Getting to Know Your DNA
Everyone is forward-thinking these days. “The future is now,” as they say! As the technology of our world advances, we as members of society reap the benefits. There are many short-term benefits, such as cool new tools and gadgets that help us make life easier, stay better connected with our friends and loved ones, and so much more – but it’s the technology with long-term benefits that can truly change your life. Many of these new inventions and processes reside in the medical field, where advancements and breakthroughs are happening every day to literally help you extend your life expectancy to longer than ever before.
Your DNA & How It Impacts Your Health
One of the most cutting-edge advancements going on in the world of medicine right now is all about DNA, the carrier of genetic information embedded in the cells of almost every living creature. DNA was discovered in 1953 – the scientists declared they had “found the secret of life” – and has been used in medical research for over 30 years, but only in recent years has genomics (the study of DNA and our genes) seen major leaps and bounds in terms of being widely accessible and helpful to most of the general public.
The genome is the technical term for the complete set of genes a living being possesses, including the DNA that resides “in between” the genetic coding. The commonly accepted theory used to be that one single gene was responsible for one specific characteristic of a living being, and that faults in that particular gene were what would cause an illness. Thanks to ongoing research, we now know that it’s a lot more complicated than that. In reality, thousands and thousands of different diseases can be caused by a single gene; furthermore, diseases that are associated with several different genes in unison (called polygenic diseases) have been discovered as well. The “in between” DNA, which was originally thought to be largely useless from a medical standpoint, is now known to be far more important than was ever thought.
The fact is, the DNA in all humans feature some amount of genetic variation. What was once considered to be a rare and potentially challenging issue has now been discovered to be quite common – but it’s how each person’s DNA varies that can truly indicate what diseases or internal body issues of which they may be at risk. When genes are passed from one generation to the next – when a mother and father come together to create a child – the cells of the newly-created body begin to form and replicate, but they don’t always copy the genetic codes correctly. Individually, most variations don’t cause any differences or issues that are big enough to be noticeable; however, these variations can be mapped and studied to give medical professionals amazing insight into a person’s predisposition to certain diseases and even how someone might react to certain drugs or nutritional ingredients.
Through much scientific study and research, it has been discovered that many illnesses are caused by the presence of specific groups of atoms, called free radicals, and how free radicals are formed in the body, a process called oxidative stress. The list of diseases that are directly related to the internal imbalances caused by free radicals and oxidative stress is lengthy, and includes:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Heart failure
- Learning disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
In order to fight these free radicals, your body will produce antioxidants, which are enzymes and other substances designed to prevent or delay cell damage. Some of the antioxidants that your body can naturally create include:
GLUTATHIONE – a substance that helps control inflammation and works to detoxify the body
SOD – specifically designed to neutralize any free radicals that are superoxides
NEUROTRANSMITTERS – brain-focused enzymes that work to improve our emotional health
BH4 – a rare enzyme that supports neurotransmitters, and also assists in the detoxification of ammonia
CHOLINE – a liver-repairing enzyme
B12 – an antioxidant that works to improve the overall health of your nervous system
FOLATE – an enzyme that encourages neurotransmitter and general cell well-being
DNA testing has been continuously refined over the years, and can now identify many of the issues
surrounding free radicals, oxidative stress, and the amount and composition of antioxidants in a human’s body. While this testing was once prohibitively expensive and time consuming, it is now widely available to the general public when administered by a properly-trained medical professional!
Two More Potential Major Issues
In addition to all free radicals and the lengthy list of potential illnesses they can cause (see above), there are two specific genetic variants that new DNA testing has been able to identify: MTHFR and CBS.
On its own, the gene called methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase – commonly referred to as MTHFR – is not inherently dangerous. However, when it suffers from such extreme variance that it mutates, then issues start to arise. The MTHFR genes contain instructions for your body on how it should create methyl folate, a substance the body needs in order to perform lots of important functions that can directly impact your long-term health. If the MTHFR genes are too far mutated to allow the body to appropriately create methyl folate, then the odds can greatly increase of someone suffering from a serious issue such as fibromyalgia, pulmonary embolisms, miscarriages, schizophrenia, depression, autism, and cancer.
To further compound the issue, many medical professionals who are not properly trained in administering and interpreting results of DNA tests mistakenly prescribe patients an artificial methyl folate supplement, which can actually backfire unless other issues relating to the MTHFR mutation are addressed first.
During the process of methylation, the Cystathionine Beta Synthase genes – commonly referred to as CBS genes – produce a specific enzyme that is essential in the creation of glutathione. As you may remember from reading above, glutathione is an essential antioxidant which heavily features in the battle against free radicals; without it, the body simply cannot effectively fight against the internal imbalances that free radicals bring.
Mutations and extreme variances in the CBS genes are critical to identify – fortunately, the new DNA testing performed by trained medical professionals target this information as a key piece of their reporting. CBS gene mutations can cause the creation of glutathione to either be critically slowed down or too harshly accelerated; either variation can be the root cause of serious issues such as excess ammonia in the body, excess sulfites and sulfates in the body, and even mental/emotional issues like anxiety or panic attacks.
Using Your DNA to Fight the Effects of Aging
The results of your DNA test can also be used by a medical professional for a wide variety of self-help objectives – including working on anti-aging regiment! The first step is to use the test results to help identify what nutritional weaknesses the variances in your DNA are creating for your body. If your body is naturally predisposed to “working against you” in a certain realm – for example, under-producing key nutrients that your internal system needs to grow and maintain a healthy balance – then identifying any potential imbalances has to be the first step towards crafting a meaningful plan of counterbalance.
The medical professional that assists you in interpreting the test results will be able to identify your nutritional weaknesses, and from there he/she can work to create a customized procedure to focus on your nutrition. Using a variety of herbs and supplements that will be created at a ratio specifically for your personal needs, you will be able to reduce damaging substances in your body and promote healthy cell growth.
Two of the enzymes talked about above, B14 and glutathione, are being specifically used in combination with a nutrient called NADH to craft a specialty supplement that Harvard Medical is calling the first “anti- aging nutrient” – there has never been a better time to utilize your DNA test results to set you on the path of youth management!
The Evolution of Personalized Medicine
In 2003, the Human Genome Project (HGP) began. The HGP was a groundbreaking research project that sequenced and mapped every single gene that makes up a human being; it provided a complete genetic blueprint of our species. Because the DNA sequence in humans is made up of over three billion nucleotide base pairs and this type of research had never been done before, the project took 13 years and the international cooperation of several nations to successfully complete.
Key uses of the HGP have been to look for genetic variations that increase the risk of specific diseases and to seek out the types of genetic mutations commonly seen in cancerous cells.
Technological advances mean that a machine can now sequence a human genome in a fraction of the time it once took. This has led us to a giant leap forward in truly personalizing medicine and treatments for individuals.
DNA tests are now as simple as taking a cotton swab to the inside of your cheek and sending the swab off to a lab for processing and sequencing. However, it takes a highly trained medical professional to correctly interpret the results, identify the variations in each individual person’s DNA, and create a focused action plan for battling any serious results that are found.
Dr. Stephen Spates sees the tremendous value to patients that DNA testing can provide. He uses an extensive symptom survey and couples DNA testing with his existing services to offer a one-of-a-kind laboratory analysis. These detailed results cross-reference DNA with labs and a patient’s symptom history to provide one of the most personalized health plans available.
A wait-list is now forming for this personalized DNA testing and health planning.
Contact Dr. Spates as soon as possible to inquire about this revolutionary service.