Methylation and Miscarriage

Methylation is complicated. Honestly, look:

Unless you’re a biochemist...

I’m not, so this is not going to be[more] an in-depth article on methylation. For that, there are many others out there which will take you through the complexities much clearer than I would ever be capable of.

As a very crude explanation methylation is nutrition at a molecular level where methyl-groups (CH3- 3 Hydrogen atoms around a central Carbon atom) transfer from one compound to another. At the initial stage of the process methyl-groups are obtained through diet from the amino acid methionine commonly found in many protein rich foods. Among many roles methylation is critical for gene expression and protein synthesis, both of which are innately tied to conception and pregnancy.

If you are having trouble conceiving or are experiencing recurring miscarriages a problem in this complex pathway may be the reason, specifically as it relates to the MTHFR (MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase) gene. Two specific mutations (C677T and A1298C ) on this gene crucially impact methylation.

As we inherit genetic information from both our parents this means, if we are affected, that we may have one gene that expresses incorrectly (heterozygous) or both genes (homozygous / compound heterozygous).

There are laboratory tests available which can find out this information. Companies such as 23andme will review over 100 genes but this may provide more information than you would be comfortable receiving. On top of trying to conceive, would you really want the additional anxiety of realising that you may (or may not), at some point in the future, develop other diseases? And of course 23andme is backed by Google, all big brother stuff. It may be better, and less stressful, to just have specific gene mutations tested that are relevant to your situation.

Once these have been tested and you have the results there are nutritional measures which help the methylation process so that you are not entirely at the behest of your genetic make-up. They can’t change the situation but can help your body to work around them. Some of the nutrients that can be supplemented to help the situation are the B family of vitamins (including folate) and also co-factors such as magnesium, zinc/copper, molybdenum, manganese, Co-Enzyme Q10 and vitamin K. Testing for levels of these nutrients can also signify faults in the methylation process by showing if they’re at an elevated or depleted levels.

If you are experiencing recurrent miscarriages, are failing to conceive at all, if all conventional tests have found nothing then please contact me for further information. We can discuss the testing that is available and how to interpret the results of them to develop a nutritional protocol that is applicable to you and your partner. Email saffron@thislifenutrition.co.uk

By Saffron Rogerson

10 June 2015