The Importance Of Feeding Our Genes

Improving overall well-being goes further than eating vegetables and exercising regularly. It involves understanding the body down to the cellular level and how those vegetables we eat and exercise impact our genes, ultimately altering our gut health and musculoskeletal development. There are five main components to maintaining proper cellular function: redox balance, inflammation, immune function, detoxification, and energy production/methylation. 

As humans, we share genetic similarities and differences. Our genes are associated with our cellular defense and the risk we have for diseases. Additionally, part of our genetic differences include the rate in which enzymes in our bodies operate. Enzymes are important when it comes to cellular health as they determine the speed and activity of genes. Enzymes are large chains of amino acids that form into different shapes depending on their function. To function properly, enzymes need the help of micronutrients. Micronutrients are important to activate the enzymes and gene expression. 

Micronutrients are essential vitamins and minerals that are often obtained through our diet. However, as the human diet has evolved, we began to create and take supplements to ensure our body’s delicate systems still functioned properly. Unfortunately, with a lack of education regarding supplementation and unhealthy diet changes, humans began to down-regulate critical parts of the immune system and increase damage to our microbiomes, resulting in tissue damage from an abnormal cellular response. 

Here is an example of a micronutrient test from SpectraCell we use in our clinic to gain insight on what micronutrient deficiencies our patients may have: 

Additionally, tissue damage and an increase in inflammation is linked to excess oxidative stress in the system. Many supplements claim to be antioxidants and to reduce our levels of oxidative stress and inflammation. However, we should be considering the intracellular functions that are producing these free radicals to begin with. When there is an abundance of free radicals that can not be destroyed, they contribute to the development of chronic illnesses such as aging, autoimmune disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

“Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health” is an article that provides more information regarding the link between free radicals and disease. 

Cells have their own repair mechanisms and these can become impaired if proper micronutrients are not being obtained. The food we ingest has a direct effect on not only our cells but our genes. The body should be producing antioxidants itself and undergoing specific pathways to ensure proper breakdown and elimination of toxins. Depending on the area in the cell where this blockage is occurring, specific cofactors are needed to help our antioxidant enzymes. Some of these co-factors include copper, zinc, manganese, iron, and selenium. It is true that these can be found in supplemental form but we need to focus on the dietary components that contain these essential vitamins and minerals. 

The body works best with whole foods that are not tampered with. This being said, with a supplement, the body is not obtaining the purest form of the mineral or vitamin, and it metabolizes differently. When correcting something as delicate as a factor in the Krebs Cycle or other pathway, the body needs to be fed what it can process and easily convert. When looking at nutrigenomics, we learn which food-derived molecules can influence these specific enzymes and genes. 

An article titled, “Antioxidants: Molecules, medicines, and myths” provides great insight on why we should be focusing on our diet and not an over-consumption of supplements claiming to have antioxidant powers.  

“ …As a result numerous vitamins, trace elements, and micronutrients, often with well defined biochemical functions (cofactors for several enzymes) have been re-branded as “universal antioxidants”. This implies that because they are antioxidants, the more one consumes the better it is for your health. The reverse could easily be true since over-consumption could down-regulate important endogenous antioxidants..” 

Dietary components are essential and should be the first thing explained to patients by health care professionals. Working with the musculoskeletal system, inflammation is one of the top complaints. We take the time to explain to our patients where inflammation is coming from. Although the joints may be the site of pain, the inflammation is actually starting deeper inside. Everything can be traced back to what we ate when we were in the kitchen. The food we eat has the potential to be broken down into the nutrients our body needs to perform daily functions and thrive, or can be left undigested causing inflammation and antibody responses. 

The human body is extremely interconnected. With more research emerging showing the positive interactions between a clean diet, a healthy gut, and reduction in muscle pain we see how the genes we have today are not the genes we were born with. Our genes are constantly altered by our environment and the components we ingest. To express healthy genes that properly perform their cellular functions, reduce inflammation and reduce muscular pain we need to increasing our natural micronutrients. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach 

References:

Gutteridge JM, Halliwell B. Antioxidants: Molecules, medicines, and myths. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010;393(4):561‐564. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.02.071

Pham-Huy LA, He H, Pham-Huy C. Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. Int J Biomed Sci. 2008;4(2):89‐96.

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, and nervous health issues or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health protocols to treat injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. To further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.  

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