Bad Genes? Play Your Hand Wisely!

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Don’t let “Bad Genes” determine the fate of your health!

If you have been on the fence about ordering a genetics test, like 23&Me, keep reading.

We know that our genes are passed down to us by our parents, who got their’s from their parents…who got their’s from their parents and so on….

Often times the tendency for certain diseases will run in families.  It gets passed down from generation to generation and it really sucks because you don’t have any control over what genes you get!  It’s the hand of cards you’re dealt at birth…or conception rather…

The good news is, if you learn how to play your hand smartly, you can reduce the risk of developing the health complications that may have plagued the generations before you!

Genetics Are Not The Final Word

Contrary to popular belief, our genes do not completely determine the fate of our health.  In fact, it is well understood that genetics are only a fraction of the puzzle when it comes to the development of disease.  Much more focus is now being placed on the “Epigenome”.

The Epi… Who???

Your Epigenome, simply put, is the genetic influence of everything that is not YOU!

This includes the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, the rays from the sun, everything in our environment… toxins, toxic people…pollution…even our own thoughts.  The good, the bad and the ugly… all have some effect on our genetic expression.

Epigenetics influence how our genes express themselves.

Genetic expression can be turned on or turned off by epigenetics…kinda like a light switch!  So you could have a gene that encodes for an undesirable function, but if you take really good care of yourself and do not expose yourself to certain negative “epigenetic” factors, that gene may never get “switched on”.

In a nutshell, the take away for this whole article is…if you expose yourself to as much positive influence as possible and try to keep the bad influences to a minimum, then you may reduce your risk of developing disease.  Inherited or non-inherited.  It’s kinda like Duh!!!  Right???

Well, it’s a little more complicated than that… but that’s the general idea.  If you’re bored you can stop here.   Geeks…keep reading;)

SNP’s…Now we’re getting Geeky!

This is a really basic explanation but….everybody has their own unique genetic configuration.  There are certain sequences in the organization of our DNA that are considered the norm and are referred to as, “ancestral” or “wild type”.  Variations to these sequences are called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms….or SNP’s for short.

There are four nucleotide bases that are arranged together within our DNA.  They are:

  1. Adenine
  2. Guanine
  3. Cytosine
  4. Thymine

SNP’s occur when these nucleotide bases get shuffled around.  If adenine is supposed to sit in front of guanine but instead thymine showed up, now it’s “different”.  Some refer to this as a mutation.  These mutations can cause the functionality of a gene to act different than a “wild type” or “ancestral” gene.  Sometimes genetic variants can cause genes to work faster and sometimes mutations can cause genes to work slower.  Sometimes there’s really no change to the function of that gene and sometimes mutations can be beneficial!

There are hundreds of thousands of possible genetic SNP’s and everybody has them, so don’t feel bad if you are a mutant!  Nobody knows exactly what all of them mean or do but there are certain SNP’s that have been well studied to be associated with certain disease risks.  The keyword here is “risk”.

Mutations can happen for various reasons.  I believe some occur as part of evolution and that some genes mutate to help us adapt to our environment.  But they can also be due to DNA damage as a result of interference in DNA production or replication.  Interference can occur when there are toxins present that get in the way of the replication process or when there are ….NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES.  Yes, you need NUTRIENTS TO MAKE DNA!   If the materials aren’t there to build stuff, you’re gonna have a problem!  If you have a limited diet consisting of processed or improperly prepared foods and way too much refined sugar…you will have deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and other co factors necessary to DNA formation!  If you have a toxic burden in your body due in part due to poor diet, chemical laden processed foods, improper preparation methods, and other lifestyle or environmental stressors, you will likely acquire more DNA damage than someone who enjoys a diet consisting of more whole, organic and properly prepared foods and has less toxic environmental exposure.

Unregulated replication of damaged DNA can lead to the “BIG C”….Cancer.  That’s not good!

Support good epigenetics and FEED Your Genes

Food, air, water all contain tools that the genes and enzymes rely on to work.  We need to FEED our Genes!  If we eat a poor diet that is devoid of the nutritional tools needed for these genes and enzymes to work…we end up broke down on the side of the road….With or without a genetic mutation!

Your food effects your genes and your genes effect how your body works.

As Dr. Ben Lynch puts it, “genes makes enzymes and enzymes do work”.    Enzymes are required for almost every chemical reaction in your body!  That’s a BIG DEAL!!  Hello!!!

Enzymes are like little mechanics in our bodies who put things together and take things apart.  Just like a car mechanic, they need to eat… AND they need parts, tools, fluids and oils to make your car run.  Our genes need food and tools too!  Their food is called substrate and their tools are called co-factors.  If they don’t have their substrates and co factors they can’t work…or they might try to do work with a faulty part or minus a couple screws or bolts here and there and we all know how that turns out eventually 🙁  Broke down on the side of the road!  Do you see where

I’m going with this?

Awe Man:(

Damaged DNA can be passed on.

Keep in mind that the way we take care of ourselves does not only affect you…the effects of mutated and damaged DNA can negatively affect your future children, their children and their children’s children……  If you want to see how this plays out in an experiment, I encourage you to read about Dr. Francis Pottenger’s famous cat study.

This is a great book co-written by our NTA Tribe Leader, Gray Graham titled Pottenger’s Prophecy.  Dr. Pottenger cared for cats that they were… sort of using….”for parts” at a tuberculosis sanitarium waaaaay back in the 1930’s. (They discovered that extracts from these cats’ adrenal glands were supportive to the patients with TB) 

At one point some people started to donate food scraps to the sanitarium to help feed the cats. Dr. Pottenger noticed, that after the cats started eating these scraps, which included more raw, whole, minimally processed foods, they seemed healthier and more vital!   Imagine that!!!

This inspired him to run an experiment with these cats to see what would happen, if he separated the cats into groups and fed the cats in one group more raw foods and raw milk, cats in another group processed foods and sweetened condensed milk.  The short story is, that the cats which were fed more raw foods, thrived and had healthy kittens generation after generation.  The poor cats from the processed foods group were sickly, they were socially awkward, less intelligent and had a hard time reproducing.  Their kittens were sicker and more awkward than their parents and had an even harder time reproducing.  They started to develop skin problems and allergies!  This was the first ever recorded instance of feline allergies!   

After death, the processed foods fed cats were dissected and internally, they were an obvious mess.  Their bones were like sponges, their reproductive organs were atrophied etc…. It was really nasty!  I saw pictures and it was gross!!!!  

Dr. Pottenger didn’t stop there.  He wanted to know if the effects of this were reversible, so he started giving the processed foods cats more raw foods…and sure enough they began to improve.  What he found however, was that it took 4 generations for the disastrous effects of the “bad” diet to completely reverse.

Dr. Pottenger performed his experiment in the 1930’s.  If you look around at humanity right now, you can see a lot of similarities between the health of modern people and Pottenger’s Cats.  Autism Spectrum Disorders, Allergies, Reproductive Issues, Mood Behavior and Mental Health Problems are ALL on the rise.

We all know someone with problems like these, and I personally think, this is FRIGHTENING!  And a HUGE reason why, I do what I do.

Knowledge is Power to Play Your Hand Wisely!

Ok, so back to the cards analogy. What if you have heart disease in your cards.  Maybe your great grandfather, grandfather and father all had heart disease.  Wouldn’t it be cool to look at your cards to find clues about where this genetic snafu might be occurring and have the power to influence it?  I sure think so!

Genetic mutations are kinda like wild cards in your biochemistry.  Some mutations encode for genes to work slower (down regulation) and some mutations encode for an increase in function (or upregulation).

If you identify a gene mutation (like MTHFR for example)

…which has been linked to this inherited condition, you just might have a leg up on the matter!  The MTHFR C677T gene mutation that I’m using for this example…(if you are reading this, then you are probably familiar with MTHFR) encodes for a down regulation in function.  That means it works slower than an MTHFR gene without a mutation.  The MTHFR gene basically turns folate, from your green leafy vegetables, into the active, bio available form of folate called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (or 5 MTHF for short).  This one little enzyme, that makes this one little thing, just so happens to sit at a major intersection in your biochemistry that initiates countless different processes having to do with your methylation cycle and beyond.

It’s pretty safe to say that methylation affects almost everything that goes on in your body either directly or indirectly to some degree.

This is huge! And is why this one particular gene and gene mutation have been so well studied.

Say Mom and Dad both kicked in and gave you two mutated copies (homozygous) of MTHFR…Thanks Guys:(  That means you have a genetic tendency for about a 70% reduction in the function of MTHFR.  So rather than get mad at your parents and start blaming every bad that happens in your life on them… instead, you could focus that energy on eating plenty of green leafy veggies and making sure you are getting plenty of nutrients that support methylation!!!  And, if you know that certain toxic heavy metals can also slow down methylation, it might not be a good idea to take that job as a welder or work in a coal burning factory;)  If you know that a down regulated MTHFR could play a part in elevated homocysteine…then you know that you should have your homocysteine monitored regularly as a preventative measure to reduce your risk of heart disease.  This kind of knowledge empowers you to be able to take better care of yourself so you can live a healthier life.

You should not focus on SNP’s alone!!!

If you are not experiencing any related symptoms to your genetic SNP’s and your doctor or health care practitioner on don’t see any indications that a disease state might be “brewing”, you might not need to do anything different!  You might be doing a great job taking care of yourself and supporting your health!  OR maybe you have some other genes that are making up for the slack.  That can happen too!!

Just because you have a genetic SNP, it doesn’t mean you have to “treat it”.  That could cause unnecessary problems.

As we age our enzymes start to slow down and sometimes SNP’s maybe become expressive later in life.  Therefore it is a good idea to monitor your health and pay attention to what your body is telling you!


Methylation Spinnach

If you do decide to do a genetics test like 23&me, it can be pretty complicated to interpret the results.  Unless you’re like me and are completely neurotic and want to spend thousands of dollars on training, years of your life researching and experimenting on yourself…then it’s probably a good idea to contact someone that can help you interpret your results.

23&me will give you about 75 reports that are FDA approved.

They will also give you your “Raw Data”.

This is more information than your mind can probably comprehend.  Mine has over 600,000 lines of genetic data.  There are many companies that will take your raw data and upload it into engines that will pick out some of the more researched SNP’s so you can see if those genes are normal or “different” (mutated).  This can be really helpful.  I have used the following:

Metabolic Healing

Seeking Health – Ben Lynch

These have all been reliable.

If someone tells you they are going to design a nutrition protocol based on your genetics alone…run!!!!

You may come across a practitioner or website out there who will take your genetic data and give you a full supplement regimen based on your genetics alone.  I do not recommend going that route!  I tried it…and it was No Good!!!  To use this information responsibly, they must take into consideration the “rest” of the person and whether SNP’s are expressive or not.

I don’t pretend to be an expert in genetics or reading these reports but I do have experience and training that allows me to look at a long list of symptoms, biochemical markers and SNP’s and use all of this information together to put together nutritional protocols that are supportive of health and help you to”Feed You Genes”!

This is a relatively new field of research and I don’t think there is anyone out there who totally understands the entire human genome and what all of the SNP’s mean…BUT there is a wealth of information out there if you know where to look.

Not to beat a dead horse…but your genetics don’t decide your fate!  And they don’t dictate the state of your health!   They are a blueprint but not the building;)

Knowing your blueprint can help you chose the best materials to build and maintain a solid structure of health.

Post By:

Hollie Donelson, NTP

Happy Tummies of The Lowcountry, LLC

167 A Bluffton Rd.

Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC 29910


Please note. I am not a Doctor.  The content on this site is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before starting any type of health or nutritional protocol especially if you are being treated for or have been diagnosed with a medical condition.



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