Genetics are fascinating! The only unfortunate part is that they are not well understood or available to the general public. Maybe you have wondered when faced with a health concern if genetics had a part to play.
Well the great news is that science today is helping us not only understand genetics more easily, but also making our personal genetic data more accessible. This increased access has allowed us to apply some simple principles in powerful ways to change the course of your health for a lifetime.
In the next couple blogs we are going to break this complicated topic of genetics down into some digestible pieces that might just be that missing link you are looking for to achieve your health goals.
Genetics don’t have to be a puzzle you can never put together. Scientific advances in genetic research have reached a point where we can begin to look at specific genes and what they are responsible for, as far as function, in your body.
The human genome project was the first study to attempt mapping out the genes to identify what they are responsible for. Although there is much more to do in this field of science great advancements have been made since the completion of that study to help scientists and doctors understand the origin of such things like cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome and so much more. So what does this mean for you?
To put this all in perspective let’s take a step back to explain the basics of what our genes do. Our genes are simply the blueprints or instructions for our body to make proteins. Proteins are the moving or functional molecules of our cells. Their functions are dependent on their shape and include a variety of critical roles such as transporting molecules from one place to another, DNA replication, responding to stimuli and catalyzing metabolic reactions (helping biochemical reactions happen fast enough to sustain life).
Each protein in our body is made up of many different amino acids linked together in a specific sequence dictated by our DNA code. This is similar to a baker putting ingredients together in a given order according to a recipe. If the right ingredients and pattern is followed when baking it yields a delicious treat and if the right amino acids are placed together in the right order it yields a well-functioning protein.
With this basic understanding in mind let’s explore what can happen to interrupt the process of creating well-functioning proteins. Research has identified numerous areas in our DNA code that have the potential to have variations known as SNiP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) where the genetic code has been altered slightly making the gene less effective at creating a functional protein. Back to our baking analogy, think of these SNiP’s as being errors in the recipe. Within the cells of our body poor functioning proteins can result in a variety of problems such as improper elimination of toxins, decreased energy production in the form of ATP and a backup of chemical reactions that aren’t able to take place appropriately. Long term these small cellular problems become larger systemic problems that we know as disease.
So how do you know what SNiP’s might be present in your DNA? Personal genetic mapping services are now available through companies such as 23andme and Ancestry.com. All you have to do is spit into a tube and their labs in turn will spit out your genetic code! This information can then be used to identify where your “weak links” are. Each of us has two sets of genetic codes, one from our father and one from our mother. This means we have two chances to get the code right. If we get two sets of good code no worries. However, if we have two sets of a genetic variant code (Homozygous variant) it can lead to potential problems.
We all know given our unique backgrounds and heritage that we are all a little more prone to certain weaknesses, but this does not mean that we have no control. With the knowledge of your genetics in hand we can strategically plan how to optimize your metabolism through supplementing your weak points and identifying warning signs that your system is under stress. The critical piece in supporting your genetic variations is the methylation cycle.
Read our next blog for information on how the methylation cycle works and how you can optimize your health by ensuring it is fully functional.
Thank you for trusting us with your real healthcare reform,
Dr. Craig, Dr. Scott and Dr. Ryan