Methylation is simply the addition of a Methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) to other substrates in our body. These substrates can be DNA, RNA, proteins etc., and this process happens over 1 million times per second, to make sure that some of our basic biological functions are working properly. These functions include respiration, blood circulation, growth and much more.
Each person’s methylation function will vary. To determine how well someone’s methylation is, we must understand what is called the Methylation cycle. The methylation cycle consists of a variety of mini biochemical reactions that lead to one another, forming a cycle. One of these biochemical reactions is responsible for generating methyl groups that will be added on to a large variety of substrates, and the action of adding a methyl group to different substrates will result in pushing forth different biological functions. For example, a methyl group is added to norepinephrine which becomes epinephrine (both neurotransmitters), this process is responsible for triggering our “fight or flight” response when exposed to stress. The same methylation process applies to many other types of substrates that are responsible for other basic biological functions.
Imagine a circuit made of batteries and lightbulbs, with the wires in the circuit representing the biochemical reactions of the methylation cycle, and the lightbulbs representing the crucial functions in our body. If one of the wires is broken (a problem with one of the biochemical reactions), the lightbulb will not light up (a defect with one of our important bodily functions). In addition to that, because the circuit runs in a loop, if one reaction stops working, our methyl group generating reaction will also be affected. So, to provide strong support to our body’s vital functions, we should ensure that our methylation cycle is functioning properly.