Obsessive-compulsive disorder, seasonal depression (SAD) or allergies, defiance, perfectionism. These are just some of the traits that can be related to undermethylation – which may be a result of elevated histamine levels.
While slightly elevated histamine levels can lead to strong motivation, attention to detail, or good organisational abilities, these tendencies are amplified with increased histamine levels and can present as obsessive compulsive behaviour, perfectionism, over-competitiveness or other behavioural problems.
An adult who is an undermethylator, may accomplish high levels of success, but may also be an over-achiever who struggles with or has an addictive trait such as gambling or chain-smoking, or other compulsive behaviours. Children may be self-motivated and goal-oriented, but may have problems with authority, socialising with peers, or develop an obsession for certain activities.
What causes undermethylation?
“Methylation” is a process where chemicals called “methyl groups” are added to various elements of DNA, proteins and other molecules to help keep them in good working condition. Histamine is one of the chemicals which requires methylation to be metabolised correctly.
If the histamine is “undermethylated”, it can begin to build up in the system. When blood contains high levels of histamine (known as histadelia by the Pfeiffer treatment centre), the excess histamine is stored in the blood basophils (a type of white blood cell involved with inflammatory reactions in your body) and brain neurons.
This in turn can result in low levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine – the chemicals responsible for making us feel good. Despite a high energy drive, those suffering from histadelia can often also show symptoms of depression due to low serotonin levels.
Treatment options for Undermethylation
Undermethylation has a tendency toward low levels of calcium, magnesium, methionine and B6, and an excess of folic acid, so dietary changes and correct supplementation are the key to correcting undermethylation.
Of course, before rushing out to stock up on vitamins and minerals, it is important to correctly diagnose undermethylation which can be done with a diagnostic blood test available to identify histamine levels – one marker for the methylation process. The correct dosage and combination of nutrients can then be assessed based on your specific needs and what else is going on in your body, and progress can be monitored not only through symptoms, but also blood testing.
If you suspect you may be suffering from undermethylation, contact us for testing and advice.
Coming soon, we’ll look at overmethylation, homocysteine, MTHFR polymorphisms, what they are and what they may mean to you – helping you put the pieces together.