Maximizing Methylation: The Key To Healthy Aging
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hi this is dr. Mark Hyman can just a few vitamins optimize the function of most all of your body systems the answer is yes this week we’re going to talk about one of the most important biochemical processes for your health and how you can keep it running and it’s very best with supplements and a few other suggestions now unfortunately many people are affected by one or more of the eight factors that affect this biochemical process so it’s a big issue the good news however is that there are at least 12 things you can do right now to optimize this critical biochemical process that can have an impact on your health but first let me tell you about two of my patients who had seemingly unrelated health problems that were actually caused by this biochemical process that was broken and each one of them and also I’ll share with you a study that was done on Chinese babies who had a birth defect known as spina bifida you’ll be quite amazed at how all three my two patients in these Chinese babies were affected by the exact same thing first mr. Roberts he was one of my patients he was 88 year old businessman and he didn’t let his age slow him down he still golf three times a week he worked two days a week flew around the world in his private jet and was a romantic guy once a week with his wife who was 30 years his junior he also loved six ounces of his Grey Goose vodka every night now of course he did have some health problems now mr. Roberts had been treated quite well for his mild heart disease his doctor even recommended 800 micrograms of folic acid and 250 micrograms of b12 mega doses by any standard he also had a check up at the Mayo Clinic and was told he was healthy despite having anemia and large red blood cells yet he still complained of mild fatigue and trouble with his short term memory plus I noticed a slightly wide gate common in people with poor balance and then there was mr.
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Mc. Nally a Boston College professor he was only about 15 years old and he was fit and lean but he looked worried as he walked into my office he recounted the sad tale of his seven brothers four had died of a heart attack three others had a bypass operation at a very young age he was very concerned about his own fate he ate a low fat diet he exercised regularly he didn’t smoke he had normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels and he took antioxidants animal the vitamin perhaps his only advice was the multiple Starbuck grounding lattes he down each day now mr. Mc. Nally had come to asking for a stress test to see how his heart was doing he lived on her state of constant impending doom strange as it may seem these two men reminded me of my time in China see when I lived in Beijing a study was done on a group of women in Harbin the most northern industrial city in the Gobi Desert just north of Beijing where I lived it seemed as though there was an unusually high rate of birth defects called spina bifida you see the Chinese had a tradition of marriage at the Chinese New Year in February but many of the babies were born nine months later with birth defects so what was the link the study found that the major factor in those kids with birth defects was that there were no fresh greens or vegetables in the Gobi Desert in the middle of the winter so one of mr. Roberts mr. Mc. Nally and those Chinese babies have in common with each other they all had problems with inadequate levels of specific vitamins either acquired or genetic and that meant that they had problems with something called their methylation system I’m going to split that more in a minute but let’s look first at mr.
Roberts our romantically active 88 year old took high doses of B vitamins but he still had very high levels of something called homocysteine and methylmalonic acid which are indicators in the blood a folic acid and b12 deficiency but they’re not unfortunately most doctors test for it this is what you have to test and what about mr. Mc. Nally our college professor had a genetically sluggish metabolism of something called homocysteine which caused extremely high levels of this toxic amino acid to build up in his blood it was also the cause the likely cause of all the heart disease in his family and what about those Chinese babies well their mothers were conceiving in the middle of winter when the folate intake was low because they had no fruits and vegetables and that triggered a very high rate of birth defects now as I said before the common link to all these three cases is a problem with a methylation so let me tell you what that means this is a key process that’s essential to proper function for almost all of your body systems and it occurs billions of times every second methylation helps repair your DNA on a a basis it controls homocysteine and unhealthy compound that can damage blood vessels it helps recycle molecules and then that are needed for detoxification it helps maintain your mood and keep your inflammation in check you see you need optimal levels of B vitamin family to keep this methylation system running but what happens without it well as we see with the Chinese babies we see more birth defects like spina bifida and more Down syndrome and miscarriages you may be at high risk for conditions like osteoporosis or diabetes or cervical cancer or colon cancer lung cancer or depression or or mood problems in kids like autism and AD D or dementia or stroke and like mr. Roberts or mr: Mc. Nally you may be a high risk for heart disease so what are the things that can affect this methylation process first genetics now an estimated 20% of us have predispositions to genetic problems with eating more Foley the next thing is our poor diet the word folate comes from foliage and you need to eat plenty of leafy greens beans fruit whole grains to get adequate levels of b6 b12 and folate also things like egg yolks and meat liver and oily fish are good sources of vitamin b12 so long term vegan diets can be a problem but you can supplement with b12 also other things raise homocysteine in the diet sugar too much animal protein saturated fat coffee alcohol next smoking raids homocysteine as well as malabsorption of various vitamins like b12 from digestive issues allergies and other things also lower stomach acid which happens then you take acid blocking medications or when you get older they block this the absorption of b12 and this is a very common problem medications like acid blockers or methotrexate or diuretics birth control pills dilantin all affect the levels of these B vitamins also being toxic things like pesticides and pollution all these things can interfere with your vitamin production so that’s a lot of things to watch out for now the good news how can you look at and actually fix your methylation problem first you want to do some tests you want to ask your doctor for these tests a complete blood count a homocysteine level and a serum methylmalonic acid level and then you want to figure out if these are high what to do to optimize this process so here’s a few things you can do first eat more dark leafy greens I want you to get also more B vitamins in your diet from things like sunflower seeds and wheat germ and fish and eggs and cheese and beans and so forth dark leafy beans almonds whole grains all have great levels of these vitamins I also want you to minimize animal protein sugar and saturated fat and I want you to avoid processed in canned foods which are depleted in vitamins also want you to lower reduce your intake of caffeine which depletes folic acid and other vitamins limit alcohol which also dramatically depletes your B vitamin levels don’t smoke avoid medications that interfere with methylation like the ones I mentioned above and keep the bacteria your got healthy by taking probiotic supplements you can also improve your stomach acid using various herbal formulas and you can take extra supplements to help support proper homocysteine and b12 metabolism like folate b6 and b12 so just remember that vitamins and minerals lubricate all the biochemical wheels of life be sure you get enough of them through your diet and supplements you..