Xeragenx Journal logo mark.
No items found.
August 3, 2020
November 25, 2019
40 Second Read
Complexity Rating

Single Carbon metabolism - Choline, Folate and B12

There are several very important metabolic reactions that depend on transferring a solitary carbon molecule to genes or amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). This single carbon has 3 hydrogens attached to it and is called a ‘methyl group’ (or CH3).  Adding a methyl group is called ‘methylation’ and methyl groups come from an essential nutrient called choline, found in high concentration in foods like liver, egg yolks, wheat germ, cruciferous vegetables, meat and fish. Methyl groups from choline get passed to betaine (made from choline) or an essential B group vitamin called folate.  

Folate can’t methylate directly and passes its CH3group (like a relay runner passing the baton) to Vitamin B12  to methylate an amino acid called homocysteine. This transforms homocysteine into methionine, which is a key to making many other amino acids for the body and also the reading of the genetic code.  If there is a shortage of methyl groups, like in B12, folate or choline deficiency, then homocysteine levels can rise, causing damage to the brain and cardiovascular system, among others. So a balance of these three nutrients is very important.

Words You May Not Know
No items found.
Who Wrote This
Jonathan Bortz MD
Bio Quick View

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.

Top Picks