We are all individual in terms of our genetics and how our genes are expressed depends on our environment, diet and lifestyle. GENES ARE NOT YOUR DESTINY, how you treat them is! Gene expression is switched on and off to reflect changes in our environment and this therefore determines how healthy we are. Genes involved with tissue repair and healing (inflammation and oxidation) are also expressed in response to injury, illness and infection and this process is very nutrient dependent. This on and off switching of genes is termed ‘epigenetics’. So some of it is in your hands!
We are designed this way so that metabolism can be directed to either store energy when food sources are scarce or burn energy when there is abundance and also to redirect resources to areas of the body that are in need of tissue growth, repair and maintenance.
In addition, certain components of the foods we eat contain numerous compounds that send signals to our genes to warn of a changing environment. For example, one of the richest sources of a plant polyphenol called resveratrol is pinot noir grapes. When the grapes are stressed by drought or infection by pests, they produce more of this compound which promotes survival in the plant. So if we eat grapes with resveratrol, this reflects impending drought or famine and switches our genes into survival mode.
Resveratrol is one of the most widely studied compounds for promoting longevity and its gene switching effects are partly responsible. There are numerous compounds in our foods which have the same effect and so remember ‘we are what we eat and what we eat eats!’
Some genetic basics! (very simplified).
Genes are made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) which is a large molecule containing two chians coiled together in a double helix structure. These chains are made up of smaller molecules containing a nitrogen base, sugar and phosphate group (nucleotides) represented by 4 letters (purine and pyrimidine bases) – A, G, T, C – (A: Adenine, G: Guanine, T: Thymine, C: Cytosine).
DNA make genes and many genes make chromosomes which are contained in the nucleus of most cells.
The sequence of the four bases, represented by the letter A, G, T, C is known as the genetic code because the exact sequence codes for each amino acid which go on to make proteins. Genes with specific sequences of A, G, T, C code for proteins with a specific amino acid structure.
For a normal protein to be made, the exact sequence of letters must be contained within the gene. When one or more of these letters is in the wrong sequence, errors are introduced and the resulting protein that the gene codes for may not function properly. This error in code is known as a mutation if it causes disease or a variant if it results in subtle changes to protein function.
“But I don’t wan’t to know what disease I am going to get!”
In genomic wellness profiling, TESTING FOR CLASSICAL INHERITED DISEASES IS NOT DONE!!!! It is the subtle variations in gene sequence that are selected and tested for and then gene expression can be modified by diet, lifestyle and nutrition. The genes and variants chosen are also those which have substantial research supporting their use in any wellness panel.
As part of achieving your health and wellness goals, I don’ t want to know that you have the gene for SSFC! (Sudden Spontaneous Foot Combustion).
If you have that gene I can’t do anything about it and I’m sorry. The best I can do in this case is to refer you to a crutch maker!
So what can a genomic wellness panel tell you?
Such a test can show you how to be the best you can be and what diet and lifestyle factors are most suited to you. A program tailored to your unique biochemistry can then be devised to help find the best you by uncovering your biochemical weaknesses.
Genes are selected that can answer the following questions:
- How much fat and what type is good for you?
- If you have elevated cholesterol, how best you can eat and exercise to help improve lipid profiles.
- Do you have sluggish detoxification genes? This may be making your hormones and mood unbalanced?
- Do you have a tendency to accumulate toxins and heavy metals?
- Are you a good/poor methylator? (sounds like a movie character – but actually a vital biochemical pathway involving folate and vitamin B12 metabolism that affects so many other reactions in the body. If you have variants in methylation genes you may be tired, toxic, moody and have digestive system problems/food sensitivities and hormone imbalances).
- What sort of exercise is best suited for you – endurance, resistance?
- Are you likely to regain weight after dieting? If so, what can you do about it?
Don’t be scared of genetics, in the right hands and with qualified professional advice, it helps us navigate our own unique biochemistry. I was a Senior Scientist at a Diagnostic Genetics Laboratory for many years, so I understand the concerns and limitations of genetic testing. You are in safe hands and the information obtained can be valuable to help achieve your wellness goals.
There are many different profiles to choose, but typically genomic profiling can indicate biochemical vulnerabilities in the following:
Lipid metabolism, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, inflammation, food sensitivities, polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, vitamins, methylation/folate/cofactors, oxidative stress, phase I and II detoxification pathways, weight management, stress responses, autism spectrum genes and oxalate metabolism.
The choice of profile depends on the questions that need answering and will be discussed in relation to your individual case and privacy options.
So what’s involved?
It’s easy, you just spit into the tube provided in the kit. No blood or pain!
If you want to book in for an appointment to discuss more about genomic wellness profiling, contact Cellf Wellness and GP Clinic today.