Symptoms of Undermethylation

Undermethylation, which refers to a decreased methyl supply 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 severity of the following list of symptoms by adopting a proper diet, supplements, and activities:


  • Anxiety: difficulty concentrating for extended periods, phobias, feelings of sadness and/or depression.
  • Irritation: frustration or anger towards external, uncontrollable factors, people, or expectations, as well as aggression towards others or in general.
  • Desire to control: tendencies towards perfectionism, compulsivity, and rigidity in habits or tasks.
  • Decision-making: making quick decisions or jumping to conclusions.
  • Relationship tension: feelings of competitiveness, opposition, antagonism, and difficulty in empathizing.

The severity of these symptoms depends on your methyl supply (based on the Methyl Scale™). It's important to note that sequencing your DNA is essential for determining which foods not only help you balance your methylation but are also safe for you to consume. If you have issues with histamine, for example, this list may not be suitable for you.

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.

Betaine and SAMe

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.

Things that raise your methylation

Nutrient / itemChange
SAMe (supplement)Significant
Betaine/TMG (supplement)Significant
Whole wheat (wheat bran)Significant
Exercise - Light intensity for 60 minutesMedium
Exercise - Medium intensity for 30 minuteMedium
Exercise - Hard intensity for 15 minutesMedium
Melatonin (supplement)Medium
Amaranth and bulgar grainsMedium
Kamut (Khorasan) wheatMedium
Sweet potatoMedium
Turkey breast, veal, or beefMedium
NAC (supplement)Medium
Antioxidants (like blueberries)Medium

Discover your methyl supply

You can discover your genetic predisposition for methyl supply levels by uploading your DNA file (Ancestry, 23andMe, MyHeritage) or by ordering a Somaticode DNA kit and getting the results two weeks later. Start today to take care of your day-to-day and long-term health!

Arumugam MK, Paal MC, Donohue TM Jr, Ganesan M, Osna NA, Kharbanda KK. Beneficial Effects of Betaine: A Comprehensive Review. Biology (Basel). 2021 May 22;10(6):456. doi: 10.3390/biology10060456. PMID: 34067313; PMCID: PMC8224793.

Bell KM, Plon L, Bunney WE Jr, Potkin SG. S-adenosylmethionine treatment of depression: a controlled clinical trial. Am J Psychiatry. 1988 Sep;145(9):1110-4. doi: 10.1176/ajp.145.9.1110. PMID: 3046382.

Li J, Sun C, Cai W, Li J, Rosen BP, Chen J. Insights into S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM)-dependent methyltransferase related diseases and genetic polymorphisms. Mutat Res Rev Mutat Res. 2021 Jul-Dec;788:108396. doi: 10.1016/j.mrrev.2021.108396. Epub 2021 Oct 7. PMID: 34893161; PMCID: PMC8847900.

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