Undermethylation, which refers to a decreased level of methylation in the body, has been linked to certain imbalances in brain chemistry. Methylation plays a crucial role in the regulation of neurotransmitter activity in the brain. (Read more on methylation.) Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons and play a key role in regulating mood, behavior, and other brain functions.
Some studies have suggested that undermethylation can lead to imbalances in neurotransmitter levels, particularly in serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are important neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation. However, there are ways to balance your methylation and reduce the following list of symptoms with the right diet, supplements, and activities:
The severity of these symptoms depends on the level of undermethylation, ranging from adaptive (0 to -1 on the methylation scale) to uncomfortable, disruptive, restrictive, paralyzing, and finally to clinical (around -8).
To alleviate these symptoms, it is recommended to consume TMG-rich (Betaine) foods and antioxidants in your diet, as well as make lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise.
To see which nutrients and activities help your unique genetic code the most, get your own personalized methylation profile.
TMG, also known as Betaine, and SAMe, or S-adenosylmethionine, have distinct roles in the body due to their different mechanisms of action.
TMG acts as a methyl donor and can contribute three methyl groups to aid the methylation cycle. It facilitates the conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which can then be used to produce SAMe. TMG can also promote liver function, energy production, and neurotransmitter synthesis. However, it does not directly participate in the methylation of DNA, but instead supports the methylation cycle indirectly. TMG is available as a supplement, such as Betaine Anhydrous, and can also be found in certain foods.
In contrast, SAMe plays a crucial role as a major methyl donor in the body and is involved in direct methylation of various molecules, including DNA, RNA, and proteins. It is produced from methionine and ATP and contributes to the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. SAMe is critical for multiple metabolic pathways and is necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, phospholipids, and other compounds. Unlike TMG, SAMe is only available as a supplement, although increasing dietary intake of methionine is also a viable option.
While both TMG and SAMe support methylation processes, they have different modes of action and serve distinct purposes. TMG indirectly contributes to methylation and supplies methyl groups, while SAMe directly donates methyl groups and plays a critical role in various metabolic pathways in the body.
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Methylation balancing is unique to each person, but can be done through diet and lifestyle changes.