Methylation Diet Tips: Eating Right for Your Biotype

By Samantha Gilbert, FNC, CHNP, CNC     Last updated on November 16th, 2021

In our world today, knowing what and how to eat can feel like a daunting task. And the plethora of dietary theories and dogma only serve to create more confusion and health problems. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years as a practitioner of nutritional therapy it is this: what’s good for the body isn’t necessarily good for the brain. In other words, feed your brain first so that your body can follow.

My Journey with Food

This truth hit me hard several years ago after a couple of years on a strictly plant-based diet in which I was consuming a lot of high copper and folate-rich foods. I couldn’t understand why I suddenly felt so terrible —I mean, aren’t kale and avocados good for me?

Imagine my surprise when I found out that all these healthy foods were actually turning on deviant genes inside my body making me feel depressed, anxious, and tired. The worst part for me was the return of a very disordered food relationship that had developed when I was a child. This time, though, it was back with a vengeance.

This is the power nutrients have on gene expression.

Individual Dietary Assessment

Now I want to share with you this fundamental truth: we are all biochemically unique, which means that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all style of eating for everyone.

Even within each biotype, nutrient and dietary protocols are different. Here’s a sample case study that sums it up nicely:

Both Vanessa and Susan are the same age with a severely undermethylated biotype.

Vanessa is a patient who came to me struggling with depression, perfectionism, disordered eating, and obsessive tendencies. In addition to severe undermethylation, testing also revealed low vitamin D, normal range copper and zinc, along with a normal thyroid panel.

Susan had the exact same symptoms with histamine and vitamin D levels to match. She also suffered from high anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In her 30s, she had a complete hysterectomy due to uterine fibroids. What was different in Susan’s case was that her zinc levels were very low and her free copper (copper not bound to proteins) was off the charts.

Vanessa’s protocol was completely different because her symptoms (along with zinc and copper levels) painted a very different story than Susan’s. Susan has a sensitivity to nutrients that Vanessa doesn’t, so starting her on lower doses (especially zinc) was an integral part of her healing process in addition to a diet that addressed all her food sensitivities, such as oxalate and salicylate intolerance, and gut dysbiosis.

Methylation Diet Considerations

  • Supplemental nutrient efficacy can be diminished with a diet that is inappropriate for your biotype. For example, undermethylated individuals on plant-based, high folate diets will not be able to repair methylation status without adequate protein intake.
  • Extreme juice cleanses, detox programs, and restrictive diets overload or deplete the body of nutrients, leading to cognitive dysfunction, and stressed out organs and glands that don’t work properly.
  • Plant-based diets alone do not supply all the nutrients required for balanced methylation and glutathione synthesis (the body’s master antioxidant), regardless of biotype. I don’t recommend plant-based diets for anyone, but keep in mind that overmethylated individuals also require protein to repair blood sugar dysregulation in addition to a high folate diet.
  • Plants have inherent chemical defence systems or anti-nutrients that can make humans and animals ill (this is their claws and teeth). Some of these defence systems come in the form of chemical compounds such as oxalates and salicylates that can create inflammatory responses in sensitive individuals.
  • Behavior and thought processes are greatly influenced by the kind of foods you eat, even foods deemed healthy, such as spinach.
  • Overmethylators thrive on folate-rich foods, while undermethylators need to be very mindful of them. It’s a myth that we all need greens to be healthy.
  • Both over and undermethylators can have food and chemical sensitivities, this is the case with autistic individuals, most of whom are undermethylated.

Now it’s your turn. Are you struggling with a methylation imbalance and confused about what to eat? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. It is through sharing your story that we create community, eliminate guilt and shame, and bring about healing.


65 thoughts on “Methylation Diet Tips: Eating Right for Your Biotype”

  1. Hi. Thanks so much for this info. My hubby just had an HTMA and whole blood analysis. He has high Homocysteine as well as high Histamine. He was told to go on folic acid 800 two times per day to resolve the high homocysteine before trying to reduce the Histamine levels. Is this therapy going to be detrimental to him? He struggles enough with brain fog and depression. Should he just up his protein during this time in addition to taking folate?I believe that he should be on natural folates not folic acid. Any advice would be welcome. Many thanks, Liz

    1. Hi Liz,
      You are most welcome. This is difficult to answer without first seeing his labs. Was the histamine test whole blood histamine?

  2. Wow so much information. I had an autoimmune disorder that caused me to loose all my hair. I eat clean & organic. My hair has grown back after 15 years. I would love to know more about my type & eat accordingly. How do i start?

    1. Hi Cat,
      So proud of you for changing your diet! I’d love to offer you a complimentary consultation to see how I can help. Please email my assistant here and she’ll get you scheduled.

  3. My problems started when I ate the same high potassium foods that I was feeding my husband. He has problems with high blood pressure and water retention in his tummy. About a year after we changed our diets I started breaking out in hives. I’m currently on citerizine but I still break out. My son is allergic to everything green, trees, weeds, etc… My mother was hospitalized for low sodium and complains of a very itchy scalp. I’m beginning to see the connection. I need help, not only for myself but for my family too. Thank you

  4. For people who are limiting their folate due to whole blood histamine tests, do you monitor formiminoglutamic acid (FIGLU) to prevent folic acid deficiency?

  5. I do the eat right 4 your blood type, i have gound that this has been a good foundation for my MTHFR. However i do not know my ratio with methylation. Can you please contact me about your free consultation and more information. Thank you!

  6. Wow! Was just talking to a friend about this tonight! I have totally given up at this point! I’ve spent a fortune on Dr’s, tests, and supps! I’m too sick to work now! The best I ever felt was on zero carb which i did for 8 months. I fell off the wagon last fall and am SO addicted to carbs now that I just don’t care that I feel like I am dying! I feel your post is a sign! I need to just do it!!!! Will read your blog! Thanks!!!!! SO much!!!

  7. Since breast milk is 10% protein and a baby is growing very fast, why would adults need more than 10% – an amount fulfilled solely by plants? Wouldn’t beans be adequate?

    1. Methylation cycle synthesis requires animal-based proteins to repair. All legumes are high in copper and folate, and are detrimental to undermethylated and copper toxic individuals.

      1. Plant proteins may be low in methionine, correct? Is there something about amino acids that needs to be animal? Is it actually the amino acids or something else? If this is true, it seems like vegans could be in big trouble if they are MTHFR. Appreciate your article.

      2. Yes, that is correct. I was vegan for many years so I know firsthand that plant-based proteins are not synthesized the same way, despite propaganda to the contrary. I nearly died on this diet. I wish this weren’t true because I really loved being vegan, but I had to honor my biochemistry. Every person needs to honor their unique biochemistry.

      3. I probably need more animal protein but get sick in one way or another when I eat it, possibly due to low stomach acid even though I supplement with HCL. Any thoughts on how to get around this?


  8. Hi Samantha, this is such an interesting article. I am an undermethylator but the best I have ever felt in my life is on a mostly plant based diet. We have done the Gaps diet as a family over the last 2.5 years and I haven’t ever felt really good on Gaps. Based on what you are saying it seems that undermethylators need adequate protein (am guessing meat based) and need to be careful with too much folate. By experience it seems the opposite has been true for me. Just wondering if you do Skype consults as I am in Australia?

    1. Hi Justine,
      Thank you for sharing your experience. I have many patients in AU and can work with you via Skype. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation to see how I can help you.

  9. Hi Sami,

    Whole blood histamine is a way to check if a person is undermethylated or over. What if the patient has atopic dermatitis and multiple food allergies and thus increased levels of histamines? Would that not lead to wrong conclusions?


    1. Atopic dermatitis and multiple food allergies do not automatically equal histamine intolerance/mast cell degranulation. Keep in mind that histamine intolerance is a separate creature to undermethylation determined by a high whole blood histamine lab value. They are not the same thing. In some individuals with true histamine intolerance issues, it can produce a low lab value. For these patients, I usually recommend a SAM/SAH instead.

  10. Hi just been tested mthfr. Have one snp. Sorry cant remember on which gene. Suffer anxiety(physical symptoms extreme) depression. Am now treatment resistant. New ADs not working well. I dont know if under or over methylating. And the Mirtazapine AD has a histamine blocking effect so my blood histamine was normal. How can my doctor tell if im an over or under methylator. Is there any other tests i can do first before i take the supps she is recommending (vit plus 5MTFR and Methylcobalamin. Im scared because if i shouldnt be upping my methylation then wont these supps do exactly that and make my anxiety worse? Plus its a compounded supp and very very expensive.
    So just to reiterate, is there any other tests that will confirm whether my snp is causing over or under methylation? Thanks

    1. I highly recommend a SAM/SAH methylation profile before taking any nutrients. Merely having a SNP does not reveal methylation status.

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