In our previous blog we discussed the role of DNA in our health. We spoke specifically about the potential for variations in our genetic codes known as SNiP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) where the blueprint or instruction set for making proteins has been altered slightly. This alteration yields a protein that is less effective at carrying out its designated duty within the cells of the body and can overtime produce dysfunction and disease. In today’s blog we want to give a few more specifics about the process and tell you what can be done to protect your most important retirement plan, your health!
The process that we would like to discuss today is methylation. Now this might get a little scientific or doctor-like but hang there with us and we will try to clear things up. Methylation is the process of transferring a methyl group (CH3 one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) onto amino acids, proteins, enzymes and DNA in every cell and tissue of the body to heal, energize, restore function, detoxify and create immunity. You might be thinking can one carbon and three hydrogen atoms really do all that? The answer is yes because the methyl groups can act as the keys to get our metabolic engine running properly. Let’s take a look at a common example of folic acid to explain.
The nutrient Folic Acid (vitamin B9) is one that is well known in the nutrition field and plays a critical role in making DNA and RNA for cell division. Because it cannot be made within the body we must get it through dietary intake and is therefore known as an essential vitamin. This nutrient is found most abundantly in dark green leafy vegetables and deficiency can lead to anemia (low red blood cells), fatigue, shortness of breath and in pregnancy can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
This is the part where methylation plays a critical role. In order to be utilized in the body folic acid must be converted to its active form 5 Methyltetrahydrofolate (5 MTHF). Simply put this means that it has been activated by a methyl group being added to it. This chemical reaction that activates folic acid is performed by one of those specialized proteins, called enzymes, we discussed in the previous blog. In this particular case the enzyme is known as the Methyltetrahydrofolate Reductase Enzyme (MTHFR) and is coded for by the MTHFR genes in our DNA.
f there is a variation or SNiP in that code the MTHFR enzyme can be reduced in its effectiveness by up to 70%. As you might imagine a 70% reduction in the ability to process an essential vitamin can lead to serious health implications and this is just one example of how variant genes can affect our internal chemistry. A similar story can play out all across our metabolism and lead to a wide variety of symptoms and disease processes.
Now that the scientific and gloomy talk is done lets focus on the solutions and the good news. These SNiP’s in our DNA can be identified through genetic testing through companies such as 23andme.com or ancestory.com. With the SNiP’s identified we can utilize muscle testing to find the proper nutrient combination to support your genetics. Using our example above where there is a variation in the MTHFR Enzyme we would be able to supply the active form of folic acid (5 methyl folate) rather than folic acid. Do you realize what that means? We can develop a genetically specific nutrient set just for you!
Have you ever opened up your supplement cabinet looking at all the items that you have purchased over the years and wondered what of all this stuff would really be beneficial for you? If so you are not alone. It is no secret that the nutrition/supplement industry is huge and growing every day. This means all of us are constantly bombarded with advertising for this or that supplement for this or that problem on a daily basis. This testing allows us to cut through the fluff and supply your body with the truly needed nutrients for your body to thrive.
What exactly do we mean by thrive? We want to get your metabolism running like a well-tuned engine. This means better energy production, improved mental clarity, decreased inflammation, decreased pain, improved fat burning capacity, improved immune system function and natural detoxification just to name a few benefits!
With a more traditional view on genetics some individuals are locked into the mindset that genes are unchangeable. The thought follows that if grandpa and dad had cancer they will too. While it is true that we have all been dealt a specific hand of genetic cards that may include some unwanted deficiencies the great news is that there are a tremendous amount of variables under our control. Many of these are our lifestyle choices that have a direct impact on what genes are open to be read and used to make proteins and which are closed and unable to be transcribed. Methylation plays a critical role in this as well.
Methyl groups attached to our DNA can keep it coiled and inaccessible. So by getting your methylation cycle functioning appropriately you can prevent those unwanted genes from being expressed in yourself and in your unborn offspring.
In closing let’s recap a few of the highlight steps of this process:
- Identification of your genetic variants through laboratory testing
- Matching specific nutrients to support your genetic weak links through muscle testing
- Enjoy a vibrant life and pass on healthier genes to your posterity!!!
Stick with us here at Smith Chiropractic Offices, where we have your health as our top priority through applied kinesiology and genetic testing. We look forward to serving you and your loved ones soon.
Dr. Craig, Dr. Scott and Dr. Ryan