Our DNA, which makes up our genes, does not determine our health destiny.
Many millions genes however interact with your environment, meaning that you can adjust your environment to change the effects of your genes.
To achieve our most optimal health then, is a combination of 3 elements; our genes + our environment (meaning any stimuli on the body: the food you eat, how much sleep and exercise, the diversity or otherwise of your microbiome, even how you feel can turn on/off certain genes or change the way they are expressed) + small genetic changes called SNPs , which determine our health.
We all have these small genetic changes -SNPs - that change our biology ever so slightly, think of them as a "typo". Specifically with regards to our hormones, these typos effect how efficiently we either make, respond to and ultimately clear a hormone from the body. Histamine, is a great example to use here, the body makes histamine as a needed excitatory neuro-hormone helping to keep us stimulated and awake. There are some common SNPs of the genes involved in the removal of histamine; which if left unsupported can cause a build up of histamine and symptoms may start to appear; migraines, anxiety, poor sleep itching, bloating, water retention to name a few.
Whilst one gene variant/change can make a difference, most unrelenting and seemingly unresponsive symptoms result from the interplay between multiple common (yes, they are profoundly common) SNPs with environmental factors, namely - excess cortisol (from mental stress), toxic burden (how many chemicals have you been exposed to over your lifetime), nutrient status, inflammatory chemicals (resulting from infections, gut imbalances, viral infections) & your metabolic health - your food choices, microbiome, exercise & sleep — it is this powerful combination that determines health outcomes .
Nutrigenomics is the influence of food on our genetic expression; how and what we eat has the power to turn on/off gene expression. For example the active compound sulforaphane in broccoli can turn off oncogenes (cancer initiating genes), and resveratrol rich in berries can change gene expression of our metabolic rate. It's truly mind blowing!
Epigenetics is the impact our environment has on our genes. Food is one important factor, but also all the other modern day factors such as microbes, toxins and stress hormones that can go onto how genes are expressed and impact upon our individual SNPs.
By assessing your individual SNPs through specific nutrigenomic panels together with targeted conventional laboratory diagnostic markers and your environment, health history, family history, dietary habits, behaviour and lifestyle is the next frontier of personalised medicine to achieving your optimal health.
Combining Hormones & Nutrigenomics
Hormones are complex, enigmatic, and beautifully interrelated. The body produces more than 50 of them to control and coordinate weight, energy production, reproduction, immune response, emotions, growth & development, and respond to injury, stress and environmental factors..
The master controller of these hormones is a system that detects stimuli and change to and within the body to coordinate a reaction to these changes, called the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis).
This system works in much the same way as a thermostat in your home. The thermostat senses the level of heat and compares it with the desired temperature at which it has been set. When the heat gets too low, the thermostat signals the relay switch to tell the boiler to ignite, pumping out heat into the room and raising the temperature. When the heat has risen to the desired level, the thermostat signals the boiler to cut out until more heat is needed. This cycle is called a negative feedback loop, because when enough heat is released, a negative signal is sent to slow or stop the input.
In the body, the hypothalamus is comparable to the thermostat and the pituitary to the relay switch. The signals detected inside or outside of the body by the hypothalamus directs the relay switch to increase or decrease any number of our 50 interrelated hormones, cortisol ,insulin, leptin, melatonin, serotonin etc
The hypothalamus- aka thermostat is controlled through the signals and disruptors placed on it. These vary from the physical situations the body has to deal with (diet, nutrient status, blood sugar levels, infectious burden, exercise, weight, climate, sleep etc.) as well as the emotional and physiological reactions experienced (such as going through a divorce, having a row with your teenager or not having dealt with a past trauma).
Of great importance to note is that both the production of all these hormones together with the regulation of the HPA axis is entirely dependent upon our genetic makeup, nutritional status and environmental signals. Any genetic variant (SNP) along these pathways, combined with chronic exposure to emotional or physical disruptors if left unattended, will result in more demanding or seemingly unsolvable symptoms that are all too often chalked up to; “that's the menopause for you”!
Ultimately, we translate genomic data into practical lifestyle and nutritional recommendations that are rooted in science and medical research, and geared toward helping achieve optimal health and wellness.
The whole picture
Identifying root causes to achieve your optimal health and wellbeing.
I use the functional medicine model to assess your health. This means seeking to identify interactions between different systems in the body through comprehensive case history taking your presenting signs and symptoms and diagnostics that include Lifecode Gx Nutrigenomic panels. The goal is to identify and address the triggers and underlying causes of your health problems rather than simply focusing on symptoms.
Details of working with me 1:1 can be found here.
Or as part of a Nutrigenomic hormone package here.