Don’t drown in the deep dive of your DNA information!
As I’ve shared with you on the first page of this issue, our ability to test our own genes without even visiting a doctor’s office has become a complete game-changer.
But the data you get in the results is sometimes too much – especially if you haven’t been trained to read these results or use them in making proactive changes to your daily routine.
However, there are websites that interpret the raw data that 23andMe provides – and that has helped integrative doctors like me as well as patients like you become better ‘health detectives’.
Not only can we figure out what’s really going on at the root of your symptoms… but this ‘deep dive’ also helps us direct you to the right supplement and lifestyle choices.
Many of the genes that these tests look at are DIRECTLY influenced by supplements, nutrients, amino acids, and even diet!
In fact, nutraceuticals have become the ONLY way to ‘bypass’ genetic defects that can be the main block in your health challenges.
You may be shocked to learn how practical and useful this DNA data is.
The best way to check under the hood
At the heart of the matter, this genetic information has to do with the ‘internal combustion engine’ of your body, a complex array of moving parts that most integrative medical doctors call ‘methylation’.
By definition, methylation is how your body process and utilizes folic acid (vitamin B9), as well as vitamins B12 and B6. In reality, though, it’s MUCH bigger than that.
It really encompasses almost every part of the body, including:
1. How your body makes and breaks down all of your neurotransmitters: If you have a defect in these genes, it can show you and your doctors why you might need more of a medication to help your mood or why the drugs might not be working at all.
2. How your liver breaks down almost every drug and hormone in your body (called the cytochrome p450 genes): Knowing which drugs your liver cannot break down or process well can explain why one medicine might be more beneficial than another. It can also show how your liver breaks down your hormones and disposes of them. Defects in these processes can lead to a higher risk of hormonal types of cancer, like those of the breast and prostate.
3. How your body breaks down histamine: As I shared with you in last month’s issue, your sensitivity to histamine could explain your ‘allergies’ to some of the foods that you eat.
4. How your mitochondria make energy: The ‘power houses’ inside each and every one of the cells in your body – called mitochondria – produce a crucial energy molecule called ATP. Detecting how this process may have gone awry can help pinpoint which supplements could help your body and muscles get more energy and stamina.
5. How your body makes glutathione: If there is a defect in the gene that is responsible for how your body makes this master antioxidant, then it can clue you in to the need to take a glutathione supplement or even intravenous treatment.
6. How your body processes and uses vitamin D: A defect in this gene can explain why your vitamin D blood tests are not improving as they should with supplementation… show you why your bone scan showed more osteoporosis than you thought it should… and, as a result, force you to maintain a rigorous bone-building regimen.
7. How your body makes nitric oxide: As I shared with you in the November 2016 issue, this wonder chemical is directly responsible for your blood pressure, sexual performance, and the relaxation and constriction of the arteries of your heart, as well as every artery in your body. If you find out that you have defects in this particular gene, you can raise your nitric oxide levels naturally. Your options include eating more beets and taking a variety of safe supplements.
8. How your body processes folic acid and B12: This testing shows you which kind of B12 you would benefit from… why you might need more B12 than your doctor thinks that you need… and why certain kinds of folic acid are better than others for your body.
Knowing your genetic make-up for these methylation genes can dramatically influence your life and health. That is why some integrative medical practitioners rely on this test for many of their nutraceutical recommendations.
Your DNA is not your destiny
The world of methylation and the interpretation of these tests became popular back at the turn of this century, way before 23andMe, thanks to a book called Genetic Bypass written by the ‘mother of methylation’, Amy Yasko.
She’s literally taught the world about genetics. Most importantly, she’s reminded us that vitamins and nutrients are really the main cogs in the wheel of the body’s internal mechanisms – more specifically, that we can use vitamins and amino acids to genetically JUMP OVER the defects that most of us have in our bodies.
Because of the amazing work from Amy Yasko and the fact that the integrative medical world is already easily 10 years into genetic testing and treatment, when this testing became ‘affordable’ and available in late 2010, websites that actually interpret the methylation genes in 23andMe started to sprout up.
With your permission, these sites actually link right to 23andMe, sifting, interpreting, and even colour-coding the complex genetic results for each of the methylation genes.
One of my favourite and most useful websites, Geneticgenie.org, is free… while the other website I like, called Livewello.com, has a membership fee.
Once you get one of these to sift your 23andMe data, you can become your OWN health detective.
You’ll learn how to leapfrog your genetic defects… and how to spend your time, money, and energy wisely.
And hopefully, you’ll prove to yourself – and your loved ones – why taking vitamins is key to maintaining optimal health!Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.