Whether you stay at home or work as an essential worker, recent changes in our daily life necessitate new coping mechanisms and a greater need for stress relief. Because stress affects people differently, each person and family is experiencing this period of unparalleled upheaval in their manner. Stress will cause by a variety of factors, including job loss, increased caring, lack of sleep, chronic or acute illnesses, and a bad diet. Our bodies have no way of knowing where the stress is coming from. It will adopt the same “fight or flight” action, known as the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) response, whether mental, emotional, or physical. It is typical for the body to elicit this response quickly. Still, it is also critical to recovering with the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) response of “rest and digest”. The SNS and PNS responses should balance, allowing you to react fast when necessary and then unwind and relax quickly afterwards. When stressors become more prevalent in our lives without being countered, our bodies might become unbalanced.
What’s going on?
Methylation imbalances can change stress response and how it perceives from one person to the next. Higher stress necessitates increased methyl group (-CH3) usage from donors such as 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). The MTHFR gene directs the conversion of dietary folate to 5-MTHF, a methylated form used in methylation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the gene can change the action of the enzyme, causing methylation to change.
Adrenaline is a neurotransmitter (N.T.) that causes us to go into “fight or flight” mode in reaction to stimuli. To be broken down in the body requires methylation from a methyl donor, allowing the PNS to return to its resting state. This breakdown causes by the COMT gene, often known as the “worrier/warrior” gene. SNPs in the COMT gene’s coding region can impact how long adrenaline stays in circulation, keeping you wired.
Some most common stressors:
Sleep is a critical component of stress reduction and healing. On the other hand, regulating your sleep-wake pattern might exacerbate stress, creating a vicious circle of pain. Melatonin produces when the neurotransmitter serotonin is methylated. It tells your body to prepare for sleep. Melatonin production will disrupt by increased bright light exposure at night, such as blue light from computers, T.V.s, and cell phones. It naturally rises at night to help you fall and remain asleep. It then drops in the morning as cortisol increases, making you feel awake and aware.
A bad diet:
When people are under stress, their eating habits shift, and high-fat and high-sugar foods become more enticing. The body’s SNS state, generated by stress, releases glucose into the bloodstream while suppressing insulin, which is needed to regulate additional sugar intake.
Due to SNPs, low dietary folate intake or poor folate conversion might cause methyl donor dependence to shift to other nutrients like choline. A methylation imbalance might occur if you don’t get enough of certain nutrients in your diet.
Exposure to Toxins:
During this stressful period, your exposure to pollutants may be more than usual. Whether you’ve increased your use of chemical cleaning products, increased your alcohol consumption, or increased your usage of certain medications. An accumulation of toxic stressors can negatively influence methylation. Impaired absorption and utilisation of methyl donor nutrients, including folate, vitamin B12, and choline, as well as a more significant shift toward detoxifying assistance, can increase the demand for methylation support.
Is it true that L-Methylfolate can aid with stress?
L-methylfolate provides the methyl donor required for methylation. You will observe a shift in your genetic SNPs and/or folate blood chemistry during these times. It is adjusted accordingly if you are aware of your genetic SNPs and/or folate blood chemistry. Mood swings or an inability to relax could be signs of methylation problems. Supporting the stress response with L-methylfolate and other supportive nutrients such as vitamins B2, B6, and B12, magnesium, and choline may have advantages. Foods high in both folate and choline include legumes, eggs, peanuts, and kidney beans.
- Tsigos C, Kyrou I, Kassi E, et al. Stress, Endocrine Physiology and Pathophysiology. [Updated 2016 Mar 10]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (M.A.): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278995/
- Stankiewicz A.M., Swiergiel A.H., Lisowski P. Epigenetics of stress adaptations in the brain. (2013) Brain Research Bulletin, 98 , pp. 76-92.
- Aalaa M, Najmi Varzaneh F, Maghbooli Z, et al. Influence of MTHFR gene variations on perceived stress modification: Preliminary results of NURSE study. Med J Islam Repub Iran. 2017;31:128. Published 2017 Dec 25. doi:10.14196/mjiri.31.128
- Crider KS, Yang TP, Berry RJ, Bailey LB. Folate and DNA methylation: a review of molecular mechanisms and the evidence for folate’s role. Adv Nutr. 2012;3(1):21–38. doi:10.3945/an.111.000992
- Hill, L.D., Lorenzetti, M.S., Lyle, S.M., Fins, A.I., Tartar, A. and Tartar, J.L. (2018) Catechol‐O‐methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism associates with affect and cortisol levels in women. Brain and Behavior 8, e00883.
- Serrano, J.M., Banks, J.B., Fagan, T.J. and Tartar, J.L. (2019) The influence of Val158Met COMT on physiological stress responsivity. Stress 22, 276-279.