The Future Is Here With Nutrigenomic Testing - By Radhia Gleis, CNP
Now, for the first time in history!
I know… it sounds like a commercial, but it’s true. We can predict with increasing precision who is more likely to develop specific diseases; who will respond positively or react negatively to a particular drug or supplement therapy; and finally, which nutrients are optimal for a specific individual’s treatment, health, and well-being. But first let’s get a few terminologies out of the way.
What is DNA?
DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. In other words: The blueprint of every living organism… that includes you and me.
Most of you are familiar with the binary system, that’s the codes of ones and zeros that make everything on your computer. Well, “DNA” is a quaternary code of every living organism in the world.
Four nucleotides: Cytosine, Guanine, Adenine and Thymine, or C, G, A, T, make up every living thing on earth and maybe everywhere else, who knows. When these nucleotides pair up, they form what’s called alleles.
What is genomics?
The study of all of the DNA nucleotide sequencing. The knowledge about genes that has so far been gathered has led to the emergence of functional genomics, a field concerned with understanding the pattern of gene expression, especially across different environmental conditions.
What’s a SNP?
To make new cells, an existing cell divides in two. But first it copies its DNA so the new cells will each have a complete set of genetic instructions. Cells sometimes make mistakes during the copying process - kind of like typos. These typos, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced "snips") lead to variations in the DNA sequence at particular locations.
What are the consequences of SNPS?
SNPs can generate biological variation between people by causing differences in the recipes for proteins that are written in genes.
Those differences can in turn influence a variety of traits such as appearance, for example if your gene sequence is AA TG GT and your sister’s is AA TC GT she may have straight hair and you may have curly hair, get it? It can also determine disease susceptibility or response to drugs. While some SNPs lead to differences in health or physical appearance, most SNPs seem to lead to no observable differences between people at all.
DNA is passed from parent to child, so you inherit your SNPs from your parents
Homozygous means the same and Heterozygous means different. A homozygous organism for a particular trait is described to possess either a pair of dominant alleles (e.g. AA), or a pair of recessive alleles (e.g. aa). Heterozygous organism for a particular trait is described to possess one dominant allele and one recessive allele. (e.g. Aa). So your results may have a (+ +) or (- -) or (+ -). We’re not concerned with the (- -), somewhat concerned with (+ -), but mostly concerned with (+ +).
Just because you have a (+ +) or even a (+ -), does not mean you have or will have a disease. It just means you have a predisposition for a condition, if exposed to the right environment, it may ignite that gene expression. A Genomic SNP is like a crack in the foundation of a bridge. …What if we could reinforce the cracks?
Having knowledge of where the cracks are in our foundation, would tell us where not to put the most stress. For example, if you knew that you were homozygous in the MTHFR genome it would be wise not to smoke or expose yourself to toxic chemicals. Supporting the cracks with the right diet, nutritional supplements, (in this case MTHF, Methyl folate), targeted pharmacogenetics and lifestyle strategies will dramatically increase your quality of life and prevent the ignition of that gene expression.
There are five different important categories to look at when it comes to your genomic report: Methylation, Neurotransmitter, Mitochondria, Detoxification and Inflammatory markers. Within those five categories there are a handful of significant alleles to look for. I will cover those sections in my upcoming blogs.