Ensure Your Methylation and Detoxification Pathways are Working

Dr. Dorian Holmes, ND

Methylation is a necessary part of how your body detoxifies. Quite frankly, without the ability to methylate, your body becomes more or less a wasteland for trash. The ability to process vitamins and nutrients into valuable energy is also lost. When methylation is occurring properly, your body takes “methyl-groups,” attaches them to nutrients, and then it is as if the key opens the lock; now these nutrients can be utilized to create healthy cells, mood supporting neurotransmitters, as well as maintain garbage pick-up for the toxins processed by your liver.


Methylation promotes detoxification with the help of a genetically dependent enzyme. The MTHFR gene, for example, is responsible for producing the enzyme methyltetrahydrofolate reductase. If the MTHFR gene has a mutation, then that enzyme can become deficient. Deficiency of MTHFR means that there will be decreased ability for folic acid to be activated by attaching a methyl group to it.   So instead of feeling upbeat, full of energy and focus, the opposite is quite possible.


One may feel tired, sick, and maybe over time very toxic. Methylation deficiency has cascading effects on other enzymes that support the methylation-detoxification process. There are umpteen (possibly thousands of) enzymes in this process. In some cases, a methylation deficiency will lead to health inefficiencies such as hormone imbalance, diabetes, insomnia, miscarriages, heart disease, pain, mood disorders, chronic infections, autoimmune disorders and amplified aging to name a few.


There is no easy, magical pill to assist with curing methylation deficiencies in the body. But there are measures you can take at home to minimize toxic build-up in the body. Here are 5 ways you can start this process at home.

  1. Replacing what the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has labelled as the “Dirty Dozen” with organic foods is one of best places you can start.
  2. After getting the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” squared away, including more bitter foods such as arugula, nasturtiums, dandelion greens, and Brussel sprouts can assist with enhanced bile flow. Bile flow can improve liver secretions and the transfer of fat soluble toxins into water-soluble waste. Bitter foods can also help to boost your immune system and change your digestive flora. Improved digestive flora assists in healing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, an extremely important part of maintaining health, will also reduce your cravings for simple carbs and sugars.
  3. Avoiding simple carbs and sugar. With a more diverse flora means better absorption of nutrients and less stress on the body. Less stress means that methylation pathways are more active and available to transfer toxins into non-toxins and nutrients into building blocks or energy.
  4. Of course, reducing your sugar intake and increasing your filtered water intake to ~2 liters daily for the average adult will help to reduce inflammation and improve the body’s detoxification efficiency. Think of water as a means to control the smoldering fire that builds within each cell when overwhelmed by toxicity or inflammation.
  5. Avoiding artificial soaps and scents help to offset the liver’s workload. Using natural soaps, essential oils and natural cleaning agents such as vinegar instead makes unburdening the liver detoxification process easier. This means the body can now start to detoxify and focus on removing toxins via proper elimination. Healing throughout can now begin.


These 5 methods of assisting your body with its detoxification process are helpful and working with a licensed Naturopathic Doctor it is a sure-fire way of learning if you may have more difficulty with your detoxification pathways than most. There are specific tests that can help your Naturopathic Doctor assess if you have genetic variations within your methylation pathways, i.e. MTHFR gene mutation. Perhaps you are an over-methylator or an under-methylator. These tests will assist your Naturopathic Doctor to determine which method of treatments can decrease your toxic load further, reviving your system to you may feel “tip-top” once again.


One method that your Naturopathic Doctor can use to assist your body with methylation inefficiencies is intravenous nutrient “IV” therapy. Unlike taking supplements, IV therapy, avoids nutrients having to be absorbed through what sometimes may be a compromised or dysbiotic gut or an overwhelmed liver. Despite an efficient liver or gastrointestinal system, some vitamins are not well absorbed if taken orally. IV therapy allows your body to efficiently utilize nutrients at blood levels that can not be obtained otherwise.   Therapeutic doses of nutrients given intravenously reduce loss or the need for further processing by the body to add helpful “methyl” groups; they are already attached to the nutrient. For example methylcobalamin, or methylated- B12 is the most active form of B-12 (compared to either of it’s cousin’s cyanocobalamin or hydroxycobalamin) to help your body to detoxify easily and effectively.


Methylcobalamin in combination with other B-vitamins (B-6, B-5, B-complex), Magnesium, Calcium, and Vitamin C overs a very basic IV therapy protocol known as the Meyer’s Cocktail.

With the addition of Selenium and Zinc into the mix, these two antioxidants can mop up free-radical toxins produced by our cells. Moreover, both are necessary for proper enzyme activation and gene expression, two factors necessary for improving detoxification pathways.


A graduated IV therapy protocol may include amino acids, or more specifically, a glutathione push added at the very end of a Myers Cocktail. Glutathione is important because of its powerful sulfur groups that executes amazing damage control and recycles helpful antioxidants to fight infections, prevent cancer, improve digestion and promote tranquil sleep. Glutathione consists of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamate, and glycine, that can be produced formed by your very own liver and recycled for its reuse. But, if you are reading this article it is likely that you probably are looking for a way to feel better; quite possibly your glutathione reserve is low.


A decreased production of glutathione occurs especially in the chronically ill such as those that have autoimmune disease, chronic infections or Parkinson’s. But also, glutathione reserve can be low if have a poor diet, are exposed to pollution, toxins, or taking medications, have stress, experienced trauma, infections or radiation, and are aging your glutathione reserve may be quite depleted. That pretty much sums up the lot of us. Thankfully, IV therapy is an option.


IV therapy is extremely effective in assisting methylation-detoxification processes; your Naturopathic Doctor will work to develop an ideal protocol ideal for you. An IV can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours. Most IV’s average about 30 minutes to an hour.

Works Cited

“Dirty Dozen 2017,” Envrnmtal Working Group – https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php

Gaby A. 2002. Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: the “Myers’ Cocktail.” Alternative Medicine Review; 7(5): 389-403
Johnson WM, Wilson-Delfosse AL, Mieyal JJ. 2012. Dysregulation of Glutathione Homeostasis in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Nutrients; 4(10): 1399–1440.

Nuttall S, Martin U, Sinclair A, Kendall M. 1998. Glutathione: in sickness and in health. The Lancet; 351(9103): 645-646
Paul C, Brady DM. 2017. Comparative Bioavailability and Utilization of Particular Forms of B12 Supplements With Potential to Mitigate B12-related Genetic Polymorphisms. Integr Med (Encinitas); 16(1):42-49.
Prasad AS. 2014. Zinc is an Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Agent: Its Role in Human Health. Front Nutr; 1: 14.