Methylation is a key process within the body for accomplishing thousands of daily metabolic processes. When methylation capacity in your body is inadequate, a myriad of different symptoms can result. The particular symptoms a person exhibits depend on your particular genetics and health history, but may include all of the following and more:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hormonal imbalances
- Neurodegeneration (such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)
- Allergy or allergy-like reactions
- Skin problems
- Digestive issues
Testing for your particular methylation profile can give good insight into your needs. Testing methylation status involves genetic tests and functional tests. Genetic tests measure predispositions toward specific methylation problems to look out for, while functional tests measure the actual biochemical state at time of testing. Both can be valuable, but functional testing is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
Genetic Testing for Methylation Predispositions
Testing for genes related to methylation can be helpful in determining how to address any methylation-related concerns you’re experiencing. Semi-comprehensive SNP testing can be obtained cheaply through 23andme.com and later you can run it through third-party analyzer software to get a view of methylation-related SNPs such as MTHFR, COMT, CBS, MTR, and MTRR. We regularly help clients with this process.
A quick determination of your MTHFR status (arguably the most influential methylation SNP) can be ordered through a blood test here through Tao of Venus.
Functional Testing for Methylation Status
Certain markers within the blood stream correlate with methylation status. The most well-known is homocysteine, and it’s an important marker for almost everyone to check. If homocysteine is high, you likely have a problem.
Vitamin B12 is another important marker to test. Low B12 is important to address, and finding it can help elucidate important causes such as pernicious anemia or low stomach acid. Methylmalonic acid is a more sensitive (albeit more expensive) marker for B12 function in your body. It can be tested in serum (order below) or urine (included in our Organic Acids Test).
Whole blood histamine (emphasis on whole blood!) is an important indicator of methylation status we often order for patients.
Occasionally, if the above tests check out OK, you may still have issues elsewhere in the methylation cycle. Advanced testing for clients can reveal hidden methylation issues. Tests for SAM/SAH ratios, methionine, cysteine, are available to clients in a comprehensive methylation panel, while methylated hormone levels can be seen in the DUTCH hormone panel.
Serum folate isn’t a good indicator of folate status; many people have adequate folate from folic acid supplements or fortified foods, yet the folate may not be entering the cells. Serum folate also fluctuates too much based on recent consumption. Red blood cell (RBC) folate is a better indicator of folate status when folate insufficiency is suspected, and is available through Tao of Venus.