Monday, April 10, 2006

Methylation and Metal-Metabolism

Right now Emma is posting on under and over-methylation and its effects on food intolerance and epilepsy. Her posts, here, here, here and here have been fascinating and have prompted me to do a bit of googling of my own.

From what I can tell, the symptoms for under-methylators and over-methylators are disagreed upon. William Walsh, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Pfeiffer Treatment Center says that the symptoms are as follows:

Undermethylation: This condition is innate & is characterized by low levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, high whole blood histamine and elevated absolute basophils. This population has a high incidence of seasonal allergies, OCD tendencies, perfectionism, high libido, sparse body hair, and several other characteristics. They usually respond well to methionine, SAMe, calcium, magnesium, omega-3 essential oils (DHA & EPA), B-6, inositol, and vitamins A, C, and E. They should avoid supplements containing folic acid. In severe cases involving psychosis, the dominant symptom is usually delusional thinking rather than hallucinations. They tend to speak very little & may sit motionless for extended periods. They may appear outwardly calm, but suffer from extreme internal anxiety. Other symptoms include good tolerance to cold, but poor tolerance to heat, nausea, low pain threshold, slender build, excessive saliva, hyperactivity, frequent infections, seasonal allergies, phobias, high metabolism, perspiration, warm skin, headaches, myalgia... etc.

Overmethylation: This condition is the biochemical opposite of undermethylation. It is characterized by elevated levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, low whole blood histamine, and low absolute basophils. This population is characterized by the following typical symptoms: Absence of seasonal, inhalent allergies, but a multitude of chemical or food sensitivities, high anxiety which is evident to all, low libido, obsessions but not compulsions, tendency for paranoia and auditory hallucinations, underachievement as a child, heavy body hair, hyperactivity, "nervous" legs, and grandiosity. They usually respond well to folic acid, B-12, niacinamide, DMAE, choline, manganese, zinc, omega-3 essential oils (DHA and EPA) and vitamins C and E, but should avoid supplements of methionine, SAMe, inositol, TMG and DMG. Other symptoms include good pain tolerance, low libido, absence of seasonal allergies, OCD, depression, tinnitus, restless legs syndrome, artistic/music interests/abilities, intolerance to Prozac and other SSRI's... etc.

The lists go on and on. This site questions some of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center's findings because they seem illogical. The food sensitivities part is curious, as it goes against much of what Emma has researched and the research that Enzyme Stuff mentions. I, myself, have no idea what any of it means, largely because I suffer from many symptoms that appear in both categories (lack of seasonal allergies but many food and chemical sensitivities, I used to have an abnormally high libido when I was younger, but now have next to none, horrible tolerance to cold, very high pain threshold, depression, anxiety, irritability, phobia, have gone through periods of very frequent infections, overweight, obsessive, childhood underachievement, tinnitus... etc. That list goes on and on too.

One thing I've come across in my web research is a third, common cause of some of my symptoms that actually fits the bill more accurately than either of the other two: copper imbalance/metal metabolism imbalance.

"Metal-Metabolism: A common problem in ADHD behavior disorders and hormonal depression is a physical inability to control copper, zinc, manganese and other trace metals in the body due to improper functioning of metallothionein, a small protein synthesized in the liver and kidney in response to the presence of some metal ions, including zinc, mercury, cadmium and copper. It binds the metal ions tightly and is important both in ion transport and in detoxification. These patients are often deficient in zinc and manganese, the amino acids cysteine and serine, and vitamin B-6. They are commonly overloaded in copper, lead and cadmium. They must avoid supplements and enriched foods containing copper. In addition we recommend they drink bottled water and limit use of swimming pools and jacuzzis treated with copper sulfate anti-algae agents. Foods to be limited due to high copper content include shellfish, chocolate and carob. Elevated copper levels are associated with hormonal imbalances and a classic symptom is intolerance to estrogen. Biochemical treatment focuses on stimulation of metallothionein using zinc, manganese, cysteine, serine and vitamin B-6."

Apparently, the symptoms of this imbalance, aside from estrogen intolerance and horrible pms symptoms are: acne, eczema, sensitive skin, sunburn, headaches, poor immune function, white spots under the fingernails, mood swings, sulphite sensitivity, fatigue, irritability, foggy brain, hypoglycemia, headaches, tender calf muscles, difficulty falling asleep...etc. many of which I have. The birth control pill can cause high levels of copper and will exacerbate the estrogen symptoms.

Do I have copper toxicity? Who knows! More on this soon.

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Blogger the witch said...

You're right - a lot of those symptoms go against what we know about the symptoms of food intolerance. I have approximately half of the undermethylation symptoms, and half of the overmethylation symptoms. I wonder what size population group the guy has been using?

I guess we won't know until we've experimented more!

5:35 p.m.  
Blogger Mother Nuture said...

I just read your most recent post about methylation and the inconsistencies in PTC's treatments and I totally agree with all of what you said. There are so many things that just don't add up and have gotten me totally confused. I should have listened to my gut (and to PubMed)!

10:39 a.m.  

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