A brief explanation of the interactions of the methyl cycle detox processes. The full diagram is here, and a downloadable version of this chart is here.

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Comment by Pat Robinson on February 18, 2009 at 12:01pm
Ok, where do we get more BH4? supplements, apparently, if our body doesn't produce enough. But, vit D is essential too. I'd say we have low dopamine issues here. Are you going to supplement BH4?

Comment by Shannon on February 18, 2009 at 12:21pm
I don't know if there *is* a BH4 supplement. I'm looking at ways of reducing ammonia, which means pushing the methyl cycle more. Right now, I think vitamin D is first in line for raising dopamine - it's a known, tested deficiency. Once that's normal, I'll start looking at BH4.
Comment by Meraza on February 20, 2009 at 2:51pm
I wiki'ed BH4. There is a "supplement" available, but it's only available for the treatment of PKU, it seems... and I can't figure out exactly what the body needs to produce BH4.
Comment by lisa on February 28, 2009 at 6:17pm
I looked but couldn't find a link to explain what the methyl cycle is. My non scientific brain is feeling a bit empty with all this information, but i really am trying to figure all this out! lol
Comment by Shannon on February 28, 2009 at 8:06pm
Yeah, that's the biggest issue with all this... There aren't (m)any clear explanations of it all. I'm working on a visual/chart that takes a lot of the science out and makes it more 'if you have this, then do that.'

In a nutshell, the methyl cycle turns folate and B12 into methyl groups for your body to use. You need methyl groups to detoxify/deactivate all sorts of things, from dopamine to dietary amines to viruses to mercury.
Comment by lisa on February 28, 2009 at 10:01pm
so methyl groups are a kind of "processor" of foods?
Comment by Shannon on February 21, 2010 at 1:14pm
Methyl groups process some of the chemicals found in foods that you might otherwise react to.

The way I see these detox pathways is in terms of the nutrients found in foods or supplements. So it depends on which pathway you want to work on, and the reason why it's blocked/impaired for you. Then figure out which nutrients you're missing and next up is to figure out which foods have those nutrients.
Comment by Patricia Lacoss-Arnold on December 5, 2010 at 5:19pm
OK My dd's both have lots of mercury. The one has big problems with any sulfur foods and eats an exclusive low sulfur diet or it is pretty ugly. On a low sulfur diet she does pretty well but it isn't perfect. I know we are just avoiding detoxing the mercury right now and that isn't a solution. Do you have any ideas for me? We supplement molybedenum. All the foods that are high in Molybedenum are also too high in sulfur for her and cause problems.
Comment by Ninu on January 11, 2011 at 12:30pm
Hi!  Real BH4 is available but only if a MD prescribes it.  Traditionally it is used for Phenylketonuria, but I check my patients for Neopterin and Biopterin in their urine and if they have a certain ratio I supplement them with BH4.  The downside is that real BH4 is VERY expensive.  The only reliable sources are a small labs in Switzerland.  Also, the best lab to test the urine is run by Dr. Bottiglieri in Texas.  His research is amazing, you should Google him.
Comment by Ninu on January 15, 2011 at 3:36pm
Hi, I left out a couple of things in the comment above.  One is that BH4 is prescription only because in addition to improving methylation/detox, it also is involved in the synthesis of both Serotonin and Dopamine.  Some people who take it (and anyone who takes too much of it) could become psychotic or have Serotonin Syndrome, which is life threatening.  There is another cheaper and safer way to increase methylation and up-regulate detox using this same pathway, and that is to take 5MTHF (methyltetrahydrofolate), which is the bioactive form of Folate.  5MTHF will increase BH4 levels in most people and it does increase Serotonin, so it is a mood elevator as well as a methyl donor.  It often will lift a person out of depression, especially if they have low Neopterin or Biopterin.  It works especially well for people with depression who do not respond to SSRIs (the Prozac/Zoloft family of medicines).  BUT, it could potentially cause mania if a person is Bipolar or if they take too much of it.  If you're thinking of taking 5MTHF please see a naturopath or enlightened MD to help you with guidelines of how much to take and to make sure you are okay with it.  Don't just Google the dose and start taking it, because you have to taper up to the right dose, and the right dose for one person could make the next person manic.  It's a little tricky, but it's an effective remedy for depression in people with low BH4, and of course for increasing methylation.  Also it's VERY IMPORTANT to take B12 with 5MTHF.  If you don't you will run in to serious trouble, since Folate and B12 work in concert and need to be at similar levels.  If you can find it, use the B12 in the form of methylcobalamin (rather than cyanocobalamin).  Aloha!


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