The “Why” of Methyl Groups

Genetics has generated a giant breakthrough in medical therapeutics. Knowing about genetics is making sense of conditions not formerly understood or thought amenable to treatment. Not only are there genetic mutations, significant abnormalities in the formation of the gene itself, but there are other issues like Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs, that may impact the function of the gene.

SNPs involve a change in a single chemical base within the structure of a gene. They may or may not have an impact. Depending upon the nature and/or the location of the SNP in the particular gene, the function of the molecule for which the gene encodes can be profoundly impacted.

Genes encode for proteins. Some important proteins for which genes encode are enzymes. Enzymes move biochemical molecules along their pathways in your body. If a gene has a SNP in an important location, it can make the activity of the enzyme for which it encodes either increase or decrease. Most often, it is a decrease. This is particularly important when the SNP is located in a biochemical pathway that has critical end products. One such biochemical pathway is the Methylation Pathway as described by Dr Amy Yasko, and one such important end product is the methyl group.

A methyl group is formed from four small atoms, one carbon and three hydrogen atoms. It is similar in size to the water molecule, H2O. Water is a key to life, and methyl groups are critical for health and well being. Methyl groups are symbolized as CH3. C is the symbol for carbon, the same molecule that is in coal or diamonds. H is the symbol for hydrogen, the same as in water.

Methyl groups are part of a critical regulatory system in your body. Without them, you cannot keep DNA that should not be expressing quiet. Your immune system will not function optimally. You cannot silence viruses, and many physical sequelae can manifest.

The methylation pathway in figure 1 is the central biochemical pathway in your body for making methyl groups. This pathway is particularly amenable to screening for genetic weakness. Once the precise areas of genetic weakness have been identified, it is possible to target appropriate nutritional supplementation to optimize the functioning of these crucial biochemical processes.

One consequence of genetic weaknesses (SNPs) in this pathway is increased risk factors for a number of serious health conditions. Defects in the ability to make methyl groups lay the appropriate groundwork for the further assault of environmental and infectious agents resulting in a wide range of conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid dysfunction, neurological inflammation, chronic viral infection, neurotransmitter imbalances, atherosclerosis, cancer, aging, schizophrenia, decreased repair of tissue damage, improper immune function, neural tube defects, Down’s Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism.

Methyl groups are very basic molecules that serve integral functions for body wide genetic performance. They are moved around in the body to turn on or off genes. They serve as your own personal gene mechanic so to speak, helping to repair and direct genetic functions in your body. If you think about your body as being a car, then you have just one car that you need to maintain over the course of your entire life. You maintain it with the help of your own personal gene mechanic. The longer you have that car the more outdated it becomes. Your car-body will accumulate rust and rot, tires will wear out, and the engine may need an overhaul.

Alternatively, the problems may be simpler, such as the need for more wiper fluid or simply to keep it filled with gas and to change the oil. In any case, your personal gene mechanic ensures that your car keeps running, that it can stay on the road…in this case on the road to health.

If however your gene mechanic is unable to function, then all of these issues will start to accumulate. The rust may get so bad that car components fall off, like your muffler. The tires may become so worn that it is impossible to navigate a turn without the fear of blowing one. In the absence of your gene mechanic function, you have no way to repair all of the large and small problems that arise with your car, to the point at which your car may no longer function.

This analogy may show you why the proper functioning of the pathway that makes methyl groups is so important. Methyl groups are critical to the repair and regulation of the function of all the genes in your body, both your own and the genes of other organisms inside you, such as bacterial and viral genes. In addition to the editing of genes, methyl groups also play direct roles in your biochemical function. The addition or removal of a methyl group from another molecule can profoundly change the function of that molecule. Methyl groups are thus critical for your overall health.

So now it is up to YOU to learn more about treating chronic illness successfully…

You need to know about the role of optimizing both methyl group production and your capacity for methylation.

This is your opportunity.

My Tuesday evening calls are ongoing. They happen every week. There is no charge to come to the call. It is free forum where you can ask your questions. It’s a great way to clear up confusion, overcome the obstacles you may be having, and get on the path to wellness.

The time: Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time

(8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 PM Central, 6:00 PM Mountain)

The number to call in the US: (605) 562-3140

The access code: 691392#

International access numbers are linked here.

Join us to inform yourself so that you can be proactive about your health!

So excellent! I literally learn something on every single call and I get clarification on things that have been lingering on my mind…

You are giving people a huge gift by empowering them…It’s about helping the patient become their own healer by taking them to a higher level of consciousness…

Thank you so much Dr. Mullan. Thank you so, so much for everything you do.

Wow! I have to tell you, this was such an uplifting call. It’s so nice to hear good news especially about a child. Anxiety, OCD and a host of other mental/psychiatric symptoms have been a huge hurdle for me. So to hear this story of all those awful symptoms totally going away is such a bright light for me!!!!

This is brilliant. I hope a lot of people not doing methylation work will see this. I wish I’d seen this before I started doing daily injections of B12 and folic acid and ended up in a crisis. Maybe had I known to have the genetic methylation stuff going, the IV therapies I did that really helped would not have been so traumatic…

Join us to inform yourself so that you can be proactive about your health!


Nancy Mullan MD

Author, lecturer, clinician,
Dr. Nancy Mullan is best known for her natural treatment of chronic illness, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Lyme and MTHFR+.

2829 Burbank Blvd., Suite 202, Burbank CA 91505
T: (818) 954-9267 – F: (818) 954-0620


About Nancy Mullan, MD

Some people call Dr. Nancy Mullan the MTHFR genetic medicine expert. Dr. Mullan works with people who are struggling with chronic disease or other significant illness, who are willing to use diet and genetics-based nutritional supplementation, and who want to increase wellbeing and energy, enhance immunity, lift mood, fine-tune genetic function, and get their lives back. Dr. Mullan has studied at a number of exceptional institutions: the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics. She excels at integrating the results of biochemical and genetic testing into sustained clinical improvement for you. She has succeeded with patients who confounded the specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Stanford, and many well-known integrative medical doctors. When recommending her, her patients say, “This is the woman you need to talk to. She really knows how to handle tough clinical problems.” Dr. Mullan's specialty areas are MTHFR+, methylation genetics, and genetics-based nutritional supplementation. Within this context, she most often works with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Psychiatric Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Women’s Health Issues, Thyroid Disorder, Gastrointestinal Disorder, and Heavy Metal Toxicity.
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