Methyl GroupReader writes, On talk shows about autism and other health subjects, I hear references to methylation. Can you explain this process to me and how it relates to sulfur?

Thank you for submitting your methylation question. I hope that the data I have obtained on your behalf will help you understand methylation better and the key role that sulfur plays in our health.


Methylation (or the methylation cycle) is an ongoing, natural process that occurs inside cells that enables our bodies to perform its normal maintenance and repair work.

Inside each cell are mitochondria that act like miniaturized power plants; the mitochondria generate energy in the form of a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (commonly abbreviated as ATP) that the cells need to do their jobs.

During the methylation cycle, the body activates and sends out methyl groups which serve as messengers. Each methyl group consists of a carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms (usually abbreviated in medical and scientific journals as CH3). Since a carbon atom can bond with four other atoms, each methyl group has an available bond which constantly attaches to and detaches from other molecules in the process known as methylation.

Methyl groups join other compounds to initiate a response (such as turning a gene off or on or activating an enzyme). If a methyl group becomes lost or unavailable, the reaction stops or an enzyme may become deactivated or a “bad” gene may get turned on (for example, a gene related to cancer). It is the methyl group’s innate ability to connect with and create new processes that makes them so important.

Methylation plays a key role in making, maintaining, and repairing your DNA — the blueprint needed to build and sustain your genetic code. If your methylation pathway is blocked, your DNA is not going to replicate properly and major health problems are likely to result.

Moreover, the methylation cycle manages how your body uses sulfur. Sulfur is needed for sulfation, which is one of the biochemical processes by which the body eliminates toxins. Glutathione is a sulfur-based molecule that has been called the “mother of all antioxidants” for its ability to neutralize free radicals and remove heavy metals and man-made pollutants. While the body can synthesize the production of glutathione from three amino acids (L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine), this health-giving molecule is vulnerable to depletion from a host of factors, such as poor dietary practices, pollution, stress, trauma, aging, infection, and radiation.

In her report entitled “Nutrigenomics and the Methylation Cycle,” Dr. Amy Yasko used a traffic jam analogy to explain what happens when your methylation cycle is impaired:

What makes the methylation cycle so unique and so critical for health is that mutations in this pathway can have an impact on all of these factors. Picture each mutation as an accident causing a traffic tie-up. One accident will slow down the flow of vehicles on the highway. A second or third will snarl things even more.


How often have you heard or read an expression similar to the following? “When it comes to health, we are living far longer and have it so much better than our ancestors.”

Now do your best to reconcile that commonly held idea with these recent articles that were posted on Parent Heart Watch:

Pasadena High School student dies after collapsing in P.E. class
Friday, May 01, 2015
A Pasadena High School student died after collapsing during P.E. class at the school Friday morning. Read More

Boy dies after collapsing in P.E. class
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
A 12-year-old Eagle Pass boy died after collapsing in his P.E. class on Friday. Read More

High school shock after sophomore nicknamed ‘Shaq’ collapses and dies while playing basketball – Tuesday, April 28, 2015
An Arizona high school has been rocked by the tragic death of a 16-year-old student who collapsed in the gymnasium after playing basketball Monday. Read More

Magnolia football player dies – Friday, April 24, 2015
Magnolia senior football player Laquan Pleas died early Monday morning from cardiac arrest, according to Athletic Director Rick Penn. Read more

Tragically, it is not just the youth whose health seems to be adversely affected these days.

For instance, as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs was instrumental in transforming the Cupertino high-tech firm into the international powerhouse that it is today. Despite all his wealth and influence, however, Jobs could not overcome his fatal illness in 2011, dying of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

In March 2015, WABC-TV news reporter Lisa Colagrossi died at the age of 49 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

More recently, on May 1, 2015, SurveyMonkey’s 47-year-old CEO, Dave Goldberg, died of undisclosed causes.

Finally, take a quick inventory of your friends and family members: How many of them are able to cope with the toxins and stresses of modern-day living without resorting to some form of prescription medicine?


Prior to the 1950s, commercial farmers routinely fertilized their crops using sulfur-rich material such as manure and compost. When farmers switched to using synthetic fertilizers made from petrochemicals, that change has resulted in a radical reduction of sulfur in our food supply and the severing of the methylation cycle.

As mentioned earlier in this report, sulfur helps the body dispose of harmful toxins. When glutathione and sulfur-based amino acids such as methionine and cysteine are in short supply, toxins accumulate. When the body doesn’t have these active detoxification agents at its disposal, an innocuous virus has the potential to morph into a serious bacterial infection such as meningitis or pneumonia. On the other hand, when sulfur is readily available and the methylation cycle is functioning as it should, oxygen is able to be transported across the cell membrane so that cells can “breathe” again and carry out their normal detoxification and repair functions.

In Rich Von Konynenburg’s report entitled, “A Simple Explanation of the Glutathione/Methylation Depletion Theory of ME/CFS,” the author mentioned how methyl groups are instrumental in enabling the body to produce substances like creatine, carnitine, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and melatonin. He also described one of the important functions of glutathione:

One of the jobs that glutathione does is to protect your supply of vitamin B12 from reacting with toxins. If left unprotected, vitamin B12 is very reactive chemically. If it reacts with toxins, it can’t be used for its important jobs in your body.

In Dr. Yasko’s aforementioned article entitled “Nutrigenomics and the Methylation Cycle,” the author made the following connection between autism and mutations in the methylation pathway:

I know from analyzing thousands of tests that an extraordinarily high percentage of children with autism have one or more mutations in this pathway, compared to the rest of the population. Secondly, I believe that the proper functioning of this pathway is critical to overcoming any form of neurological inflammation.

In Dr. Stephanie Seneff’s oft-quoted report entitled, “Could Sulfur Deficiency be a Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?,” the noted MIT research scientist made the following observation about Alzheimer’s patients:

Once I began to suspect sulfur deficiency as a major factor in Americans’ health, I looked into the relationship between sulfur deficiency and Alzheimer’s. Imagine my surprise when I came upon a web page posted by Ronald Roth, which shows a plot of the levels of various minerals in the cells of a typical Alzheimer’s patient relative to the normal level. Remarkably, sulfur is almost non-existent in the Alzheimer’s patient’s profile.

Will commercial farmers ever change their ways and switch back to using organic fertilizers? The possibility, however remote, exists. Until farmers are convinced to forsake their deployment of chemical fertilizers, I envision only one way to deal with the methylation issue: Have an adequate supply of organic sulfur on hand and take the supplement on a daily basis.

Need sulfur? Click here to place your order.



Methyl group

Methylsulfonylmethane (Redirected from DMSO2)

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

Citric acid cycle




A Simple Explanation of the Glutathione/Methylation Depletion Theory of ME/CFS
by Rich Von Konynenburg, Ph.D.

Chapter 2: Nutrigenomics and the Methylation Cycle
by Dr. Amy Yasko

What do mitochondria do?
Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

The Missing Piece to Your Dietary Healing Puzzle: The Methyl Group
Peeling Back The Onion Layers

Why We are Living Longer and Yet Ever Sicker Lives
by Tony Isaacs

Could Sulfur Deficiency be a Contributing Factor in Obesity, Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
by Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D.

Early results of an experimental study using Organic Sulfur
subheading: Cellular Regeneration Through Transport of Oxygen Across Cell Membranes
By Patrick McGean, Director
Cellular Matrix Study

It’s hard to be healthy if you’re not methylating properly
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One thought on “It’s hard to be healthy if you’re not methylating properly

  • 2015-05-06 at 10:59 am

    70% of Americans on at Least One Prescription Drug, Over 50% on at Least Two
    by Tony Isaacs
    The Best Years in Life


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