Introducing Chris Masterjohn Lite

Why I Don’t Believe in “Overmethylators” and “Undermethylators”

Are you an undermethylator or an overmethylator?


Chris Masterjohn Lite is a show about what works. Today we kick off a short series on a few things that don’t work by discussing why I don’t think it’s useful and why I think it’s actually counter-productive to classify people as undermethylators and overmethylators.

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  1. Can one be undermethylator for histamine and accumulate too many methyl groups when taking glycine or glutamine rich foods?
    I react to glutamine, taurine, whey, collagen, all them methyl donors? But also to histamine so high levels in blood, all the reverse for an overmethylator, isn’t it?
    Thanks a lot

  2. I just read this and laughed. I love your headline here. I agree that they shouldn’t be thinking about over- and under-methylation. It’s just when people who don’t understand biochemistry imagine the human body like a simple methylation chamber. It’s funny to me but it’s not funny when people base their health decisions on this sort of misinformation.

    This is how I understand it – people react to methylation supplements because it is a stimulant and it also stimulates some immune reaction.

    On PubMed, what alternative medicine calls “methylation pathway” is called “one-carbon metabolism. But it is a different thing than DNA methylation because one-carbon metabolism is involved in the metabolism of hormones, neurotransmitters, nucleotide production, amino acid metabolism, etc. Practically everyone who writes about “overmethylation” cites studies that say increased DNA methylation. This cracks me up because it’s a fine example of cherry-picking evidence to support what they’re saying. Of course if you’re looking at a tissue that with active cell division with methylation deficiency, like in embryonic or cancer tissues, you’re gonna have hypomethylation that immediately course-correct once you correct the methylation deficiency. This is going to change the phenotype because you have major epigenetic changes, but it is not “overmethylation.”

    Also, folate and methylation nutrients change epigenetics, but as you know, epigenetics is a lot more than methylation. There are studies that show these effects, and some of these effects are even heritable (and scary). I believe some of the health issues that many of us have could be due to widespread folic acid fortification and whatever else that started around World War II.

  3. Thank you for this!! I’ve been so confused by methylation, and trying to categorize myself and my 6 kids as “OM” or “UM” has been near impossible as clearly we have some of both issues going on (OCD, ADHD, Neurodiversity, high anxiety, Pyroluria, neruotransmitter dysregulation etc..).
    I’ve been following Dr Walsh’s work and have learned a lot from it, but I felt like I was still missing some big puzzle pieces. So thank you again!!

  4. Well what can I say Chris? I think most of your stuff is very good but on this one I will have to say I disagree (always open to change my view with new information well argued). IMHO the successful use of the Walsh Institute Protocols (including using that approach on both of my children) would take some very good and well laid out arguments to challenge. I.e. challenging each of the arguments and approaches/protocols with a comprehensive explanation of what you think are the alternative reasons why they work, and how you would approach those issues. What you have written is a bit of a ramble.

    1. I disagree on the basis that people come to me with such a diagnosis and have clear signs of the opposite problem.

      1. Thanks Chris, I just reread the post after reading your latest – DON’T Use Histamine Levels to Assess Methylation Status. I think I am beginning to grasp what you are saying with more openness. I am obviously a bit emotionally attached to the Walsh Protocols because of the positive benefits. E.g. became a lot worse on methyl-folate supplements, and then after testing positive as undermethylators (as per histamine testing) they responded really well to suggested supplements. My apologies if I was a bit over the top in my first comment – obviously your post caused me a bit of emotional discomfort. I will continue to reread your methylation posts and Dr Walsh’s book and may be back with some more questions.

      2. Thanks Chris, I obviously have some emotional attachments to the Walsh Protocol to let go of. I will continue to re-read your posts on methylation and will probably come back to you with some questions. Best Regards

  5. Chris,
    Thank you for articulating this toopic of over/under methylation so succinctly and credibly. This craze in the methylation business is growing in bounds and drawing plenty of unsuspecting people, people that are trying in earnest to do something good for themselves. and deserve to have this more balanced information. Thanks for bringing a more discerning piece on this topic!

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