Methylation and Your Health: What You Need to Know

Today I have a very exciting guest on Couch Talk, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.

I’ll tell you more about Dr. Kara in a moment, but want you to know that she is absolutely brilliant…and she will be talking with us today about methylation.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard conversations – and a good deal of buzz – around the topic of methylation… and even more likely, you are probably a bit confused about what it really is and why it matters to you!

It is such an important topic…as many significant health conditions, including: autoimmune diseases, metabolic syndrome, dementia, accelerated aging, cancer and cardiovascular diseases have been associated in some degree to the issue of methylation imbalance.

So, we’re going to dive in deep today and talk about what YOU need to know.


Dr. Kara Couch Talk

Meet Dr. Kara Fitzgerald

First, let me introduce you to Dr. Kara and tell you a little bit about her.

She received her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first Council of Naturopathic Medicine accredited postdoctoral position in Nutritional Biochemistry and Laboratory Science at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory (now Genova Diagnostics) under the direction of the brilliant and kind Dr. Richard Lord, who I’ve known well for some time. Just brilliant! These two, just brilliant, let me tell you.

Dr. Kara’s residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia. And now she is up in Connecticut where she has a clinical practice also involved in research.

She’s the lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine. She’s a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine, The Institute for Functional Medicine’s Textbook for Functional Medicine.

She recently co-authored the ebook called The Methylation Diet and Lifestyle and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in multiple journals. She is also on faculty at The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM).

As a final note…she does an awesome podcast as well. One of my favorite all-time podcasts that I have done was on Dr. Kara’s podcast.

So, what is methylation and why is it important?

Methylation is often a tough topic for people to understand, so remember that as you listen to our interview…even if there are a few minutes here or there that go “too deep”, hang in there…you’ll still be able to get a lot of true gems out of the rest of our conversation…including dietary and lifestyle suggestions that will help support your methylation balance today.

At a high level, just so you have some background, methylation is a biochemical process that happens in every cell in your body. Our bodies use methylation to support,

    • Neurotransmitter production
    • Healthy immune cells
    • DNA production
    • Estrogen, histamine, and fat metabolism
    • Detoxification
    • Cellular energy
    • Eye health, and…
    • Regulating how our genes get expressed

This last point is so important! Healthy methylation turns on the genes we want turned on for greater health, and turns off the ones that we don’t really want to get turned on (like the ones for cancer and dementia). Think about how important this is…as it means that even if you have a gene that predisposes you to a disease like Alzheimer’s disease, healthy methylation can keep that gene turned off.

So you can see that methylation supports many vital functions! We talk more about exactly how methylation works in the interview.

If we aren’t a good methylator our body won’t create enough of the important molecules that it needs (molecules like glutathione, melatonin, serotonin, taurine, nitric oxide, etc.) to support these functions. Impaired methylation can also lead to anxiety and depression, increased risk of cancer, hormone imbalance, poor detox capacity, infertility, birth defects and fatigue.

So are you a good methylator or a bad methylator? (And how do you know! And what can you do about it?)

Listen to the interview now!

Listen to the interview now, and you will learn,

  • What methylation is and what clinical issues are associated with methylation imbalances
  • The simple test that can identify if you have a methylation issue (and it is likely covered by your insurance!)
  • The importance of homocysteine to your overall health (it’s not just a cardiovascular marker!)
  • All about what the epigenome is and how it regulates how our DNA expresses itself
  • Why “the methylation diet and lifestyle” is important and what it includes
  • The importance of methylation adaptogens and what they are (and guess what, Mighty MacaⓇ Plus has several methylation adaptogens in its formulation!)
  • What is Dr. Kara’s favorite spice that is a methylation superfood!
  • And so much more…

A special gift for you!

As a special gift to my community, Dr. Kara is offering her ebook, “Methylation Diet and Lifestyle” at a discounted price. Just use the code, Anna10, to receive a 10% discount.

It’s an incredibly informative ebook and you’ll find a lot of the same messages you are always hearing from me (as I talk about Keto-Alkaline® principles) relating to the importance of lifestyle decisions in creating optimal health! 

Feel free to ask Dr. Kara some questions below…we will follow-up with her to get her responses.

Love this important area of medicine.

Thanks Dr. Kara!

COMMENT below with any questions!


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12 thoughts on “Methylation and Your Health: What You Need to Know

  1. As a Functional Medicine Nutritionist and Lifestyle Practitioner, here in SC, I was doing a happy dance during your entire interview with Dr Kara Fitzgerald. Hearing her confirm that diet and lifestyle are instrumental in balancing methylation and homeostasis in the body, even more so than just relying on supplemention, thrilled me. By simply eating organic whole foods and adding methylation adaptogens into our daily diet, as well as incorporating quality sleep, supportive relationships, moderate exercise, stress management, hydration and fun into our daily lives, (and supplementation, only if needed, for short periods of time), one can easily take control over their own health and positively support their gene expression.

    Thank you so much Dr Anna, as always, for sharing such an enlightening and insightful podcast with us. You are a gem!! I will definitely be picking up some Rosemary plants from my local nursery and adding Mighty Maca to my next order.

    Blessings and much love,
    Gail Williams❤️

    1. We sent your lovely message to Dr. Kara and here was her response:
      Thank you Gail, for “getting it”! I really think that the current literature on genetic hypo/hypermethylation is strongly suggesting that a safe, broad, upstream approach is the way to go. And yes, supplement when you need to, but it needn’t be for life. So glad you liked it! Dr. Kara

      Thanks from me as well…love hearing these types of comments. Dr. Anna

  2. This was fascinating. Didn’t understand it all, but it has sparked my interest and I will be looking into it more. Thank you.

  3. I just tried to order the ebook via the link and the code Anna10. The site indicated that this code does not exist. I would appreciate any help. I am very excited to learn more about the methylation process, and how to be proactive in my health journey.

  4. Fantastic inormation ladies, and will definitely be tuning in for more. I’ve been struggling with functional methylation for some time, and we do not have specialists trained in methylation in Ontario to assist.

    I’ve been trying to work through correcting my Methylation from test results. Had a Methylation Pathway test that shows S-Adenosylmethionine (RBC) at 218 umol/do, ref. range 221-256. S-Adenosylhomocysteine at 51.2 umol/dl. The ratio is 218:51.2 equals 4.257. My Folic Acid Derivates are all below range except Folic Acid which is low within the reference range. Adenosine is above reference range by 10%, but Homocysteine is 9.2 in a ref. range 5.1- 15.4 umo/L.

    That’s a mouthful for me, but it looks like S-Adenosylhomocysteine is not being recycled to SAMe. Obviously I am an undermethylator, and have reduced my methyl cofactors of Folate and B12. Would I best to supplement with SAMe until I figure out the problems with undermethylation?

    I have an excellent diet, organic and non GMO only, and I use some of the items mentioned in your podcast.

    Any advice?

    1. Allan, sorry for the delay in responding but I had been out of the country…I recommend supplementing with SAM E – from xymogen, and FolaPro, I do think that this is a good place to start.

  5. I just watched the podcast with Dr. Kara Fitzgerald. You both mentioned that you like to see homocysteine in the 6 to 8 range. Mine has been in the 12 + or – 1.5 for several years. I’m a 67 year old guy who supplements with likely enough B12 and folate, etc. So my question is not really for me alone, but this probably happens in a lot of blood draw situations. Almost universally the doc wants one to fast from the night before before taking blood. The question is, does the homecysteine count become effected by the fact that one is fasting? Alternatively, would the count be substantially different if one did not fast? Maybe some counts are more accurate without fasting, while others are? Could this be one of them?
    By the way, the podcast was very interesting even for a layman. Thanks for doing it.

    1. Joseph, sorry for the delay but I had been out of the country for a time. I am not aware that fasting would make a significant difference in your homocysteine and would recommend supplementation with SAMe and methylated folate, I recommend xymogen and Designs for Health products. Also increase insulin sensitivity with my keto-alkaline programs. You can find info on that here on my blog. I am glad to hear you found the podcast interesting…know some of it is hard to follow.

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