What the heck is methylation and why should you care? Methylation is something that I discovered by “happenstance”, which opened a HUGE door as a potential trigger for Breast Cancer. Although this may seem a little technical, please stick with me, because the underlying message is that you have a measure of control over the methylation process in your body.
What is Methylation and why should you care?
I happened to stumble across the subject of methylation after I had some blood work done and my Homocysteine levels were off the charts! I was a stroke and heart attack waiting to happen! WHAT?? How and why was my Homocysteine so high since I had an excellent diet, had a regular supplementation regime and exercised regularly?
The researcher in me jumped in with two feet and I found myself swimming in a sea of very technical, biochemical articles that made my head spin. I have tried to simplify methylation for you so you can understand how important it is to prevent Breast Cancer and to support the healing process if you are on a Breast Cancer journey.
Methylation is a complex bio-chemical process that occurs in our body every day. Think of methylation like the spark plug in a car that evokes certain chemical reactions. Methylation causes hormones and proteins to “change” into different substances. For example, methylation helps convert serotonin into melatonin. It helps change “strong” estrogens to milder, less aggressive estrogens.
Methylation is also crucial for the proper expression of DNA and detoxification pathways in the liver. Scientists have shown that cancer cells have abnormal methylation.
When methylation does not occur, unhealthy genes get turned on and healthy genes get turned off.
Studies specifically about Breast Cancer and methylation issues have uncovered another important piece of the puzzle. Scientists are finding that improper methylation patterns:
1.) Lead to inactivation of certain genes in the breast tissue
3.) Breast Cancer prognosis is closely linked to methylation
4.) Methylation plays an important role in the development of certain types of Breast Cancer.
How do I know if I have a poor methylation process?
- Ask your doctor to check your Homocysteine levels in your blood.
- You can order this simple urine test that can be done in the privacy of your home and then sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. This estrogen test will determine IF you are metabolizing and breaking down estrogen properly.
- If you have a tendency towards obesity and have painful menstrual periods with excess bleeding and clots, you are probably estrogen dominant and may have a methylation issue
- If you don’t want to go the expense of doing these tests, then make sure you supplement with a potent DIM-I3C formula. This particular formula contains compounds found in broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables that support balanced hormones. Indoles help your body process harmful estrogen metabolites that can trigger disease, particularly in breast in the breast and female organs.
- You can also have a DNA test to determine of you have a genetic defect that prevents you from methylation properly. I did this test and discovered that I have a compromised gene which is why I had such high homocysteine levels. This was also a probable trigger in my developing Breast Cancer. But with proper supplementation, I can now support my methylation pathways to minimize DNA damage.
High levels of estrogen metabolites are a contributing factor in Breast Cancer. Exposure to xeno-estrogens found in plastics and environmental chemicals can cause unbalanced hormone levels.
Our body is trying to adapt to a very stressful environment, toxic chemicals, GMO foods, and poor sleep patterns. Make sure your methylation pathways are working properly so you can be proactive with prevention and improve your health.