MethylDetox Profile

More than 50% of your patients are affected by genetic variations in the methylation pathway.1 Standard MTHFR genotyping only evaluates folic acid metabolism. The MethylDetox Profile makes it easy to understand the complicated methylation process by giving comprehensive insights into the functional status of the methylation pathway.

The MethylDetox Profile includes genetic markers involved in methylation and homocysteine metabolism provided in a detailed lab report with personalized commentary. Additionally, continued homocysteine testing enables easy monitoring of patient progress.

Genetic variations in this pathway are associated with elevated homocysteine levels, impaired methylation processes, and limited detoxification capacity. 1, 3 As a result, these SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) may contribute to accelerated aging, certain chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders, impaired gene-regulation, poor drug clearance, and impaired neurotransmitter metabolism. 1, 3-21

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Understanding Methionine and Homocysteine Balance

Methionine and homocysteine metabolism are areas of active scientific and medical investigation. In addition to the MTHFR gene, specific SNPs in other genes also affect individual methylation capacity and homocysteine levels. 1-3

Methionine and homocysteine balance is important for optimal health. Homocysteine is resynthesized from the amino acid methionine. In general, amino acids are supplied from a balanced diet or supplementation. However, a certain amount of methionine is recycled for methylation in the methionine/ homocysteine pathway.

Therefore, the primary purpose of methionine/ homocysteine balance is to ensure proper methylation by donating methyl groups for:

  • DNA methylation (gene regulation)
  • Regulation of neurotransmitters (e.g. epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin)
  • Detoxification of catecholamines from the environment
  • Drug clearance (phase 2 liver detoxification)
  • Homocysteine is also a precursor in the biosynthesis of L-cysteine for glutathione; glutathione is important for the detoxification of electrophilic compounds (metals).

Elevated serum homocysteine is a widely accepted marker for methionine/homocysteine imbalance, which is a genetically controlled process.28 Elevated homocysteine levels can lead to accelerated aging, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and other conditions. 20, 21, 29


Sequence Specific Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (SSP-PCR) Enzyme

Who Should Test?

Individuals with a manifestation and/or family history of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Poor drug clearance
  • Polypharmacy
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic metabolic disorders
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

Test components

1. MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase)

Folic acid (vitamin B9) passes through a complex metabolic pathway in order to be used in the methionine/homocysteine cycle. It is first converted to tetrahydrofolate (THF) then to 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate (5,10-CH2- THF).

MTHFR is needed to further convert 5,10-CH2-THF into active 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF), in order to convert methionine from homocysteine. This is where one genetic problem can occur. If the patient has particular genetic polymorphisms in the MTHFR gene, the conversion of folic acid into its active form, 5-MTHF, may be reduced. If the patient acquired the SNPs from both parents (homozygous positive), she/he probably has significantly reduced MTHFR activity and a marked deficiency in active 5-MTHF. If the patient received the SNP from only one parent (heterozygous positive) he/she may have suboptimal MTHFR function.

The SNPs investigated here are at position C677T and A1298C (Ala222Val and Glu429Ala). Testing these SNPs indicate how well homocysteine is cleared from the blood.30 Approximately 10% of Caucasian and Asian populations have 70% less activity (homozygote positive, diminished function). About 40% of the population (heterozygous appearance) have a diminished enzyme capacity to convert folic acid into (levomefolic acid) 5-MTHF.

Supplementation: When genetic variants are present, supplementation of 5-MTHF may be considered.

2. MTR (5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase)

The MTR gene encodes the methionine synthase (MS) enzyme. MS regenerates methionine from homocysteine using 5-MTHF as a methyl donor and vitamin B12 as the methyl transfer compound. In a first reaction, MS attaches the methyl group from 5-MTHF to vitamin B12, forming a MSmethylcobalamin complex. The MS-methylcobalamin complex then transfers this methyl group to the homocysteine, thus converting it into methionine.

During this process, MS becomes oxidized over time and has to be reduced again to maintain proper function. This step is performed by methionine synthase reductase (MSR) which is encoded by the MTRR gene (see MTRR). MTR gene mutations, C3518T and A2756G, affect function of the enzyme even in the heterozygous form. They are associated with higher homocysteine levels and may lead to hypomethylation. Reported prevalence of A2756G in the Caucasian population is 1.7% in the homozygous form.

Supplementation: When genetic mutations are present in the MTR gene, supplementation with methylcobalamin (methylated vitamin B12)) may be considered.

3. MTRR (5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase reductase)

The MTRR gene encodes the enzyme methionine synthase reductase (MSR). Its task is to support MS in the remethylation of homocysteine into methionine by keeping the MS enzyme in an active (reduced) form (see MTR). Over time, MS becomes oxidized and loses its ability to transfer methyl groups from the MS-methylcobalamin complex to homocysteine. The MS has to be activated (reduced) again by MSR in a so called “ping-pong” reaction that uses SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) as the activating (reducing) agent.

The common MTRR polymorphism, A66G, has a prevalence of 26.58% (GG), 48.84 %(AG), 24.58% (AA) in the Caucasian population. In combination with the C677T polymorphism in MTHFR, MTRR genotypes AG, GG influence total plasma homocysteine levels. Additionally, the combination of the genetic polymorphisms in MTRR and MTHFR was linked to an increase in DNA damage as measured by micronucleus frequency (MN).

Supplementation: When genetic variants are present in teh MTRR gene, supplementation with methylated vitamin B12 may be considered.

4. COMT (Catechol-O-Methyltransferase)

COMT is the major enzyme involved in the methylation process. COMT catalyzes the transfer of the functional methyl group from S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) to a substrate, which has to be methylated. Two SNPs, Val108/158Met and Ala52/102Thr, are known to alter COMT methylation capacity. 41

These 2 SNPs of the COMT gene are associated with:

  • Impaired DNA methylation
  • Impaired neurotransmitter metabolism
  • Decreased drug metabolism (important in neurodegenerative disorders)
  • Decreased detoxification of toxic catecholamines from the environment
  • Involvement in the manifestation of a variety of human disorders, including estrogen induced cancers, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and hypertension 42-47

Supplementation: When genetic mutations are present, supplementation with S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) is often recommended. Attention should be paid to other medications being taken, including anti-depressants.

5. AHCY (S-Adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase)

The AHCY gene encodes an enzyme called S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase and is the only enzyme known to convert S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy) to homocysteine.

  • SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) is converted to S-adenosylhomocysteine (AdoHcy) after donating its methyl group for methylation catalyzed by COMT (see COMT).
  • AdoHcy is then converted by S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase back to homocysteine. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) serves in this reaction as a co-factor for AHCY

AdoHcy is an inhibitor of methylation processes. The ratio between AdoMet and AdoHcy is referred to as methylation potential. Therefore, it is crucial that AHCY immediately converts AdoHcy to homocysteine and adenine in order to maintain an optimal methylation potential. Several genetic polymorphisms (SNPs) in this gene are known to alter activity and expression of this enzyme, leading to elevated AdoHcy concentrations and impaired methylation potential. Recent studies show association between those variants resulting in poor methylation potentials, severe myopathies, developmental delays, and hypermethioninemia.

Supplementation: When genetic variants are present, addressing the need for the precursor to S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe), methionine, may be considered.

6. Homocysteine

Monitoring of patient progress is done by testing homocysteine levels before, during, and after the implementation of personalized therapy or supplementation.

Clear Test Results

Patient test results are provided both in the context of the methylation pathway and personalized commentary including lifestyle and supplementation considerations. Throughout treatment, homocysteine testing is recommended to monitor patient outcomes.

About our lab

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