Integrative Health Blog

Genetic Tests: Find Out How YOUR Genes Respond to Drugs and Medication

Posted by on Tue, Jul 30, 2019

Are you taking medications and wondered if they are the right ones for you?

If you have been taking them for a long time, have you been concerned that they might be adversely reacting with each other or taking a toll on your long-term health?  Are the doses too high or too low?

Do you suffer from sleep problems, mood shifts or fatigue and ever wondered if these symptoms are side effects of your medications?

These are good questions that millions of responsible healthcare consumers ask, and now with  genetic testing there is technology that can help you get some answers.

Pharmacogenomics, Genetic Testing for Drug Sensitivities

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, Dr. Gant

Functional Medicine and Genetic Testing for Health

Posted by on Tue, Jun 11, 2019

Functional Medicine is a medical approach which involves testing for the underlying causes of disease and designing a treatment plan to address the root cause of the disorder, not just the symptoms.  It views and treats the body as a whole, integrated system. Many factors can lead to illness, such as lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic makeup, and all factors should be considered for personalized treatment.

At this moment, your unique genetic makeup and that of the people you love can be predisposing you/them to all types of medical and psychiatric disorders, even before symptoms show up.  Why live in the dark, hoping and praying that health problems are not sneaking up on you?  Now, you can bring the light of inexpensive, often insurance covered, genetic testing into your life and take charge of chronic ailments now, possibly prevent them from happening or put them off for decades. 

As the saying goes, If we don't test, we've guessed.  Isn't health too important to make guesses about? 

Functional Medicine is the Rosetta Stone of Modern Genetics

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, Dr. Gant

The Age of Genetics

Posted by on Tue, May 21, 2019

Ever since I was a bright-eyed and bushy tailed medical student, roaming the hallowed halls of the University of Virginia Medical School over 40 years ago, the mantra of modern medicine was drilled into my head, that all disease is caused by two factors – genetic predispositions and environmental stressors – and that someday, we will know enough about the genetic side of the equation to make far greater contributions to our patient’s well-being and health. 

That day has arrived, but like any other monumental shift in history, it takes a while for the sea change to happen.  Genetic testing will soon become a routine standard of care for all healthcare practitioners, and it promises to revolutionize personalized medicine in the years ahead.

Genetic Testing for Drug Sensitivities, Disease Risk, Cancer and More

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Tags: genetics, Dr. Gant

Genetic Testing- A New Way to Influence How Kids Turn Out?

Posted by on Wed, Nov 21, 2018

 

A famous best-seller, The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do, by psychologist Judith Rich Harris, has been circulating for 20 years.  Based on amassed studies, parental influences on children matter a lot less than peer group influences, and they both matter less than genetic factors.  Parents are advised to not blame themselves if their children don’t become Rhodes scholars, because controlling peer group influences is difficult and controlling genetic expression is impossible.  Until the last few years, parents were expected to do the best they can to control the friends that their children hang out with, and hope that their children’s genes will line up well enough to someday produce a productive, happy member of society.

Power to Change the Things We Can

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Tags: methylation, genetics, chlldren's health, Dr. Gant

How to Find Out About Your Genetic Risks

Posted by on Mon, Aug 14, 2017

A human being’s genetic blueprint is housed in our 23 chromosomes which is where the name of the genetic test “23andMe” gets its name.

Each of our 23 chromosomes has an average of about 1000 genes, and each gene has an average of about 100 quirky substitutions, which are sometimes referred to as mutations or polymorphisms.

These millions of quirky substitutions partly explains why we are all so delightfully unique in the way we look, think, act and feel about life’s challenges. Most of these mutations or polymorphisms are not considered to be detrimental, but a handful could be important under certain circumstances and cause serious diseases and other health problems, which is why it is important to know about them.

These important genetic polymorphisms are also:

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Tags: functional medicine, genetics, precision medicine, Dr. Gant

5 Genetic Tests You Should Get Now

Posted by on Mon, Mar 27, 2017

The human genome was mapped only 13 years ago, and already it is changing healthcare.

Genetic testing can identify common, important and modifiable quirky genes called SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, which create vulnerabilities to many kinds of allergic, infectious, immune, toxic, nutritional and psycho-emotional stress.  Autonomic fight or flight stress is usually blamed on vocational, economic and interpersonal factors- but actually it has a lot more to do with unseen physiological, biochemical toxicity and genetic variables.

Depending on your health interests, several panels of genetic tests are available at National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA) in the on-site lab, and can be ordered by your practitioner. Most tests are non-invasive, involving only a mouth swab, and may be covered by insurance.

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Tags: genetics, Dr. Gant

Methylation 102: A Deeper Look at the MTHFR Gene

Posted by on Tue, Jun 03, 2014

Given the exuberant response to the article Methylation 101: What it Means for Your Health, I have been encouraged to write a second article to continue the discussion.  In the first article, I introduced the idea that those with “methylation defects” are relatively less capable of methylating away the fight/flight neurotransmitter noradrenalin and are thus likely to incur a more heightened and sustained stress response from stressors of any cause (emotional, metabolic e.g., low blood sugar), infectious (e.g., candida), toxic (e.g., mercury) or energetic (e.g., wi-fis and microwaves). 

Having a heightened tendency to be motivated by extra stress, the up-side of having methylation defects can compel such people to have increased drive to succeed and be more productive!

The Good and Bad of Genetics

The same argument has been made for another common genetic quirk which you may be more familiar with, sickle-cell disease. The genetic abnormality which causes hemoglobin to be made in a different way provides protection against malaria, a disease which has been so devastating that some medical anthropologists suggest it has killed more human beings in history than all other diseases combined.  Those who have one sickling gene from one parent and a normal gene from the other parent – called sickle-cell trait - have the best of both worlds.  Their hemoglobin is fairly functional because the normal gene from one parent covers up the expression of sickling gene.  The sickling gene however, gives protection against malaria.

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Tags: methylation, MTHFR, genetics, Dr. Gant

Methylation 101: What it Means for Your Health

Posted by on Wed, Apr 23, 2014

Methylation, a Chemical Reaction Critical to Life

We are carbon-based creatures, chock full of carbon containing molecules.  So it should come as little surprise to you that one of the most important chemical reactions in all of life simply sticks one carbon and 3 hydrogens together to  form a methyl group, and that adding that on to molecules (called methylation) to transform them into other molecules is a chemical reaction that is critical to life. Dozens of methylation reactions exist in our bodies, which perform many diverse tasks.  Notable examples are the synthesizing of melatonin to help with sleep, making special lipids (phospholipids) that cell membranes are primarily composed of, slowing down cell division to prevent cancer and causing the main fight/flight neurotransmitter (noradrenalin) to go away so we can relax. 

Generally, those who are genetically less capable of methylation or adding a carbon group on to a molecule to turn it into another molecule, are diagnosed as having “methylation defects,” as if such people are genetic misfits.  In fact, one can make the opposite case.  Methylation “defective” people are often more productive, robust workers, emotionally sensitive and creative, because they are less capable of metabolizing away the primary, fight/flight neurotransmitter, noradrenalin, from their brains. 

Genetics or Personality?

The down side to being an “under-methylator”, as I am, is a tendency to be more compulsive, perfectionistic, anxious, addiction-prone and moody.  In our younger years, when we are more physiologically able to withstand extra fight/flight, sympathetic stress, those of us who are under-methylators can become over-achievers.  We are driven by our genetics  to work harder and make more money.  We can appear to be extroverted movers and groovers, and be attractive as mates, which is why these genes are so common.  We pass them on during our reproductive years to produce under-methylating children.  Later, after midlife and the child-bearing years, the extra sympathetic stress caused by under-methylation tends to take its toll in the form of higher cancer and heart disease rates.

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Tags: methylation, MTHFR, genetics, Dr. Gant

Integrative Health: What Keeps You From Being Healthy?

Posted by on Tue, Oct 08, 2013

Bob Johnson DMD

 

Health is the most important “possession” you have.  Unfortunately, health comes with a price in time, energy and money.  Additionally we all have certain handicaps that we begin the health and life journey which must be overcome to live a healthier life.

These handicaps include genetics, toxins, infections, lifestyle and mindset into which we are born.  The good news is that limitations in time, energy and money can be overcome while the handicaps we acquire in utero up to the point at which we make our own health decisions don’t necessarily prevent us from reaching a healthy ripe old age.

An  integrative health  natural approach incorporates nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, and integrative medicine as the building blocks of your healthy life. Start slowly. Try working one  nutrition tip (e.g. cutting back on sugar) into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. It is never too late to quit smoking or start eating more vegetables.

Are You Blessed with Good Genetics?

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Tags: integrative health, genetics, toxins

Sleep Loss and Your Genes

Posted by on Tue, Jun 04, 2013

Lowell Weiner DDS

Do you feel like you are not getting enough sleep?

If so, you may find that you experience a wide variety of health problems.

These medical problems tend to become additive over time-and according to a new study at the University of Surrey in England reported in the March 23 Science News, even a small deficit in sleep may affect your circadian rhythm, immune system,  and lead to health problems.

Sleep Loss May Change Your Genes

The volunteers in the study slept at least 8 hours a night for the first week. Then they were only allowed to sleep for up to 6 hours in the second week.  According to the Science News article, Sleep Loss Affects Gene Activity, “People were sleepy and sluggish after that week, and blood tests showed that the activity of 711 of their genes had changed,” researchers reported. In just 2 weeks and going from 8 hours of sleep to just under 6 hours of sleep- caused a change in over 700 genes including those that govern the immune system!

Better Sleep for Better Health

Is it any wonder that people who have lived the longest and have experienced the increased additive effect of lost sleep, have more illnesses? While it’s true that there are many causes for decreased sleep, sleep apnea and snoring will decrease the oxygen supply and thus decreases sleep. We tend to push on with less sleep and accommodate as best we can with an inefficient system, but this adds up over time to create health problems.  

Make restful sleep a priority. Get help for sleep apnea or snoring, which inhibits good quality sleep.

Sleep is not a luxury- our genes require it.

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Tags: sleep, sleep disorders, genetics