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4 Ways To Improve Methylation And Increase Glutathione For Better Health

By Dr. Michael Richardson
Updated June 2, 2015

Methylation. You may not have heard the word before, but it’s an essential metabolic process that is constantly taking place all over your body.

In fact, methylation occurs in every single cell, with the sole exception of red blood cells. The methylation process degrades as you get older and is associated with a number of different age-related health problems.

Glutathione is equally important. As the body’s chief antioxidant, it plays a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals that could otherwise wreak havoc on your body.

What Exactly Are Methylation And Glutathione?

Methylation is the addition of a methyl group to another molecule. A methyl group is a molecule that contains one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms. It is similar in structure to methane, which has a fourth hydrogen atom. In humans, methylation plays a part in regulating gene expression and protein function, as well as in RNA processing.

Methylation can switch off parts of your DNA that are unnecessary or abnormal, preventing them from being copied to future generations of cells. Of course, the process isn’t perfect, which is part of the reason why we age. Over time, more and more problems slip through the cracks.

Methylation is also necessary to activate chemicals like serotonin, which regulated mood, appetite and sleep. Not having enough serotonin can lead to depression. Methylation also converts homocysteine into methionine.

If too much homocysteine builds up in the body, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and liver disease. Homocysteine also plays a part in aging by accelerating the destruction of telomeres, which protect your chromosomes from deterioration.

Glutathione is an antioxidant that prevents damage to your cells and the structures within them. As your body metabolizes oxygen, it produces a number of harmful byproducts. Free radicals are highly reactive, and can damage important biological systems if left unchecked. Other byproducts include peroxides, which are toxic to cells.

When it encounters one of these highly reactive molecules, glutathione donates one of its electrons to neutralize the threat. In the process, the glutathione molecule becomes reactive. However, it usually bonds with another reactive glutathione molecule and the two become non-reactive.

Insufficient glutathione allows more of these toxic substances to survive in your cells, potentially inhibiting cell function and even harming your DNA.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways in which you can improve your body’s methylation and production of glutathione.

1. Exercise

A study published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation showed that people who exercise regularly produce more glutathione than those who are healthy, but sedentary. There are already plenty of reasons you should exercise regularly, but if you weren’t already convinced, perhaps the ability to turn back the clock and slow the aging process will get you moving.

2. Take A Silymarin Supplement

Silymarin, a chemical that comes from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, has been shown to increase glutathione levels in the liver, intestines and stomach. Take a daily supplement of silymarin to help your body produce more antioxidants. Pin It

3. Eat Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale contain large amounts of folic acid, which helps support the methylation process. They also contain large amounts of other important nutrients, so try to eat at least two cups every day.

4. Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin B12

Like folic acid, B12 also assists in the methylation process. B12 can be found in dairy, eggs, fish and red meat. Vegans may need to turn to a dietary supplement instead to prevent a vitamin B12 deficiency, since no plant has been proven to increase B12 levels in the body. By making sure you get enough B12, you can help improve your methylation and your lifespan.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Michael Richardson
Passionate about sharing the latest scientifically sound health, fitness and nutrition advice and information, Dr Richardson received his Master of Science in Nutrition from New York University, and a Bachelor Degree from New Jersey University. He has since gone on to specialize in sports nutrition, weight management and helping his patients to heal physical ailments by making changes to their eating habits and lifestyles.

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