Thursday, December 29, 2022

Nutritional Genomics or How What You Eat Affects Your Genes



When I'm working as a Clairvoyant Healer, I've often wondered why I can look at one person and see that their main underlying problem is coffee and yet when I look at someone else, who is drinking coffee all day long, it is not a problem at all.  It turns out that there is a gene CYP1A2, that does not express itself well for some people who have that gene and drink coffee.

Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, uses a good analogy to describe this phenomenon.   He says that how our genes are expressed is like someone wearing a long sleeve shirt.  When the shirt sleeve is long, we are expressing those genes in the normal way.  But in the presence of certain conditions like stress, or negative self talk, or a particular pharmaceutical medication, or various foods, then it is like rolling up the shirt sleeve of that genetic code and a whole different expression of those same genes are revealed.  In people who have the CYP1A2 gene, it is the coffee that rolls up the sleeve.

When it comes to nutrition, the field of genomic research is still relatively in its infancy, but it certainly holds vast promise for helping us to understand why some of us react one way to a certain food while others react another way.  Donna Gates, who wrote the book The Body Ecology Diet, now in its eleventh year of publication with Hay House, is passionate about the study of nutrition and how the foods we consume relate to our individual genes.  She is the one who coined the term "inner ecosystem" to describe the vast array of non-human organisms that preside over digestion in our gut tracts.  We need this network of microbes, now called "the microbiome," in order to digest our food.  And the foods we eat feed not only us, but also these organisms, which are comprised of a variety of bacteria, viruses, funguses, yeasts and more.

If we eat a diet of primarily white flour, coffee, alcohol, meats and lots of sugar, we promote populations of little critters in our gut tract that thrive on those foods.  If we eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, we promote the growth of a very different microbiome.  

Many of us now realize that one of the biggest problems associated with poor digestion in our culture stems from the overuse of antibiotics, especially in childhood.  The current medical trend for occasional or rare use of antibiotics is helping to correct this, and fortunately does not cause the same devastation to our microbiome and the "good bacteria," as the regular use of those drugs did in previous decades. 

However, after WWII, it was discovered that the use of antibiotics in animal feed either significantly increased weight gain and/or prevented disease in farm animals.  The practice of including antibiotics in animal feed in the animal husbandry industries, continues to this day and has had a very serious lasting effect on many a digestive tract in our American human population.  So, if you are eating non-organic animal products you are adversely affecting your microbiome with low level doses of antibiotics with quite probably every one of those meals.

Most of us have heard the term 'probiotics' by now.  These are the 'pro' meaning positive, and 'biotics' meaning relating to or resulting from living things, like gut flora.  But not that many people are familiar with the term 'prebiotics.'  'Pre,' meaning that which comes before or creates, and biotics, which is basically life.  Prebiotics are fiber rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, that create the conditions that are favorable to the intestinal flora or 'friendly bacteria.'  These foods are what we need for good digestion.  Prebiotics feed the microbes so that they can first break down our foods so that we can absorb the nutritional components.  Prebiotics in the form of raw fruits and vegetables are best for breaking down into materials that promote good probiotics in our gut tracts.

Fermented raw foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, or live culture nut and other milk yogurts, (with an especially favorable nod to organic raw goat milk kefir,) are particularly good at feeding and rebalancing the microbiome.  These foods have been used for centuries among human populations to restore healthy gut flora or to assist digestion when it tends to decline in advanced age.  As my husband who makes a spectacular kimchi sometimes says,  "There is a reason for why people eat these things."

Meanwhile, pasteurized, cooked or canned sauerkrauts, kombuchas, yogurts, et all will have very little to no positive effect on repopulating a microbiome as their cultures have been killed primarily through heating, but also through other food processing methods.  So, "Rah, Rah, Raw!" for raw fermented foods.

Now, back to nutritional genomics.  Genes are in every cell of our bodies.  They are located in the mitochondria of the cell, which holds the DNA.  The DNA, as you probably recall from biology class in school, is a pair of twisted strands, looking something like a spiralized ladder.  Our genes are located on these two strands and they contain all of our genetic material.  Each and every cell in our body has genes and every cell needs food.  That food comes from our digestion.  The food is delivered to the cell by our blood.  The nutrition in the blood that feeds the cell also feeds our DNA.  If our DNA is fed bad food, we then get the bad expressions of the genes, also known as disease.  The shirt sleeve gets rolled up.  It's that simple.  That's why junk food is bad for you.  

Our individual genetic code explains why some foods are good for some people while those same foods may be bad for other people.  Knowing one's personal set of DNA answers the question of why some of us do poorly with too many carbohydrates while others do really well with non-refined carbohydrates and actually need them for good quality sleep, and good mental and physical health.  Our genes can explain why some foods serve us and some foods don't.

None of our genes, not a single one, is positively expressed in the presence of sugar.  I'm not talking about the sugar from fruit here, which is a natural and very healthful food, loaded with bioflavonoids or other wonderfully nutritive elements like enzymes, vitamins and minerals.  But the processed, stripped bare, plain old sugar that comes in a box or a bag, does not feed your good genetic expression.  It feeds the bad ones.

Genes are labeled using a series of numbers and letters.  The MTHR677 gene is very common in Italian and Hispanic populations.  When people with this gene eat the good 'Mediterranean Diet' with plenty of vegetables and fresh olive oil, they have good energy, less cardiovascular disease, increased fertility and lots of happy smiling faces.  People with the "slow" version of the CYP1A2 gene don't do well with caffeine and will feel jittery and nervous when they drink coffee or eat chocolate.  Children with autism will always have an MTHFR gene mutation and will be unable to methylate or detoxify their bodies adequately.  For individuals with this gene a clean healthy diet, free from junk foods, is especially important since it is harder for their livers to detoxify their bodies.

There are companies that can analyze your genetic code from saliva and many people are doing this now.  But there are only limited ways to figure out what all those letters and numbers mean.  I'm guessing that it is a bit like getting a printed off and analyzed astrology chart, somewhat helpful, but not terribly clear.  Hopefully more diet and nutrition majors in food science studies will enter this very promising field because coaches are not yet all that readily available.  

Also, it is worth mentioning that some of the bigger corporations have been found snatching up personal genetic information, presumably for advertising opportunities.  I understand that this was the case with a major online retailer.  They were purchasing personal data from the genetic code company called "23andMe," who was offering genetic testing comparatively inexpensively until the FDA issued them a warning, which shut down their marketing for a while, opening the door for dialogue on standards. 

If you do choose to get your genes analyzed, see if you can find a good nutritional gene coach.  They can help with bringing balance and suggest supplements to support various situations, but the main tool for creating balance and stability is always diet.  Donna Gate's book, which I mentioned earlier, The Body Ecology Diet, will get you there, pretty much no matter what your genetic code may be, because diet is always at the root of our good or bad health.  And her number one tool is first clearing the chalk board by cutting out the common offenders and stopping eating whatever is causing the trouble and then rebuilding the microbiome with raw fermented vegetables.  

So, check out my husband's wonderful kimchi video and start off your New Year with a fresh clean slate of healthy prebiotics and a great diet element for creating beautiful lasting health.


 As a Clairvoyant Healer, Spiritual Counselor and Intuition Instructor, I share many tips for leading a healthy and fulfilling life.  Please be advised that I am not a doctor. Nor am I licensed in any healing modality. However, I have had years of experience in alternative and complementary health and healing. All healing programs, including standard western medical protocols in addition to natural therapies, can cause harm rather than the benefit that you may be searching for. After all some people can have a strong reaction to something as seemingly innocent as peanuts or strawberries. Therefore, anything that I may recommend in these blogs and videos could be dangerous for you to try. So, it is important that you Ask Your Doctor First before trying any natural healing protocol. However, most medical doctors have little experience regarding natural healing programs and herbal medicine. So please understand if your doctor is unfamiliar with these ideas.