Category Archives: Undermethylation

MTHFR Positive? Undermethylated? Here’s why some methylated B vitamins are not good for depression:

mthfr methylation depression

MTHFR positive means that there is a deficiency of an enzyme (called Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) that breaks down homocysteine and folates. 

With this MTHFR genetic mutation (heterozygous or homozygous), as determined common genetic test with 23andMe, one may also have undermethylation. But treating depression with folic acids, inlcuding methylated folate B vitamins, should not be recommended for depression.

The MTHFR genetic mutation could potentially result in high homocysteine and low folates which may be problematic if not properly addressed. The understanding of this genetic SNP is very ambiguous.

Yes, high homocysteine is a risk factor for cardiovascular inflammation and yes, folates are one mechanism to lower homocysteine. But they are only one mechanism.

Other B-vitamins and dietary changes can be taken to lower this amino acid and simultaneously improve methylation.

However, folates should not be given to anyone with undermethylation depression unless it is determined that they are low in folates. The reason is that folates lower lower serotonin activity, and most people with depression have low serotonin and dopamine levels and function.

Folic acid for methylation and MTHFR postive gene mutations can be a difficult subject to grasp. Before taking B Vitamins for depression one should know how folates affect serotonin. Dr Walsh, who trains physicians on this subject, explains it well.

Dr William Walsh, PhD, discussing MTHFR, methylation,
folates and mood disorders.

Walsh heads the non-profit Walsh Research Institute in Chicago. Thanks to his educational workshops on the topic of epigenetics, depression  and methylation, physicians have  better grasp on the impact of folic acid and depression.

Before ever taking B vitamins for depression it is important to know that most persons with mood disorders are low in serotonin.

Folic acid may help with MTHFR positive gene mutations, but it dramatically reduces serotonin activity.

MTHFR depression methylation
Photo credit: William Walsh PhD

Folates may help with homocysteine and methylation. But it lowers serotonin activity.

  1. Methylation status is not determined by the MTHFR positive genetic mutations.
  2. High homocysteine does not mean someone is low in folates.
  3. Folates (methylated or not - including folinic acid and folic acid) may all improve methylation, yet persons who are undermethylated do not usually have low folic acid levels.
  4. Folates lower serotonin acvitity by increasing SERT or serotonin reuptake transport proteins.
  5. Folates can be taken to lower serotonin in overemethylators but should not be given to to undermethylators. While they may slightly increase serotonin PRODUCTION they will greatly lower ACTIVITY of serotonin.
  6. If people are genuinely experiencing undermethylation then they are likely suffering from mood disorders due to low serotonin activity.

Most common mood and behavior manifestations attributed to methylation imblance.

Undermethylators

Low serotonin, normal folate depression

  • Chronic depression
  • Autism
  • Oppositional Defiance
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Psychosis prior to the onset of depression or other conditions.
  • Strong willed
  • Seasonal allergies
  • High libido
  • Competitive in sports
  • Overachiever prior to the onset
  • Protein deficiency and vegetarian diets
  • Tends to do better on SSRI medications
  • Responds well to antihistamines

Overmethylators

High serotonin, low folate depression

  • Acute depression
  • Panic disorders
  • ADHD
  • High anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Schizophrenia with auditory hallucinations
  • Dry eyes
  • Highly artistic, sociable and empathetic
  • Poor response to SSRI medications
  • Poor response to antihistamines
  • Food and chemical sensitivities
  • Not typically competitive
  • Builds muscle mass easily

Tests and consultation options to determine methylation status and manage mood disorders.

  • A whole blood histamine and homocysteine test, may be ordered here to be drawn at Lab Corp. It is, according to Walsh's research, the go-to test to determine one's true methylation status.  That's because of the methyl dependent enzyme which maintains whole blood histamine levels. This is an excellent indicator of methylation status vs a genetic predictor such as MTHFR.
  • A Walsh Approach takes this different approach to increasing serotonin activity in undermethylators, while carefully avoiding folates. 
  • A history of symptoms and medicines helps your Walsh trained doctor prepare the best supplement regimen for your unique biochemical levels.

Biotype Lab Panels

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Treat Elevated Histamine, Naturally

treat elevated histamine naturally

Symptoms of elevated histamine

More and more these days, people suffer from what are simply referred to simply as "allergies." Allergies are reactions by the body to exposure by foods and  other elements that cause the body to release histamine and other biochemical elements such as tryptase, heparin, serotonin and immunoglobulins. The effect of these compounds on the tissues are known as an allergic reaction.

symptoms of mcas mcad high histamine

Treat symptoms of elevated histamine naturally

To treat symptoms of elevated histamine, the best approach is to become familiar with foods and those that contain high levels of histamine or that cause the body to produce high levels of histamine.

High serum levels of histamine lead to common inflammation conditions such as hives, skin rash, diarrhea, runny nose, high stomach acid, nausea, reflux, migraines, irregular menstrual periods, red itchy eyes, etc.

foods high in histamine

Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Disorder

Not all histamine reactions are due to allergies. There are a number of conditions that lead to an histamine intolerance. That is true whether the histamines are derived from foods or by our excessive production of, or sensitivity to histamines.

Histamine intolerance, also referred to as histaminosis or HIT or Mast Cell Activation Disorder, may be caused by an increased release or by a lack of histamine degradation enzymes. Histamine intolerance isn't a true allergic reaction. Instead, it refers to a reaction some people experience to foods that have high levels of naturally occurring histamine. The enzymes are required for breaking down ingested or naturally produced histamines.

  • DAO - diamine oxidase. This is the histamine lowering enzyme produced in the intestinal lining and by the kidneys. It circulated through the plasma and serum. Managing histamine intolerance may be addressed by supplementation with enzymes such as DAO
  • HNMT - Histamine N-methyl transferase is a histamine degrading enzyme and it is found within the whole blood cells. Supplements used for symptoms associated with high red blood cell histamine including SAMe and methionine that lower histamine levels.
how SAMe methionine lowers histamine

By treating whole blood histamine with nutrients, serotonin and dopamine levels may be corrected. 

Second Opinion Physician specializes in treating mood disorders and symptoms associated with histamine imbalance within the red blood cells. Because these cells rely on the "methyl" containing enzyme (HNMT), a whole blood histamine level is useful in establishing one's "methylation status." High whole blood histamine indicates undermethylation whereas low blood histamine indicated overmethylation. Presenting his findings at the American Psychiatric Association Conference in 2015, Dr William Walsh, PhD. describes the mood related disorders of high blood histamine and low blood histamine, referring to them as undermethylation and overmethylation respectively.

In managing depression and other symptoms affected by conditions associated with histamine levels we are not specifically treating histamine. We use whole blood histamine blood levels as a measure of over or under methylation status.

Because undermethylators have low functioning levels of serotonin and dopamine, supplementing with methionine and SAMe we can increase the activity of key neurotransmitters. In addition to reducing whole blood levels of histamine, they are important regulators of enzymes involved in serotonin and dopamine reuptake. Overmethylators who, with low whole blood histamine are typically high serotonin depressives. They more frequently benefit from supplements that reduce neurotransmitter activity.

Symptoms of Elevated Whole Blood Histamine

high histamine undermethylation symptoms

Symptoms of Low Whole Blood Histamine

symptoms of low histamine schizophrenia

Test whole blood histamine through this website.

It's a very important test!

Second Opinion Physician offers lab testing for histamine as well as consultations by phone to discuss the results of your lab test. Once ordered you will receive a requisition to take to your nearest Lab Corp.

Related Posts:

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Assessing Cause and Treating Autistic Kids and Autism Spectrum Adults

Holistic treatment autism spectrum

Focus on detoxification, immune status and brain biochemistry
A leaky gut syndrome is an inflammatory condition in the digestive track often brought on by allergies to foods such as dairy and wheat. It is also prominent with kids and adults that have elevated yeast or candida. This is either diet related, immune related or has to do with an imbalance of probiotics. The consequence is that toxins, brain toxins leak out of the digestive tract and affect the brain cells. The natural antioxidants that prevent this consequence of leaky gut includes glutathione. To correct leaky gut we test the conditions of the stool and improve the status of digestive enzymes, probiotics, HCL and status of candida.

Casein, Gluten and Autism
According to researchers from Penn State a gluten-free, casein-free diet may lead to improvements in behavior and physiological symptoms in children diagnosed with ASD.

“Research has shown that children with ASD commonly have GI [gastrointestinal] symptoms,” said Christine Pennesi, medical student at Penn State College of Medicine. “Notably, a greater proportion of our study population reported GI and allergy symptoms than what is seen in the general pediatric population. Some experts have suggested that gluten- and casein-derived peptides cause an immune response in children with ASD, and others have proposed that the peptides could trigger GI symptoms and behavioral problems.”

“Gluten and casein seem to be the most immunoreactive,” Klein said. “A child’s skin and blood tests for gluten and casein allergies can be negative, but the child still can have a localized immune response in the gut that can lead to behavioral and psychological symptoms. When you add that in with autism you can get an exacerbation of effects.”

“If parents are going to try a gluten-free, casein-free diet with their children, they really need to stick to it in order to receive the possible benefits,” she said.

naturally remove metals

Metallothionein and Autism – MT Therapy
In October of 2001, a team of clinicians and researchers led by William Walsh, Ph.D. then at the Pheiffer Treatment Center, affiliated with the Health Research Institute now of Warrenville, IL, made available a scientific study entitled “Metallothionein and Autism”. Metallothionein is a protein that is critical to the process of detoxification of harmful substances, particularly heavy metals and toxic chemicals.
The paper describes a study of 503 patients on the autism spectrum vs. aged-matched non-autistic patients. The conclusion of this study was that “most autistic patients exhibit evidence of metallothionein (MT) dysfunction and this dysfunction may be a universal characteristic of autism-spectrum disorders”.
Correcting an impaired detoxification system in ASD autistic children.
William Walsh PhD believes that “MT dysfunction and autism may result from the intersection of two factors: (a) a genetic defect involving marginal or defective MT functioning, followed by (b) an environmental insult during early development which disables MT.”

Dr David Epstein D.O., Medical Director at Second Opinion Physician studied under William Walsh and received certification in applying the Walsh Protocol to autistic kids and autistic adults. The focus of therapy is based on a standard set of labs that are ordered for children to identify and correct biochemical factors that disable MT proteins. These include (a) severe zinc depletion, (b) abnormalities in the glutathione redox system, (c) cysteine deficiency, and (d) malfunction of metal regulating elements (MRE’s).”

Glutathione is a key amino acid in the role of detoxifying the cells of the those on the autistic spectrum including those with aspergers symptoms. It is a product of metabolism in the methionine cycle. With autistics there are very low to no levels of glutathione produced. Low levels lead to other processes that include the dysfunction of methylation and sulfation.

The treatment protocol at Second Opinion Physician for autistic kids and adults on the spectrum recognizes the importance of the Walsh panel for brain function performance assessment. Correction is based on the restoration of the detoxification pathways for removing metals, strengthening the immune system, repair of the gut and brain cells, regulation of zinc and copper levels in the blood and prevention of yeast overgrowth.
The tests include identifying methylation status. Impaired methylation impairs suflation. Sulfation improves the digestive tract, brain function and connective tissues of the body. It also facilitates the production of glutathione and prevents cellular breakdown by removing toxic metals from within the cell.

Second Opinion Physician tests for ASD autistic disorder include the following:
1. Histamine for determining methylation status
2. Zinc and copper levels to identify degree of oxidative stress due to reactive metals causing free radical toxicity.
3. Ceruloplasmin – a copper metallothionein that neutralizes the oxidative effects of copper and other metals.
4. Urinary pyrroles – inflammatory element that depletes the body of B6 and zinc, both critical to brain function
5. Testing for Casein and Gluten allergies
6. CDSA comprehensive digestive stool analysis for evidence of yeast overgrowth, probiotic status and digestive capacity.
7. Vitamin D levels to determine need to supplement for immune improvement

Based on results from tests and historical assessment, Second Opinion Physician natural health care plan will likely include one or more supplement strategies:
1. Correcting methylation imbalance either through slowing down or increasing methylation
2. Improving MT status with a blend of amino acids with high sulfur. The formula was made available to Walsh-Certified physicians.
3. Restoring gut health with sulfur through sulfur containing amino acids and MSM.
4. Diet modification with casein free casein free diet to eliminate allergens
5. Replace probiotics and control candida yeast
6. Supplement with methionine and B12 for undermethylated ASD children
7. Increase zinc and lower copper with supplementation of proper dose and form of trace minerals.
8. Managing pyrrole disorder with B6 and zinc when tests warrant.
9. Vitamin D supplementation

ADHD Nutrient Imbalance

in children exists in about 8-9% of the general population. However as many as 35% of children are being treated with stimulants such as Ritalin in cities across the country.

When out of balance nutrients and oxidative stressors are corrected, the condition may be greatly improved. The Walsh and Pfeiffer Institutes have  reviewed the labs of over 10,000 individuals with ADHD:  The dominate imbalances are excess copper, deficient copper binding protein and low zinc.