADHD and autism)
- Mental abnormalities (bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety)
- Birth defects
- Aches and pains
- Slowed development
How to Regulate Homocysteine Levels
Decrease in 5-MTHF leads to depression, which is the first sign of the methylation process not working properly. This impairment is mostly caused by your lifestyle choices such as alcohol and diet. Deficiencies of vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, Folate, Trimethylglycine (TMG) And Dimethylglycine (DMG) are what lead to an increase in the homocysteine level. Following are some guidelines on how you can regulate homocysteine levels:
- Eat more vegetables and fruits
- Reduce coffee intake
- Lose weight
- Eat organic meat
- Supplement with betaine
As long as you are maintaining a healthy diet, you don’t need to worry about your homocysteine levels. One of the most prominent causes of the methylation process not working is inflammation. When you feel that your energy levels are getting low day by day, then you need a change in diet. The moment you start living healthy, your body will experience the change pretty fast.