Nutrigenomics …the study of how diet and nutritional products can interact
with particular genes to decrease the risk of disease… *

Your Genetic Uniqueness, How it Affects Your Health,
Metabolic and Cellular Processes, and How Specific Simple
Nutrition Can Correct Your Inherited Patterns

Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, understanding of how our genes affect our health has been hitting the media-sphere. Many doctors and health practitioners are now testing for certain genetic ‘variants’ in routine blood-tests, because the technology is now here to easily do so.

Science now estimates we have approximately 37.2 trillion cells in each human body. Every cell has copy of the DNA we inherit from our biological parents – 1 copy of each gene from our father and 1 copy from our mother. In total there are approximately 25,000 genes that express themselves as our human body and all the functional tendencies we have.

What does this mean?  As more and more research worldwide adds into the database of what each gene does or influences, we are able to piece together exactly what many of our genes do. This is more than just hair or eye color. It is clarifying whether we have not only the genes for a particular disease or health issue, but as important, whether we have genetic possibilities to ‘override’ those tendencies and reduce or eliminate the risk.

Our DNA is not the only determinant of our health issues…


The study of the environmental factors that influence gene expression is called ‘Epigenetics’. In the diagram above we see that multiple influences affect the expression of our genes. The mechanisms of ‘how’ it does this is being heavily studied, but what we do now know is that one of the most critical biochemical mechanisms at the DNA / gene expression level is a process called:


The easiest way to think about this, without getting bogged down in too many 4-6 syllable words, is to think of water. We know our bodies need water to survive. Every cell… all the time! Water is made of 2 hydrogen molecules and 1 oxygen: H2O. Methyl is made of 3 hydrogens and 1 carbon: CH3. Simple. The amazing fact is that it is this little molecule attaching (methylation) and un-attaching to billions of molecules (some up to 50-100 times its size) is what makes our biochemistry function. There are over 1 billion methylation reactions per second going on in our body!

So what does this mean? What gene research and the ‘offspring’ field of Nutrigenomics has found is that in our individual inheritance, we can have variants or departures from normal on a gene. These are called ‘polymorphisms’. These may have been acquired after long ages of evolution and adaptation. For example, if your ancestors once lived in a malarial infested area, then those with resistance may have survived better and passed on that gene. That gene – as do all genes – codes for a protein used in a process that may be inefficient in that process, that just so happens to have resulted in increased resistance to the malaria parasite.

As mentioned, each gene we have has 2 copies. If one from one parent is normal for that gene and the other is not (heterozygous), then the pathway that genes codes for may only be 70% efficient. If both copies of the gene are irregular or variants, then the pathway involved may be only 30% efficient. This is why in certain functions some people are born with a 100 watt light bulb, some with a 50 watt. Some people can fill up with 30 times the stress of another before going over threshold, some only 10 times.

What this means is that when stress from any of the above epigenetic sources may rise in our personal lives, then the pathway of the effected / associated gene may be compromised. The result: health

However, some of the health deficits may look entirely different from the accepted idea of a ‘genetic’ issue. Like allergic sensitivities or digestive complaints. Many other health issues are clearly associated with gene or ‘congenital’ factors, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Yes, these are the reasons why we express inherited tendencies or not. In general, methylation is the key cellular pathway that permits detoxification, controls inflammation, balances neurotransmitters, repairs DNA, and produces energy.

SO HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK?  In actuality it is extremely complex, yet because it is our natural organic physiological process, there is a logic to the way it fits together. The first step is to get our genes tested to determine what variants we may have. These variants (or polymorphisms) are called SNP’s (SNiP’s – Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) and can be formatted into a chart that is color coded and easy to read.

Once we have this chart, the SNP’s can be placed into a map-like chart to see where our blockages or problem pathways are. The chart may look quite intimidating, but it serves as a very practical graphic to get the ‘big idea.’

There are 2 key, critical methylation cycles. They have been called ‘engines’ that drive the system (remember 1 billion methylation reactions per second..). In these 2 cycles, it is where folic acid, vitamin B12, and the methionine – glutathione cycles happen, but, the spillover from methylation directly effects neutrotransmitter production and detoxification, chemical and toxin neutralization and elimination, energy production, etc. etc. All our ‘familiar’ cellular processes occur downstream from these ‘methylation engines.

When we find and place our own SNP’s on the above diagram, we see a blockage (remember 30 or 70% reduction in efficiency) in the areas of the lavender ovals. Each of these ovals represents the enzyme that is the (inherited) variant from normal in our genome, and will influence the chemical pathways above and below it.


Imagine a mountain lake. The lake represents the methylation engines. Imagine a particularly intensive year of rains and snow that fill and increase the lake. The lake then spills over in its normal process of drainage and ‘stress’ control, increasing the downstream flow into other lakes, ponds and pools for normal irrigation and utilization.

Now imagine that the streams and rivers downstream from the lake have some fallen trees, debris or boulders blocking them. In a normal season they pass water through, but in an intensive flow, they restrict all but a smaller percentage of water and there is consequent flooding, damage, erosion, etc.

This is what happens when we have increased stress, chemical, environmental, mental and emotional, etc. Even taking healthy supplements can have problematic effects when we have SNP’s or blockages in our downstream pathways. This is seen clinically with the person who becomes aggressive or anxious after taking something to help them – like L-methylfolate, or SAMe! Methylation (and other) SNP’s are the reason.


Determining the pathway interferences (variants, or SNP’s) are the first step. Then through an in office procedure using test kits and kinesiological techniques, the specific nutritional support is found to bridge each SNP from the downstream places first, allegorically opening the drainage and detoxification pathways so that when the methylation engines are revved up, the whole system works effectively. No worsening of symptoms! This is a fundamental and critical point: the downstream SNP’s must be addressed first before the methylation pathways are increased.

Surprisingly the amount of supplementation to achieve this may be very small. It is the most customized health program – personal ‘vitamin’ – that can be taken. This is addressing issues more at a causal level rather than treating cellular imbalances and deficits from an ‘outer’ level.

Remember, our genes are for life. They will not change. The best we know is to facilitate the correction to our personal inherited metabolic and physiologic issues through nutrition correcting gene mutations. Nutrigenomics.



* National Center of Excellence in Nutritional Genomics at UC Davis gives the following definition of ‘Nutrigenomics’: Nutritional genomics, or nutrigenomics, is the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients (and other naturally occurring compounds) in the foods we eat. Nutrigenomics has received much attention recently because of its potential for preventing, mitigating, or treating chronic disease, and certain cancers, through small but highly informative dietary changes.

The conceptual basis for this new branch of genomic research can best be summarized by the following five tenets of nutrigenomics:
• Under certain circumstances and in some individuals, diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases.
• Common dietary chemicals can act on the human genome, either directly or indirectly, to alter gene expression or structure.
• The degree to which diet influences the balance between healthy and disease states may depend on an individual’s genetic makeup.
• Some diet-regulated genes (and their normal, common variants) are likely to play a role in the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases.
•Dietary intervention based on knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype (i.e., “personalized nutrition”) can be used to prevent, mitigate or cure chronic disease.