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Dear Pharmacist,

I met you at a book-signing and you said something that stuck. You told me that if I have allergies, fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities that I may have a "methylation" difficulty. You also told me not to take Green Coffee Bean extract. Can you please tell me more?

--S.J., Vail, Colorado

Answer:Methylation, it's a big word that you probably don't think applies to you, however, read on because knowing about methylation could improve or save your life.

Just look at the list of people who might have a methylation problem: Children with autism, anyone with a seizure disorder, neurological condition, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, severe Lyme disease, chronic infections, diabetes, allergies, fertility issues, miscarriages, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, anxiety or any psychiatric illness. That's the short list. Oh, and if you are extremely sensitive to medicine, or to nitrous gas (given by the dentist) you might have a methylation problem too.

You see, as humans, we all have an enzymatic pathway going on in our body at all times called "methylation." It has numerous life-sustaining functions. One of it's primary purposes is to convert folate from your meals into glutathione, a potent antioxidant which neutralizes poisons. A problem any where along this metabolic pathway spells illness. My concern is that your symptoms are being heavily medicated when it's just a problem of methylation, that can be addressed by a physician in-the-know.

Methylation snps (pronounced snips) are genetic problems but it's not always a genetic problem. About 45 percent of people have a genetic issue, but blockages in this pathway can happen if you take certain medications or have certain nutrient deficiencies. Green coffee bean extract is incredibly high in catechols and those block methylation! Same deal with potatoes (regular or sweet), tea and coffee.

Testing for methylation is often covered by insurance. Because people with a methylation difficulty have trouble eliminating poisons, they build up in the body and that's what causes all the health concerns. Opening up the road block helps clear your body of poisons and that should reduce symptoms.

If you can't methylate properly, you cannot produce CoQ10, carnitine, creatine or ATP (energy). You will also have nerve pain. That's because the methylation process helps make the protective wrapping around your nerves. Some medications are what I call "drug muggers" of nutrients which are needed for the methylation process. Among them are methotrexate, metformin, antacids, acid blockers, estrogen-containing drugs, and nitrous oxide. Drinking alcohol will pretty much shut down your methylation. I'm out of space here, so if you'd like more information about testing and supportive supplements, sign up for my free newsletter and I'll send you details. By the way, some doctors recommend high dose folic acid and vitamin B12 but this is not always helpful, and can in fact be harmful. Details will be sent via my newsletter and if you've signed up for it in the past, you don't need to do so again.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website,

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)