B Vitamins are responsible for assisting in thousands of interactions in the human body. The one we discuss today is one I bet you have not heard of before.
Protecting your DNA begins with what you eat, don’t eat and with the chemicals you are exposed to daily. Nutritional intake is critical for all body functions. Additionally, nutrient absorption is also critical. If you can’t absorb the nutrition does it matter? Of course it matters.
Do you know the best way to guarantee better nutrient absorption? It starts by chewing your food really well. Like 20 to 30 times per bite! Meats may require upwards of 50 chews per bite for better digestion and nutrient absorption. The next time you eat pay attention to how many times you chew your food. My guess is at most it is 10 times.
The average American doesn’t realize just how important the absorption of certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can be. As you will discover below, most nutrients work together in our body to make processes happen.
I want you to remember two words Methylation and Homocysteine.
DNA Protection is Critical
Some of the body processes make compounds such as hormones, enzymes and proteins, some processes change things such as converting the sugar in your foods into blood sugar called glucose. While others tear (cleave) things apart such as the dismantling of proteins in your body tissues to make blood sugars (glucose) if you do not get enough from your diet. As a by-product of some processes, toxic or damaging compounds are made.
If you are lacking one of the nutrients vital to the process, over time DNA damage can occur creating illness and disease. A cell with damaged DNA replicates in a damaged state over and over. If it happens enough times mutations occur causing disease and illness. Free radicals from cigarette smoke, charred foods, air pollutants, chemicals in processed foods, lotions, makeup, soaps, food containers and in fact, many things we are exposed to can damage our DNA. Antioxidants and nutrients from healthy nutrient rich foods neutralize free radicals helping to prevent disease and illness.
Certain nutrients are absolutely critical for different body processes to function. If you are eating a diet rich in processed, refined and fast foods you are missing essential nutrients that can protect you from many adverse health conditions, illness and diseases. Just like you can’t build a house without wood, nails and tools. Your body systems can’t function adequately without certain nutrients in adequate amounts.
B Vitamins, Methylation and Homocysteine?
You probably have not heard of methylation or homocysteine. However, both have a big impact on your health at the cellular level and are tied together in a unique way. Your diet has a huge influence on both the methylation process and homocysteine.
What are methylation and homocysteine?
Homocysteine is a harmful protein formed during the methylation process in our bodies. In particular, The Methionine Cycle. High homocysteine levels can cause, neurological conditions, stroke, heart disease and cancers. Homocysteine can be converted back to important non-harmful compounds if you have the right nutrition available.
Methylation is a key biochemical process that occurs millions and maybe even a billion times a second (I would call that warp speed)) and is critical, even essential for the proper function of almost all of your body’s systems. Methylation helps repair your DNA, reduce inflammation and keep the cellular detoxification system functioning at optimal levels. The methylation process helps recycle two very power molecules, glutathione (GSH) and methionine from homocysteine.
For the methylation process to function optimally it is very dependent on Selenium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), Vitamin B9 (folate), Choline and the compound betaine. Betaine is a derivative of the amino acid glycine and is also converted from the essential nutrient Choline. If you have low levels of these B Vitamins, homocysteine levels build because it can’t be converted to Sam-e or GSH without them.
How Does Homocysteine Affect Our Health?
As homocysteine levels increase this can result in damage to our DNA and increasing cellular inflammation across our body. Higher levels of homocysteine are associated with an increase in heart disease and cancer in some studies and not as much in other studies. However, what the other studies did show consistently was that levels of HDL (heart protective cholesterol) were low when homocysteine was high all while Folate, B2, B6 and B12 levels were low. We know adequate levels of these nutrients lower homocysteine levels thereby by increasing cell and heart protective HDL cholesterol levels.
The relationship with cancer and homocysteine levels provided similar results in studies for different cancers. It’s confusing. They find that there is an association between breast cancer and lower levels of B6, B12, Folate but not necessarily because of elevated homocysteine. Still, lower levels of these nutrients are linked to a greater risk of breast and other cancers.
If you want to protect your DNA and reduce your risk of cancers and heart disease make sure you are getting adequate levels of Selenium, B2, B6, B12, Folate and Choline. Everyday, have several servings of a variety of colorful foods from the garden to reduce your risk of disease and illness. The common theme from almost every health organization says to “increase our intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and nuts and seeds and reduce our intake or processed foods, red and processed meats. “
Wally Bishop I.N.H.C., C.N.C.
The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.