Of Note

Are You Stuck With Damaged Genes?

From a 2005 Debra’s Natural Gourmet newsletter. I still find it interesting, sez Debra!

In Jack Challem's book, Feed Your Genes Right, Mr. Challem says nutrition feeds our genes, which not only are found in every one of our 70 trillion cells, but which contain the basic biological instructions for everything from eye color to the risk of heart disease and other disorders.  “Instructions, encoded in the long strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that form genes, program everything that happens in your body. They tell heart cells to beat rhythmically and brain cells to store memories. But when genes and their DNA become damaged, information becomes garbled and disease can be one of the consequences.”

For me the question that fascinates is: Are we stuck with faulty DNA and damaged genes? Is inherited DNA our destiny? Is damaged DNA from eating two pints of ice cream nightly ours for life?

The answer appears to be no. We can affect DNA and repair genes with food and supplements. Current state-of-the-art testing called Nutrigenomics (the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients) allows us to prevent, mitigate, or treat chronic disease by tweaking what and how we eat! Exciting stuff, this new science!

There is increasing evidence that organic foods are more “influential” in changing genes for the better. At Natural Product Expo West, Darryl Hannah said the question to ask about organic is not “Can you prove organic is better?” (It appears we now can.) The right question is, “Can you prove pesticides are safe?” “Can you prove that pesticides don’t damage DNA and alter our genes?” Most of us believe eating organic food is better, but with regard to supplements, Nutrigenomics, has determined that:

  • Folic acid and other B vitamins are needed for the body to make new DNA and genes (needed for normal growth and healing); you can’t repair DNA without B vitamins!
  • Coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, and other vitamin-like nutrients are needed to generate energy in the form of ATP (the chemical form of energy in the body). ATP is used in DNA structure.
  • Antioxidants, including vitamins E and C, help protect DNA from free-radical damage, which would otherwise accelerate aging and increase the risk of diseases.

So what is wrong with our genes and why are so many of us getting sick? Dr. Mark Hyman of the NE Journal of Medicine also spoke at Natural Products Expo West and said we have ancient genes but eat a modern diet. Our modern diet contains genetically unfamiliar ingredients and nutrients which alter hormone levels (like insulin which is the fat storage hormone) and promote inflammation which over time alters genes. And for the first time life expectancy is going down.

Dr. Hyman said of the 9 major factors related to heart disease, all but two (smoking and exercise) are diet related and that we could save billions in health care $$ were we to change what we put in our mouths!

Want to know about your DNA, what you should eat, which supplements you need? Genelex Corporation, fully accredited and based in Seattle, Washington, is the leading direct-to-consumer DNA testing laboratory. Genelex performs personalized nutrition DNA testing, as well as gene testing to predict prescription drug safety and efficacy. For more information, visit www.genelex.com or call 800-837-8362.  Nope, I’ve not used them.

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