Genetics

December 9, 2013

12/9/2013:

Genetics and basic biochemistry:

Genetic research has mostly focused on finding specific genes for specific diseases, as well as assessing the risks for diseases and drug reactions based on genetic variation.  There are, however, other ways to use genetic knowledge.

“Sequencing” the genome means to find the exact composition of the components of DNA, and to be able to detect any variations in DNA structure which may cause problems of various kinds.

In the autism community, and primarily pioneered by Amy Yasko, this knowledge been used to begin to understand how certain aspects of basic biochemistry are influenced by genetic variations.  The focus of the work in autism has been on “methylation,” or “one-carbon metabolism.”  This takes place in every cell of the body, and problems in one-carbon metabolism are important in many diseases, including autism, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, attention deficit disorders, neurodegenerative disorders, severe allergic disorders, hormonal problems, and aspects of cancer, and probably many more.

A company called 23andme can sequence much of the genome (currently at a price of $99 plus a small shipping fee).  While 23andme.com has just come under restrictions from the FDA, they still provide a list of results in the form of “raw data.”  This can be translated through other websites which report on the variations in the genes of interest.

Based on this knowledge, it may be possible to use targeted nutrition to improve function at the basic biochemical level..  While the combination of variant genes can make the analysis rather complicated, the interventions are safe, and most of them are inexpensive.

Although I have only recently begun using these tools, I am starting to see positive and I am hopeful that I will see more as I continue to treat.  Please feel free to discuss this with me at your next appointment.  I hope to write a longer article as I gain more experience and learn more