I became very interested in something called nutrigenomics after a physician told me I had a mutation of my MTHFR gene and sent me home with a basic recommendation of 500 mg of folate and 1,000 mcg of B-12 daily.
I Didn’t Feel Better So…
I started requesting my B-12 levels checked when doing my yearly physical, and my levels weren’t going up even though I was taking the doctor’s recommended amount of B-12 daily. I felt tired, weak, was losing hair, and had frequent bouts of double vision and pins and needles in my arms and legs.
I started researching MTHFR and discovered Ben Lynch’s website. He has the mutation, too, and is a naturopathic doctor. He wrote a book called Dirty Genes that explains how genes can affect our health.
MTHFR, Does It Really Matter? Yes – For Some Of Us
Nearly half the population has this genetic mutation, so some doctors are now saying it’s no big deal. Lucky me, I have two copies of this gene, which means most of my doctors – including my obgyn, primary care doctor, immunologist and other specialists – have encouraged me to get my homocysteine levels checked yearly and take extra good care of my health.
Some Genes Impair Detoxification
That’s because this mutation affects the immune system’s ability to clear out toxins as it should. That makes people like me more susceptible to things like too much mercury building up in the system. So, I also ask for a heavy metal test to be run once a year.
One year, Quest picked up high levels of mercury, probably from eating one my fav foods a bit too much: fish. Another year, when I decided to use aluminum foil for the first time in a decade due to convenience, labs showed high levels of aluminum!
More research led me to Dr. Amy Yasko, another pioneer in nutrigenomics. I read her book. And I wanted to know more. Like are there other genes that may explain why I’ve had poor health most of my life?
More Answers Are One Click Away
Soon after, my wish materialized when my husband, a Registered Nurse, received an email about a generated report called Pure Genomics. It was really simple. All you had to do was upload your raw genetic data to the Pure Genomics website and they’d send you an email picking out the specific genes that may be influencing your immune efficiency and what to do about it.
Shortly after uploading my data (it’s confidential and run by medical professionals, not Google) I opened an email and wow.
So much of it made sense based on my medical history.
Here’s What I Learned
The Methylation Report showed I have four different genes that can affect my ability to absorb B-12 properly which may explain why my B-12 levels drop unless I take a higher dose than the standard my doctor had recommended.
What I do about it: I take 5,000 mcg of methyfolate and 2500-5000 mcg of B-12 daily, depending on how I feel. I also take this multi that addresses a lot of my genetic and wellness needs.
I don’t have the BRCA genes but I do have a gene that can reduce the ability to detox estrogens.
What I do about it: I avoid endocrine disruptor cosmetics and foods known for increasing estrogen production and get my yearly mammograms and sonograms.
Another gene reduces the absorption of omega 3’s which probably explains why certain omegas were low on labs.
What I do about it: Take an omega supplement and use cooking oils high in good fats.
The Immune Report showed a gene associated with lower Vitamin C levels so I take a daily supplement and extra if I get a cold.
The Cardiovascular Report showed a gene that may predispose people to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). I found this very interesting because doctors haven’t been able to find the root cause of the high levels that have shown up on my labs.
It also showed I have a gene that slows down metabolism of caffeine, which explains why I have always been sensitive to it and can’t consume more than 2 cups a day or I’ll get palpitations.
The Gastrointestinal Health report showed I have genes that may predispose me to poor colon health if I consume processed meats and that I may be lactose intolerant. There are also genes that alter microflora in the intestines and stomach which explains a lot of the digestive issues I’ve had.
What I do about it: I had an endoscopy to further understand what I can do to improve my stomach health and prevent further atrophy. I avoid processed meats and limit dairy. When I do have dairy, I take a lactose enzyme. I take L-glutamine daily and HCL Betaine with meals. My GI doctor approved of these decisions.
Several reports showed I have three genes associated with lower Vitamin D levels. That explains why even living in sunny California where I was outdoors most of the day, my Vitamin D levels were low.
What I do about it: I take 10,000 units of Vitamin D 5x a week to keep my levels in the normal range.
The Cognitive Health Report showed I have genes that may affect dopamine levels. Though I don’t have symptoms of low dopamine now, it’s something I will be aware of as I age because it can impair memory in older individuals.
What I can do about it: Learn natural ways to boost dopamine levels and in the future talk to a qualified doctor about testing and medications, if needed.
The Fitness Report showed I have genes that explain why I do well with weight lifting and shorter, intense bursts of activity like Pilates and HIIT. This further validates to stick with the exercise my body genetically enjoys!
Now That I Know All This, Am I Detox Nut?
No. I don’t believe in constantly detoxing. I think it’s best to be knowledgeable about what your body actually needs and keep it simple so it can do it’s job better. Most herbal and juices detoxes I’ve tried are too harsh on digestion and can even flare up more symptoms. The most I use is a gentle plain low dose charcoal capsule taken before bed.
I’m also a fan of green juices. But I avoid alkaline water, especially with meals, because I already have low stomach acid and it really weakens my digestive fire. I use chlorophyll to effectively calm heartburn (from a hiatal hernia) instead of antacids.
Pure Genomics answered the why’s regarding my lab results that doctors couldn’t explain. It helped me open a discussion with my doctors so I could get the best preventative care for my particular body. It helped me choose doctors who could best monitor my health care, knowing my genetic predisposition.
It really has alleviated a ton of health anxiety because I understand my body better and how to make helpful dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Every day I feel empowered knowing I am practicing preventative care for myself. And that includes feeling good about using my non-toxic skin care!
How To Get Your Report
Pure Genomics is available in our online shop. We charge a small admin fee for the time it takes to enter you into the system. No one will have access to your reports except you. We encourage you to use your reports to consider making dietary and lifestyle changes and open dialogue with your health care provider.