Epigenetics + Nutrition:Using Science to Manage and Heal Chronic Health Conditions
Nutritional and Genetic Testing Offered at Living Well Nutrition
Genetic testing and you combine to give us the power to regain wellness–naturally.
There is a buzzword that is flying around the medical community these days: Personalized Medicine. What makes personalized medicine different from the traditional medical approach is that it is, well…personalized! That means practitioners are taking into account everything that makes you, uniquely you, as compared to your siblings, spouse, parents, kids, friends and neighbors.
Making personalized medicine work best is a team approach. When working to restore your health or to prevent disease, the most powerful tool we have is YOU! By that I mean your attitude and willingness to take control of our health.
Information is then the second most powerful tool we have. This information comes from you, but also from the tests that we will order. All these are directly related to nutrition. The data from genetic testing are invaluable in assessing your nutrient status, food sensitivities, and epigenetics.
There are times when, working with your physician, I may recommend other diagnostic tests. These tests are used to help us determine how certain nutrients are working, or not working, in your body.
You may wonder what types of tests are commonly recommended, and why. Below is a brief summary of regularly recommended tests and their purpose. I am also including links so you can get more information about these tests, if you desire.
DNA Genetic Testing
I have had my clients use genetic testing for years: this is a powerhouse of tests. With it, we can determine where your body can use some extra support, and what you might be ingesting that could be the cause of your symptoms. Even things that are “healthy” for some can be “poison” for another. This test can save you a lot of trial and error with an elimination diet!
Testing your DNA is not only unearthing food sensitivities. Many diseases and health risks also have a genetic basis. For example, we all know that people with diabetes have their specific food challenges. But did you know that people who have diabetes AND a specific variation of the haptoglobin gene have FIVE TIMES the risk of having a heart attack or stroke as someone who “just” has diabetes. That’s a pretty compelling reason to have some genetic testing done, wouldn’t you say?
It isn’t just about finding out you have a higher risk for such event either. When we discover a person wo has this variation, studies show that by going on a simple supplement they actually reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke to be about the same as someone with diabetes who does not have the haptoglobin gene variation. So why not just go on the supplement if it is so great? Because studies indicate that for a diabetic who does NOT have the variation, going on the supplement actually INCREASES their risk of cardio vascular disease. Whew!
That is just one example of why it is so critical that we gather all the data and make informed decisions about our health!
There’s a New Sheriff in Town
I am very excited to let you know that the long-awaited genetic test is now available, and the name of
the new sheriff is “Your Genomic Resource.” There are several genetic tests available–you may have even seen an ad for tracing your family tree by using your saliva. While those are great for their intended purpose, and were definitely a place to start, this test was created by Nutrigenetic Research Institute for the purpose of health and research. And unlike those family tree tests, you can’t order this one yourself. It must be ordered by a trained practitioner.
This new test gives us so much more information than the test I used to recommend–almost double the data! I am so excited to offer this tool to help you achieve natural healing. This much data means we will have more ammunition to improve your health!
A Little Background about this Test
Our bodies have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Our chromosomes are made of DNA, so testing our chromosomes can give us a wide range of information. When we do this test, we are looking at your chromosomes to see the genetic variation that YOU have.
Why do these variations occur? Genes are passed from parent to child with each and every cell containing a set of genetic instructions. When an existing cell divides to make a new cell, it copies its set of genetic instructions. However, sometimes these instructions are copied incorrectly, like a typo, which leads to variations in the DNA sequence. This is called a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP (pronounced “snip”).
What does this mean to me and my health? Most SNPs do not cause any observable differences. But the location and total number of SNPs a person has may influence their susceptibility to health issues or impact how they react to certain drugs or even specific foods. By employing scientific studies, our research team is on the cutting edge of gene research. Our researchers have implicated the presence of free radicals and oxidative stress as the root cause of health challenges. Your body naturally produces all of these agents, but genetic variations can cause you to have too much of them. When out of balance, they can cause cellular damage, inflammation and the formation of toxins, leading to slower rebuilding and repair of cells and ultimately faster aging.
(from Nutrigenetic Research Institute, emphasis is mine.)
Testing your genetics provides you with a lot of raw data. This won’t mean much to you at first–but when I am finished with it, you will have the knowledge to improve your health, specifically based on YOU, not anyone else. I take the raw data and run it through an analytical program. This tells me more about you on a biochemical level, allowing us to tailor make a nutritional program that fits you precisely.
Specifically, this test provides a great deal of information about critical metabolic pathways in the body. All of these pathways are fueled by micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
I will tell you upfront, this test is not cheap. But it will save you a lot of time and effort, and I fully believe it is worth it for some people. And if I don’t feel you would benefit from this test, I will not order it for you. The cost of the test including my interpretation of all that data is $450. Keep in mind, that unlike some tests, like those for cholesterol or blood sugar, this is one test you never need to repeat. That is because your genes never change.
The information provided by this test is absolutely critical to achieving optimal health. By utilizing the data from this test we can get you better results, faster, because we have a more complete picture of your unique makeup.
Want to know more about DNA and how your unique genetic makeup can affect your health? There is plenty of information available on the testing website, just go to http://gettoknowyourdna.com/ and take a look around.
The SpectraCell Nicronutrient Test tells us what is happening inside the cell where the nutrients are put to work. It measures the function of 35 nutritional components including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids within our white blood cells.
The reason we want to measure the results inside the cells is because it is possible to have normal, or even high, levels of nutrients in red blood cells or in the serum, but those nutrients aren’t getting into the cell. It is also possible to see nutrients in the cell, but be low in the serum.
Both scenarios tell us very specific things about your health. Long before disease is diagnosed, symptoms can start developing because the optimum level of nutrients are not being delivered to the appropriate cells.
These tests can help us identify deficiencies even before you develop symptoms. That allows us to head off trouble early, boost our immune system now, and head off some chronic disease rather than working to cure it later.
Using a small blood sample this test uncovers food and chemical sensitivities.
A sensitivity is not the same as an allergy. Allergies create a reaction that triggers the release of antibodies, and you feel or see the result right away. Sensitivities generally have a more delayed response. They may result in digestive issues and also can lead to chronic inflammation.
This test reveals the lymphocyte response to over 450 foods and substances we ingest or breathe in.
The results can show us how inflammation is fueled in the body. Inflammation is the beginning of various diseases including, but not limited to: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, arthritis, migraines, Type II diabetes, obesity, fatigue.
The great news, and why we use this test is that removing the inflammation can reverse the disease process.
Alcat also offers a thorough gluten sensitivity and celiac test. Knowing for certain if you have a sensitivity to gluten is important before removing it entirely from the diet. Some people mistakenly believe they have an intolerance to gluten, and eliminate it from their diet unnecessarily, which can actually cause health problems down the road.
Other nutrient oriented tests that may be recommended are methylmalonic acid, methyl folate, vitamin D, Organix and Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis from Genova Labs.
Additional tests may be recommended as needed to address your specific health challenges. These tests are run in association with your current medical provider. If your provider is unwilling to partner with you in gaining this information, I will make a recommendation to other providers who understand the value of testing.
Remember, information is power.
Frequently Asked Questions About Genomics and Genetic Testing
Q: Are the tests covered by my health insurance?
A: Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of these tests.
Q: Will this nutritional and genetic testing affect my ability to get insurance in the future, or cause my rates to go up?
A: The results of these tests are private. They are not provided to your insurance company or your employer, or to any medical database.
Q: Will having these tests done affect my ability to get a job, or keep my current health plan through my employer?
A: Again, the results of these tests are private. Your employer will not know the results.
Keep in mind that these tests are about nutrition and how that affects your body. Armed with this information we can work together to improve your health, reduce your pain, and increase your energy level. All of these things will work together to make your life better, both at home and on the job.
Kristy Hall, MS, RNCP, ROHP
Board Certified, Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition
704 N Taft Ave
I often hear from clients, "There's not so much gold in the golden years!" I aim to help people put that gold back into their golden years.
By layering your current health diagnoses, lifestyle and genetic weaknesses, I can work with you to custom tailor a food and lifestyle modification plan that will get you back on the path to living an active and exciting life!
So be prepared to get that "Gold" back in your life!
Add Years to Your Life and Life to Your Years