Diseases like Down’s syndrome and cystic fibrosis are true genetic disorders that can’t be altered.
More subtle genetic disorders like haemochromatosis (excess iron absorption and storage) are also true genetic disorders that you may not realize you have until much later in life when symptoms develop.
With something like haemochromatosis, you can do something about the condition by limiting iron intake and having blood drawn to detoxify the iron.
Subtle genetic mutations – single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs / snips)
There is yet another level of genetic disorder that’s manageable through nutrition, lifestyle and detoxification and it’s all the rage at the moment.
We’re born with a set of genes that have strengths and weaknesses, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or ‘snips’.
‘Snips’ don’t cause diseases, but they may put us at greater risk for certain conditions, including various cancers, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and neurological/psychological conditions.
How SNPs affect wellness
Snips either increase or decrease enzyme function in critically important metabolic pathways, one of the most important being the methylation pathway.
When combined with nutrient deficiencies, toxins, chronic infections and mental/emotional stress, these snips can really mess up the way your metabolism works.
We can measure metabolism and biochemistry to see whether your genetic susceptibilities are expressing using tests such as a complete blood count and chemistry from your doctor, organic acids testing, amino acid tests and methylation capacity tests.
How do you know what SNPs you have?
But first, we need to know which snips you have.
This is easily done using a simple test from 23andme that tests hundreds of genes. Alternatively you can get small numbers of genes tested separately (it’s more expensive doing it this way).
It’s a simple saliva test that’s ridiculously easy to do and only costs about £125.
You receive your raw data and put it through an analysis programme at either Geneticgenie.org (free) or MTHFRsupport.com.au (costs Aus$30).
A PDF report is generated showing your health related polymorphisms with fancy names like MTHFR, CBS, COMT, MAO-A, MTR, MTRR, MAT1, SUOX and others.
An snippet from my own test is shown in the picture ———>
What the colours mean
If you have a +/+ result (in red), it means both mum and dad have passed down a snip for that particular gene. This is called a homozygous mutation.
I you have a +/- (in yellow) it means you have a snip from either mum or dad, but not both. This is called a heterozygous mutation.
We know from research that a single snip (from mum or dad) can reduce enzyme function by about 10-30%.
A double snip from both mum and dad can reduce enzyme function by 60-70%, which is massive.
If you’re well nourished and your nutrient levels are optimal, these issues may not affect you.
Good nutritional status, low toxicity and a healthy lifestyle can bypass your mutations.
But if you are depleted in key nutrients like folate, B12, B6, B2, B3, magnesium, SAMe and others, even a single mutation can cause major problems.
Importantly, if you have nutrient deficiencies, toxins, stress and other environmental influences affecting your body, you can still develop problems even if you don’t have a mutation (in other words if you’re -/- (in green).
By understanding your mutations and measuring them up against your current biochemistry, you don’t just uncover reasons for your current symptoms.
You also have the ability to see whether you’re at a higher risk for developing diseases later, which is incredibly helpful if diseases like Alzheimer’s, arthritis, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke run in your family.
While you can’t change your genes, you can support and bypass your genetic mutations to ensure they don’t express.
The results can be staggering when you support your genetic expression through optimum diet and eating habits, individualized supplementation and detoxification.
It’s not easy to interpret the test…
It’s impossible to know what the hell your genetic results mean unless you work with someone who is schooled in their interpretation.
The metabolic pathways are extremely complex. It took me 6 months of solid learning before I felt comfortable assessing them and giving advice.
Furthermore, it’s dangerous to do anything with your genetic results unless a suitably schooled and experienced practitioner is guiding you.
Taking the wrong nutrient at the wrong time, or even the right nutrient at the wrong time can make you feel worse and cause further imbalances in your metabolism.
However don’t let this put you off: once you know your genetic mutations, your functional biochemistry and you’re teamed up with skilled practitioners, you can feel better quickly and support your longevity for years to come.
Would you like some help?
This concept is much easier for me to demonstrate to you with examples rather than through an article.
Please click here to see my video presentation, which walks you through my own genetic testing result and what it means for my health (it’s not all sunshine and rainbows).
If you would like to discuss your health history, family history and symptoms via a comprehensive case review and consultation, please click here.
To arrange an informal 15min conversation so we can be sure we’re able to help you, please click here.