By Dr. Chantell Groenewald
M. Tech Hom UJ
The Human Genome Project successfully mapped out 25 000 genes that make up the human species. What does that have to do with our day to day health? Well, DNA does not just tell us the obvious such as what we can see when we look at each other, it also tells us what diseases we are predisposed to and what diet and lifestyle interventions we can apply to prevent these diseases. This is what we call tailored lifestyle and nutritional medicine and it is the medicine of the future.
How can DNA analysis help you?
DNA health is a complete breakdown of your genetic ability to methylate, metabolise lipds, regulate inflammation, metabolize insulin, detoxify and oxidize. What does this mean?
Methylation is the process involved in switching genes on and off, gene repair and protection as well as making certain types of hormones. A recent study showed that up to 60% of Americans have an impaired ability to methylate, which puts you at risk for various diseases including coronary artery disease, anxiety disorders and certain types of cancer.
Inflammation. This is crucial in our health. If we have a genetic predisposition to up-regulate the expression of pro inflammatory markers, which puts you at risk for developing pro-inflammatory chronic diseases including periondontitis, certain autoimmune disease, cancer, cognitive decline and depression.
Lipid metabolism is involved in managing cholesterol metabolism. When lipid metabolism is not favourable, it can put you at risk for developing heart disease, stroke as well as late onset alzheimers disease.
Insulin Metabolism. Certain genetic markers contributes towards the development of insulin resistance, especially in the presence of certain lifestyle factors.
Detoxification refers to phase I and phase II detoxification of the liver. These genetic variants is particularly important when it comes to the metabolism of estrogen, estrogen driven diseases and various types of cancer.
Oxidization refers to the genetic markers which will determine if you can neutralize harmful free radicals that are produced daily as part of our normal physiological processes. If your ability to oxidize is compromised, then your are at greater risk of developing certain types of cancer as well as coronary artery disease.
DNA analysis is aimed at giving each patient the tools to focus their efforts in terms of diet, nutrition and lifestyle to favour the up-regulation of protective genes and down regulate the enzyme function of less favourable genes to prevent developing the diseases that you might be at risk of developing based on your genetic make up. Having certain markers that put you at risk for developing certain diseases does not mean that you will develop said disease, 10% of diseases are genetic predisposition, 90% is food and lifestyle. The correct diet and lifestyle for your genetic make up is crucial in disease prevention.
Health issues that may benefit from DNA analysis includes, but are not limited to:
Difficulty loosing weight
Personal or family history of cancer
Skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis
Family history of alzheimers disease or cognitive decline
High blood pressure
Anxiety and depressive disorders
Autoimmune disorders including Hashimotos Thyroiditis
What does DNA analysis entail? A buccal swab (swab of the inside of your cheek), which is sent to the lab for analysis. A full rapport is released and each patient receives a tailored diet, nutritional and lifestyle plan tailored to your individual needs.
Personalized lifestyle medicine is the future of medicine. For more information please do not hesitate to contact The Naturopathic Health Care centre on (012) 460 9216