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Episode Info: The Case:  Allison is 36 and has been struggling with mood issues since college She feels depressed, anxious, lonely and uncomfortable in social situations. Antidepressant medications and talk therapy worked only temporarily She tried supplement with vitamin B, but that made her feel worse The Investigation According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety affects over 18% of the US population and is the most common mental illness in America. They also report that it’s not uncommon for depression and anxiety to be experienced together. The website lists risk factors as genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. I had my suspicions that genetics were at play with Allison.  My instincts were to test her DNA for the MTHFR gene and determine if there might be a problem with her methylation capacity. To talk more in depth about this, I invite a methylation expert to join me on the show.  Dr. Loren Marks is a chiropractic physician who has been practicing in New York City for over 35 years. He’s the founder of the Integrative Assessment Technique, or IAT which is an assessment methodology embracing nutritional-biochemistry, emotional health, and structural neurology. He's also a postgraduate instructor, a noted speaker, and frequent lecturer.  What is Methylation Methylation is an important metabolic process. Methylation happens in every cell; in every organ of the body. And, it takes place more than a billion times a second. To understand the process, you first have to know that there is a molecule called methyl which is composed of carbon and hydrogen (CH3). This molecule occurs in the cell and plays an important role in many processes in the body including eliminating heavy metals, detoxification, repairing damaged DNA, and creating new cells.  Mental Health and Methylation  Methylation plays a role in energy production, mood balancing, and neural transmission in the brain. The three main neurotransmitters that are controlled or expressed through methylation are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine - all of these correlate with depression, anxiety, and other issues with mental health. It’s important to note that the methylation pathways in the brain depend on good nutrition.  What is the MTHFR Gene? Many people become familiar with methylation in relation to the MTHFR gene which can be identified through commercial DNA tests like 23 and Me. MTHFR is short for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. When geneticists looked at the different genes that control the methylation process, MTHFR has the highest molecular weight, which means it's the largest gene in a pool of over 20 genes. They assumed it had significant impact on methylation because of this dominance but further research has revealed that the smaller genes actually they can significantly impact the effectiveness of methylation. The MTHFR gene is responsible for the metabolism of methyl folate. MTHFR has two different alleles that, if they ar...
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