The way our bodies respond to and break down food is being studied more and commonly linked to many chronic health conditions. The reactions we have to certain foods have been known to cause international permeability and over time leaky gut syndrome, leading to inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Not all food reacts the same way inside the digestive tract, some individuals are fine eating milk while others have digestive complications. Specific genes can be tested to provide a deeper insight to how someone might respond to a food component. To test an individual’s genes, we use DNA Health from DNA Life. A sample report is shown below:
MCM6Â “Lactose Intolerance”
The first considered is MCM6. This gene is a mini-chromosome maintenance protein and it controls the expression of the nearby LCT gene (encodes for lactase). As we age, it is common to see adults have difficulty digesting lactose. This is due to the decreased epithelial cells in the small intestine which leads to a lack in the lactase enzyme. Those who have a harder time digesting lactose will experience cramping, bloating, distention, flatulence, and diarrhea.
Homozygote CC has a high impact. The CT Heterozygote has a low impact and the Wildtype TT has no impact. The CT genotype is associated with a reduced ability to digest lactose. If you have the CC genotype, this is associated with hypolactasia and it is strongly recommended to avoid lactose products. However, the CT genotype is associated with lactase persistence but no milk is still recommended as antibodies are still being fed to these genotypes from the milk we drink today.
Not only is the phrase “you are what you eat” important but “you are what you eat, eats” is important. Meaning, if you consume milk, you are also consuming grains that are genetically modified from the corn they feed the cows, the hormones they give the cow, etc. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.
Human Homeostatic Iron Regulator Protein regulates the production of hepcidin. Hepcidin is another protein that is found on the surface of the liver and intestines. Hepcidin determines how much iron is absorbed from the diet and how much is released from storage. From the diet, we absorb about 10% of our needed iron. Individuals who have hereditary hemochromatosis absorb more iron than that is needed to replace the loss, leading to iron accumulating in the body. Serve signs of this disease include joint pain, diabetes, and fatigue.
There are 6 genotypes associated with the SNPs HFE. The genotypes C282C & H63H, C282C & H63D, and C282Y & H63H have no impact. C282C & D63D and C282Y & H63D have a moderate impact, and Y282Y has a high impact. The homozygous mutation results in the 282 C being changed to Tyrosine (Y) accounts for 90% of hemochromatosis patients.
If you have a risk genotype, a low iron diet can help to control the amount of iron that is stored in your body. Additionally, avoiding vitamin supplements that contain iron like vitamin C will help reduce the amount as well. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.Â
TAS2R38Â “Bitter Taste”
Taste determines if we like a food or not. However, this gene is originally thought to help us determine if a food was poisonous or nutrient-rich. Generally, if the food was bitter that meant we should not ingest it. Bitter taste depends on the ability to taste the PTC and PROP compounds. Those who have no impact tend to prefer high energy foods, have smoking habits, and select specific fruits and vegetables.
AVI/AVI have no impact. This means they are a “non-taster”. PAV/AVI is moderate, meaning they are a “medium taster”. PAV/PAV has a high impact, making them a “supertaster”. For those with a PAV genotype, it is recommended they use other ingredients to flavor their vegetables as they tend to have a more bitter taste. Those with a AVI/AVI genotypes need to be aware of their lack of ability to taste bitter foods as they have an increased risk of developing a smoking habit. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene Database.Â
ALD2 “Alcohol Metabolism”
This enzyme is expressed in the liver and is responsible for detoxifying carcinogenic aldehydes to acetate. If you have a SNP it determines the activity of ALD2 and thus blood acetaldehyde concentrations after alcohol consumption. This enzyme deals with toxic loads and is generated by lipid peroxidation. This enzyme also plays a key role in the protection of oxidative stress.
The GG genotype has no impact, the GA has a moderate impact and the AA has a high impact. The variant in this enzyme is a G-to-A transition. This results in glutamate to lysine amino acid substitution which inactive the enzyme. High levels have been known to interfere with DNA synthesis and repair as well as high levels of oxidative stress.
If you have an A allele, it is best to have moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 servings of alcohol). However, those who have the GA or AA allele are advised to avoid alcohol to help their general health promotion. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.Â
FADS1 “Polyunsaturated Fat Metabolism (PUFA)”
The tissue availability of polyunsaturated fatty acids depends on the intake and metabolic turnover one has. to have optimal health the levels of PUFAs play a major impact. The functions they control include mediating inflammation, supporting infant growth, neural development, and immune function. Based on genetic variation, the amount of PUFAs individual’s need will vary.
The GG genotype is high impact, the GT is moderate, and the TT is no impact. This is because the G allele has been associated with increased conversations of DGLA to AA because of enzymatic efficiency and is associated with systemic inflammation and inflammatory disorders. For those who have this G allele, it is best to decrease fat intake and ensure you increase healthy fat such as EPA and DHA. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.Â
CYP1A2 “Caffeine Sensitivity”
Caffeine is metabolized by the polymorphic cytochrome P450 or CYP1A2 enzyme. This genotype helps to determine why certain individuals are able to drink a cup of coffee before bed and have no impact while others can not drink coffee past 10am without being wired all day. The wildtype, AA shows no impact. The heterozygote AC shows a moderate impact and the CC homozygote shows a high impact.
Those who have the AA genotype are fast metabolizers. However, the C allele is associated with the reduced ability to metabolism caffeine. For those who have the C allele, or who are slower metabolizers, it is best to limit caffeine and have no more than 2 cups per day. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.Â
ACE I/D “Salt Sensitivity”
Salt sensitivity is important as it helps to control blood pressure by regulating the volume of fluids in the body. Those who have the II have a high impact, ID has a low impact, and DD has no impact. Those who have essential hypertension have a significantly higher blood pressure increase with salt intake compared to those who have the DD allele. In order to best control this risk factor, limit the salt intake if you have the II allele to reduce spikes in blood pressure. For more information, please refer to GeneCards, The Human Gene DataBase.Â
The Dairy Zoomer from Vibrant Wellness lets us know the sensitivity you have to Dairy as well as checks for the specific IgG, IgA and IgE reactions you have. A sample report can be seen below:
Another test we do on patients is the Bloodspot Fatty Acids profile. This measures for polyunsaturated omega-3, polyunsaturated omega-6, and fatty acid ratios. A sample of the Fatty Acids Profile from Genova can be seen below:
We also have a general Food Sensitivity panel we test our patients with to obtain an idea of what they are having sensitivities to. A sample is shown below:
Now that research is showing more of a direct correlation between food sensitivities, gut permeability, and chronic health conditions, it is highly important we take this seriously. On top of that, we need to be utilizing the technology we have now to better help our patients and create a personalized health plan.
Understanding how your body reacts to specific foods is highly important. To best reduce your chances of chronic health conditions, it starts with what you put in your mouth. Everything is directly correlated, from the kitchen to the genes. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
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