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  • Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD
    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD

    Methylation and Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Winter 2018 Issue


    Caption: Image: CC--Simon Malz

    Celiac.com 01/31/2018 - Methylation is a biochemical reaction in the human body that requires a variety of nutrients to perform indispensable roles in neurological health, detoxification, amino acid metabolism, gene regulation and vitamin assimilation. Every person with celiac disease needs to have their methylation variants tested by their physician so they can achieve good health. How well your body can "methylate" is important to your overall health.

    Methylation pathways in the body are important in cardiovascular health, neuroprotection from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, cognition skills in the young and old, along with emotional wellness and cellular function. A simple blood test- MTHFR- which is available at all major laboratories can determine if common genetic variants require additional supplementation of B vitamins.

    The MTHFR (Methylene Tetrahydrofolate Reductase) converts folate (vitamin B9) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) into an active part of the energy production cycle. In addition, it can indicate if higher levels of Vitamin B12 are needed. Since it is a genetic factor, some clinics do not test it but every celiac needs to know what variants they have in order to optimize their nutritional needs. (Author's note: I wish I had done this testing when I first learned about it 20 years ago. It has made all the difference in the world in my health these past 8 years!)

    The role of methylation is to help enzymes in our body work efficiently. Enzymes are like switches for chemical reactions in cells and tissues. Inadequate methylation nutrients- folate (NOT folic acid), methylcobalamin - the active form of B12 (NOT cyanocobalamin- the cheap cyanide form), and vitamin B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate can improve anemia, sleep, energy production and detoxification of chemicals from gasoline fumes to ammonia odors and personal care fragrances.

    Research over the past twenty years has provided a wealth of knowledge about methylation. It is the responsibility of each person to know their MTHFR variants which were inherited from mom and dad. Here is a brief list of the medical conditions affected by variants in MTHFR.

    • Neurological Disorders: Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism
    • Cardiovascular Disorders: Atherosclerosis, Pulmonary Embolisms, General Clotting Disorders
    • Mental Dysfunction: Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, ADD/ADHD, Bipolar, Addictive Behaviors, Schizophrenia
    • Conception: Infertility, Recurrent Miscarriages
    • Immune Function: Allergies, Chronic Viral Infection
    • Diabetes: Retinopathy, Neuropathy, Nephropathy
    • Increased Sensitivity: Chemicals, Drugs, Supplements
    • Birth Defects: Congenital Heart Defects, Cleft Palette, Spinal Bifida, Down's Syndrome
    • Cancer
    • Thyroid Dysfunction
    • Chronis Conditions: Pain, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

    These MTHFR variants are NOT uncommon but unfortunately few in the medical arena are educated to address dietary concerns related to them. A book MTHFR- Methylation Diet is available on my website www.betty-wedman-stlouis.com for those who need assistance understanding their profile and designing dietary plans. The Methylation Diet is a high protein diet with lots of folate rich vegetables. Thos individuals with MTHFR variants should avoid folic acid as a dietary supplement and foods enriched with it like cereals, breads, flour, etc.


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    Please read more about methylation by biochemical experts such as William Walsh, PhD, of Walsh Research Institute. He reports that the use of any folate form is contraindicated for persons with a mental condition associated with low serotonin or dopamine activity. It is always best to seek the advice of a physician who understands the complexities of methylation and co-morbidity conditions (i.e., celiac). They use individualized, advanced nutrient therapies (vitamins, minerals and amino acids) to normalize methylation based on the individual's biochemistry.

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    Hi Betty: I read your article about methylation and celiac disease and thought that the article was written because it was one of the diseases with a MTHFR variant. However, I did not see this mentioned. How are the two connected other than those with Celiac potentially having an one of those mentioned diseases? I also had a question about the reason for the recommendation of a high protein diet and vegetables? I know that vegetables, particularly greens, are excellent sources of folate, but why the high protein? I am a Nutritionist and college educator and am interested for clients that I see with celiac disease.

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    Please read more about methylation by biochemical experts such as William Walsh, PhD, of Walsh Research Institute. He reports that the use of any folate form is contraindicated for persons with a mental condition associated with low serotonin or dopamine activity. It is always best to seek the advice of a physician who understands the complexities of methylation and co-morbidity conditions (i.e., celiac). They use individualized, advanced nutrient therapies (vitamins, minerals and amino acids) to normalize methylation based on the individual's biochemistry.

    True regarding folate but isn't methyl folate imperative for optimal methylation ALONG with b12, b6 and b5.

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    Betty, perhaps you could clarify a point? Since standard blood tests do not include MTHFR but DO INCLUDE B-vitamin testing, exactly what is the MTHFR testing supposed to tell me if I already have adequate Vitamin B levels? It sounds like something that only needs to be explored if someone is trying to find out why their B levels are not proper.

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    There is so much info out there - you could go from one thing to another in a never ending cycle trying to figure it all out... It sometimes seems overwhelming especially when your "regular doctor" has never heard of something like MTHFR variant and tells you to just take the vitamins and don't "worry" about it so much! Everyone I know has health problems, many with autoimmunity. The reality is that perfect health is not yet attainable.

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  • About Me

    Betty Wedman-St Louis, PhD, RD is Assistant Professor, NY Chiropractic College, MS Clinical Nutrition Program Nutrition Assessment Course & Food Science Course.  She is author of the following books:

    • Fast and Simple Diabetes Menus, McGraw Hill Companies
    • Diabetes Meals on the Run, Contemporary Books
    • Living With Food Allergies, Contemporary Books
    • Diabetic Desserts, Contemporary Books
    • Quick & Easy Diabetes Menus Cookbook, Contemporary Books
    • American Diabetes Association Holiday Cookbook and Parties & Special Celebrations Cookbook, Prentice Hall Books

     

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