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Overmethylation – an MTHFR Basic State

Overmethylation, as we have discussed, is the least common state according to the research of Dr. Carl Pfeiffer in his book Nutrition and Mental Illness, An Orthomolecular Approach To Balancing Body Chemistry. Ovmethylation isn’t caused by just one thing – it’s a tendency based on your genes, lifestyle, stressors, diet, and environment. Interestingly – you can be an overmethylator without having an MTHFR mutation at all. Overmethylation also flows on a spectrum, from very mild symptoms to far more severe ones.

If you’re not sure if you’re an undermethylator, methylation neutral, or an overmethylator then visit this post for a comparative chart. As with everything else, even the most severely overmethylated person will have some traits and not others – this is all very individual. The biggest constants are artistic or creative tendencies, empathy and/or social activism, and anxiety.

Balanced overmethylators can change the world with their compassion, empathy and creativity

Overmethylators Are Blessed With Many Positive Traits.

  • Creative
  • Highly artistic or musical
  • Highly empathic and sensitive
  • March to the beat of their own drum
  • Passionate and self-sacrificing
  • High pain threshold

Some of These Traits Have a Darker Side:

  • Obsessive or manic focus on what is important to them (social cause, activism, artistic project)
  • Ruminating – hard to shut brain off
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anxiety
  • A tendency toward self-enhancement (extreme plastic surgery, implants of all types), tattoos, piercings

Overmethylation Can Lead to Physical and Medical Issues

  • Food and chemical sensitivities – this picture is dominated by low histamine which then translates to alternate immune pathway sensitivities.
  • Pain – head, neck, and general body pain.
  • Low Histamine
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Sleep disorders – especially with physical or mental restlessness.
  • Depression – depression – especially with an anxiety component
  • Hyperactivity, ADHD – in combo with restlessness and anxiety

At The Extreme End of Pathology Overmethylators Can Be Prone To:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic attacks
  • Self-mutilation or self-harm
  • Major Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychosis including post-partum psychosis

Nutritional Tendencies In Overmethylation

  • Great Reactions to B Vitamins – most overmethylators are low in B vitamins generally, but especially folate and B12 and typically do well with higher than average dosages.
  • Often high copper levels, which can be balanced by increasing zinc
  • Often low histamine
  • Often low B3 and B6
  • Often intolerant to estrogen therapies including birth control and HRT
  • Serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine may be elevated

Medication and Supplement Reactions in Overmethylation

Overmethylation changes the way your body reacts to certain prescriptions and medications

This represents what is typical for the group, but drug and nutrient reactions can be very personal, so this is a general guideline and not a certainty. This information is both from Dr. Pfeiffer’s book (see above), this article, and my own experience with clients.

Typically Good ReactionTypically Bad Reaction
BenzodiazepinesSSRI Antidepressants
Lithium (Rx) or Lithium OrotateAntihistamines
High-folate foodsEstrogen – birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy
Folate, Folinic Acid, 5-LMTHFSAMe
B12Methionine
B3, B6Copper
ZincTryptophan, phenylalanine
Antioxidants – C, E, A, NAC, etc…St John’s Wort
ManganeseTyrosine
MagnesiumDMG, TMG (methyl donors)
CholineInositol
DMAE
Omega-3 fatty acids

You can read more about overmethylation here.

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