Genetic Variants and Methylation Dysfunction
Dr. J Dunn
The recent advances in genetic research have finally reached a point where we can begin to look at specific genes and what their functions are. With the recent completion of the genome project, research is mounting as studies are being conducted and associations being made as to the relevance of genetic variants to disease causation. One such area of research has lead to a major breakthrough in our understanding of the origins of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and so much more. This connection between our genetic variants or SNiP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) and disease has revealed the importance of a metabolic pathway in the body that is critical to maintaining health, the methylation cycle. The methylation cycle, it turns out, is involved in many regulatory processes and genetic defects there can be particularly damaging. The good news is that we now have ways to bypass these defects with specific targeted nutrients and restore normal functioning to the body.
Methylation is the process of a transfer of a methyl group (one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) onto amino acids, proteins, enzymes, and DNA in every cell and tissue of the body to regulate healing, cell energy, genetic expression of DNA, neurological function, liver detoxification, immunity, etc. This process is one of the most essential metabolic functions of the body and is catalyzed by a variety of enzymes. The methylation process is responsive to environmental conditions and degrades with age, a process associated with a large variety of age-related disorders. Thus, with respect to the effect of methylation, it is a continuous struggle in life to adapt to the ever-changing environment. Health and quality of life are highly dependent on the methylation process.
This is such a new and emerging science but one that holds great promise in the natural health care realm. The results that are being seen in the preliminary stages are astounding. Understanding the cycle does take some time and study, but for health care practitioners and patients alike the rewards are tremendous. Prevention of those conditions that we consider “inherited” is well within our grasp.