Diet / Gene Interactions

Everyone is unique when it comes to how their body uses different vitamins, minerals, carbs, fats, and proteins.

Your genetic variants may make it hard for your body to use certain foods — and knowing about these dietary interactions can help you know which foods to add to your diet.

The right diet for your friend may not be the one best suited to you.


Recent articles on Diet / Gene Interactions:

BChE – Pesticides, Parkinson’s, and Potatoes - The BCHE gene codes for the butyrylcholinesterase enzyme. The BChE enzyme is found in the plasma of the blood. It is a cholinesterase which breaks apart choline esters, such as acetylcholine. Acetylcholinesterase is a similar enzyme that is responsible for breaking down the neurotransmitter,...
Problems with IBS? Personalized solutions based on your genes - We tend to take happy bowels for granted — until something goes awry!  For many people, a daily battle seems to wage in their intestines. Pain, discomfort, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation…  a.k.a. IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. There are multiple causes of IBS, and...
CBS Genetic Variants: Should you eat a low sulfur diet? - When you are getting started with learning about the methylation cycle, it is easy to jump on board with whatever is being parroted by the experts who have pretty websites (and supplements to sell you). This was true for me when starting off learning...
Is intermittent fasting right for you? - There are many internet docs and nutritional gurus promoting fasting as a way to lose weight and get healthy. The recommendations are often for intermittent fasting, for example, a 24-hour fast every week, or sometimes for longer fasts, like a week-long water fast. There are...
The cheese effect and your genes. - Subtitled: Let’s all try not to have a heart attack this Christmas! Let me set the scene: You’re gathered ’round on Christmas Eve for a get together with all of your family, having traveled from far and wide. Your uncle brings his “special family recipe” of summer...
Mediterranean Diet and Your Genes - This website is all about how your genes make a difference in your body’s response to dietary choices.  Some people are awesome at breaking down dietary carbohydrates; others are champs at converting carrots into vitamin A. But a recent study pointed out not only...
Turning up the internal heat for weight loss- UCP1 genetic variants - The dream for overweight people: just turn up the internal heat and naturally burn off the extra fat.It turns out that genetically some people do have more active 'internal heat' and they actually are burning off more energy all the time.
Should I Take Aspirin to Prevent Heart Disease? - Everyone knows that aspirin protects against heart disease, right? Well, it turns out that aspirin may only protect some people from heart disease, and for others, it can actually slightly increase the risk of heart disease.  It all seems to depend on a variant of the...
Vitamin K: CYP4F2 and VKOR Genetic Variants - Vitamin K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed by our bodies to synthesize the proteins responsible for blood coagulation.  Without vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, bleeding is hard to control.  We get vitamin K1 from eating green plants, as phylloquinone is a part...
Your Drinking Genes: How well does your body break down alcohol? - Alcohol…  People have been imbibing beer and wine for millennia, enjoying alcohol ever since someone discovered the altered sensations from fermented fruits and grains.  Archeologists recently announced the discovery of an Egyptian brewery from the time of the great pyramid. What exactly does alcohol do...
A gene variant that leads to increased sweets consumption and decreased fat (Patreon post) - Is it possible to eat more sweets and have a decrease in fat? A new study recently published in the journal Cell shows a genetic link to having a sweet tooth, but this sweet tooth gene comes with a nice twist: it causes a slight...
Are you at a higher risk for diabetes? Check your TCFL72 variants - Type-2 diabetes affects about 9% of the US population and millions of people worldwide. For the over 65 crowd, the statistics are even more startling: one in four has type-2 diabetes. While the overall numbers are scary, it is interesting to note that the...
Hacking BDNF for weight loss - Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a fascinating growth hormone that does a lot in our brains. So what does BDNF do? Quite a bit! It is involved in supporting neurons and neuronal growth in the brain; it also plays a role in long-term memory...
Does eating meat put you at a higher risk for colon cancer? - The link between colon cancer and meat consumption has been trumpeted by vegetarians — and refuted by paleo fanatics. My question, as usual, is: “What role does genetics play?” The World Health Organization includes processed meat on its list of probable carcinogens. This is...
Weight Loss: Optimizing your diet based on your genes - Diet gurus, talking heads on TV, government food pyramids, and your friend who lost 20 pounds… What do they all have in common?  They all know the perfect diet that will whip you into shape and make you feel good. If that diet doesn’t...
Salt and High Blood pressure: Genes Make a Difference (Patrons only) - 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...
Why Allegra may not work as well for you: genetics of ABCB1 proteins (Patrons only) - Ever wonder why a certain medication may work great for a friend and do nothing for you?  One reason could be your genes. Let’s take fexofenadine (Allegra) for example.  You have watery eyes and a drippy nose during spring allergy season and pop an...
Biohacks – Experiments and Optimizations Based on My Genetics - After three years of digging into genetics and learning all that I can about my genes, I wanted to get a little personal and share a few things that have worked for me. I would also love to hear back from all of you. ...
Intriguing Genes: Do you taste what I taste? - Ever wonder why some people don’t like Brussel sprouts or strong, dark coffee?  I love a good, dark roast, cup of coffee, and Brussel sprouts and cabbage taste great.  It turns out that I can’t taste the bitter compound in them, but the majority of people...
Lactose Intolerance: The genetics of not producing lactase - Are you a milk drinker? Does pouring a cold glass of milk sounds good? Your genes control whether you are likely to produce lactase as an adult, and it is easy to check your 23andMe or other genetic data to see if you are likely...
Intriguing Genes: Differences in how we smell things - Learning about genetics has given me a new perspective on so many different subjects.  For example, seeing first-hand how much of a difference the right vitamins and minerals make in a person’s mood due to changes in their neurotransmitter balance has made me much more...
Digesting Carbohydrates: Amylase variants - Carbohydrate digestion begins in the mouth with an enzyme called amylase.  Saliva mixes with your food as you chew it, and the amylase in saliva begins breaking down carbohydrates into simple sugars.  Amylase is also produced by the pancreas and used for further breaking...
Increased Inflammation and IL-17A Genetic Variants - Articles about ‘inflammation’ seem to be everywhere these days, and inflammation seems to be blamed for everything from heart disease to mood disorders to obesity. But how does this somewhat nebulous idea of too much inflammation tie into our genes?  It seems that some...
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...
‘MTHFR Coffee’ with Eggs and Kale for Breakfast - Quick post this morning to recommend a good podcast to anyone looking into MTHFR variants.  Chris Masterjohn put out a well balanced and well-researched podcast a few weeks ago titled Living with MTHFR.  For those of you who don’t have two hours to listen...
Saturated Fat and Your Genes - There has been a decades-long debate about which type of fat is best: saturated fat or polyunsaturated fat. Those in the paleo and ketogenic world are quick to tout the benefits of saturated fat; the American Heart Association promotes polyunsaturated fats[ref]. And most people...
Too much of a good thing: Mushrooms intolerance and your genes - I love mushrooms and can eat them in abundance – especially sauteed in a little butter with some salt sprinkled on them!  Yum!  So I was fascinated to read a study that linked mushrooms, a certain gene variant, and Crohn’s disease symptoms. The study, Mushroom...
Carbohydrate metabolism: Your genes play a role in insulin and blood glucose levels - Sometimes the things that everyone seems to accept as gospel don’t always hold true when researchers actually look into them, especially in regards to nutrition. Take the glycemic index for example: Around since the 1980’s, accepted dogma holds that white bread will very quickly...
Interaction between high fat diet, blood pressure, and your genes - Wondering if you should cut down on red meat and fat to lower your blood pressure? According to a new study, it could depend on your genes. A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association illustrates once again the interaction between...
Building Up Iron: Check your genes to see how iron affects your health - Hemochromatosis is a fairly common genetic disease that causes iron to build up in the body. Knowing that you carry the genetic variants for hemochromatosis can literally add years to your life since you can prevent the buildup of iron through giving blood. This...
Microbiome + genetics + emulsifiers = obesity - Recently, I listened to an interview (from 2015) of a scientist who did a study on emulsifiers and found that they can lead to low-grade inflammation in the gut, especially in mice with certain immune system genes knocked out. I find the interaction between our...
Vitamin C Levels and Your Genes - As the weather here turns colder, thoughts turn to preventing colds and the flu.  My “go to” method of preventing sickness has always been by loading up on vitamin C, even though recent studies haven’t really supported the idea that vitamin C increase immune...
Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency - Medium-chain acyl-COA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency is an “inborn error of metabolism” in which there is an impaired ability to break down medium-chain fatty acids.  In a nutshell, the body can use either glucose (through glycolysis) or fatty acids (through beta-oxidation) to begin producing energy...
Your need for riboflavin (B2): MTHFR and other genetic variants - Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is a water-soluble vitamin that is a cofactor for many enzymes in the body.  To put it in simpler terms: riboflavin is vitally important! Riboflavin is a ribose sugar bound to a flavin molecule.  It is the precursor to FMN (flavin...
Genetics of Biotin Deficiency - Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a cofactor which aids in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  Biotin deficiency due to diet is pretty rare, but eating raw egg whites for an extended period of time can deplete the...
Adiponectin levels, food choices, and genetics - Adiponectin, a hormone discovered in the 1990’s, is secreted by adipose (fat) tissue.  It is an anti-inflammatory protein, protective against the effects of low-grade inflammation that are associated with obesity. Although it is made in adipose tissue, those who have more fat tissue usually have lower...
Ancestral Diet: Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids - Butter will give you a heart attack! Only cook with Crisco  vegetable oil  canola oil   olive oil.  Wait — everyone is switching back to saturated fats. Olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil,  — cold expeller pressed, extra virgin hand squeezed oil from pine nuts grown in...
MTHFR C677T: Benefits of this mutation - Much has been written about the MTHFR C677T variant, with websites and facebook groups named after it and proclaiming doom for all who have it.  This was actually one of the first variants that I had heard about and was one of the reasons...
Diabetes and your genes – TCF7L2 snp - See my previous article on Type 2 Diabetes for other SNPs associated with the condition. A new study came out this week on a genetic polymorphism and its association with diabetes.  I think it is important if you have type 2 diabetes, or if it runs...
Green Smoothie Genes for Oxalates Green Smoothie Genes – Oxalates in Your Diet - Green smoothies have been a health fad for quite a while now. Most people rave about the health benefits of sneaking lots of spinach and other leafy greens into a delicious tasting smoothie. But not all people benefit from large amounts of spinach due...
Adiponectin levels, glucose regulation, and your genes - Adiponectin, a hormone secreted from adipose (fat) tissue, is involved in glucose regulation.  Studies show that low levels of adiponectin correlate with insulin resistance and diabetes.  Interestingly, although adiponectin is secreted from adipose tissue, levels of the hormone are generally lower in obese individuals....
MTHFR Polymorphisms – Beyond 677 - Going beyond MTHFR 677 and 1298 If you are just getting started with researching your MTHFR polymorphisms, you may want to start with some background information.  I have a list of resources on the MTHFR page that you might find helpful. MTHFR is a...
Coffee: Is it right for your genes? - Coffee — is it good or bad for you? Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, second only to tea! It is sometimes controversial due to its caffeine content. Large, population-wide studies have shown many benefits of coffee consumption including decreasing the...
Low Histamine Salsa Recipe - Salsa without tomatoes?  Yes!  Here is a quick recipe for a low histamine salsa using roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes. Low Histamine Salsa Roasted red peppers (2) 1/2 onion, diced 1/2 fresh red or yellow pepper, diced small can of diced green chiles...
histamine intolerance genetics Histamine Intolerance & Genetics: Check Your 23andMe Raw Data - Histamine that is out of balance with the body’s ability to break it down can cause symptoms that are collectively known as histamine intolerance. Genetics plays a big role in how well your body breaks down histamine, and you can use your genetic data...
Low Histamine Smoothie Bowl -   Trying to eat a low histamine diet can quickly become boring!  Here is a recipe for a smoothie bowl that I like as quick breakfast.  Somehow making the smoothie a little thicker and eating it with toppings makes it more satisfying – at...
Fruit and Veggie Diets – Effect of GSTM1 - Your mom always said to eat your veggies.  Turns out that she may be right!  Of course, there are genetic factors involved that influence how your body responds.  Some of us may need to eat more veggies than others to get the same effect. The...
How Well Do You Convert Beta-Carotene to Vitamin A? - Everyone knows that carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of vitamin A, right? Well…  it turns out it isn’t that straightforward for everyone. The beta-carotene in orange fruits and vegetables has to be converted into the form of vitamin A (retinol) that our...