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September 18, 2020
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Choline, B12 and Folate are Joined at the Hip, and the Hip is called Methionine

The methyl (-CH3) donor choline and the methyl carriers folate and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) all contribute to the metabolic conversion (or methylation) of homocysteine to methionine. Methyl-folate can methylate homocysteine only by transferring its methyl group to vitamin B12 (now called methylcobalamin). If there isn't adequate B12 in the cells, then folate can't do its job and conversion of homocysteine to methionine will rely more on choline. Similarly, if there is insufficient choline available, the reaction will rely more on folate and B12. In other words, there is a reciprocal inter-dependance between these three essential nutrients of the methionine pathway. This is also the reason that the build up in blood of homocysteine is an accurate indication of deficiency of choline, folate and B12, or all three.

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Words You May Not Know
Methylcobalamin
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Methylcobalamin

Methylcobalamin is vitamin B12 that has a methyl group (-CH3) attached to it. This typically occurs once vitamin B12 is absorbed into the cell and accepts the methyl group from methyltetrahydrofolate (the active form of folate). Once B12 is 'methylated' by folate, it transfers this single carbon methyl group to homocysteine which converts it into the amino acid, methionine. This takes place in the cytoplasm of the cell.

Methylation
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Methylation

:the introduction of a methyl radical into a substance The methylation of metals (that is, the substitution of a metal atom for the hydrogen atom of the hydroxyl group of a methyl alcohol molecule) can result in the metal's becoming volatile.— Corale L. Brierle‍especially: DNA METHYLATION‍As cells begin to specialize into adult tissues, methylation seems to inactivate genes that are no longer needed.— John Travis‍

homocysteine
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homocysteine

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is normally converted into other amino acids like methionine and cysteine under the influence of folate, vitamin B12, choline and vitamin B6. Homocysteine's accumulation in the blood is a good measure of deficiency of these vitamins and essential nutrients and it has been associated with elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.

Who Wrote This
Jonathan Bortz MD
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Jonathan’s background as a practicing diabetes specialist for 15 years and 17-year career developing nutritional prescriptive products for the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to his ability to understand nutrients, how they work and why they are important.

Over the years he has acquired broad and in-depth knowledge in minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients, but has special expertise in Vitamin B12 and choline metabolism. He is often asked to speak at national and international venues to articulate why B12, folate and choline are so important to gene function, brain development, liver and cardiovascular health. He applies pharmaceutical standards to nutrient science and has developed a unique ability to translate complicated concepts into simple promotional messages that resonate with practitioners and consumers. He has developed dozens of innovative nutritional products, of which many are category leaders in the US. Jonathan obtained his medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School in South Africa and did his fellowship in Endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

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