Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Gut Bugs and Vitamin Monsters

Dr. Andrew July 18, 2023

I consistently meet patients who, in their search for answers, have discovered the powerful process of methylation. Many of these individuals take methylation support vitamins such as folate, B12, and more, to try to support their health and increase their well-being. Much to their surprise, they experience a severe flare-up and worsening of their symptoms when they take methylated B vitamins. This makes them scared, anxious, and confused about how to get better. And my heart goes out to them, because I know that it is frustrating that something that should help you feel better actually makes you feel worse. I have to remind my patients that the body doesn’t make mistakes. Our biology is pure genius, so if we see a side effect from something that should work, we need to search to determine why the body doesn’t accept it, yet. And, of course, as you probably guessed, the gut is the place to start that search.

When you take methylation vitamins, it is like you’re dumping fertilizer into your gut. You expect that the fertilizer, the B vitamins, will be distributed throughout your body. Unfortunately, however, that is not the case, because the gut bacteria and microorganisms get a chance to eat them first. When patients tell me they aren’t getting better despite a perfect diet and healthy supplements, I know that the problem is in their gut!

Not only do gut bacteria produce vitamins that you need, they also produce toxins that disturb your methylation cycle and lead to anxiety, tension, insomnia, pain, fatigue, and brain fog. Taking methylation support vitamins can save your life, and I have a long list of patients who have benefited enormously from the right blend of methyl nutrients. However, if your gut is dumping toxins into your body when you take vitamins, then it will slow your progress considerably.

Healthy gut bacteria aid in absorbing vitamins, while unhealthy gut bugs get in the way. It’s just that simple. By now, you should be able to see how your gut, brain, and the methylation cycle are all connected in a beautiful, genius fashion.

When aggressive bacteria and yeasts eat your “fertilizer” first, they grow stronger, while you become progressively malnourished. This is a main reason why people who take vitamins and eat healthy foods may have symptom flare-ups or may not be getting better. It means something in the gut is eating all that fertilizer and making them sick. It could be a parasite they picked up on a trip to Mexico or a nasty type of bacteria that landed in their gut after a bout of food poisoning. Or it could be a gut imbalance they developed after living through a prolonged stressful event, such as a divorce, starting a new business, or starting a family. A perfect example of this problem can be found by reviewing how SIBO impacts the methylation cycle:

  • SIBO causes iron-deficient anemia, low protein, and malnutrition in general.
  • SIBO makes it hard to gain weight and slows growth in children.
  • SIBO increases blood folic acid and folate levels, interfering with MTHFR pathways.
  • SIBO decreases absorption of B12 and fatty vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, leading to poor methylation and chronic disease.

Now, obviously, SIBO is a severe form of this problem, but it does illustrate the point. When our gut is imbalanced and overgrown with bacteria and yeast, we simply cannot optimize our health or our genes. I don’t want you to get the idea that gut microbes and bacteria can only harm us. The truth is, without the proper bacteria and microorganisms in our gut, we cannot survive. We absolutely depend on those organisms to provide our bodies with nutrients to create health. So although microbes and bacteria are necessary for health, anything that is good can become toxic if it begins to get out of balance. And this gut imbalance is the driving force behind so many symptoms that make people with methylation issues chronically sick.