Personalized Health is the Future

By Jamie Bussin

Why does a diet work for you and not for me? Why do some people see different results from the supplements they take? There’s a lot of individuality when it comes to wellness. On episode #228 of The Tonic Talk Show/Podcast I spoke with Dr. Dave Nelson ND, a wellness expert and researcher who helped explain the phenomenon.

As most of us know, genes determine all sorts of things like eye colour or height. Those differences are hardwired into our makeup. Other differences emerge in the course of our life. For example – our ability to lose weight easily or whether I have more fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscle fibers which determine if we’re more suited to sprinting or running marathons.

Running your DNA profile gives you the ability to assess your risk profile – answering ‘what are you susceptible to and how to get out in front of the problem’? The key is single nucleotide polymorphisms otherwise known as ‘SNPS’ where a gene has a change in one of the four nucleotides.  For example, there are genes that code for glutathione, which is the body’s master antioxidant. Dr. Nelson explains it on a personal level; “When I started drinking alcohol I found that I suffered from bad hangovers. When I had my DNA tested with Health First’s MyHealthyLife DNA testing platform,  I learned that my body produces lower levels of glutathione than other people. And alcohol increases your body’s need for glutathione as it increases free radicals and creates inflammation. So I stopped drinking alcohol altogether because my body was telling me that alcohol was hard on my body and I had a genetic propensity to drink.”

Another example is Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), which is an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid homocysteine. What it does, in part, is activate B vitamins in your body. B vitamins help us manage stress and generate energy in our bodies. If one has low levels of vitamin B it might be difficult to focus. Knowing that information, as Dr. Nelson did, edified his decision to take methylated B vitamins in order to provide mental clarity as a treatment for ADHD. The knowledge gained from mapping his DNA informed him that meditation would be beneficial to managing his stress and that he in particular would respond well to exercise to improve his frame of mind.

“What’s important to understand about DNA testing is that there’s no other way to get this sort of information, but it is a crucial layer of insight into your personal health.” The DNA gets more valuable over time, because science uncovers more connections over time. When we learn about what is connected we can learn how to live our best lives. According to Dr. Nelson; “This insight into personalized wellness is where everything is going.”

Jamie Bussin is the Publisher of The Tonic Magazine and Host of The Tonic Talk Show and Podcast.