The answer is in our Methylation

We were recently fortunate enough to attend a conference given by international speaker Dr Kara Fitzgerald on the trending topic of Methylation. To many of our clients who have had their genes tested with us, this term should ring a bell. If not, read on, you won’t want to miss this.

Methylation

First things first, what is Methylation and why is it necessary?

Methylation is a biochemical process that happens in all our cells. The process is involved in DNA repair, detox, hormone balance, histamine balance, gene building and gene expression (it makes sure the right genes are ‘turned on’ and the bad genes are ‘switched off’) – so you can only imagine why it is so important!

Hyper and hypo-methylation:

Methylation needs to be BALANCED. Both hypo-methylation (not enough methylation taking place) and hyper-methylation (excessive methylation) can be detrimental to your health. This balance is dependent on many factors, the critical ones being: poor nutrient intake, inflammation, oxidative stress, environmental toxins, gut-health and your genetic variation. I hope you are starting to realise the importance of this process… cue flipping through your DNA health report now.

Conditions associated with insufficient Methylation

This list looks frighteningly endless… from ADD/ADHD to bipolar disorder, addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, cancer, chronic fatigue, dementia, diabetes, fertility issues, hypertension, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and thyroid disease  (to name a few, OK, to name many, but there are more).

How do we achieve balanced Methylation?

As mentioned before – methylation balance is what will ensure that all the right genes are turned on while all the bad genes are switched off, so the balance is what you must strive for. Taking high dose supplementation can often cause you to create an imbalance so the best way to achieve optimal methylation is to tackle your diet.

Start reaching for…

  • Animal protein such as eggs, salmon and liver
  • Bright fruit and vegetables, think beetroot, spinach and broccoli kind-of-bright
  • Omega 3-rich nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Good, healthy fats (trans fats and refined oils are a big no!)
  • Legumes and grains
  • Dairy, as tolerated

Steer clear from…

  • Charred foods
  • Added sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Hydrogenated fats
  • Alcohol
  • Folic acid fortified foods

As you can see the list of foods to eat is far longer than the list of ‘banned’ foods. If you think a ‘Methylation promoting diet’ is bland, think again. Have a look at some of the amazing food we were treated to at the seminar.

Do you have any queries? Is gene testing of interest to you? Book your appointment now.

 

 

 

Breast Cancer, our Genes and Diet

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and there is no doubt that you have seen a parade of lovely women wearing a little pink ribbon at some point throughout the past 4 weeks. According to the latest research, breast cancer has the highest incidence in South African women. Knowing it can affect you, your mom, your sister or your friend makes it vastly important to be aware of what can increase your risk of developing breast cancer and knowing how to screen yourself properly.

Do our genes impact our risk of developing breast cancer?

Up to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary. Most inherited cases of breast cancer are associated with two abnormal genes: BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene one) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene two). Everyone has these genes and their function is to repair cell damage and keep breast and ovarian cells growing normally. If these genes have mutations or abnormalities, your risk of developing breast cancer increases.

It is important to note that having an abnormal BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 doesn’t mean you WILL develop breast cancer. There are many other genes that come into play as well as diet, lifestyle, environmental toxins, stress and previous trauma. If you are thinking of having your genes tested, it is highly recommended to see a genetic counselor before.

Can our diet protect us from developing breast cancer?

A diet rich in vitamin D, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory foods can have a protective effect. The avoidance of saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and sugars will also impact your overall health. There is more to it than the types of food you are choosing to eat; it is also important to avoid processed foods, pesticides, braai’d or barbecued meats and anything cured or smoked.

Fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs, fish, chicken, lean meats and healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds will ensure you are getting in a variety of nutrients allowing your immune system to function on all cylinders.

Do environmental factors play a role?

The reality is, women tend to be more overweight than ever before, oral contraceptives are seen to be the norm, we live a sedentary lifestyle indoors getting minimal sun exposure (and thus, too little Vitamin D), smoking is a go-to for teens, stress levels are soaring while sleep is non-existent, and the food we are eating has become even more processed and sugar-laden. All these factors increase our chances of developing not only breast cancer, but a host of different diseases.

These problems sound easy to fix yet health is still not a priority for many. Download the Breast Cancer Organisation’s Think Pink, Live Green document on 31 risk-reducing steps you can put it action today.

How to do a breast self-exam:

Click here to learn how to examine your own breasts. Early detection is vital. If you want to know more about gene testing – read our Gene Testing FAQ blog.

Book your appointment for gene testing now

 

 

Gene Testing FAQ

Gene testing is making the rounds, whether it is on Facebook, the Longevity magazine or your friend who heard about it in yoga last week. Many of our clients are also becoming curious and there seems to be some confusion around the new concept of gene testing. There are four different DNA tests: DNA Health, DNA diet, DNA oestrogen and DNA Sport.

The DNA Health tests for variations in your genes that have a significant effect on chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. DNA Diet tests genes that have an association to weight loss and body mass index (BMI). The DNA Oestrogen test determines how well your body detoxes oestrogen; this test can also give an indication of your risk for developing Breast Cancer. DNA Sport is a popular test among avid sportsmen or sportswomen, but this test is also invaluable in determining your susceptibility to injury. Each test provides tremendous insight on an individualized level.

Gene Testing FAQ:

1. Do I have to go for a blood test?

To do the gene test, all we require is a cheek swab. A simple, painless procedure that will take two minutes.

2. What is the best time of day to do the cheek swab?

There is no ‘ideal time’. The most important thing is that you avoid eating and drinking for 2 hours before your swab is done. If you have an appointment in the early morning, it is best to not brush your teeth until after the swab is taken.

3. How long do I have to wait for my results?

Once payment is made for the DNA test, it is sent to the DNAlysis labs in Johannesburg. It takes anywhere between 2-4 weeks to get the report.

4. Will medical aid cover the DNA testing?

Medical aid will not reimburse you for the DNA tests, however, depending on your medical aid plan, the expense of your referring practitioner will be covered.

5. Do I need genetic counselling before doing the tests?

All the genes tested are what we call ‘low penetrance genes’. What this means is that our diet, stress levels, exercise, medication and environment (all the epigenetic factors) affect the way in which these genes express themselves. There are genes tested in the DNA Health and in the DNA Oestrogen that are strongly linked to certain Cancers but you can opt to leave these genes out of the report if you’d prefer.

6. Do I need to have another test in 6 months or a year?

Your genes never change and so you will never have to go for another gene test. Nutrigenomics is a rapidly growing field and new research is being published everyday. It is always good to keep up to date with new information.

If you are still unsure about something – you can contact us on kvalexroyaldiet@gmail.com or k.alexroyaldiet@gmail.com.

Click here to book your appointment now!