Genetics play a large role in the onset of diseases and human physiology. One thing we know now more than ever is the heavy impact that nutrition has on these genes and the triggers to “turn on” or “off” a disease marker. Research shows that nutrition is more impactful than supplements when it comes to altering genetic expression.
What are Genes?
Genes are housed within a cell and create enzymes. Enzymes control the rate or speed genes go. Enzymes need “tools” to work better. These “tools” are referred to as substrates. The end product that is created will either move onto another gene and create a different action or it will be excreted. Co-factors make an enzyme work faster. Lastly, there are genetic polymorphisms that can decrease or increase the activity of a gene. A gene is polymorphic if more than one allele occupies the genes locus.
New research is revealing that lifestyle, dietary components, mindsets, medication, and environmental factors are also responsible for the increase or decrease of gene activity.
Where To Start
Do not jump right to supplements, supplements overwhelm the methylation system quickly and can cause side effects. Instead, consider epigenetics. “Epigenetic changes are environmentally responsive mechanisms that can modify gene expression independently of the genetic code”. By supporting pathways with epigenetics, the methyl dysfunction will begin to correct itself due to blockages and other damaging factors being eliminated.
Labs To Run
One lab we use in our clinic to establish a baseline is the whole blood methylation panel from Doctors Data. This lab provides us with the SAH to SAMe ratio, which is critical when determining the treatment for an individual with a methylation dysfunction. This ratio is important due to the fact that elevated SAMe may indicate proper methylation, but when in ratio compared to SAH, we are able to assess if the methylation is actually blocked.
3 Steps For Correcting Methylation Dysfunction
The first step is reduce. The first thing to reduce is folic acid. Folic aid clogs the system and is failing to reduce an individual’s cardiovascular risk. The primary folate the human body needs to be circulating is methyl folate, not folic acid.
Secondly, stress. Stress has to be reduced in order for our body to properly function. Excess stress leads to inflammation and stress induces the methylation cycle. Individuals under stress have a higher tendency to indulge in sugary foods, leading to excess yeast overgrowth and resulting in higher levels of oxidative stress.
Ways to reduce stress:
Be cautious of who is around. Friends and family can make positive or negative impacts when it comes to stress factors.
Identify and develop healthy sleep patterns. Do not stay up late and sleep in late or fall asleep with the TV on.
Exercising is a great way to reduce stress and improve body functions.
Stay away from social media, the news, and other unnecessary negative factors.
Increase your “personal time” by meditating or practicing yoga.
The second step is to remove. Blockages in the methylation cycle often are from environmental factors. Simple ways to remove blockages include filtered air, drinking filtered water, replacing all plastics in the home to glass, eating organic free-range foods, using natural cleaners, and having good airflow throughout the house or workspace.
Third, restore. When restoring nutrient deficiencies, dietary intervention is the most effective. To properly support pathways, individuals should be eating whole foods that are supportive in minerals such as zinc and selenium as well as vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
We are constantly surrounded by toxins that are impacting our health, down to the molecular level that we are completely unaware of! It is always important to be mindful of our bodies and to reduce stress, exercise regularly, use all-natural clean products, and feed our bodies nutrients that will enrich its natural processes, not slow them down. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Lynch, Benjamin. “MTHFR and Genetic Testing.” Functional medicine University. 2020, www. Functionalmedicineuniversity. com/members/1039.cfm.
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