Sunday, April 11, 2010

To your good health, Mark Hyman, M.D.

12 Tips to Optimize Your Methylation Process
Just as there are many causes of poor methylation, there are lots of things that support its proper functioning. Here's how to maximize methylation -- and prevent conditions like heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression, and more.

1. Eat more dark, leafy greens. You want to eat l cup a day of vegetables like bok choy, escarole, Swiss chard, kale, watercress, spinach, or dandelion, mustard, collard, or beet greens. These are among the most abundant sources of the nutrients needed for optimal methylation.
2. Get more Bs in your diet. Good food sources include sunflower seeds and wheat germ (vitamin B6); fish and eggs (vitamin B6 and B12); cheese (B12); beans and walnuts (vitamin B6 and folate); leafy dark green vegetables; asparagus, almonds, and whole grains (folate); and liver (all three).
3. Minimize animal protein, sugar, and saturated fat. Animal protein directly increases homocysteine. Sugar and saturated fat deplete your body's vitamin stores.
4. Avoid processed foods and canned foods. These are depleted in vitamins.
5. Avoid caffeine. Excess amounts can deplete your B vitamin levels.
6. Limit alcohol to 3 drinks a week. More than this can deplete your B vitamin levels.
7. Don't smoke. As noted above, smoking inactivates vitamin B6.
8. Avoid medications that interfere with methylation. See notes on this above.
9. Keep the bacteria in your gut healthy. Take probiotic supplements and use other measures to make sure the bacteria in your gut are healthy so you can properly absorb the vitamins you do get.
10. Improve stomach acid. Use herbal digestives (bitters) or taking supplemental HCl.
11. Take supplements that prevent damage from homocysteine. Antioxidants protect you from homocysteine damage. Also make sure you support methylation with supplements like magnesium and zinc.
12. Supplement to help support proper homocysteine metabolism. Talk to your doctor to determine the best doses and forms for you. Here are a few suggestions:
• Folate (folic acid): Amounts can vary based on individual needs from 200 mcg to 1 mg. Some people may also need to take preformed folate (folinic acid or 5 formylTHF) to bypass some of the steps in activating folic acid.
• Vitamin B6: Take 2 to 5 mg a day. Some people may need up to 250 mg or even special "active" B6 (pyridoxyl-5-phosphate) to achieve the greatest effect. Doses higher than 500 mg may cause nerve injury.
• Vitamin B12: Doses of 500 mcg may be needed to protect against heart disease. Oral vitamin B12 isn't well absorbed; you may need up to 1 or 2 mg daily. Ask your doctor about B12 shots.
• Betaine: This amino acid derivative is needed in doses from 500 to 3,000 mg a day, depending on the person.
By working to optimize your methylation you can protect yourself from virtually all the so called "diseases of aging." When you do, you will be well on the road to lifelong vibrant health.

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