Intrigued by the topic of epigenetics and want to go deeper? Want practical tips on how you can influence and modify your genetic expression to prevent disease? Tune in to hear Ali and Becki interview leading methylation expert Dr. Ben Lynch about how our genes are NOT our destiny and his new book, Dirty Genes. Learn about the most common genetic SNPs that can influence our health and wellbeing, how Dr. Lynch uses genetic data to customize his nutritional approaches and how you can apply this information in your everyday life!
In this Episode, Ali and Becki take a deeper dive into epigenetics, nutrigenomics and genetic SNPs with leading expert Dr. Ben Lynch. Dr. Lynch received his Cell and Molecular Biology, BS from the University of Washington and his ND from Bastyr University. His passion for identifying the root cause of disease directed him towards nutrigenomics and methylation dysfunction and he delves deeper into this subject in his new book, Dirty Genes. From practical tips for cleaning up your “dirty genes” to basic recommendations for MTHFR, GST and COMT genetic mutations, you will learn how you can rewrite your genetic destiny.
Also in This Episode:
- Supplemental Support for MTHFR and COMT Mutations
- Diet and Lifestyle Modification
- Where to Find Dr. Lynch’s Work
Welcome to the Naturally Nourished podcast, that delivers cutting edge food as medicine solutions for optimum health. Ali Miller is a nutrition expert sought out by the media and America’s top medical institutes for her revolutionary functional medicine interventions. From disease treatment to prevention, every episode will empower you with ways to put yourself back in control of your health. Please note, the topics discussed are for educational purposes only. Now welcome integrative dietitians Ali Miller and her co-host Becki Yoo.
A: Welcome to the Naturally Nourished Podcast. You are joining us for episode 70 Dirty Genes with Dr. Ben Lynch. And today’s topic is going deeper down the rabbit hole of epigenetics, specifically nutrigenomics, and how your genes can influence you, but not define you.
B: Yes so Dr. Lynch really is just a biochemical wizard and he’s been sought out by medical professionals as the go-to guy for all things methylation, and genetic SNP. And we do go over a lot of foundational information on the concept of nutrigenomics, methylation, and SNPs so if this is losing you I actually you to encourage pause this episode and be sure to catch the episode prior to this, episode number 69 where we lay some more of the foundation.
A: For Sure.
B: And then make sure you listen to this one after that. I personally had a lot of really great a-ha moments during his awesome interview.
A: And the timing couldn’t be more perfect as Dr. Lynch just put out an amazing book, Dirty Genes, and he’s just wrapping up the Dirty Genes Summit. And so I was super pumped to interview him as he’s also a Bastyr grad where I graduated for my nutrition degree. So I’m going to give you his bio and we’ll welcome him right into the show. Dr. Ben Lynch received his cell and molecular biology bachelor of science from University of Washington and his naturopathic doctorate from Bastyr University, his passion for identifying the cause of disease directed towards nutrigenomics and methylation dysfunction. Currently, he researches, writes and presents worldwide on the topic of MNTFH and methylation defects. He is the author of Dirty Genes. You may learn more about Dr. Lynch and his work at Dr.BenLynch.com, Dr. Lynch is also the present and founder of SeekingHealth.com, a company oriented towards disease prevention and health promotion. We will of course put both of those links and a link to his awesome new book, Dirty Genes, in the show notes. So without further ado let’s get rocking.
B: So Dr. Lynch H know we are super excited to have you here and Ali especially is super excited because she’s a fellow Bastyr grad, so welcome to the Naturally Nourished podcast.
BL: Excellent thanks for the invite ladies, great to be here.
A: Yes we are bringing you on following as we mentioned our episode on epigenetics and methylation so we tried to lay some foundational information for listeners, so that hopefully we could take us a little bit next level and nerd out with you today.
A: So one of my favorite phrases from you Dr. Lynch in your book is “genes don’t lay the law, they negotiate with you.” I’d like to open with that and have you tell our listeners a little bit about what that means to you.
BL: Yeah that is a great line and basically what that means is, they are negotiating with you because they’re there to serve you, right? I mean our genes are there doing work for us every millisecond of every single day that we’re alive. And so they are designed to support our life. And if we do things that aren’t really conducive to supporting them, they’re going to say “hey, you’re not really helping me out here and I’m going to nudge you a little bit I’m going to give you a little bit of a headache because you’re not sleeping or you’re too stressed out or you’re not eating very well and so I’m just going to give you a little subtle hint that you know, I’m getting a little bit dirty and irritated right there and so they’re negotiating with you and so you get the headache and then you understand, oh you know I didn’t sleep last night or I’m dehydrated or yeah I drank too much wine, so you change your lifestyle habits had then your genes say “oh thank you” that’s basically what I mean because they’re there to support us and if we don’t give them the tools to do so, they’re going to knock on our doors and those doors are called symptoms and if we don’t want symptoms then we have to do what they want and that’s support us.
A: So I love that the lifestyle elements of there’s this foundational genetic code but our environment, our diet, our food, our water plays the role of whether something is up or down regulated so that light switch could stay dormant and not turn on or it could be flickering ongoing based on the lifestyle decisions that we hake.
BL: Yeah for sure and you know, there’s a number of genes and some we can absolutely control and some we can’t. I mean our hair color we’re born with, unless we change it artificially which many of us like to do and it’s fun. I don’t. And then we cannot change our skin color, you know, we’re born with a certain skin color and that’s set and unless we have an autoimmune disease or we’re getting our melanocytes attacked, so there’s certain genes we cannot control at all and if we have Celiac disease or some other genetic condition like hemochromatosis, we can’t really alter how those genes are expressed. They’re stuck and that’s it. The way you can keep them happy though is not eating too much iron or not eating gluten, right? But the genes I like to focus on are the genes that, you know, affect our neurotransmitters or our moods, our detoxification, our hormones so that’s what I like to focus on.
B: Sure so let’s back up and just define for listeners what a dirty gene is, what you mean by this concept, and I guess how our genes get dirty in the first place.
BL: Yeah great questions, so a dirty gene is a term that came up from my writer, I mean, my ghost writer Rachel and we were having a discussion and it’s centered around the name of the book and everyone wanted me to call the book Seven Deadly Genes. I was just fighting tooth and nail “no no no we’re not doing that” so out of that conversation of me discussing with Rachel and my agent, became Dirty Genes and how that happened was I was explaining that “hey look, these genes are programmed to do certain things but we are providing the input” and so if we provide them great input, great food and great environment and great mindset, they’ll be able to work in a clean environment and get their stuff done and imagine if we’re providing these genes with lack of nutrients because they need nutrients to work, if we give them crowd them full of pollution and chemicals and they have to deal with all that, and if they- if we bombard them with inflammatory oils or toxic thoughts, then they’re going to be doing other things too. So basically it’s a gene that is not expressing optimally. In short, a dirty gene is a gene that is not being expressed to its best performance.
And I equate it to simply is – if you have a garage and you want to park your car in your garage, it could be pristine and totally organized which mine is not, and you can find everything. And you can even park your car in there. And you could have the slight other extreme where you can’t find anything but you can still park your car in there. And then you can have the full extreme of you have a garage but it’s so packed you can’t even push your car in there. So it’s the grade at which your genes are dirty, affects the degree at which your symptoms become more and more, I would say, intensified so you can say maybe you start out with slightly blurry vision one day ,and just not quite a clear head the next day you keep having bad decisions that aren’t supporting your body, it may be not sleeping, working too hard, being stressed out and you have a headache and then you have a headache but you have to keep grinding and you’re still made more stress you’re eating not very well and then you get a migraine, right so it’s just progressive dirt and if you change it, then these genes can get cleaned up.
A: And often what’s interesting is the lifestyle drivers, like you’ve mentioned, stress, or conscious thought patterns, so whether they’re, you know, negative self-talk could be perceived as stress, per say. What’s interesting is that that can sometimes drive continued dysfunction for something that you’re already predisposed to, I guess what I’m meaning is like a MTHFR individual that’s under high chronic stress, they’re already lacking some of that organic build if you will, for some of their favorable neurotransmitters and then they’re continuing to burn the midnight oil, if you will, do you see that chick and egg relationship in all of these NSPs?
BL: Yeah so thanks for bring that is because we are who we are because of how our genes are, I mean, we’ve inherited them from our mother and our father and we have genetic tendencies to things. And so think about your personality for a moment and think of how perhaps, you know that you’re slightly differently from someone else or very different from someone else. “I’m very type A and driven” or “I’ve always been a night owl” or “I’ve always been inattentive but you know, I’m that class clown” or “why am I so dang sensitive to everything? Chemicals, smells, toxins, ever since I was little.” So we’re born with these genetic predispositions and they do benefit us. And there are benefits to these things, but at the same time, if we make lifestyle decisions to genes that are already susceptible to creating symptoms for us, then the slightest bit of dirt that we give, them, they’re going to start scream and yelling and those symptoms can be quite significant. For example, say women get PMS, right? So this is – this can be a very uncomfortable situation for everyone involved you know, the women too and so you know, the cycles coming and she knows it and she goes “guy you know, I don’t want to be all irritable and cranky and bloated and you know, breast pain and can’t sleep at night and this happens like clockwork and has been doing this to me for forever” and there’s a gene which increases susceptibility to this and that has to do with estrogen metabolism and the gene is called COMT so, yeah, there’s my genes that increase susceptibility and make us a little bit more fragile and have to take more caution and that’s the whole premise of Dirty Genes. Yeah, I talk about the basics of lifestyle, diet, mindset, environment that’s true, that’s key. That’s the first section of the cleanup in the book, but you know, I also teach you how these genes work and then you take a quiz to see if they’re dirty or not functioning very well and then I give you specific pinpoints of how you can clean them up because you’re absolutely right we are susceptible to various things and we’re all uniquely susceptible to different things.
B: So the steps for cleaning up the genes, I guess it’s specific to which genes are dirty in the first place in your program, is that right?
BL: Yeah so that’ brilliant too and so but you can’t – there’s no specific steps really for genetic cleaning, if you will until later, So if you are trying to get your car parked in your garage, you can’t just you know, open the garage door and force it in there, right? I mean you can but it won’t really work, so you have to do the fundamentals, you got to take out the trash, you have to stop putting stuff in there, you got to go to Goodwill, so you got to get the basic stuff done, and then you can start tweaking things and you can start labeling certain bins and creating certain organizations so, but they step 1 is basics. You got to fix your sleep and there are genes which affect your sleep but if you’re not doing the fundamentals, what I call the Soak and Scrub section of the book, then you can try to target the genes that are supportive for your sleep and you might get lucky. You might get lucky and you might be able supporting your sleep better. But I will tell you that the vast majority I would say 70% maybe upwards of 80 depending how strongly ill these individuals are, then they won’t get the benefit and they’ll say “oh this book doesn’t work because I did what he told me to do to clean up this change for sleep and it didn’t work” but you spot cleaned. You didn’t take out all the trash.
A: Ok. Well and I love how in the book you process within the idea of when you need to take it to the next level, and consider supplementation. For instance you spoke to SAMe and we talk about that a lot. I want to get – we’re going to go down the rabbit hole of methylation in a moment because that was a lot of the question I got from people in my other functional medicine groups. “Oh you’re having Dr. Lynch on you have to ask this this and this” but to get back to the spot cleaning for something for instance SAMe you know, you spoke in your book about how you can use a supplement in the concept of insomnia to determine as a litmus before you do all this advanced testing, you could also use a supplement to use as a litmus to see where your body is falling. You mentioned that helps with insomnia maybe that’s helping because you had some COMT issues. If it’s hindering then maybe you need more methyl drivers like SAMe can work on. Can you go into a little bit deeper of that?
BL: Yeah, great example. So yeah basically with how it works is if one takes SAMe and they can fall asleep at night, that’s demonstrating that this individual could have possibly more dopamine more histamine more norepinephrine, and a slower conversion of serotonin, melatonin if they’re having difficulty falling asleep and they take SAMe, SAMe helps process all of that and then it lowers, them all of them, and since they’re these neurotransmitter are lower in your brain, then you have more calming neurotransmitters up there so you can actually fall asleep.
BL: And if you take SAMe and it actually makes you more awake, and possible more irritable and more anxious, that’s showing you that your methylation cycle is jammed, it’s dirty, there’s something blocking it. And that can be many, many things, it can be heavy metals, it can be high levels of pro oxidants, you have low levels of antioxidants-
BL: It could be yeast overgrowth, it could be bacterial infections and so on and so that’s a very simple test to see how clean your methylation cycle is because if you order an expensive test say for $300 and you pay the doctor $300 to order It for you because you have to have a visit, also then you’re $600 in the hole and you want to say “doc how good is my methylation?” possible all you could do is pop a capsule of SAMe this is very rudimentary and see who you respond. Are you more fatigues or are you more alert and I would say if you’re more relaxed it’s more of a sign that your methylation is working better.
A: That’s interesting I like that and that’s actually how you – how I learned about you I think it was 2012 and I found the MTHFR.net site. I was trying to understand why some of my patients in clinic were having more anxiety and panic with you know, three to five a lot of the pharmaceutical grade supplement lines are doing these higher dose 5 methyl folate and so it was – we would do that simple blood SNP we would know they were the C copy, we’d put them on a 3-5 mg, pretty hefty dosage of 5-methyl folate and you know, there was a lot of decline so I wasn’t hearing in my educational background about this methyl track or over methylation and still to date a lot of physicians talk about it’s water soluble nothing can happen can you speak to that a little bit and the confusion that lies within that? I know that’s a whole world in itself but–
BL: Yeah no it’s a great point that I greatly appreciate you brought that up because, you know, a lot of use when we’re new to something we will tend to react instead of respond and I did. And so when I first learned about MTHFR from reading literature because I too didn’t learn about this in school I mean we didn’t have genetic testing at the time really to even study. So you know, and it happened that somebody asked me about bipolar disease one day and I was just rattling off the fish oil and the vitamin D and reducing histamines and yada yada and I was kind of bored with my answers and I went “you know, I’m going to go and check my research on bipolar and see what’s up and what’s new I knew there was something to do with folate and that’s when I found this MTHFR thing in the literature and I started to read more and was like “wow “ so when I had clients with MTHFR I put them all on methyl folate too, not mega doses like 5 mg but I put them on a mg or 100 micrograms, and some would get better some would get worse and so what’s happening here is your order a genetic test and it shows you that you are not typical, right, you’re different than the standard population so you might have a variant there or a SNP and so we react and say “ok we’re different so we need to take something to fix this difference.”
And we take methyl folate and some of us take a lot because a lot we think, is better. And so you take it and you might get lucky for a day or two and feel great or you might get unlucky and feel horrible right away. And so what happens is these genes are static. You order a genetic test and it’s just static but it has nothing to do with how you are acting in your own personal environment, your own world, are you eating a bunch of leafy greens anyway, are you not taking folic acid supplementation, are you pretty relaxed, do you go on vacation or are you retired or are you stressed out, chomping down a bunch of folic acid, are super ill, and are just not doing well? So it all depends on the individual, not what the genetic test shows so that’s the biggest thing that I like to explain so you know, genetic test is not you but just showing you what hardware you have so if you – we all are using computers and all of our computers have different stuff on them so we could all have MacBook Airs. Every single one on the plant and everyone would still be different.
A: Right. Yeah I think that’s really interesting and I know when Dethlyne hit the market I was super excited be it was methyl folate in the 15 mg dosage, I’ve seen so many clients have more imbalance than balance at times, often, when used in different pharmaceutical drugs can be beneficial but I think it’s interesting like you said, it’s not just having the gene or that foundational script, it’s what’s read from the script, what’s spoken loudly and the demands within the individual.
BL: Yeah you know and I fell into the trap of just trying to supplement a SNP, or supplement a gene, and I thought that if I saw MTHFR I should give methyl folate, I thought that if I saw a DAO histamine problem gene I should give this and that and so I tried all that and I tried it for years, and it was like crapshoot and I was throwing darts blindly and I learned the hard way and I don’t want people learning the hard way I want them being smooth and efficient and being empowered by their genetics which is why I started figuring this out the right way, which is the hard way.
B: So how would you recommend a listener go about figuring out is it worth it to them to go into their SNPs or what are kind of first steps? I know you have your Strategene website that they can plug their 23 and Me into but, how would you even go about starting this whole process?
BL: Evaluating where you are right now. So if you’ve done and you’ve done very well, a lot of the fundamental stuff you’ve been working on your sleep, you’ve really cleaned up your diet, you’re doing all the basics and you know you’re breathing properly you’re going to bed on time and you’re reducing your stressors I mean you’re not perfect, you know, no one’s perfect I’m far from perfect but you’re really trying to make a dedicated, concerted effort and you know, you’ve looked at gut infections and so on and you’re trying to get that, you’re still not where you want to be or you’ve had a symptom your entire life and it’s trending, been trending throughout your family and you’re curious and you want more information, genetics is where you want to go. Genetics is a fantastic tool and if it’s used properly, if it’s not used properly then it’s – all you do is go down rabbit holes and get super frustrated and spend a lot of money and you get really mad and I’ve gotten plenty frustrated and I even have an article on DrBenLynch.com that says ‘Frustrated with Genetics? Me too.’ And I go into it, I rant and I go off sometimes and I did and because everybody is trying to treat their genetic problem so if you think that you can run a genetic test and it will tell you why you are sick, you’re wrong.
BL: You’re wrong. I mean unless you have celiac disease or hemochromatosis or some cystic fibrosis , some major genetically associated condition, yeah, you will find something there but if you have rheumatoid arthritis or a thyroid condition or fibromyalgia or inflammatory bowel disease you’re not going to find nothing that’s going to give you concrete evidence so don’t’ think that you’re going to find the magic bullet and you’re going to find this one gene and you have to take this one supplement for it, it doesn’t work that way. And the flip side is, if you are nervous about running your genetics and looking at truly how you are built and it scares you, don’t do it. Don’t do it. Because you will discover you, at such a level, that some are comfortable with it and some aren’t and I will tell you, point blank that when I first looked at my genes and I found that I had significant MTHFR and my youngest son that APOE44 and he has a 90% risk of having Alzheimer’s by the time he’s 65 years old, I freaked out at first. I totally freaked out and then I, years later I said, “You know what? This is actually really important information to know.”
A: And it think that’s the whole idea of the book and really your mission for the past 10+ years now I guess is empowerment with information and I think as you mentioned, if we compartmentalize SNPs and we just treat a SNP with a single solution, we’re not speaking to this symphony of the body and even though people may both be MTHFR no one is going to have the same synergy of the variance within the genetic SNPs nor are they going to have the same epigenetic experience of life and so it’s really looking at what’s being expressed in the body versus that underlying code and then working with the synergy of symptom management and actual solutions versus just treating a SNP with a 1 + 2 = 3 approach.
BL: I love that I love your statement I even wrote it down “the symphony of the body” Symphony of the body, it’s brilliant.
A: You can take that .
BL: If you think about you know, an orchestra right, and the – let’s say that the I don’t know I’m not a musicians so I’m going to totally screw this up, but just imagine there’s an orchestra and it’s a gorgeous symphony and someone’s flute goes off right, it’s going to wreck the whole thing. It’s not like just the flute made a mistake, or what didn’t sound right, it affected the entire orchestra, right? They all got a little bit off from that probably. And so, and it affected how we all heard it so it’s not just one gene is affecting one thing, it affects the entire system as a whole and it affect those who are around you as well. Those who are listened and watching and observing you or who’s around you . If you’re around someone who’s stressed out and you’re like “woah what is up with you? I just feel that tenseness radiating off of you right now” I mean we’re affected by them and they’re affected by us, so yeah we we’re so – we so want the A+ B=C and we are so taught this by this stupid television and the radio ads and the magazines. I mean you open a magazine nowadays and you go two pages and you have a 3 page spread of a pharmaceutical drug, how if you have a headache, this drug is for you and then you have a whole page of side effects and everything else, and that’s the solution. And it’s – so we’re taught by big pharma and propaganda that if we have a singular problem, we can fix it with a singular thing and that’s consumerism talking. That has nothing to do with reality and so it’s a hard thing to swallow because it means that we have to work harder and understand more and take more responsibility for our actions, and if you don’t want that, then maybe you appreciate big pharma and the meds that they provide which is fine, but if you want a full solution, then you have to put the work in.
A: Absolutely. And let’s go a little bit into so we’ve clearly noted that there’s more SNPs out there beyond the dun dun dun MTHFR, and so your book Dirty Genes talks about 7 of them as the highlighted ones, not the 7 deadly genes. So can we touch on – we kind of gave a little over hit of COMT, can we go a little deeper into 2 other genes, just a little bit of characteristics of and hit for our listeners on COMT and also GST?
BL: Yeah for sure. Yeah so these are called the super 7 and I love that and because if any one of these genes are dirty, you’re going to have significant symptoms that’s why I picked them. And there’s these have to do with multiple conditions that we are all susceptible to on a daily basis and the cool thing is, is we can reverse all of them and prevent all of them and so they I mean, I don’t know how many conditions I have that you can address in this book. If people invite me to go speak at a conference I say “what topic, what disease and what condition” I can apply it to anything and that’ what‘s so cool about the super 7 is that they are playing such huge roles. So with COMT, let’s hit that so with COMT there’s basically two types of COMT, there’s one that can be working slowly so the gene isn’t – it’s kind of lazy if you will, and it doesn’t work very hard and the COMT’s job is to process estrogen, dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine and if it doesn’t process them very well then they’re more susceptible to being elevated and higher than someone who doesn’t have a slower COMT.
Doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means that’s how you’re born and so the benefits to that are that you’re more focused, you’re more driven, you get stuff done, you’re kind of type A. People might label that for you, and that’s kind of true for me, and the negative side there is that you’re so type A that you will drive yourself to the ground, you will work longer than you should, you don’t take the vacations that you need because “I’ve got to get this done before I go” and then you get it done and something else comes across your desk and you’ve got to get that done too and you get stressed out and it takes you a lot longer to calm down, you don’t fall asleep very well you just stare at the ceiling you know, the cycle comes along and you have horrible PMS, you have estrogen sensitive cancers in your family and possibly yourself, breast, ovarian, uterine, and so on. And you’re like “gosh what’s up with that?” and cardiovascular disease and so on so there’s benefits and risks to a slower COMT.
The good things is you can modify that and I have it in the book Dirty Genes. Now you could have a faster COMT and the faster COMT you think “Oh that’s great because I don’t want to have all of that out of balance. I want my estrogen levels out of there.” And another benefit actually of a slower COMT is beautiful skin because you have higher estrogen levels possibly and so people comment on your glowing skin and it’s like “wow you look radiant” and who doesn’t want that? So with a faster COMT, it gets rid of your dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine and estrogen levels quicker so now you think “ok well yeah you’re more relaxed individual” you’re kind of a thrill seeker because when you are doing thrilling things, you feel better, you’re more attentive and you’re focused. You might be a person who can work in an emergency room or high stressed job and really perform and kick butt. Whereas those with a slow COMT might not do very well it’s like “man I couldn’t do open heart surgery I’d freak out” so those are assets but at the flipside, the negatives would be you might tend towards depression, you might tend towards addiction so, because you’re dopamine level are a bit lower, so you seek out things that spike your dopamine such as overeating and overtraining, exercising too hard, which is kind of weird, or you might seek out sex or drugs or smoking or alcohol. So those are some of the big ones for COMT.
A: Ok. And then within your book I was in the recipe section you’ll note how many of the recipes are – can hit multiple of these and you’ll even modify like I saw in a miso chicken soup – it was a soup with miso and you mentioned if DAO, then you might hold the miso based on the histamine response and but it sounds like a lot of the foundational recipes hit 4 or 5 is that correct, genes any distribution?
BL: Yeah because basically if you’re eating a really healthy meal, of whole foods and it’s not just one ingredient sitting on your plate, you’re going to be hitting a lot of genes and supporting a lot of genes that’s what‘s really cool. But the problem is, at the same time, some of these foods which might be perfect for the person sitting next to you, might not be so perfect for you. It could be a perfect dish I mean totally healthy, but for you, it’s not right. So how do you do that I mean how do you modify a recipe in a book that’s static and for everyone and basically what I do is I teach you first, of what these genes do, because you don’t understand how genes work and each one is specifically then you don’t understand and you don’t know how to fix anything if you don’t know how things work right? So at first you learn how things work and then you take a quiz, and you take these quizzes which show these particular genes are dirty or not and if these genes are dirty then I tell you these are the things that you should be watching out for and it clearly tells you as you see right there on the recipe if you have a dirty DAO or a slow COMT, modify it this way. If you’re a low COMT modify your meals this way, if your fast COMT, do that. And you know I nail all the certain genes for every recipe that “supportive for all of these, but modify it this way for these couple” so you know how to adapt your diet and the cool thing is, it’s after a while you’re going to learn how to modify your eating until those genes get cleaned up and once your genes get cleaned up, then you’re back to almost an open smorgasbord of food again.
That’s a cool thing is your menu greatly increases if you fix a few of these genes, especially the DAO gene, which I was struggling with for many, many years. Many years including 3 of my boys, or 2 of my boys and my wife, my wife is still working on hers, but two of my boys and myself cleaned up our dirty DAO, we’re eating foods that we can’t even imagine that we could have been eating before and I will say including gluten and that is remarkable. I still don’t eat gluten that much and I will still react to it if I’m stressed out or not sleeping very well, but if I go on vacation even in the United States, I will eat some gluten and I don’t react anymore so it’s pretty amazing. I used to horribly react to it.
A: The resilience- I love that the quiz like we kind of mentioned earlier, it’s not just giving you if your genes is dirty on paper, it’s also if you’re symptomatic if you’re expression that dirty genes and I think that’s the more important way to weight your focus of how you’re treating and working with your own body is the influence that it has on you and that’s what’s really nice more of an upstream approach versus downstream that is the information treat it, this is the information and this it hot the information trickles through my body and now let’s treat it.
BL: Yeah that’s a very very important point and so you know, for example, you can say that maybe you ran your strategy in Genetic Report and you got your test results back and you’re a slow COMT according to StrateGene your genetics show you have a slower COMT. You take the quiz and you find out you’re a fast COMT and you think, “ well how is that possible? I just – I looked at my genetics and the report says I’m a plus, plus in COMT and I should be rage monster, I should be not sleeping, I should be type A and riven but I’m not.” Well because you are- your lifestyle is totally different maybe you’re not eating much protein, maybe you’re just supporting your body very, very well and it’s not a problem for you, but I guarantee you there’s a lot of individuals who have a slow COMT that are not living the way that they should be and they are struggling and what it does is it amplifies and the good thing too about Dirty Genes is my publisher said “Look Ben, we do not want you writing a book that requires people to buy a genetic test. We don’t want that. So you need to figure out how people can read this book without ordering a genetic test.” I was like “Easy. Fine. I’ll just ask them questions” and they just kind of looked at me like “Really?” and I said “Yeah, that’s cool.”
B: I love that and I think it makes it so much more relevant to the individual and not just a bunch of colors on a piece of paper. I know when I got my report back I didn’t even know what to do with it. You were more in depth with this but I want to circle back on the food piece of this and I know you have your 4 Week Clean Gene Protocol and I just want to talk about some of the principles here that I think apply to everyone. So you have things like fasting, which we’re again big fans of intermittent fasting, fasting for 12 – 16 hours a day, eating until 80% full, learning to just to wish our cravings from true hunger and a lot of these are kind of again, back to that baseline of foundational and then we can build based on what’s expressing or what our genes are actually look like.
BL: Yeah it’s very important and food is – food is so important and if you’re not eating right, or you’re eating so perfectly that it’s stressing you out, or you’re doing an oxalate-free diet and histamine-free diet and whatever free diet and your palate is struggling because you’re eating basically lettuce. You know, so it’s – these foundational pieces are exquisitely important and you know, let me backup for one second as you said, the 4 week Soak and Scrub and you know, basically what Becki was referring to here is the section in the book is called the Soak and Scrub which is where before you even start really targeting specific genes, you just kind of clean up everything, right? Like we talked about the garage earlier and in the book, I was told by my publisher to say “Hey, you need to assign a 30 day program or a 28 day program or a 14 day program” and I said “Well, this is not a 28 day program, this is a lifestyle, this is your life, this- this book is a guide, it’s not a program, it’s a guide to living for the rest of your life.” So the Soak and Scrub piece, it says “weeks” but also clearly states – basically you take quiz, show how dirty your genes are and then you clean up with the fundamentals of healthy eating, healthy sleeping and so on as best as your abilities, and you retake the quiz. If you find that your genes are still just absolutely dirty, you don’t go to spot cleaning. You stay on that section where you’re maybe your fundamentals still aren’t quite right, maybe you’re still not sleeping very well, maybe you’re not still moving enough. There’s things you need to do, so in terms of how important food is, it’s critically important that you dial that in.
A; Yeah the foundation for sure of then how you can advance and accelerate the function of the body needs to have a strong foundation and I love the emphasis of acknowledging that parasympathetic, sympathetic rest and digest, fight or flight mode and how we speak to that all the time to our listeners when the HPA axis is over-driven or over-regulated, we’re digesting food like you said with the gluten during travel, and it completely different way than when the body is in that optimized digestive mode so that’s a huge piece of that as well.
BL: Big time. Big time and we’re always dirtying our genes, they’re never perfectly clean, ever. The key is basically to live a life of moderation and if you’re living a life that’s you know, where you’re say 80% clean or 70% clean, and a 20-30% of times you stay up late or party hard or eat something that you guiltingly shouldn’t have, you know, or drink too much, you’ll recover quickly and that’s fine but if those ratios are flipped and you’re living dirty 70% of the time, you’re just going to get sicker and sicker you’re not going to recovery.
A: So let’s talk about with living dirty on the other gene is mentioned the GST and GPX, my Stella – I’ll put in a selfish call to action – my 19 month-old is homozygous GST1 and she’s also homozygous C copy of MTHFR, so we were able to use that information and she was an emergency C-section, so all of the dun dun dunnn and so the biome, all of the things of course grass-fed we actual did vaginal seeding and inoculation with the C-section as best we could and laid up as many boundaries, and we’re holding vaccination because of that reason of both being GST and MTHFR but let’s talk a little bit – and I think that’s kind of the perfect storm like ‘there you go” and being a practitioner and you watch it unfurl in your household so we’re both mixing the excretion pathways and the detox process, we are not letting a vaccine touch you so let’s talk a little bit about GST and detox and the influence on the body. And the – it’s interesting as far as you noted some strengths associated with that, I’ve always only associated that acts a negative.
BL: Yeah GST – so what Ali is referring to is the glutathione transferase gene and what this gene does is it transfers glutathione to bad stuff and gets them out. So it transfers glutathione to arsenic , it’ll transfer glutathione to mercury, transfer it to other things and get them out. And so basically it helps bind glutathione to various chemicals in the body so you can pee them out, which is very very important because if you’re not binding glutathione to these heavy metals or these other chemicals that were so all exposed to , then they’re going to accumulate and that’s obviously a problem. So in terms of a benefit to having a GST that’s not typical to the standard population, the research on this genes is conflicting. There’s – it depends on the type of chemical so sometimes when you bind glutathione to a chemical it can actually make it worse and more toxic and there’s other times where you bind glutathione to another chemical and makes it less toxic so there’s pros and cons here. And so it depends on what chemical you’re talking about and we outline those differences a bit in the strategy and report that we have here and that’s an important distinction and the other thing that you should understand with GST is when you have chemotherapy, if you have chemotherapy because of cancer, it’s better to have glutathione that’s not typical to the individual because you respond better to the chemo. But you are also more susceptible to cancer.
BL: In the first place so that’s – you want to prevent cancer more than treat it so on terms of your daughter or anyone else who has the homozygous variance of GST plus plus, the best thing you do here is avoid. And you’re doing that which is brilliant. I interviewed Dr. Paul Thomas a number of times and including in the Dirty Genes Summit, but we’re also doing a huge registry of thousands of kids to see how healthy kids are after full vaccination or partial vaccination or none at all. We’ll get the data back, but in short, the best thing you can do for if you see that you have a GST ++ is you know you’re sensitive to chemicals, you know you have a weak link as Dr. Thomas O’ Brien says in your ability to get rid of chemicals. The best thing you do is limit them. And you’ve done that wisely because aluminum and mercury and a bunch of other garbage is found in a bunch of vaccines. And little bodies can’t deal with that and the next best thing you can do is sauna. Sauna and sweating is fantastic and you can even do that with little kids, little babies, as long as you’re sitting there watching because little kids and babies don’t sweat very well, they don’t have their sympathetic system fully developed like we do. Lucky guy sand lucky girls. But that means they’re going to pee at night and pee uncontrollably but it also means they’re not going to sweat so if they’re going to sit in the sauna, keep a wet towel on their head and keep them maybe on the floor but sweating is super important and you did great things for your little one there.
B: Awesome. And then let’s talk a little bit about supplements and kind of how all of this plays in both to the couple of SNPs that we’ve talked about and just in general. So I know when I first started practicing, I might see someone not tolerate something seemingly innocuous like a probiotic or magnesium or something, and see someone not tolerate it well and just kind of write it off as “oh you’re an anomaly, that’s weird let’s just pull it out and try something else or try 5 different forms of probiotics before we find the right one that your body will tolerate.” But I think there’s so much to be said about complementary nutrients and even the forms that we’re giving these nutrient in, transdermal, oral, liposomal so why does the whole that matter and how do we even start to look at supplements?
BL: That’s a loaded question Becki.
A: I’m like “uhhh”– yeah let’s not do the probiotic world because that’s the whole histamine let’s keep it more – and let’s maybe answer with the world of glutathione first Dr. Lynch because that’s kind of where we left of with GST as a specific nutrient and then we can talk nutrition and supplement.
BL: Yeah and it is a fantastic question and it’s a needed one and so thanks for asking and basically we first have to define what a supplement is. A supplement is designed to add or enhance our biochemistry. That’s what it’s for. Our genes and our enzymes use nutrients and I mean, it’s a shocking thought that the genes produce enzyme and the enzymes need vitamins and minerals in order to work. These are called co-factors. But we utilize various medications instead of providing the enzymes that they need so it’s – anyway. I’m going to get off my soapbox. But again, if you have a gene, say the GST variant of ++, and you know that “Ok I need to be more careful,” and you need to avoid chemicals, and heavy metals as the best as you can without being a nervous wreck about it because that’s not helpful, then you do that if you know you need to sauna more frequently and sweat more frequently you’re doing that too. Then that’s when you bring in a nutrient such as liposomal glutathione and it can really make a huge difference for you. And the type of glutathione that you bring on board is very very important. If you’re looking for the cheapest form of glutathione that’s on the market, you’re swallowing money basically.
You’re doing no benefit, there’s no benefit there at all and with glutathione there’s many different types and the important thing to understand here generally, broadly speaking, is the better the form of the nutrient, the more recognized the body will see it and adapt to it and respond to it because enzymes have shapes and they’re like little puzzle pieces and if you ever build a puzzle and you think this piece connects with that piece and you just try to stick it there and you swear it’s the right piece but it does/t fit and you hit it and it doesn’t quite still fit and the puzzle’s crooked – well that’s the same thing if you take the wrong from of glutathione or the wrong form of folate. It doesn’t quite fit right and you can’t fix the puzzle. Because enzyme have shapes – they want the nice thing to fit right in that slot so liposomal glutathione is the best form of glutathione that you can get that’s available. You can also take reduced glutathione but that’s the cheap version and it’s not going to really do anything it’s just going to get degraded by your stomach acid and be stupid so we’re buying reduced glutathione in a capsule or even a liquid – waste of money.
Then there’s S-acetyl glutathione which the acetyl is supposed to be protecting the glutathione from the stomach acid and there’s some research on it but the research is mainly done by the manufactures so it makes you a little bit question the efficacy of it. I’ve never used it personally because I’m such a huge fan of liposomal glutathione that’s what I stick to and the liposomes help deliver the glutathione directly in to the cell where the nutrient does its job and a lot of us think that if we swallow a vitamin or mineral, that we’re done and it’s going to go where it needs to go but first it has to get through your stomach acid, and then it has to be absorbed by your small or large intestine but typically your small intestine or your liver and then it has to get into your blood and then it has to be carried by enzymes and then it has to be delivered to your receptor on the cell usually, then it has to be upheld into the cell and then docked to and get the job done so there’s many many many steps and so the better the form of the nutrient, the more likely of a beneficial outcome you’ll have.
A: Direct delivery, per say, yes, and that’s where I think now also the liposomal glutathione will for Stella’s case we do a transdermal and we rub it over her liver a couple times a week and that seem so the – I mean we still – time will tell but that’s our focus there and I think with your mention Dr. Lynch on the cofactors as well, it’s sometimes because of the absorbability or not knowing if things, for instance, cross blood-barrier certain nutrients or are delivered to the targeted tissue, that’s where then with supplementation you would go to a precursor or a cofactor. Like using B6 with NAC with liposomal glutathione or something like that to ensure delivery base on the individual, Would that be something –
BL: Yeah great point so let’s talk iron for a second. So iron is difficult to absorb and you need stomach acid, you need copper, you need vitamin A, and a few other things which I can’t recall and because the iron first has to be absorbed if you’re taking an antacid or you’re stressed out, then you’re not going to be absorbing the iron, especially if it’s in a table – if you’re taking any tablet supplements, if they’re not timed released or sustained release, or chewable, they’re garbage. Most of the time. Not all of the time, but most of the time. And because you want – we have teeth for a reason to chew and break things up. I mean it’s very hard for stomach to get around a table and get the job done but you’re right, it’s very important to have a team of nutrients to help deliver things and one of the first supplements I ever designed actually was optimal iron + cofactors and that answers your question beautifully because I could have just done iron which, Iron Bis-Glycinate is a very tolerable form of iron, but my wife could not tolerate it so I tried all these different supplements for her available and all the popular ones, all the famous ones and she still did terribly. So I did the research on iron metabolism and was like “well her stomach acid is probably low in vitamin A is low and her genetics for vitamin A production are awful and dirty and her copper was low” so I- and you need copper to transport iron so I did all these things and I formulated it and she took it and it was – I was testing it and she took it and she had no stomach pain.
BL: And her iron levels went up. And I was like “Oh that is cool.”
A: Yeah that whole symphony just like on the other end of the spectrum.
BL: Yeah there’s the symphony again.
A: So let’s real quick before we let you go because just launched today, this episode will come out in a couple weeks but I think you’ll still have it rocking the dirty Gene Summit – can you give our listeners a little be bit of information on that?
BL: Well yeah the Dirty Gene Summit it’s like the biggest production I’ve ever done and there’s nearly 50 experts in this summit and it’s an audio only so you’re not stuck to a screen or sitting down. You can log in and tap into your phone with headset or your workplace and sneak it. It’s 50 interviews and we really go over the fundamentals so Dirty Genes, you know, the Soak and Scrub section of Dirty Genes tells you to – or it doesn’t tell you – that’s patronizing – it informs you of many, many things that you can do to enhance your life and the dirty gene summit really amplifies them and goes into much, much greater detail on the fundamentals. So you can really get those dialed in. For example, brought in 2 sleep experts and I brought in a breathing expert because I talk about how important breathing and don’t mouth breathe, but that was kind of it I mean how much can you say in the books and I couldn’t write it all out so basically the Dirty Gene Summit is an amazing extension of the book itself and it’s – it enhances the Soak and Scrub for you and we have mindset, we have digestion, we have leaky gut, we have histamine intolerance, we have cancer, Parkinson’s, depression, ADHD, autism, vaccines, I mean you name it we probably got it and it just gives you additional tools to amplify the usefulness of Dirty Genes.
A: Very cool so you can tune in on the elements that speak most to the user or the reader and really highlight and emphasize next level approach of that foundational element.
A: Awesome. Awesome.
BL: I‘m going to listen to that one meal prepping one later today.
A: Sounds good.
BL: Yeah my wife even she had it going on her phone walking around the house today and then she got in her car and plugged it in.
A: Spouses are the biggest win because I can’t tell you how many times my husband says something’s that I’m like “Are you serious? I‘ve been taking about this for 10 years” it’s like “Did you hear about this?” and I’m like “Oh my gosh, we’re done.”
BL: Yeah they’re your biggest critic right? She heard my interview this morning she goes “ I really liked your interview” and I went “Wow.”
A: That’s going on the refrigerator.
B: So last question before we let you go – we always ask this of our guests because we’re dietitians we would like to get your 24 hour recall so, Dr. Lynch, what did you wear yesterday, Sunday, from the time that you woke up to the time that you went to bed?
BL: Ok so it is Monday 10 o’clock now, come on give me 12 hours. So it’s 10am now, all I’ve had this morning so far is a glass of water and electrolytes and I probably won’t eat until I start pangs of hunger, I don’t really get cravings anymore which is great usually unless I’m stressed and then I get cravings. And so I would say yesterday, what did I eat yesterday? I woke up and I ate actually fairly early yesterday because I was hungry, and I had a smoothie about 9 o’clock and in my smoothie I have typically a glass or two glasses- two cups, of goat milk, I do goat milk not cow and then I had frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, a probably half to a one teaspoon of ground coffee beans and then I added a scoop of optimal prenatal protein powder so it’s not that I’m trying to get pregnant and I am-
A: That’d be a whole other –
BL: Yeah, boy, I’d get a lot of publicity then. No it’s just a good blend of nutrients for me so that’s what I take
BL: So that’s I don’t know probably about 30 grams of protein plus good fiber from the berries and you know, it keeps me going for a long time and then the next thing I had was electrolytes and I didn’t take any glutathione I took some today and then for lunch, what did I have for lunch? Oh – I had some fava beans in from PCC market, Natural markets, because I was watching soccer all half the day yesterday because I was on the road, then I came home and I had a couple bites of dairy ice cream from the freezer. Usually I don’t do that but I’m kind of – honestly I’m – well, honestly, well partially honestly I’m testing my probiotic and testing my gut to see if I get ear aches from dairy and I didn’t get an earache and then I had a chicken taco that my wife made last night which was exceptional at about 8 o’clock and that was – oh and I had a piece of dark chocolate filled with honey and it was exceptionally sweet – too sweet even my youngest didn’t like it so we had half a bite on that and that’s it – that’s what I ate.
A: Awesome awesome. That sounds like a good blend and I miss PCC markets I used to volunteer for a lot of their cooking classes. Heartstrings there. It rained yesterday in Austin and it felt kind of reminiscent,but not really.
BL: PCC is in Bafal now.
A: Really? Awesome.
BL: New one.
A: Saves on the commute for sure. Awesome well thank you so much for spending your morning with us on the Naturally Nourished podcast. I will definitely be posting information of the Dirty Gene Summit within today’s show notes and I also will be – Becki will be tuning in today to hack in more information from the speakers that launched today and we encourage listeners to grab a copy of the Dirty Genes book. I do find – I love the synergy of not just identifying your underlying genetic mechanisms but those that are expressing symptomatology and dysfunction in your body as the more important element to work with, so thank you so much for being on here.
BL: Yeah my pleasure and a final comment on Dirty Genes – don’t think of it really I shouldn’t say ‘don’t think’ think of dirty genes more as a lifestyle guide. Think of it as a guide for the rest of your life. It’s not a book you sit down comfortably and read, you can do that, but it’s a book you will always refer to and utilize throughout the rest of your life so it’s a lifestyle guide down to your genetic level.
A: Very cool and I think foundationally aligned with all things that we do here at Naturally Nourished so that’s fantastic. Thank you again, Dr. Lynch.
BL: Thank you, thank you both.
B: Thanks, take care.
Thank you for listening to the Naturally Nourished Podcast. Visit our blog at Alimillerrd.com for recipes, wellness tips, and food as medicine meal plans. Connect with Ali at Becki at AliMillerRD on InstaGram or Twitter and Facebook. Until next time, stay nourished and be well.