Category «Disease Prevention»

Caffeine Metabolism and Your Genes

Whether you start your morning with a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, caffeine remains the most popular ‘drug’ of choice for a large percentage of the population. Caffeine wakes us up by blocking the adenosine receptor.  Caffeine also acts as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing reaction time. Genetics determine how quickly your …

Meat consumption, colon cancer, and your genes

The link between colon cancer and meat consumption has been trumpeted by vegetarians and heatedly refuted by paleo fanatics. My question, as usual, is: “What role does genetics play?” The World Health Organization includes processed meat on their list of probable carcinogens, based on several large epidemiological studies. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime …

Are you genetically less likely to get the flu?

Have you ever wondered why some people never seem to get the flu when it is going around?  Turns out that our genes play a role in both our immune response to the flu virus and the virus’ ability to replicate in us. Simply put, some people are just more susceptible to getting the flu …

Cannabis and your genes: effects, dependency, and risks

As cannabis becomes legal for medicinal use or recreational use in more states across the US and Canada, I thought I would dig into exactly how and why cannabis has an effect on the body.  And while cannabis may not be something that is legal or interesting for you, our body’s endocannabinoid system does so …

Circadian Rhythms: Genes at the Core of Our Internal Clocks

Circadian rhythms are the natural biological rhythms that shape our biology.  Most people know about the master clock in our brain that keeps us on a wake-sleep cycle over 24 hours.  This is driven by our master “clock’ genes. It turns out that we also have circadian cycles (peripheral clocks) in most organs such as …

Salt and High Blood pressure: Genes Make a Difference

Salt: Is it good for you? Or is it putting you at risk of high blood pressure? There is an interesting new book out by Dr. James DiNicolantonio called The Salt Fix that makes the argument that the experts got it wrong as far as the salt and blood pressure connection goes.  In contrast, the …

Increased Inflammation and IL-17A Genetic Variants

In looking into the effects of emulsifiers on our gut, I came across quite a few genetic variants that are involved in increased inflammation and increased risk of inflammatory bowel diseases. IL-17A is a pro-inflammatory part of our immune system that, while necessary in times of injury or pathogenic infection, can cause problems if it …

Color TV has made us fat: melatonin, genetics, and light at night

Color TV has made us fat! Nope, not just because of the commercials advertising Taco Bell at night nor the fact that we are laying on our couches watching those commercials.  The flickering blue light that can be seen each evening pouring out of almost every window in the neighborhood is fundamentally changing our biology. …

TNF-alpha: Genetic Variants That Cause Increased Inflammation

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is an inflammatory cytokine involved in our immune system.  In an acute inflammatory situation, TNF-alpha plays an essential role in protecting us. The problem with TNF-alpha comes when we have chronically elevated levels, leading to rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, or autoimmune conditions. TNF-alpha Genetic Variants: There are several genetic variants linked to …

MTHFR and Vaccinations

I recently read, for the million-teenth time, that anyone with an MTHFR polymorphism should not be vaccinated.  The argument always seems to be that those with decreased MTHFR enzyme activity cannot detoxify or handle a vaccination. This seems to be accepted as fact by some, but I hadn’t really read anything other than anecdotes about …