Monday, March 5, 2012

Histadelia and methylation. Part IIC: A Note on the Betaine Pathway

Betaine is trimethyl glycine. It is particular rich in beets and quinoa, and also found in spinach, broccoli and grains. The betaine-to-methionine pathway looks like this:

choline --via NAD (from B3) + choline-dehydrogenase + aldehyde-dehydrogenase-- yields betaine
* That is: trimethylethanolamine  --via NAD... -- goes to trimethylglycine

homocysteine + betaine   --via zinc + betaine-homocysteine-S-methyltransferase--  yields methionine + dimethyl glycine

Methionine proceeds, as in my previous post, to form SAM:
methionine   --via magnesium (or cobalt) + potassium + methionine adenosyl transferase--  yields SAM

See: diagram of the betaine pathway (enlarge)

Use of the folate vs. the betaine pathway
The betaine pathway is often not very efficient, especially when the folate/B12 to methionine pathway (previous posts) is being reasonably well-utilized

However, in people who drink alcohol regularly and in some others, the methyl-folate pathway may be too compromised to be effective, even with nutrient support. 
So you would then get homocysteine elevation, even when methyl is added to the system (e.g., with supplements of methyl B12, methionine and/or SAM).  The added methyl cannot help convert enough homocysteine back to SAM.
This situation is not common in histadelia, but can occur.

Therapeutic approaches (Walsh)
To restore methylation and better protect the heart:
1 Recycle HCY through the betaine pathway, above (and keep folate low to encourage this path).
2 Vitamin B6 and serine to convert homocysteine to sulfur antioxidants (coming up, post after next).
3 Address oxidative stress.

Reminder: This information is presented for educational purposes only, and is not intended as diagnosis or treatment recommendations for the individual. Even within the histadelic subgroup, each person's biochemical requirements tend to be unique. So if you need treatment for depression, mania, bipolar, or any other medical condition, please consult a knowledgeable physician. 

For info on the role of histadelia in bipolar disorder, see my book, Natural Healing for Bipolar Disorder

In the next post we will talk about what SAM does.

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