What Nutritionists Say About Changing Your Genes
Power over Genetics: You CAN Change Your Genes
Are genes controllable? As clinicians, in particular, clinical nutritionists, we were certainly trained to believe that genes were not something that could be altered.
We believed that the genetic hand we were dealt from our mothers and fathers was “cut in stone”. New research shows us that the “stone” is more like flexible plastic!
If you saw a recent US News magazine, the cover story was titled: “Epigenetics: How you can change your genes”. Epigenetics means “above genetics” and deals with the control of gene activity and expression that, while not involving alterations to the genetic code, still gets passed down to at least one successive generation.
Imagine you are home, you’ve paid your electric bill but all the lights are out. Let’s further imagine that you don’t know that lights can be turned on so you assume there is no light available. Someone comes along and shows you that you have control of switching on and off lights as needed. It’s the same in your body. Genes “express” themselves in different ways depending on whether they are turned on or off.
How Can Genes Be Turned On & Off?
There’s evidence that lifestyle choices such as smoking and overeating can change the epigenetic marks atop your genes in ways that cause the genes for obesity to express themselves too strongly and the genes for longevity to express themselves too weakly. This not only will affect you, but it can predispose your offspring – before they are even conceived- to disease and early death.
That was a depressing paragraph. Let’s now look at the good news: These portions of your genes that alter expression can be turned on and off by not only lifestyle changes but also by specific nutritional products. This is an area where clinical nutrition specializes.
You Can Change Your Disease Predisposition
Suppose that heart disease ran strongly in your family tree. This is likely due to an SNP (pronounced “snip”), little genetic side roads responsible for the differences between all of us. You inherit SNPs from either one or both parents.
Since most people’s DNA is virtually the same – 99.9% in fact – SNPs represent the remaining 0.1% that causes us all to be different from one another. SNPs can account for minor things like the color of your hair, or they can make your genes perform below their optimum level, triggering various disease states.
The combination of these SNPs, like genes, can be responsible for high cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease, to name but a few.
Genetic Testing Shows How to Improve Your Longevity
We have known of this science for many years. But the testing was not readily available and extremely cost-prohibitive. That has all changed and we’re very excited about the possibilities for improved health that this opens up for our patients.
Genetic testing, via blood or saliva, allows us to determine which SNPs you possess. Knowing this then allows us to use nutrition and/or dietary measures to decrease or increase the expression of the gene. This is not only exciting for you, but for your potential offspring as well.
Using natural means, one can not only diminish one’s own likelihood to develop a disease but can literally alter the genetic expression of one’s offspring for the positive.
Choose the Panel That Fits Your Profile
There are 6 different panels which, depending on yours and your family’s health history, can be tested for the presence of different SNPs. These tests are only performed once. Since genes don’t change (only their expression) there is never a retest required.
We are happy to have these tests available for our patients and their families. If you have a strong family history of a particular disease or condition, learning how to influence the expression of your genes for the better could make a meaningful difference in your health. Your nutritionist can assist you in determining which panel would be best. Please let us know how we can help you further.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC. CCN
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr Vikki Petersen is a public speaker, author of two books, several eBooks and creates cutting edge content for her YouTube community. Dr Vikki is committed to bringing Root Cause Medicine and its unique approach to restoring health naturally to the world.