Podcast

Nutrition, Epigenetics, Methylation and Preconception Planning w/ William Walsh, PhD

by Mike Mutzel

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Books Mentioned

Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry and Heal Your BrainDirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your HealthLifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don't Have To

Related Video: Testing your Epigenetic Age Via the Horvath Clock

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Key Timestamps

04:26 During gestation, methylation attaches to parts of our DNA to determine and regulate what our genes do.

05:33 Each part of your body requires different ingredients/chemicals, yet your DNA is identical.  This is set up before you are born. Every cell is being nourished all day every day by your DNA.

06:07 If you are born under-methylated, you are likely to have obsessive compulsive tendencies and perfectionism. 

06:44 Methylation and methylation cycles determine what chemicals are being produced by your DNA. Epigenetics dictates the rate of production.

08:24 Seventy percent of Americans have normal methylation. Twenty-two percent are under-methylated and 8 percent are over-methylated.

08:55 If you are over-methylated, too many of your genes have a methylation bookmark. It enhances gene expression.

09:11 If you are under-methylated, you will not have as much methylation for gene expression.

09:32 SNPs/genetic mutations are in your DNA like concrete. A mutation in the MTHFR gene produces an imperfect enzyme. MTHFR has 500 amino acids. A SNP means that one of these amino acids is out of place or incorrect. There are over 10 million SNPs in the human genome. You probably have 100,000 SNPs or more.

10:50 Dr. Walsh found that over 95% of autistic children/people are under-methylated.

13:19 If you have homozygous MTHFR 677T, methylfolate is helpful for 90% of us with the mutations. If you have depression, OCD or mental problem with low serotonin activity, it will make you worse.

13:55 Folate impacts and enhances gene expression. Those of us with low serotonin activity need to have our serotonin neurotransmission enhanced. Folic acid, folinic acid and methyl folate knock it down sharply.

15:03 Methylation status can be reflected in the SAM-e/SAH ratio. SAH (S-adenosyl homocysteine) strongly inhibits all methylation reactions. The methyl donor is SAM-e. SAM-e levels do not indicate whether you are under-methylated. For the average person with normal SAH, every methylation reaction is being inhibited by about 50%.

17:26 Test results of the SAM-e/SAH ratio, should be ignored if the SAH level is below 40%.

18:40 In order for the methylation cycle to work, SAH needs to disappear. SAH and homocysteine tend to go up and down together.

20:56 If you are under-methylated or over- methylated and have clinical depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, autism, most will improve with treatment for the methylation issue.

21:00 Histamine is metabolized/destroyed by methylation. If your blood histamine is elevated, you are probably under-methylated. There are many exceptions. If very high or low whole blood histamine results correlate with symptoms, enhancing methylation therapy may help.

23:29 More than half of us with schizophrenia and 60% of us with panic disorders, are part of the 8 percent of our population who are over-methylated. There is too much norepinephrine making their brain neurons hyperactive.

24:46 The median/normal homocysteine in the US is 12. Between 6 and 9 is a healthy range. If homocysteine is high, there are health consequences.

27:45 Over-methylation is caused by a glut of SAM-e. The SAM-e is not being utilized.

28:57 More people who have significant brain/mental problems are under-methylated, compared to 20 years ago. It used to be that 50% of schizophrenic families were over-methylated and 18 or 20 percent were under-methylated. Those numbers are reversing worldwide.

30:07 Test genetics before becoming pregnant. Most birth defects, including autism, happen in the first 20 days after conception. Normalize levels of epigenetic factors, including folates, methylation and acetyl.

31:44 Having too much or too few important epigenetic factors, can do harm. Over supplementing may create a new class of birth defects.

32:36 At least 7 most common nutrients imbalanced in mental illness have been identified. Dr. Walsh has seen 30,000 patients and collected data. He has the world’s biggest blood and urine chemistry database. Dr. Walsh has developed a protocol for mental illness patients to normalize these 7 out of balance nutrients.

37:03 Under-methylated people, compared to the general population, are more prone to low serotonin activity depression.

38:30 Genetic mutations take place over hundreds or thousands of years. It is related to the environment.

40:06 We each have about 100,000 mutations. There are 6 billion nucleotides in your DNA. Every 300 has a mutation.

41:28 We have the ability to change gene regulation with nutrients and with drugs. The process tends to have a high side effect profile because it is being done with histone modification.

42:40  Psychiatric meds will always have side effects and they will never normalize the brain. Nutrients take longer to take effect on mental disorders. There are no side effects with nutritional intervention.

49:39 Almost all cancers are epigenetic, as is most heart disease. Dr. Walsh believes that is the case with autism, schizophrenia, bi-polar and PTSD.

50:35 Writing, reading, deletion and making a protein are the major factors in epigenetics. Writing is your DNA that makes a protein a certain way or histone modification.

51:05 Most cancers involve the loss of a cancer protection gene. It varies from cell line to cell line. Cancer genes can be fixed/made normal, but the side effect profile is profound and the effects extensive.

52:00 Reading is what transcription factors do. They are large molecules that you need to make a protein. There are more than 1,000 genes for transcription factors. They sense a part of your DNA that can make a protein and they bring all of the pieces so the protein can be manufactured.

52:40 Bromodomain and chromodomain therapies can be used to change specific genes, gene expression, in a particular tissue.

53:07 MicroRNA is the traffic cop. There are 1,600 different RNA genes in different tissues. MicroRNA therapies are in phase 1, 2 and 3 testing. Two are on the market for cancer and are applicable to mental health. 

57:51 One mechanism explains the mysteries of bi-polar disorder. Dr. Walsh will be presenting this theory in two weeks.

01:00:19 Fatty acids are important for brain health. It was found in 2001 that essential fatty acids, especially omega 3, was more effective in helping bi-polar people than the drugs of the day.

01:00:49 In the brain, 4 fatty acids dominate.  They are DHA, EPA (omega-3), DGLA and arachidonic acid (omega-6).
They are in the membrane and glial cells.

01:01:20 Glial cell discoveries are causing a revolution in neuroscience. Glial cells are intimately involved in synaptic activities.

01:01:55 Most people in the world that have been tested are low in omega 3 and omega 6 is high. Ten to 15 percent of schizophrenics are the opposite and get worse when taking omega 3. They are genetically low in arachidonic acid.

01:03:11 Under-methylated people thrive on a protein based diet. People who are over-methylated thrive on a vegetarian diet.

01:03:43 The microbiome is not as important in mental health as people think. Two thirds of your serotonin is created in your microbiome in your GI tract. None of it gets to the brain. A GI tract problem will worsen mental health issues.

01:05:47 Glial cells deliver nourishment to your 80 billion brain cells every day.

01:06:24 Our 80 billion brain cells are created by our radial glial cells beginning at conception. By the 5th week of gestation, they are creating 250,000 neurons a minute.

01:06:48 Glial cells are involved in brain scaffolding and plasticity. They sense when a neuron fires and moves the neurons closer together during learning.

01:08:28 If you are under-methylated, you would benefit from methionine rich foods, like protein. If you are over-methylated, you need folate for your brain neurons and mental health. We all profit from food antioxidants.

01:09:26 Ageing is the deterioration of our DNA.

01:10:04 Dr. Walsh’s elevator pitch is for the government to stop killing off critical NIH research. We need to have more understanding of illness. In addition, we need to have available mental health care for everyone. We must have rapid availability of health care especially for children.

01:13:15 Schizophrenia is a name given to several completely different diseases. Depression can be one of 5 different disorders and only one responds well to SSRIs. This can be identified with inexpensive lab work.  

01:13:14 The number one reason that people decline mentally is from a zinc deficiency. Dr. Walsh takes 100 mg of zinc each day to get his blood zinc level normal. Maintain the integrity of your DNA.

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