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The Power of Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics is the study of how genes and nutrients interact. We have finally been able to put the science to the idea that we’re all different. We respond in a different way to the environment, to diet, to trying to lose weight, to exercise training. But we never really understood the science behind it. Genetics gives us that information

Nutrigenomics is the study of gene behavior that is driven by diet, lifestyle, environment, drugs, pharmaceuticals, stress. Nutrigenomic education, accreditation, certification is becoming more accepted.

Precision wellness would happen if wellness professionals started looking at somebody’s genomics in a comprehensive way. This would reveal predispositions and where they’re likely to have problems and what issues are likely to arise for them. We can possibly customize  dietary recommendations, customize exercise recommendations and customize other behavioral and lifestyle interventions that would be likely to help based on genomics. Wellness professionals could work at the front end and speed up the process of doing the diet, behavioral, and lifestyle interventions when consultations have begun with this information.

Nutrigenomic information never exists in isolation. It needs to be understood in the context of all the lifestyle habits.

The shift in mindset from genetics to genomics is similar to the shift from an allopathic mindset into more of a functional systems-based medicine mindset. Genetics looks at a single layer of information. Genomic impact is where we look at many factors, complex interventions ending with complex results.

People are starting to want to understand themselves. How is it relevant to me? How does it change me? How do I respond?

 

CHALLENGES

  1. Ancestry genetics is interesting but the power is in the nutrition and the diet and environment and stress management and movement, changing gene expression, altering epigenetics
  2. Explosion of genetic tests available in the marketplace. Everyone is kind of on the genetics bandwagon. The concern is about direct-to-consumer, supplement-based testing
  3. A good genetics test looks at key issues in understanding the kind of functional nature of an individual . This includes, detoxification inflammation methylation
  4. Consideration has to be given to how people interact with disease information and whether that should be direct-to-consumer.
  5. it’s so easy to buy a 23AndMe test and it’s so affordable, people line up with kind of a false expectation of what they’re going to do with their data.
  6. Psychosocial anxiety around the information patients are given. We’re not evaluating patients for their medical and clinical history.
  7. treating SNPs with particular protocols is over
  8. It can be used as a way of ignoring or diminishing the importance of changes to diet, lifestyle, and behavior.
  9. Can be a source of disempowerment and overwhelm that actually paralyzes people and keeps them from taking meaningful actions

Autism and the Gut

BacteriaAutism and the gut are four words you usually do not see together. Although many questions remain about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the role of the intestinal microbiome is becoming increasing researched. The latest science is laying the foundation for a new frontier in medicine.

Legitimate studies from top institutions are uncovering the gut-bug connection to autism. Children exhibit certain patterns in the composition of their gut bacteria that are absent in children without autism. Also, individuals with autism universally suffer from digestive issues.

This two-way relationship may be an unlikely key to solving one of medicine’s most pressing—and perplexing—mysteries: autism. Nearly 60 years after the disorder was first identified, the number of cases has surged. Yet there is no known cause or cure.

Research has shown that the particular species of gut bacteria often seen in individuals with autism create compounds that are adversarial tot he immune system and the brain – they activate the immune system and increase inflammation. Just as there is no single type of autism, there is no single cause.

Today autism is treated primarily through behavioral therapy. But studies suggest that treatment may one day come in the form of a probiotic—live, “friendly” bacteria. Among autistic children’s most common health complaints? Gastrointestinal problems. According to the CDC, they’re more than 3.5 times more likely to experience chronic diarrhea and constipation than their normally developing peers.

Biological siblings with autism don’t necessarily carry the same autism risk genes. Something else is going on from an environmental standpoint. The idea that the environment probably plays a large role in the development of autism links to the science of epigenetics. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EPIGENETICS

An  unhealthy gut has been linked to diseases ranging from autism and depression to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

RESOURCES

Brain Maker – The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain by David Perlmutter. MD

The Gut Microbiome – A New Frontier in Autism Research Curr. Psychiatry rep. 15 Feb 2013

Epigenetics 101

Gene editing health care concept as molecular scissors cutting a dna strand as a medical science and biology technology symbol for changing genetic material to help cure disease.

Epigenetics is the study of sections of our DNA (called “marks”) that tell our genes when and how strongly to express themselves. Like conductors of an orchestra, these epigenetic “marks”  control not only our health and longevity, but also how we pass our genes on to future generations.

The forces acting on the expression of our DNA today can be passed on to our future biological children, affecting how their genes behave in their lives and  whether or not their children will face a higher risk of certain health conditions.

The importance of epigenetics is that our day-to-day lifestyle choices have a big effect on our biology and the activity of our genes. What is empowering about this is that we can impact our health’s destiny as well as the destiny of our children’s health, if we make the right choices. We have evidence that lifestyle factors such as food, stress, exercise and sleep – and the state of our microbiome – affect which of our genes are activated and which remain suppressed.

Many more years of research are needed to further understand exactly how lifestyle factors affect gene expression. Best of all, lifestyle interventions have no side effects. The therapeutic recommendations to maximize epigenetic potential will come from LIFESTYLE factors including dietary recommendations, stress management, digestive health and many more lifestyle interventions. They will be lifestyle interventions that are highly accessible and economical for everyone!