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In this episode of Wellness by Designs, esteemed naturopath Zelda Graham, renowned for her expertise in methylation, and our host, Andrew Whitfield-Cook, delve into the intricacies of methylation and its profound impact on genetic health.

Episode Highlights:

  1. Understanding Methylation: Delve into how methylation, a fundamental process in our bodies, influences hormonal balance and immune responses, shaping our overall health.
  2. Identifying Imbalances: Learn about comprehensive testing methods, including genetic tests and organic metabolites, to pinpoint methylation imbalances.
  3. Uncovering Oxalates: Discover the lesser-known dietary culprit, oxalates, and its potential effects on wellbeing, along with alternative food choices.
  4. Nuances of Methylation: Explore the complexities of over- and under-methylation and their implications for health.
  5. Targeted Supplements: Learn about supplements like accidental methionine and their role in correcting methylation imbalances, potentially alleviating conditions like severe depression and OCD.
  6. Personalised Nutritional Strategies: Gain insights into personalised nutritional strategies, considering sensitivities like gluten and dairy, to support liver function and hormone regulation.
  7. Vital Roles of Vitamin C and Magnesium: Understand the underestimated importance of vitamin C and discover surprising magnesium and vitamin C concoction for daily health routines.

Tune in for expert insights and practical advice on optimising methylation for better health, empowering you to take control of your genetic health.

About Zelda:
As an accredited Nutritionist, Naturopath, and methylation Practitioner who constantly stays up to date with health advancements and diagnoses, Zelda believes the body has the ability and power to heal itself when given the right tools. By constantly keeping up-to-date with the most recent evidence-based science on epigenetics, naturopathic health, and nutrition, she can help you get your body back to health and vitality.

Zelda’s key areas of focus are MTHFR gene disorders, medical procedure reactions, diabetes, heart disease, hormone imbalance, IBS, FODMAP, GAPS diet, Coeliac disease, detoxification, food intolerances, insomnia, menopause, low energy levels, anxiety and fatigue syndromes, to name a few.

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DISCLAIMER: The Information provided in the Wellness by Designs podcast is for educational purposes only; the information presented is not intended to be used as medical advice; please seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional if what you have heard here today raises questions or concerns relating to your health



Andrew: This is “Wellness by Designs,” and I’m your host, Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us again today is Zelda Graham, a naturopath and nutritionist who specializes in epigenetics and MTHFR polymorphism management. Welcome back to “Wellness by Designs.” Zelda, how are you?

Zelda: I’m great, Andrew. How are you today?

Andrew: Good, thank you. Now, our topic for today is more issues with methylation. So, obviously, there’s some issues. Let’s first do a little bit of review, if you like. How does methylation support the body from a biochemical standpoint?

Zelda: Well, when we need to methylate, it’s so important for every other biochemical process. So, if you’re not methylating correctly, you’re not able to control the rest of your biochemical pathways. So, methylation controls not only our hormones. It controls our immune response. It also controls our stress response. So, you know, how we react to stress. It also controls all of our neurotransmitters. So, it’s got a big role to play in our biopterin pathway. So it controls the dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. It also controls our ability to make CoQ10, so it’s got a massive link to controlling our heart, and therefore it’s got a massive in insulin. It’s got everything, really, to be honest. If you’re not methylating, that’s where chronic illness will come up and tap you on the shoulder, really.

Andrew: Okay. So, here’s the conundrum. If you’ve got such a broad landscape of disorders that methylation affects, how, then, do you pick out if somebody is suffering another issue with that, biochemically, or if it’s methylation that’s causing it? Obviously, you’ve gotta start back at testing, right?

Zelda: Yeah. It’s very important to test everything from… My favorite test would be genetics, step one. Organic metabolites, to check the body’s deficiencies, or the overproducing of some nasty biochemicals that we don’t want, and toxins. And also it’s important to do a stool test, to see viral and bacterial load. But other good indicators for methylation issues are the histamine levels in your blood. So, if you’re not processing histamine, that means you’ve got high histamine, and that usually is an indication of a methylation issue. Also, so does low histamine in your blood indicate your ability, whether you’re under or over-methylation. So, I always recommend those tests, along with homocysteine. Because homocysteine’s in the next biochemical pathway. So, if you can’t methylate, that methyl group is not been able to give to the methionine pathway, which therefore means that that homocysteine is not even getting made, or recycled, or made into methionine, or that enzyme, methionine. So, then, that causes a whole heap of other issues. So, when homocysteine builds up in your blood, it causes high blood pressure, and starts attacking the heart. So, there’s the link to heart disease, as well. And we also need homocysteine for our detoxification. So, if it’s not getting processed correctly, then we’ve got detoxification issues. So, yeah.

Andrew: Okay. So, just going back there, obviously, you know, once you get symptoms, particularly things like hypertension, that’s way further along. You’re now getting a pathological process embedded into your physiology, pathophysiology. So, if we work backwards, what would be some of your first key things that you would go, “Ah, maybe you’ve got a methylation issue?” What would be some of those things that are…they might even be a little bit gray, a little bit misty, if you like, but you might suspect methylation.

Zelda: Yeah, yeah. Well, I really dig deep into family history. That’s one of my big… If I can spend maybe 20 minutes, I ask everything from what’s your mum’s health like? What’s your mum’s mum’s health like? What’s your mum’s dad’s health like? What’s your dad’s health like? What’s your dad’s dad’s health like? Because that’s where the genetics can be funnelled through, down into when that zygote got formed for them when they were born. And also the circumstances of the parents’ diet. And if they had already a methylation issue, and both parents both have a methylation issue, then we have the nasty homozygous methylation issue, which, unfortunately, is one of the worst to fix and solve. So, you just gotta hope you’ve got a heterozygous, which means you only got it from one parent.

So, I always ask lots of questions about family health. And therefore, when I see anything from heart disease, to high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, things like that, autism, depression, schizophrenia, then, you know, ADHD, all of those mental illnesses, they can all be linked back into methylation as well. So, that’s where I start digging deep, and then I go, “Look, I really need to check your genetics to see if you’re methylating properly.” But, you know, on that note, though, as well, sometimes they don’t have the MTHFR gene, okay? So, that’s where we gotta dig even deeper, because they have DHFR, which is dihydro reductase, which is the first gene that has to pass on that folate, to make it to tetrahydrofolate. And then it passes that on to MTFD1, methyltetrahydrofolate D1, and then it, hydrofolate D1 passes that, then, on to MTFHR. So, it’s interesting. I’ve just recently had a case where someone didn’t even have the MTFHR. However, they had the MTFD1, they had the dihydrofolate as well, and, then they had all of the B12 genes. So, it wasn’t even the methylation actual issue. It was the fact that that tetrahydrofolate could not even get broken down to help the MTFHR gene do its job. So, whilst, you know…it’s not just MTFHR, is what I’m trying to say. It’s

Andrew: Yeah. So, when you say they didn’t even have the MTHFR, you’re talking about, they didn’t have the SNP, the double allele. Is that why? That what you’re talking about?

Zelda: Yeah, yeah. Yep. They didn’t have any mutation in that backbone of that enzyme’s functionality, but they had all the rest of them. So, the methylation couldn’t work, because the other genes weren’t working. So, now, once we’d fix the other genes, therefore, that methyl group can get passed on property to the MTFHR, therefore it can finally do its job. Whereas before, it just couldn’t get that methyl group that it needed.

Andrew: So, therefore, if you weren’t aware to look higher, and you just looked at MTHFR alleles, then you could think, “Ah. There’s ‘no problem’ here,” where there is. It’s just upstream.

Zelda: Exactly.

Andrew: Okay. So, therefore, we’ve gotta choose the right test.

Zelda: One hundred percent. And that’s where we also then have to do that test before you supplement. Because if you give someone who is an over-methylator the wrong supplement, or an under-methylator… If you have somebody that was over-methylating, something like S-Adenosyl methionine, it can actually make them really suicidal. It’s the wrong way to go. And just because they have MTFHR, people think, “Oh, here we go. Have some methylfolate. Have some, you know, P5P. Have this, have that. Take some SAM-e. You’ll feel great.” That’s not actually the way forward.

Andrew: Right.

Zelda: You have to check backstream, you have to check upstream, and you have to check all of the symptoms, including that histamine levels in the blood. So, that’s my favorite. So, if you’ve got low histamine in the blood, that means they are an over-methylator. Okay?

Andrew: Gotcha. Yep. They’re using it up.

Zelda: So, when, that’s why you never would give… Yeah. So, you never give S-Adenosyl methionine for an over-methylator. And also, then, you also have to check, do they have DHFR? Because dihydrofolate reductase, it loves a different form of folate. And sometimes it can’t break down methylfolate. So, when I see DHFR, I always look at folinic acid, which has got a calcium backbone, off the already active form of folate, converted. So, if you’ve got DHFR, that’s the best way forward to help the MTFHR gene do its job. Yes. That sounds very complicated, but that’s why you have to do

Andrew: How much do you try and support these patients, though, with food, to say, okay, if we’re sort of, we could be running around doing the wrong thing with supplementation. We obviously have to get food right, at the beginning anyway. If you’ve got histamine intolerance, then that’s a whole dietary package on its own. Where do you start with this?

Zelda: Well, one of the big things would be even B12, to be honest, because if you don’t even have B12 in your body, it’s very difficult to even bind or get that intracellular folate going on anyway. So I tend to look at more of the basic Bs. So, I look at B1, B2, B3, B5, and B12, would be my starting point. Then I’d also look at, do we need to look at, obviously, I feel like everyone needs to be supported with magnesium. So magnesium is such a vital cofactor of, I don’t know how many functionalities in the body.

Andrew: Two hundred-odd.

Zelda: It’s huge. Yeah. So, I’d say 200-plus, maybe. So, I tend to support with a basic protocol first, before we get the results. And then when we get the results, then you can assess, “Well, oh. Okay. You’ve got this. That means your body will accept methylfolate. Fantastic.” Then you try a small dose first, and you always tune in three to five days later, how are you feeling? Are you feeling better? Are you feeling anxious? Are you feeling jittery?

Andrew: Right. Right.

Zelda: Because if they are, stop. Because it’s not working for them. Then you need to look at a different type of getting that folate into the cells.

Andrew: Are the adverse effects, if you like, of folinic, sorry, forgive me, MTHFR… Start again. Are the adverse effects of MTHF always of an emotional component, or do you get physical components as well? You said “jittery.” That can tie in with emotions. What about things like palpitations, headaches, nausea? Things like that.

Zelda: Yes.

Andrew: Yeah?

Zelda: Yeah. One hundred percent. If you give someone the wrong supplementation, and they start feeling sick, as in, they wake up first thing in the morning and they, you know, they describe to you they feel like they wanna throw up, well, then we’re on the wrong supplement. If there’ve been headaches, then we’re also on the wrong supplement. And this is where you gotta look upstream and downstream. Like, the headaches, it’s usually linked in to the glucuronidation pathway, and therefore if you’re giving too many methyl groups, that’s causing the headaches. So, this is where the over-methylation and the under-methylation is so vital to get right, and that’s why it’s better to take baby steps. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. Right. Okay. So, if we’re talking about an over-methylator, an over-producer, if you like, do we have to, obviously, take the load off, stop supplementing, but do you also use, like, you mentioned glucuronidation, things like that. Do you also use detoxification processes, clearing the body, even things like magnesium oxide, maybe, to help cleanse the gut of the byproducts that may be coming out in the urine and the bowel?

Zelda: Yeah. And definitely. And that’s why, once you’ve done, you know, your organics metabolite test, that’s a fantastic way to see that that is the problem. You know, you can easily spot the pathway in the organic metabolites results. You can spot the toxic load. If they’ve got lots of neurotoxic organic metabolites in their urine, then you have to start, especially if we’re talking about depression or anxiety or schizophrenia, if they’ve got that, those organic metabolites really built up in their urine, well then you have to look at is glutamate being properly made into GABA? And if it’s not, why? Therefore something like an amino acid like taurine can really help. And it’s interesting, people that do wake up and feel nausea, it’s usually a build-up of glutamate toxicity or ammonia, which is another pathway that’s blocked. So, taurine’s a fantastic solution for anyone that feels nausea. Headaches, I normally would really support the glucuronidation pathway. So, calcium-D-glucarate is fantastic for anyone who gets headaches. That’s my go-to for that. And then obviously, then, we have to look at food, okay? So, food is so important. When you can’t methylate, you need the greens, you know. You’ve gotta eat the leafy greens. You’ve gotta embrace lots of steamed broccoli, you know, fantastic Brussels sprouts. Anything green. Leafy green, green, green. The only greens you ever need to be worried about is if we’ve got oxalate issues. So, there’s obviously some of those greens of high oxalate, so if you’ve got an oxalate issue, just be aware of some of those.

Andrew: Great. So, that was gonna be my next question, is there’s that subset, seems to be raising its head more and more. But again, it seems to double back, if you like, on to gut health. So, we sort of come back to the pillar of naturopathic medicine, that’s heal the gut. But obviously, with avoidance of that, so, avoiding things like spinach leaf, baby spinach. What other foodstuffs do you tend to avoid with an oxalate issue?

Zelda: Well, generally, if I find anyone does have a methylation issue, if I do discover they have MTFHR, I’ve got, like, five that I say they’re very high. So, I ask people to avoid raspberries. I ask them to avoid carrots. I know, everyone loves their carrots, but I just sort of say let’s replace the carrots with pumpkin or sweet potato. Celery is so high, and also, it’s… So, some people go crazy and do that celery juicing, and then don’t understand why they’ve got no energy, and feel fatigued. It’s because the body can’t break down that high level of oxalic acid. So, you know, so, that’s three that I really focus on. And I’m afraid, sesame. So, that doesn’t go down well with people that love the hummus. So, I apologize to the hummus fans out there, but sesame is very, very high in oxalate. So, I always have a, yeah. A few. And I just say, like, make your own hummus, but you can use hemp seeds instead of sesame, okay? It doesn’t have the high level of oxalate.

And if there is, though, a history of, if they’ve even had a kidney stone, or have they had a gallbladder stone, or even worse, have they even had their gallbladder removed? That is a definite sign of methylation issue and oxalate issue. And then there’s another list of food groups that I ask people to avoid as well, when we have a kidney stone or gallstone already happening. Or had happened. That list gets bigger.

Andrew: Well, let’s go into it, because we’re there.

Zelda: Well, okay. So, the one that everyone hates when I tell them this is, so sorry, but chocolate’s not your friend. Chocolate’s really high in oxalates. So, yeah. Replace your chocolate with carob. That’s much better. Rhubarb. That’s not a great thing to eat if you’ve had kidney or gallstones. Miso, any soy products, buckwheat, and this is the other one, almonds. Almonds are very high in oxalates. So, I try to say to people that are drinking almond milk, if you’ve got an oxalate issue, try to replace that with coconut milk. Organic coconut milk will be much better for you.

Andrew: You know how there’s that idea that people are attracted to or feel like they crave the things that they’re allergic to? Or they avoid them. It’s sort of, like, dichotic. But anyway. Do you find that these people are those people that eat a lot of these foods? Like, they love their raspberries, they love their carrots, they love their hummus? Yeah?

Zelda: A hundred percent. And that’s why I just go, “Well, there’s your gallstone.” Or, “There’s your gallbladder removal.” Like, you know. And if you, you know, it’s just something that, yeah, they have to embrace. I give lots of alternatives when we have a situation like that. So, you know, raspberries, replace with blueberries. Carrots, replace with pumpkin. And sesame, replace with hemp seeds. Celery, replace with leek.

Andrew: Now, hemp seeds. I need to ask you about this one. It’s very interesting to me. I’ve never tasted them. What do they taste similar to? Like, do they taste like hummus?

Zelda: I have to say no. They’ve got a very mild taste. So, when I ask people to make their hummus with hemp seeds, I would ask them to put in a wee pinch of cumin, just to give it a little bit of more je ne sais quoi. It helps, like, smooth out the pain of the no tahini. Oh, the other high oxalate food is beetroot. So, beetroot, if you’ve had kidney or gallstones, beetroot’s not your friend. So, I try to say to people replace the beetroot in your salads with radish. And, you know, that’s why when you look at these juicing menus, you know, you’ll always see carrots, celery, beetroot. And I’m like, “Oh, my goodness.” Like, I just, it’s mind-boggling, because we should not be juicing those things. They’re very high in oxalates. That’s another conversation for another day.

Andrew: That’s another…that’s a huge conversation, okay. So, we’ve gone through over-methylation. What about under-methylation?

Zelda: Yeah. So, when someone’s under-methylation, usually, for me, the big things that I look for is massive depression. Like, I’m talking chronic depression, schizophrenia, suicidal tendencies. That’s one of the big, massive indicators you can see for an under-methylator. But also things like OCD. You know, they’re very meticulous with detail. They’re also a very addictive nature. So, they would be addicted, iPhone addiction, computer addiction. They also can seem to be calm on the outside, but it’s like they’ve got this huge inner vibration on the inside. And so they’re just always feeling, like, on that edge. Sort of, yeah, fight-or-flight sort of person. And then they tend to, obviously, react very badly to stress as well. Now, with the over-methylated…

Andrew: So, when you say react very badly to stress…

Zelda: Yeah, yeah. Under-methylators.

Sorry. So, when you say react very badly to stress, are these the people that run themselves into the ground? Because they’re high achievers?

Zelda: Yes.

Andrew: They’re a little bit meticulous, and they just right go to exhaustion.

Zelda: Yeah. And then they end up with this, you know, what everyone calls chronic fatigue. And they end up lying in bed for a few days because they’ve just done so much, tooken on so much. And then they blame that for the chronic fatigue, whereas it’s really all about not methylating correctly. Now, when you’re an under-methylator, that’s where S-Adenosyl methionine actually comes in fantastically, if you’re a under-methylator, but I would never give anyone S-Adenosyl methionine until I tested their histamine blood levels, just to check.

Andrew: Gotcha.

Zelda: And with over-methylators, it’s, things that I look out for them is, it’s interesting. They’re more, they’re not depressed or suicidal. They’re more anxious. You know, they will tend to speak a lot. So, you know, if you get a customer sitting down, and they’re sitting there, and you’re trying to even just get in a word edge-ways, that’s a good sign of over-methylation. You know, they’ll have a low sex drive. Sometimes an over-methylator will be a bit more on the obese side. I always look out for that nervous leg syndrome. You know, somebody that’s just sitting there, talking fast, the leg is shaking. That’s a perfect sign of over-methylation as well. Low motivation. They tend to do a lot of talking, but don’t have a lot of motivation to actually do things. They can be depressed, and anxious, but they tend to not be more on the suicidal side, compared to the under-methylators.

Andrew: Right. There seems to be some symptoms there sort of at odds with each other. You know, you’ve got this anxious talkativeness, but they’re low-libido, obese, shaky legs, but with poor, sort of, output. That’s weird.

Zelda: Yeah, and that’s what I mean. It’s like you nearly literally have to be a detective. You actually have to be a detective in everything from what they do, their lifestyle, what they eat, how they sleep, how their moods are. You know, I ask so many questions, to try and pinpoint what we’re dealing with while we’re waiting for the test results to come back. And then when you do… And that’s where, to be honest, well, that’s why you need to check all the genes. It’s not just about MTFHR. There’s a lot of B12 genes that need to really be more addressed, I feel, because certain genes, especially you’ve got the  in B12… You actually can’t absorb methyl B12. And you can’t even get hydroxy B12 into the cells. And this is where this over-methylation becomes dangerous, because if you can’t methylate, and you’re giving somebody methyl B12, there’s nowhere for that methyl group to go, because the B12 can’t get into the system. So, this is where, you know, you need to look at all of the B12 genes. So, there’s methionine reductase, methionine synthase. Then there’s TCN2, and then] I always look at those B12 genes, because, sometimes it’s actually just the B12, and not even the MTFHR. Because they can’t, you know, that methyl group, that MTFHR, has to pass to methionine reductase. If they’ve got a polymorphism in methionine reductase, it can’t actually properly take that methyl group. So, therefore, B12 doesn’t get into the system, doesn’t get into the cells, doesn’t get recycled, therefore we have anemia. So, you know, if you don’t have B12, and you don’t have intercellular folate, you can’t make, or bind iron, and you can’t make new red blood cells. So, this is where you become a bit more of a detective. You gotta look at the bloods as well. So, anemia is always a methylation issue or a B12 issue as well.

Andrew: Okay. Right. Okay. So, bang for buck, where do you start? Like, do you just do all of them at once, because they’re all gonna be showing you some part of a puzzle? Or do you say, “Nah, I reckon you this,” or, “No, maybe that?”

Zelda: You know, look, you know, health is our wealth. But as we all know, good health doesn’t come cheap, right? So, I generally assess, you know, budget. I actually ask. I go, “Look, what are we able to afford here?” Because, to me, the buck stops, first off, with genetics, because I know so much about it. So, for me, the genetic test is my first call. Because from those genetic test results, I can exactly see all those things that I’m talking about. If they can afford the OMX, along with the genetics test, their organics metabolite test, that’s my second test that I love. And the third would be a stool, to see viral and bacterial. Because, let’s face it, if you’re not methylating, you don’t have a good immune response. If you’re not methylating, there’s a high chance you’ve also got SIBO, you know. We discussed that in the last podcast.

So, the SIBO’s there, therefore the bacterial overgrowth will be there. But once we get methylation and the methionine working a lot better, the SIBO starts improving, and then the gut lining gets better, and then the immune response gets stronger. So, that’s why I generally do the stool more towards the end, just to check that everything’s going where we want it to go. And I generally try to see if we can get the doctors to run the homocysteine and the histamine blood tests.

Andrew: Oh. Okay. So, with histamine blood tests, tell us about this. I thought there was a real, a brick, a block wall, basically, trying to get doctors to prescribe this, to write these requests.

Zelda: Well, I mean, if someone has a, you know, constant histamine allergies and seasonal allergies, they’re more well within their rights to ask their doctor to check the histamine in their blood. Yeah, so. I generally, you know, say to people, well you’ve obviously had this histamine issue your whole life. There’s no reason why your doctor won’t do that. And doctors will do it. Some will, and some won’t. However, if they don’t, then you can order it privately. You can order any test privately.

Andrew: Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah, yeah.

Zelda: But I just, you know, as I said, I’m trying to And homocysteine, you know, gosh, that’s another one I could spend an hour just talking about homocysteine. But, you know, a quick take on homocysteine, you know, if you’ve got low homocysteine, that’s just nearly as dangerous as high homocysteine. Because if you’ve got low homocysteine, there’s no homocysteine left to be properly converted back into methionine, and there’s no homocysteine left to go into your Krebs cycle to make energy, so there’s your chronic fatigue. And if you’re not making enough homocysteine, you’re not able to make enough [inaudible 00:28:27] so you’re not detoxifying correctly. And then if you’re making too much homocysteine, and you’re not recycling it, well, then that’s where the heart disease comes into play and the blood pressure issues. So, when you’ve got a family history of heart disease, triple bypasses, high blood pressure, anything like that, that’s where you know for definite there’s methylation issue and a homocysteine issue.

Andrew: Okay. So, we’ve discussed most of what can go wrong with the incorrect treatment, or guideline, if you like, protocol. We’ve looked at what sort of symptomatology people get when they’re either over or under-methylated. If we’re going to be looking at doing a test, doing judicious supplementation, to run the “COGs,” forgive me, I’m doing quotation marks here on screen, is it appropriate that we support people who are, let’s say, I’m gonna hope this is right, over-methylated, so, they’re over-producing, would it be appropriate to support these people with the end byproducts? So, let’s say glutathione. If we’re talking about the homocysteine cycles, and then it goes down to sulphate glutathione, what would happen if you supplemented with glutathione or lipoic acid? Do you get a bank-up, or do you get an easement of the overproduction? Like, that’s where I get confused.

Zelda: You see, that… Yeah, and this is the problem, right? Because until you do the test, you don’t know what pathways are actually blocked. So, if the detox pathway, phase one and two, is already blocked, and you give somebody glutathione, it can actually make them feel sick. So, I try to leave the detoxification at least into phase three of the protocol, once I’ve ascertained what is actually going on. And, but in the background, I’ve already started on the diet, you know? So, gluten is not your friend when you cannot methylate. Gluten is no one’s friend. But again, that’s another large conversation. But gluten blocks the gallbladder, and stops the ability for the liver to do its job. So, gluten’s not good for neurotransmitters or your gall bladder. And gluten blocks the folate receptors, so then you can’t methylate at all.

And then I always ask for people to stop dairy, because if we’ve got a hormonal issue, if we have a methylation issue, we don’t need CAR hormones and steroids into the mix, confusing the body and the pancreas, because you’ll also find blood sugar’s a big issue for people that can’t methylate. There’s always a history of diabetes somewhere, for someone. And that’s definitely where I say, let’s just stop the dairy for now, until we know what exactly is going on. And then I support those starter Bs. I support the magnesium, potassium. If they’re feeling nauseous, we go in with the taurine. If they’ve got the headaches, the calcium-D-glucarate’s an awesome option for that.

And then, when we get the results, we can go, “Aha. Here we go. So, now I know the genes you’ve got. Now I know what you’re over-producing or under-producing,” and therefore you go nice and slowly with either folinic, or, if they’re able to take 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate, you start with small dose first, tune in with them, you know, within a week, check everything’s going okay, and then you slowly increase until you’ve got them to that level where they go, “Wow, I feel a 50% improvement.” And then I go, “That’s fantastic. Now let’s go for 100.”

Andrew: Gotcha. Well, with regards to, just something I forgot to ask earlier, when you were talking about supplementing with B vitamins, do you tend to favor the activated B vitamins over the old, you know, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine chloride, things like that? Thiamine monohydrate?

Zelda: One hundred percent. Like, the activated ones, just… Yeah. So, they’ve all got these big, long, extra-long names, but yeah, yeah. The activated ones are the easiest, quickest result that you will get, because it’s already activated. It’s already being converted. The body will just see it and go, “Oh, I’ve been looking for you,” and just completely mop it up. So, the activated would be my preferred, for the starter protocol.

Andrew: And what also about, when we’re talking about magnesium, do you tend to favor different types? Like, look, I’ve gotta say, companies have done this, but we’ve been taught to that…and the words are wrong, in my opinion, but anyway, we’ve been taught that glycine is the best. I think it’s one of the fastest, but it’s not necessarily the best. If you’ve got a heart condition, give me orotate. But, you know, other forms, like, for instance, you know, the German research, they favor the citric acid, the magnesium citrate. Some practitioners favour glycerophosphate to help to get across the blood-brain barrier and also help with gut healing as well. Do you tend to sort of use different forms, depending on what’s happening with your patients?

Zelda: One hundred percent. And especially if we’re dealing with suicidal, anxiety, or depression, magnesium threonate is a definite, like, straight away, someone says to me, “I feel anxious. I feel depressed. You know, I’ve got suicidal, you know, tendencies.” That’s, I just, while they’re talking to me, I’m reaching for it already. So, you know, and it’s really about symptoms, again. And then if we’ve got constipation issues, then, you know, and, like, look, there is eight different types of magnesium. So, it’s, again, it’s not one size fits all. I try to actually give them as many as I can. I tend to give people at least four to five. So, there’s some great TriMag blends out there, where you can get three types of magnesium in one supplement. So, that’s a great starter, straight up, to give someone. And then if you’ve got the anxiety and the depression, then I add in magnesium threonate, to take at nighttime, to calm down their neurological function.

Andrew: I’ve gotta say, and I am gonna give a call out to somebody here. I met with James Bergin [SP]. Hi, James. And he, at the end of our meeting, he gave me a drink. He said, “You want a magnesium drink?” I said, “Yeah, sure.” Expecting the typical magnesium, you know, “Oh, it’s a citrus flavour,” or it’s a whatever flavour, which is really covering a mineral, chalky flavour, right? And he mixed this magnesium with a vitamin C powder. I’ve gotta get the exact recipe off of him. It was the most natural-tasting. There was no “supplement taste” to this. It was just like drinking a natural fruit juice. Not that that’s necessarily a great thing. But the taste was just beautiful. There was no, you know, cloying aftertaste. There was no mineral chalkiness with this. It was, “Oh, James. Dude.”

Zelda: Yeah. Yeah, I want that recipe too, please. That would be great. And then let’s not forget how important vitamin C is as well. So, vitamin C is needed in lots of our biochemical pathways too. And, you know, how many people are actually sitting down and cutting up an orange and eating an orange, every day, because it’s water-soluble, we need vitamin C every day, and it’s needed in our biopterin pathway. It’s, oh, it’s needed in our methionine pathway. It’s needed in lots of our pathways. So, again, vitamin Cs are always a great thing to have. If you’re not eating an orange, then you need to be taking some vitamin C too.

Andrew: It’s probably one of the nutritional supplements that I most overlook. And I’ve, over the last, let’s say, year, I’ve woken up to, wow, I’ve really sort of, in my arrogance of “knowledge…” I’m using a lot of quotation marks this podcast. Forgive me. But in my arrogance of what I call knowledge, I’ve forgotten the simplest things can be some of the most beneficial things. You know, these supportive, foundational nutrients.

Zelda: Yeah, because sometimes we, as practitioners, we get enamoured with, you know, everything that’s in a container and sometimes forget about the importance of real food. So, I just try to get into a habit… I’m, you know, I’m at my desk, I cut up an orange, and just munch on. At least one a day. That’s just, yeah, a bit of a behaviour you can easily incorporate.

Andrew: But I’m gonna add to that though. I’m gonna add to that, though. And that is that, in the 21st century, and certainly post-COVID pandemic, post-lockdown, I think this is a new epoch in human history, but anyway, there are so many people that are so stressed that they’re churning. They’re churning through these basic nutrients, just running their brains and their adrenal response to stress. So, that’s what, it sort of woke me up, and I went, “Oh, my goodness. Like, we’ve gotta go back to these really foundational nutrients, to just to bring these people out of a hole.” So, I’ve started to use just simple stuff so much more.

Zelda: Yeah. And, you know, we are what we eat as well, and that’s why it’s really important to remove that gluten, the dairy. Try to eat always organic, because if it’s not organic, it’s been sprayed with glyphosate, and that damages so much in the body, confuses all of our biochemical pathways. And always, also, the importance of our meat source now. So, you know, now you have to say things like grass-fed, organic, hormone-free, steroid-free meat. It’s like, “ooh.” Because, you know, even our protein source is nowhere near as good as what it should be. Yeah. So, it’s really important to have a good, whole food diet. I try to say to people if comes out of a packet, it’s not really what you should be eating. You gotta go back to the base. Good berries, organic wild berries, blueberries, blackberries, organic oranges, lemons, limes, apples, red grapes, organic Kiwi fruit, watermelon. And bring in the broccoli, all the greens, as much as you can, and just some really good quality protein. That’s a very good base protocol for the diet, along with some good-quality nuts, depending on if we have oxalate issues [inaudible 00:39:34]

Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, I take your point about trying to eat organic. That can be horrendously expensive sometimes, and so I love Tabitha Mcintosh’s book here. It’s “One Bite at a Time.” Eating your way to better health, I think that’s the byline. But it’s “One Bite at a Time” by Tabitha McIntosh and Sarah Lantz. And she talks about having your organic buck. So, it’s like, what are you most going to prioritize with that amount of your expenditure, that is most important to you? There are other things that you just may not be able to afford, but there’s really, this, you need to concentrate on. You’ve given us so many key things here that we can move from.

Zelda: Yeah. So, look at the dirty dozen.

Andrew: Zelda, I love chatting with you…

Zelda: There’s always the dirty dozen, that’s the most important to buy organic. Potatoes are heavily sprayed. Blackberries are heavily sprayed. Strawberries are heavily sprayed. Tomatoes are heavily sprayed. So, you know, look up the dirty dozen list, and that’s what I tried to [inaudible 00:40:44] if you can’t afford all organic, then these are the 12 musts. Like, this is not even an option. I’d rather you not eat them if you’re not eating organic, because that’s how heavily-sprayed they are.

Andrew: I love chatting with you. We could chat for hours. I know we can. We’ve run out of time today, but I can’t thank you enough. I just wanna show everybody who’s gonna be watching this video. That’s my notes, with Zelda. You’ve given us so much to go on from. We’ll put up as much as we can in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining us today, Zelda. And we’ll, no doubt, we’ll see you again for another…

Zelda: No problem. It’s been a pleasure as always.

Andrew: …another topic to do with methylation. Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. Again, I say, we will put out as much as we can in the show notes. You can get all of the other podcasts on the Designs for Health website. I’m Andrew Whitfield-Cook. This is “Wellness by Designs.”

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