Nutritional Genomics

Exercise for Methylation Support


Dr. Alex Jimenez Discusses Exercise and Methylation

A personalized, moderate exercise plan can promote methylation support. According to research studies, exercise can affect metabolic methylation-related activity and biomarkers. According to a 2014 systematic review, exercise is associated with lower homocysteine levels. In animal models, exercise has been demonstrated to prevent folate deficiency-induced hyperhomocysteinemia through increased BHMT expression in the kidney.

However, several research studies have also demonstrated that exercise can cause a temporary increase in plasma homocysteine, especially in untrained people, which is believed to be due to the increased proteins during exercise to make amino acids available for gluconeogenesis in the liver. This effect can also be triggered by low folate and vitamin B12 status, which is why nutrient repletion is essential for overall health and wellness.

Regular and moderate exercise is an effective treatment for factors which can decrease methyl donors or affect methylation activity, such as psychological stress, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Aerobic exercise and resistance training have also been associated with increased cellular glucose uptake and reduced blood glucose, which can also reduce oxidative stress caused by higher AGE-promoting glucose levels, among other factors.

How Exercise Improves DNA Methylation

The increased production of reactive oxygen species and free radicals during exercise as well as the increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines has been demonstrated in a variety of research studies. However, the effects of these changes can depend on a person’s nutrition and lifestyle habits. High-intensity or anaerobic exercise may have pro-oxidative effects, especially in untrained individuals. Endurance exercise, by way of instance, may produce circulating levels of IL-6, up to 120 times that of baseline, as well as increases in other predominantly pro-inflammatory cytokines.

A 2013 systematic review demonstrated the effect of exercise on oxidative stress in the brain. The outcome measures determined that regular, moderate, aerobic exercise increase the brain’s antioxidant capacity, however, high-intensity, anaerobic exercise decreased the antioxidant response. The results can be explained by a hormesis model of exercise (Figure 6), which discusses that low or high levels of exercise can produce negative effects. The gradual build-up of exercise, through regular practice or training, can change the hormesis curve to the right, meaning that exercise tolerance and benefits are highly personalized for each person.

Recent research studies have discussed that antioxidants provided by a diet rich in natural plant phytochemicals, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and beans, sprouts and seeds, are also an effective way to meet the antioxidant needs of the general population and athletes who participate in exercise, physical activities, and/or sports. As a matter of fact, dietary intervention is a much safer and effective treatment than antioxidant supplementation because research studies utilizing supplementation demonstrated insufficient and mixed results. Several researchers even believe that antioxidant supplementation can affect the beneficial hormetic effects of exercise, ultimately affecting well-being.

Exercise can ultimately affect DNA methylation, according to a recent review of literature. By way of instance, in a retrospective research study of 647 women, regular exercise throughout their lifetimes helped preserve the age-related depletion of global methylation status, where exercise and physical activity like sports and daily movement, such as climbing stairs, housework, and yardwork, which was greater than or equal to the average in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, did have a small yet considerable increase in global DNA methylation compared with participants who did not meet that level of exercise or physical activity in all three life stages.

Women who engaged in exercise or physical activity at or above the average in only one or two of those life stages also demonstrated increased DNA methylation, however, statistical importance was lost. The average level of exercise was determined at 9.8 hours per week in childhood, 5.9 hours per week in teenage years, and 12.5 hours per week in adulthood. Further research studies may be used to gather further outcome measures.

In a separate case-control research study of 500 females, long-term, tai-chi participants of at least one hour per week for 3 years or more, demonstrated a slowing of age-related DNA methylation losses, from 5 to 70 percent, compared with controls. During their research study, the researchers determined a considerable difference in methylation between the two groups at a number of specific sites which only occurred after 50 to 55 years of age, leading them to believe that tai-chi may be of particular benefit in this age-group. Further research studies are still required.

Although the effects of exercise on DNA methylation are not well understood, research studies have demonstrated that this may actually be true due to the inflammation-lowering effects of exercise and physical activity through changes in sex hormone levels that can affect DNA methylation. Mind-body exercises, such as tai-chi, may also be beneficial due to their effects on stress hormone levels and stress responsiveness.

Nutrition and lifestyle habits, such as exercise and physical activity, can help improve DNA methylation. Regardless of your age, research studies have demonstrated that participating in exercise, sports, or any other physical activity can enhance your overall health and wellness. Recent research studies have also determined that proper nutrition and lifestyle habits can improve methylation, a fundamental process of the human body involved in a variety of functions.

Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight

Smoothies and Juices for Methylation Support

While many healthcare professionals can recommend nutritional guidelines and lifestyle modifications to improve methylation support, there are several options you can try yourself at home. As described above, methylation support supplementation should be determined by a healthcare professional. Smoothies and juices are a fast and easy way to include all the necessary nutrients you need for methylation support without any side-effects. The smoothies and juices below are part of the Methylation Diet Food Plan.

Sea Green Smoothie
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1/2 cup cantaloupe, cubed
• 1/2 banana
• 1 handful of kale or spinach
• 1 handful of Swiss chard
• 1/4 avocado
• 2 teaspoons spirulina powder
• 1 cup water
• 3 or more ice cubes
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth and enjoy!

Berry Bliss Smoothie
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, preferably wild)
• 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or chia seed
• 1 tablespoons almonds
• Water (to desired consistency)
• Ice cubes (optional, may omit if using frozen blueberries)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Best served immediately!

Sweet and Spicy Juice
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1 cup honeydew melons
• 3 cups spinach, rinsed
• 3 cups Swiss chard, rinsed
• 1 bunch cilantro (leaves and stems), rinsed
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped
• 2-3 knobs whole turmeric root (optional), rinsed, peeled and chopped
Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately!

Ginger Greens Juice
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1 cup pineapple cubes
• 1 apple, sliced
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped
• 3 cups kale, rinsed and roughly chopped or ripped
• 5 cups Swiss chard, rinsed and roughly chopped or ripped
Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately!

Zesty Beet Juice
Servings: 1
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
• 1 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
• 1 apple, washed and sliced
• 1 whole beet, and leaves if you have them, washed and sliced
• 1-inch knob of ginger, rinsed, peeled and chopped
Juice all ingredients in a high-quality juicer. Best served immediately!

Protein Power Smoothie
Serving: 1
Cook time: 5 minutes
• 1 scoop protein powder
• 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
• 1/2 banana
• 1 kiwi, peeled
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• Pinch of cardamom
• Non-dairy milk or water, enough to achieve desired consistency
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until completely smooth. Best served immediately!

ProLon® Fasting Mimicking Diet

Balanced methylation support can be achieved through proper nutrition. The ProLon® fasting mimicking diet offers a 5-day meal program which has been individually packed and labeled to serve the foods you need for the FMD in precise quantities and combinations. The meal program is made up of ready-to-eat or easy-to-prepare, plant-based foods, including bars, soups, snacks, supplements, a drink concentrate, and teas. The products are scientifically formulated and great tasting. Before starting the ProLon® fasting mimicking diet, 5-day meal program, please make sure to talk to a healthcare professional to find out if the FMD is right for you. The ProLon® fasting mimicking diet can help promote methylation support, among a variety of other healthy benefits.

Many healthcare professionals can recommend a variety of treatment options to help improve DNA methylation. Proper nutrition and lifestyle habits, such as exercise and physical activity, can ultimately help improve DNA methylation. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal and nervous health issues as well as functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez

Additional Topic Discussion: Acute Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain attributes to the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. Your spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.

Formulas for Methylation Support

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Exercise for Methylation Support" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*

Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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