Each person’s genetics are unique. Unlike previously thought, your genes are dynamics and influenced by your environment. At Acubalance, we are now offering genetic testing to streamline treatments and take individualized medicine to the next level. With a simple saliva test, we learn about your genetic blueprint and the modifiable factors that may help you achieve your goals faster.
Introduction to genetics.
Your DNA is your blueprint. You have two copies. One from your biological mother and one from your biological father. Almost every cell in the body contains the same two copies, and when your cells replicate, that same genetic information is copied into the new cells.
Your genes are specific segments of your DNA. They encode specific proteins that have a specific function in the body. For example, your “CYP191A1” gene, encodes the enzyme “aromatase” which is responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen.
Some important things to keep in mind:
- Not all genes are expressed, meaning they can be turned on or off
- Your diet and lifestyle factors can impact the expression of a gene
This is known as epigenetics.
What is functional genomics?
Our genes have natural variations. This is what makes us all unique. Functional genetic testing looks at genetic variations within a gene. Most of the variations are called “single nucleotide polymorphisms” (“SNPs”). A SNP contains one single variation within the gene. In mainly cases, this doesn’t impact the function of the gene. However, in some cases it does.
In our functional genomics report, we are looking at specific genetic SNPs that may impact key pathways. This includes your detoxification capability, your hormone production and clearance, your metabolic and cardiovascular risk profile and your neurochemistry.
It provides valuable information about possible predispositions and/or risk factors you may have. It may provide insight to new areas we need to focus on, and on areas that are functioning sub-optimally that require additional support. Using the info, we may be able to modify and target treatments to optimize pathways, prevent and/or mitigate your risk.
This information is powerful. It allows us to streamline therapies specific to you and optimize gene function, because as we know, we are able to impact the expression of the gene.
Pregnancy rates in one IVF cycle.
This study looked at the impact of the “SOD2” gene on pregnancy rates during one IVF cycle. This gene is responsible for creating an enzyme called “superoxide dismutase”, whose job is to reduce oxidative stress within the mitochondria.
This study found that in those carrying the “optimal” version of the gene had a 3.29x higher likelihood of achieving pregnancy compared to the “suboptimal” version. This outcome was seen despite no differences in the number of total eggs, fertilized eggs, fertility rate or good quality and transferred embryos between the two groups. (1).
This means that even though the number and quality of the eggs looked the same between the two groups, using the standard morphological assessment in IVF, the difference in the genetic SNP resulted in significant differences in the pregnancy rates in those undergoing IVF in this study.
Gene expression is modifiable.
As we know, the expression of your genes are modifiable; they can be turned up or down. What is incredible about this, is that there are studies (2,3) documenting the use of key antioxidants to change the expression of the SOD2 genes; improving its activity within the cell. This means that if you have the “suboptimal” version of the SOD2 gene, treatments could be targeted towards optimizing its function in the months leading up to your IVF cycle.
This field is new and emerging. New research is demonstrating that expression of your genes are modifiable; your genes are not your fate. This powerful new tool may help streamline treatment plans and take individualized medicine to another level.
If you’re interested in learning more about our genetic testing and how it may support your healthy journey, book in for a free 15 minute phone consult.
-Dr. Ashley Damm, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Vancouver BC
- Ruiz-Sanz, J. e. (2011). Ala16Val SOD2 polymorphism is associated with higher pregnancy rates in in vitro fertilization cycles. 1601-1605.
- Shen, L. e. (2013). Curcumin-supplemented diets increase superoxide dismutase activity and mean lifespan in Drosophila. Age (Dordr). , 1133-42.
- Zhu, W. e. (2014). Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) protects skin cells from ionizing radiation via heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) overexpression. J Radiat Res , 1056–1065.