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Methylation Pathway Archives - Texas Integrative Medicine
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Book Review: TOXIC-Heal Your Body-by Neil Nathan, MD

Book Review: TOXIC Heal Your Body by Neil Nathan, MD-Victory Belt Publishing Inc. 2018

As a physician treating multi-symptom chronic, complex illness (CCI) caused by environmental illness arising from the cumulative exposure to a wide variety of environmental toxins, I have been finding Neil Nathan’s book, TOXIC, to be a very useful resource for patients and practitioners alike.  It is a valuable message of hope and healing.

Dr. Nathan has been treating this rapidly enlarging group of patients for a handful of years longer than I have, and he has created a tool box and approach to treatment that has proven extraordinarily successful.  Many of my diagnostic and treatment protocols align closely with those of Dr. Nathan; in fact he has been a mentor to me over the past few years.

” In my experience, the two major causes of overwhelming sensitivity are mold toxicity and Lyme disease (with its co-infections).  Neil Nathan, MD

In the introduction of Part 2, he admits that of all the environmental toxins that contribute to chronic illness in his patients, he finds the worst to be indoor mold toxins and infection with Bartonella bacteria.  This is probably surprising to some who might have assumed Borrelia spirochete infection (Lyme disease) to be at the top.

Dr. Nathan makes a clear distinction between the direct toxicity effect of environmental toxins and the sensitivity effect of the body to toxins which he ascribes to the nervous system.  I would include the body’s immune system as a source of this sensitivity effect, as well.

In the midsection of his book (chapters 8-20) Dr. Nathan lays out strategies for “rebooting the system”.  He chose this computer metaphor as an apt comparison of how in CCI it is often necessary to reboot various body systems before a state of wellness can return.

Dr. Nathan clearly explains the role of mast cells (a component of the immune system) in perpetuating many of the chronic symptoms of this complex illness as he explains Mast Cell Activation Syndrome which is getting lots of attention nowadays.

Dr. Nathan helps the reader understand the critical role played by the digestive system in CCI and the intimate connection between the digestive system and the nervous system (gut-brain connection) mediated in part by the important vagus nerve.

“Getting the intestines to work well again is an integral part of treatment, but this outcome may be difficult to achieve until the primary causes of illness have been adequately addressed.” Neil Nathan, MD

Dr. Nathan has had a close academic relationship over the years with Dr. Robert Naviaux.  In chapter 8, he summarizes beautifully the concept of the Cell Danger Response, as developed by Dr. Naviaux and the team of scientists with whom he is associated.  Although the science gets a bit “deep”, I really recommend this to patients and providers as well.

Dr. Nathan reaches upon his 47 years of treating patients with chronic illness to present in a very tender way that this illness is very real and that the prospect of total recovery is absolutely achievable.  I honestly  believe that many folks suffering from illness as well as there family and friends will be able to use his narrative to achieve a deep level of understanding and renewed optimism for the future.

“Because I have seen this process work for hundreds of patients, this is also a book of hope-realistic hope for really, really sensitive and sick patients.” Neil Nathan, MD

In the Afterword Dr. Nathan offers a message that is very close to my heart and one that I know many of my patients will relate to.  I think the best way for me to share this is to offer a direct quote from the author.  “Mother Earth is looking more and more like my chronically ill and sensitive patients.  If I were to apply the paradigm expressed in this book to her, I would immediately find the specific chemical toxins that were making her sick, remove her from those exposures (how I do not know), and detoxify her.  I would find ways to reboot those systems that are not functioning properly so that she could thrive again. … We must come together to do this.  We must reach out, talk with one another, and reestablish real connections to begin this process of neurological rebooting on a planetary level.”

He sprinkles in helpful case studies to illustrate many of his points for emphasis.

Veteran practitioner of environmentally acquired illness and author, Neil Nathan, MD

In my opinion, Dr. Nathan’s book, TOXIC, will prove to be a paradigm changer for those affected by and attempting to treat chronic complex illness.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.

METHYLATION AND MTHFR-WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

There has been a lot said about methylation in healthcare blogs in the past few years-and for good reason.  Methylation is arguably the most important metabolic process in our human body.  For many of us, it is not going as it should.  Let me explain.

Many of our most important molecules will not behave normally if they lack the addition of a methyl group.

A methyl group is a portion of a molecule made of of four atoms-one carbon atom and 3 hydrogen atoms abbreviated -CH3.

We have over 100 different enzymes in our body dedicated to moving a methyl group to where it is needed.  These enzymes are known as Methyl Tranferase enzymes.  Methyl groups are necessary to signal when a DNA gene will be expressed (turned on) or not expressed (turned off).  A methyl group is required to make some of the most important molecules in our bodies like serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, serine, methionine, choline, creatine, and melatonin.  Our body uses methyl groups in the process of removing undesirable substances like histamine and other toxins.

Healthy-FamilyBalanced methylation is critical for normal brain function and mood (neurotransmitter balance), removal of toxic chemicals (detox), normal immune function, normal hormone balance, normal cell division, and normal energy metabolism.  In short just about all of our critical body functions depend on normal and balanced methylation occuring each and every second of our lives.  Disorder of methylation plays a role in many chronic disease states including autism, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, hormone imbalance and deficiency, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraine, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, immune deficiency, allergy, infertility, and weight gain just to name a few.         In fact methylation is so important that a website  http://www.mthfr.net    is dedicated to a more thorough understanding of this important process and the disorders associated with it.

 

S-Adenosyl Methionine (also known as SAM-e) provides the methyl groups needed for these methyl transfer steps.  In fact SAM-e is the second most commonly used chemical substance in our bodies after Adenosine TriPhosphate (ATP) which is number one.  Our body must constantly regenerate SAM-e in a cycle known as the Methionine Cycle.

The cycle to regenerate SAM-e which is needed for billions of reactions in our cells every second requires the cofactors vitamin B12 and Folate to proceed normally.  The cycle needs a special form of B12 and a special form of Folate if it is to occur normally.

The form of Vitamin B12 which the body uses to regenerate SAM-e is called MethylCobalamine (sometimes called MethylB12 for short).  Other forms of B12 must first be converted to MethylCobalamine before methylation can proceed.

The form of Folate needed by the body to regenerate SAM-e is called by several different names but a common name is                                                 L-5-MethylTetraHydroFolate (often abbreviate MTHF for short).  This active form of Folate is formed by an enzyme known as MethyleneTetraHydroFolate Reductase (often abbreviated MTHFR).  This enzyme and the DNA genes which code for its formation in the body are the subject of much attention and some controversy.  This is due to the fact that gene variants or pre-existing mutations are very common in the population and result in a slower rate of formation of MTHF (active folate).  The best known gene variant which is quite common is the variant known as MTHFR C677T.  In some human populations it can occur in over 40% of individuals.  You can see that methylation imbalance is quite common.

Depending on the availability of MethylB12 and MTHF in our cells the formation of SAM-e may be going too fast (a condition sometimes referred to as OverMethylation) or too slow (UnderMethylation).  Either condition is associated with observable symptoms and signs.  Methylation like in Goldilocks and the three bears is best when it is neither too fast nor too slow but “just right”.

The form of Folate known as Folic acid refers to a synthetic (manmade) form which is not useful to the cell unless it is converted to the active form.  Synthetic Folic acid is an additive in many foods and vitamins.  For individuals who lack the ability to convert synthetic folic acid to the active form properly, folic acid can be a liability and may block the function of the active form.  There is currently a movement to eliminate the addition of synthetic folic acid for this reason.

We know that over half of the SAM-e generated in the Methionine Cycle goes to the formation of two molecules- choline and creatine.  Since so much of our SAM-e is used up making these two vital molecules, it makes sense that providing choline and creatine can free up SAM-e for other important methylation steps.

Methylation is a very important piece of our metabolic puzzle and plays a critical role in our normal physiology.  Methylation plays a key role in normal aging, health maintenance, and recovery from disease.  Learning to optimize your methylation process appears to be important in achieving true health, sustained wellness, and long life.  Dr. Wally Taylor at Texas Integrative Medicine understands the importance of a balanced and normally functioning methylation system in the body and has experience in the evaluation and treatment of methylation disorders.  Call Dr. Taylor’s Austin, Texas office at 512-800-5309 if you have questions or to arrange for an appointment.

MTHFR and 23andme-A Leap Forward

Have you ever wondered why some people are-

so sensitive to chemicals?

have terrible allergies

age faster than others?

develop dangerous diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune disease at early age?

Have you wondered why some families are afflicted by-

cancer?

mood disorders?

heart disease?

Genome AnalysisOur genes which are the recipes for our unique traits passed from generation to generation are in part responsible for these risks and many more.  Now we have the capability to simply and affordably measure many of these gene traits with a saliva sample.

At Texas Integrative Medicine we are excited to announce that we now have the capacity to measure an extensive panel of genes and with the aid of computer logic using the MethylGenetics Nutrition Analysis Application we are able to prioritize your genetic variants (mutations) which give rise to metabolic blocks.  These metabolic blocks prevent us from burning fats, balancing brain chemicals, detoxifying toxic chemicals, neutralizing dangerous free radicals, absorbing and utilizing critical vitamins and nutrients, making and balancing our hormones, and maintaining healthy digestion.

The MGNA Application offers recommendations for changes in nutrition, diet, and lifestyle to help navigate around the metabolic blocks.

Once we are aware of your genetic barriers, modifications can be made to avoid many of these potential diseases.  Preventive medicine is finally here.  Along with other Functional Medicine principals we have the tools to optimize wellness and long life.  We are no longer forced into a position to merely react to disease as it happens.

I invite you to talk to us at Texas Integrative to learn more about how we are helping people regain and maintain wellness proactively using precision bio-individualized genome assessment.

Call 512-420-9300 or visit www.TexasIntegrative.com

Learn more about MethylGenetic Nutrition Analysis Application at www.gettoknowyourdna.com

Aboutdr_tyler Wally Taylor MD

Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas.  After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy.  After 20 years service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom.  He has a special interest in precision genome-based healing of chronic inflammation-caused illness and anti-aging.  He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach.  Dr. Taylor recently published GOT TO SHINE-A Guidebood for True Health and Sustained Wellness in the 21st Century available in the Amazon bookstore. 

PRECISION GENE NUTRITION TREATMENT NOW AVAILABLE

COMBINATION OF 23andme GENOME TEST WITH CLOUD-BASED TREATMENT ALGORITHM ALLOWS SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS THAT ADDRESS INDIVIDUAL NEEDS

In all my years practicing medicine both as a traditional Otolaryngologist and now for the past 20 years of practicing Integrative/Functional medicine I have never been so excited about a new frontier of medicine.  I have been using genetic information to understand my patient’s inborne predisposition for metabolic problems including methylation pathway, free radical activity, neurotransmitter balance, energy metabolism, and immune/inflammation disorders for the past six years.  I have found the saliva test available from 23andme evaluates a significant number of genetic mutations (single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNP’s) which can explain many of the abnormalities of metabolism that can lead to chronic inflammation based illness.  The problem up until now had been how to incorporate the extensive individual pieces of information available from the 23andme test into a manageable protocol of recommendations whether it be diet, lifestyle modification, or nutrient support.  Enter MethylGenetic Nutrition. 

MTHFR IS ONLY A PART OF THE STORY

dnaA doctor from Pennsylvania, Robert Miller, has developed a first of class cloud based application that inputs 23andme genome data, patient-reported symptoms, and historical information with optional metabolic biomarkers from a urine Organic Acids Test.  I now have access to this amazing tool.

Once the data sets are uploaded the computer algorithm analyzes and prioritizes the large amount of individual data points and uses the software to generate individual treatment protocols that are bio-individualized.  The final report still requires a doctor to make modifications where appropriate.  the software makes specific nutritional recommendations that are prioritized and placed in appropriate order.

Those of us practicing this sort of gene-based nutrition therapy which is rapidly growing in availability have realized that if the supplements are not utilized in the proper doses and sequences that problems of tolerance are often seen.  I believe that the logic in the software will lead to much improved outcomes and fewer undesirable side effects.

I still continue to practice the fundamental principles of Integrative and Functional Medicine including management of digestion, detoxification, immune system, chronic infection,  hormonal balance, stress management, sleep issues, proper nutrition, and exercise.  Proper care of these tried and true approaches continues to offer healing at the root cause of illness.   Now with the new genetic understanding I am able to assist in restoration of normal cellular and mitochondrial function that leads to recovery from chronic illness at a much more fundamental level.  I honestly believe that the best outcomes are seen when attention to both levels of treatment are employed.  Evaluation still begins with a thorough history and physical examination.  Need for laboratory assessment is individualized and kept to the minimum required to formulate a safe plan of treatment.  I now incorporate 23andme salivary genome assessment in almost every case.  I would be happy to assist you in unraveling your root causes of illness including your genetic predispostions.  Call 512-420-9300 for an appointment.

Aboutdr_tyler Wally Taylor MD

Dr. Taylor practices integrative medicine at Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas.  After obtaining a general medical doctorate degree from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas he completed a general medical internship and residency training in head and neck surgery ENT and allergy.  After 20 years service in the US Army Medical Corps and practice in Colorado and Texas he founded Texas Integrative where he now offers a functional holistic approach to disease which treats the entire individual instead of each separate symptom.  He has found more satisfying results using this Systems BioIndividualized approach.  His motto is Health and Wellness from Head to Toe”.   www.texasintegrative.com     office phone-512-420-9300