How to Treat Overmethylation

Methylation is a fairly complex process, but basically, it’s the natural process where methyl groups (one carbon and three hydrogen atoms) are transferred throughout your body. This happens billions of times a day in your body, and it’s a large part of how your DNA sends and receives information. According to some holistic healers out there, overmethylation is a condition that can cause a variety of psychiatric and physical symptoms. While most medical experts agree this isn’t a diagnosis, a quick blood test should clear the air to help you identify if you need any kind of treatment, medication, or lifestyle changes. If you want to know more about how methylation works and why you may not need to worry about it, read on to learn more!


Question 1 of 6: How do you reduce methylation?

Go get your blood tested to see what you may need to treat. According to the proponents of overmethylation, you will have high levels of copper in your blood, low levels of zinc, high levels of estrogen, or a high homocysteine levels if you’re overmethylated. The treatment for these deficiencies is going to be unique depending on which hormones or nutrients are high/low, so get a blood test and talk to your doctor to see what you can do to fix this problem if there is one.

  • Some people suggest that folate, zinc, vitamin C or vitamin B supplements will help with overmethylation, but there’s no way to know which one you’ll need to take without the blood test. On top of that, there may be some underlying condition causing your deficiency if you have one, so don’t do anything here without seeing a doctor first!

You may not have an issue with methylation. Your body definitely goes through methylation, but as a medical diagnosis there isn’t much evidence that you’ll need to treat or change your methylation. Scientists working in the field of epigenetics are interested in methylation for gene therapy and mutation research purposes. But methylation just describes the process of methyl groups being added to or removed from DNA; it may not be a recognized condition you can treat.

  • Your body goes through methylation millions of times a day. It’s possible for a gene to be overmethylated one minute, and undermethylated the other.
  • DNA methylation has definitely been implicated in certain mood disorders and conditions, but it’s probably not a causal relationship. In other words, while people with depression often have low levels of methylation, it’s not clear if those methylation levels are causing the depression or the other way around.

Question 2 of 6: What are the symptoms of overmethylation?

There are hundreds of symptoms according to some holistic healers. Due to the fact that methylation occurs everywhere in your body thousands of times a day, people have pinned a wide array of symptoms on overmethylation. While some are likely unrelated to methylation, potential symptoms include:

  • Depression, anxiety, self-harm, low motivation, and low sex drive.
  • Trouble sleeping, tinnitus, dry eyes or mouth, nervous legs, and hyperactivity.
  • Adverse reactions to SSRIs, SAMe, estrogen, or antihistamines.
  • An absence of seasonal allergies, intense belief in religion, musical ability, or a tendency to be overweight.

Question 3 of 6: How can I improve symptoms of overmethylation?

Live a healthy lifestyle to maintain standard methylation levels. The things you do can influence your genes. If you smoke, eat a poor diet, don’t sleep, or expose yourself to excess stress, it may change the way your body processes nutrients. Living a healthy lifestyle may help your body process information from your DNA more efficiently!

  • Getting sick can change your methylation levels as well, and staying healthy will definitely decrease the odds you get sick!

Work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan. Many of the symptoms of overmethylation can be tied to another diagnosis. See your doctor and talk to them about what you’re experiencing. Once they’ve identified the root cause of your symptoms, work with them to come up with a treatment plan that makes sense for you.

  • If you are concerned with overmethylation, jot down any questions you have ahead of time and bring your list in with you to the doctor’s office. They’ll walk you through any concerns that you have.
  • Overmethylation has been tied to everything from schizophrenia and cancer, to the common cold and seasonal allergies. If you do have an underlying condition, focus your energy on treating it directly.

Question 4 of 6: What causes high methylation?

Your methylation levels naturally change every day. Methylation is a genetic process, but it’s not the kind of genetic process that’s permanent or immutable. This is why scientists are so interested in studying methylation—so they can learn how to turn genes on or off! However, there are hundreds of things influencing this process in your body every day, and it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint any single behavior, process, or factor that causes changes to occur.

  • You have 20,000-25,000 genes, and methylation plays a role in all of them. On top of that, methylation levels change millions of time a day. Certain genes could be overmethylated at the same time that other genes are undermethylated!

Your methylation levels naturally fluctuate more as you get older. Your methylation levels are more likely to be stable and healthy the younger you are. Over time, the possibility for mutations and abnormalities in your genetic processes goes up. By doing your best to stay healthy, you may increase your odds that these changes occur over time.

Question 5 of 6: How do you know if you are undermethylated?

See your doctor and get a blood test to see what’s going on. There are certain blood test panels your doctor can order to take a look at certain methylation markers. Since methylation influences how your body processes nutrients and hormones, a basic blood test should still tell you everything you’d need to know—even if it doesn’t tell you anything about your methylation levels.

You would need epigenetic profiling to get the full picture. To really get a look at your methylation levels in detail, you’d need to get your entire genome sequenced. This isn’t necessarily something you’re likely to want to do, though. It’s extremely expensive, your insurance is unlikely to cover it, and you’re probably not going to get much of an insight from the results.

  • On top of this, your methylation levels change all the time depending on your behavior, age, and a variety of other factors.

Question 6 of 6: Can you fix methylation problems?

In theory, you can take SAMe supplements to boost methylation. Ask your doctor if they think you’d benefit from taking S-adenosyl-L-methionine supplement. This compound is produced naturally, and it may help your body stabilize methylation levels. However, there’s no conclusive evidence that SAMe supplements have a huge impact, and it may interact with other medications you take or negatively influence your health, so just talk to a doctor before you start taking it.

  • SAMe is a methyl donor, meaning that your body can use it to replace basically any missing nutrient for methylation processes.

Eat a balanced diet to ensure that you get plenty of folates. There’s some evidence that people who get a lot of folates from food have healthier levels of methylation. Aim to consume 200 micrograms of folate a day. If you’re looking for some high-folate foods, try broccoli, brussels sprouts, vegetables, peas, liver, or breakfast cereal!

  • Eat a healthy diet to ensure that you get enough folates. You won’t need to take a supplement so long as you eat a balance of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Changes in methylation levels may not necessarily be bad. Changes to your methylation levels are not always a sign something is wrong. For example, a loss of methylation in a certain gene is associated with increased fetal growth and development. Overmethylation of a different set of genes is associated with tumor suppression. The point is, even if your methylation levels are off, it may not necessarily mean you’re unhealthy and it may just be your body’s natural response to a stimuli.

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