Does methylfolate make you angry or depressed?
Tune in to hear what I think is going on and what to do about it.
This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements’ “Living” Collagen. Our Native American ancestors believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements has a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, “living” collagen, bone marrow and more… in the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products, go to https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/ancestral
This episode is brought to you by Ample. Ample is a meal-in-a-bottle that takes a total of two minutes to prepare, consume, and clean up. It provides the right balance of nutrients needed for a single meal, all from a blend of natural ingredients. Ample is available in original, vegan, and keto versions, portioned as either 400 or 600 calories per meal. I’m an advisor to Ample, and I use it to save time when I’m working on major projects on a tight schedule. Head to https://amplemeal.com and enter the promo code “CHRIS15” at checkout for a 15% discount off your first order.”
Here is a link to the liquid methylfolate supplement recommended in the episode:
Here are links to the original comment threads discussed in this episode:
How to watch it:
How to share it and show it love:
Read the Transcript
Does methylfolate make you angry or depressed?
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com, and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!”
And today we’re going to talk about unusually negative reactions to methylfolate supplementation and what that might mean.
Taub Becker says on Facebook, “Chris Masterjohn, is there any chance a deficit of glycine can make you feel awful with folate sources?” Adrian says in the comments on chrismasterjohnphd.com, “Hi Chris. My kids reacted badly to methylfolate supplementation – became “brittle” emotionally and more depressed. This got me into the Walsh Approach. They responded well to “undermethylator” supplements. Could you explain possible reasons why they would have reacted badly to methylfolate supplementation?
As for the Walsh Approach, they have been eating a low-folate diet since that time (2015).” Now, I don’t know why this might happen, but I do know that I’ve seen it elsewhere. I have a couple clients who have negative reactions to methylfolate along the lines of anger or depression. And my suspicion is that it’s caused by a sudden change in the supply of methyl groups.
So, with methylfolate supplementation, the actual number of methyl groups on the folate molecules that you’re eating in that supplement is fairly small. But if you have a genetic or other kind of impairment in methylfolate production so that in your own system inside your cells, you’re not usually methylating folate, then the amount of methylfolate that you might have in the hours after you take the supplement may be rather high compared to usual. You may have a sudden spike in the amount of methyfolate in your methylation system. And methylfolate is the off switch for wasting methyl groups by methylating glycine and peeing it into the urine.
So if you usually have an unusually low amount of methylfolate, you will have a deficient supply of methyl groups simply because you’re peeing them all out. And it’s not that you’re missing just the methyl groups from the methylfolate, it’s that the methyl groups coming from everywhere else are all getting peed out when they shouldn’t be. Now, in this situation, the many hundreds of different things that you need to do with those methyl groups still need their methyl groups.
So my suspicion is that the body says—just turns up the volume on those enzymes to try to steal what they can of the methyl groups. The way that I think might be helpful to understand this as an analogy would be to think about, you’re listening to this or watching this, and I’m talking, and you’re trying to hear me. If I were talking very quietly, you might turn the volume all the way up, but then if I suddenly start speaking loudly, because the volume is turned up so high, what you want, the good thing you want to hear is now piercing through your ears and damaging them, and your ears are left ringing for hours afterwards.
So, similarly your cells need these methyl groups, so I’m imagining that they will turn up the volume on those enzymes. And perhaps, unlike your smartphone or your computer, maybe the max volume setting that they can have is a lot higher. Right? They might be able to turn up those enzymes ten times higher than normal, and then when all of a sudden the methyl group supply goes from deficient to normal, then suddenly it’s like that volume is now piercing into your ears and damaging your ear tissues and making them ring for hours afterward, only in this case, it’s particular things that you’re methylating that might control your neurotransmitters or might control other aspects of how you feel mentally and physically, that suddenly trying to get the normal amount is now getting ten times the normal amount and throwing everything off balance.
So what would you do in this situation? Well, there’s really two things.
Number one is you can’t just supplement methylfolate, and you should never be supplementing with high doses of it in almost any case. What you should be doing is paying attention to every aspect of the protocol. And so I recommend going to my protocol at chrismasterjohnphd.com/methylation. And make sure you’re hitting all the other pieces around protein, and glycine, and creatine, and all of that because you want to make sure that the methylfolate is balanced into the whole system.
The other aspect of this is time. I suspect that it would take weeks to adjust to a particular dose of methylfolate if it’s causing a dramatic difference in the number of methyl groups you have. And you could either take the dose that you’re trying to and just power your way through those symptoms for a few weeks, or if it’s really a negative reaction that really decreases your quality of life, then you could start at a very low dose and work your way up.
The dose—the best way to get a low dose of methylfolate is to use the liquid methylfolate supplement that Seeking Health sells. They sell a supplement that they recommend taking 40 drops to get 1,000 micrograms from, but you can take one drop to get 25 micrograms from, which is a very low dose. So, I’ll link to this supplement in the description of this episode. That’ll be an affiliate link. If you use that link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you, which will help support the free work that I produce.
You can just google “Seeking Health liquid methylfolate” if you don’t want to use the affiliate link. Now, this supplement, what I would recommend doing with it if you really do have an extreme reaction, is take one drop for just 25 micrograms per day with a meal, and let that stabilize for a few days or for a week, and then increase it to two drops, which is 50 micrograms. And then let that stabilize for a week or two, and then increase it, and keep increasing it until you get up to about 4 to 600 micrograms of methylfolate per day.
Once you can tolerate that dose, then you can switch to a less expensive supplement, or ideally you can switch to including folate-rich foods in your diet because now you have let your body readjust the volume of those enzymes, so to speak.
I don’t know that this will work, but it’s what I would recommend trying based on how I’m imagining these symptoms coming about.