Published On: Thu, Aug 15th, 2013

The Age of Personal Nutritional Genomics Rewriting Your Genetic Expression

The Age of Personal Nutritional Genomics

Rewriting Your Genetic Expression 

by Sherrill Sellman, ND

Blame it on the genes! For the past 50 years we have been told that our genetic blueprint inherited from our parents is like the ultimate dice game that Life has rolled out for you–for better or worse.

We have all heard people say, “Cancer, (or diabetes, depression or heart disease, etc.) is in my family genes”. Our genetic inheritance seems to put the final stamp not only on our height, eye color, disposition, habits, weight, and predisposed illnesses, but even on the length of our life.

The gene theory taught us that organisms are hardwired in their genetic makeup, and that the environment has little if any influence on the structure and function of the genes.

It’s an impressive and revered scientific theory.  Fortunately for us, it is also wrong. More precisely, it is an outdated theory.

The new revelations in science reveal that we, in fact, influence and alter the expression of many of our genes in very profound ways.

Rather than being hostage to our gene pool inheritance, we actually have the power to alter our genetic destiny.

This new buzzword in science is called “Epigentics” which has proven that genes and DNA are not the final arbiters of our biology.  The big message of epigenetics is that our DNA is actually controlled by signals from outside the cell.

New discoveries have found a major flaw in what was once considered an immutable scientific truth. Dr. Bruce Lipton, a world-renowned leader in cellular biology and quantum physics research, proved that our environment–not our DNA–shapes the development of our cells.

And when it comes to our genes, we are all unique.  The Human Genome Project tells us that we are 99% different due to a number of different gene variations. Simple genetic variations in humans account for 3 million changes alone. Some of these simple gene variations or SNP’s, (pronounced snips), produce enzymes and receptor proteins which affect metabolic pathways governing the way we absorb and metabolize nutrients and bioactive food constituents.

What kind of signals can impact our gene expression?  They include influences such as dietary choices, lifestyle factors, and environmental exposures, and even our thoughts and feelings. For instance, even though the common observation is that obesity runs in families, genetic research actually shows that the habits you inherit from your family are more important than the genes you inherit. Obesity genes account for only 5 percent of all weight problems. So, we have to wonder, what causes the other 95 percent of weight problems?

These are really important questions.  The world of epigenetics empowers us with the answers that allow us to profoundly alter our life and our world. As it turns out, not all the genes we were dealt are the genes we’re stuck with.

Dean Ornish, M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and his colleagues recently published two landmark studies showing that changing lifestyle changes our genes. In the first study, a combination of improved nutrition, moderate exercise, stress management techniques, and increased social support caused the expression of over 500 genes to be changed in only 3 monthsin effect; up-regulating or “turning on” disease-preventing genes, and down-regulating or “turning off” genes that promote heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

And, may I emphasize, that all occurred in just 3 months!

In the second study, they found that these lifestyle changes increase telomerase, an enzyme that repairs and lengthens damaged telomeres. Telomeres are the ends of our chromosomes that control how long we live. This was the first study showing that any intervention can increase telomerase and thus, telomere length.  This stunning discovery proved we have the power to literally turn back the clock!

Another impressive study assigned two groups of adults; one ate a low Glycemic Index diet and the other ate a high Glycemic Index diet. (Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose”glucose rapidly into the HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloodstream”bloodstream have a high Glycemic Index; carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a low Glycemic Index).

In just 12 weeks, the high GI diet increased the activity of 62 genes that lead to disease. These genes activate your stress response, which lowers your immunity and causes damage to your cells. But the low GI diet decreased the activity of 71 disease-causing genes, including hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).Low HSL is associated with a resistance to obesity.

It turns out that every forkful of healthy food, every step on the treadmill and even every positive emotion are optimizing your gene expression – turning up the good genes and turning down the bad ones!

Enter the World of Nutritional Genomic Testing 

The future of healthcare will be determined by personalized medicine.  A “one-size-fits-all” diet or lifestyle no longer makes sense in light of epigenetics. As it turns out, it depends on how you learn to talk to your unique genes through the language of diet, nutrition, exercise and other life style factors. The 21st century personalized medicine has arrived in the form of Nutritional Genomics.

Australian molecular geneticist, Margie Smith, PhD, is creating the future of personalized medicine now. As a brilliant scientist with over 20 years of experience in Neurogenetics and Cancer genetics, she has been pioneering such work as diagnostic screening for inheritable breast and breast/ovarian cancer.

Recently she has turned her attention to nutritional genomics and co-founded a nutritional genomic testing company called SMART DNA, which offers its testing services worldwide. This company has a mission to offer affordable, predictive and preventativenutrition-based genetic testing for practitioners and their clients.

The test, itself, is incredibly simple.  It only requires a saliva sample, which is included in the test kit.   Using your saliva as the medium to enter into your unique DNA world, the test looks at 70 different gene variations that impact your health profile including cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, oxidative stress, diabetes, bone health, lactose intolerance, DNA repair, genetic risk factors for insulin resistance, binding heavy metals, and even your liver’s ability to detoxify chemicals efficiently.

Curious about Nutritional genomics, I decided to do the test myself.  And, am I glad I did!  The test showed me how to incorporate specific nutrition to up-regulate my specific genes in need of some nutritional fine-tuning.  For example, in my case one of my gene variations impacts the production of an enzyme that plays a role in my body’s ability to do DNA repair. I learned that I was 70% deficient in the important enzyme.  Without proper DNA repair, I would be a risk for numerous diseases, especially heart disease and cancer.  With this information, I now take an increased amount of folic acid, the appropriate vitamin, to address this problem.

I also learned that my body requires a low carbohydrate diet to maintain my ideal weight.  Too much pasta along with my variant gene would be piling on the pounds in no time.  So following a low carbohydrate diet is essential if I want to keep my girlish figure and steer clear of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

One of the most important pieces of critical information regarded my glutathione genes. It was totally deleted!  This gene determines my ability to produce glutathione, a molecule made by our cells that is the body’s most powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and liver detoxifier. It has now been discovered that more than 50 percent of Caucasians have deleted glutathione genes. Without the gene being present, it seriously comprises my body’s ability to protect against inflammation conditions as well as clearing chemicals. Low glutathione levels are a risk factor of cancers, diabetes, cardio vascular disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.  With this information, I now have added a glutathione supplement to my daily regime.

Vitamin D is certainly a super star nutrient these days. The SMART DNA test revealed that I had several genes that make it more difficult for me to actually synthesize Vitamin D.  With this knowledge, I now test my vitamin D levels regularly and insure I am taking adequate Vitamin D to insure I stay in optimal range.  Low Vitamin D levels have been associated with many types of cancer, low bone density, weakened immunity, depression, and insulin resistance.

When it comes to the best exercise for me, my SMART DNA test clearly showed that my body does best with resistance training, not aerobic exercise like running, which exacerbates free radical production.   So, marathons are clearly not in my future!

Through the SMART DNA testing I now found the specific nutritional and lifestyle road map to guide me along my highway of good health.  It has taken all the guesswork out of designing the best nutritional program.  Rather than being confused with the latest diet or workout fad, I now know exactly the kinds of foods, supplements, and even exercise that will support me in order for me to achieve my goal of looking and feeling  younger and healthier as I get older.

There is no doubt that SMART DNA personalized nutritional genomic testing allows each of us to hit the bulls eye when it comes to designing our unique dietary and nutritional program.  It removes the guesswork of how to best fuel your body. When you live in harmony with your genetic potential, you can optimize your health and longevity and minimize your risk of disease.  This information is of vital importance when it comes to Breast Cancer Issues!

Yes… 21st century technology is an important tool for a healthy future!

 

sellmanSherrill Sellman, N.D., Naturopathic Doctor (Board Certified in Integrative Medicine), is an educator, women’s natural health expert, psychotherapist and journalist in the field of women’s health. She is also, a much sought after international lecturer, host of two weekly radio shows, senior editor and contributing writer to numerous health publications.  Dr. Sellman is the best-selling author of Hormone Heresy: What Women MUST Know, What Women MUST Know to Protect Their Daughters from Breast Cancer and  The Promise of hCG: What to banish fat, resculpt the body and rebalance the metabolism. Her professional credentials and commitment to an integrative healing approach extends over a 30-year period. Her website is whatwomenmustknow.com.
To learn more about SMART DNA genomic testing, please contact Dr. Sellman at drsellman@whatwomenmustknow.com

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