[01:53] Organifi Green Juice
[04:45] Dr. Ben Lynch
[08:04] How Dr. Ben Ended Up In His Field
[11:43] What Dr. Ben Intended To Achieve With StrateGene
[18:07] Showing The Biochemical Pathways
[22:56] A Little On Ben's Results
[26:38] Recommendations That Come With The Results
[29:47] Determining Which SNPs To Put In The Results
[33:46] Common Issues And Common Fixes Seen In StrateGene
[41:24] HumanCharger/Bob's Red Mill
[44:13] What Those Easily Stressed Out Can Do To Mitigate It
[52:23] Other SNP Issues
[1:05:38] Dirty Genes
[1:09:50] One Cleaning Up Step People Should Know About
[1:17:27] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, it's Ben Greenfield. We're going to talk dirty today. Dirty genes. Yup, dirty genes. I interviewed Dr. Ben Lynch, who’s pretty much like the smartest guy in the world when it comes to interpreting and fixing your genes. He even taught me something really fascinating on the show about how to basically make alcohol less damaging to my body based on the genetic SNP that I had. And I'm also going to put my own raw results from his company called StrateGene into the show notes if you want to check those out.
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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“If you understand that you perform better in stressful situations, that you have a faster COMT gene, then maybe you can change your occupation or choose an occupation which does that on a thousand body that perform. Or maybe you understand why you put yourself in these situations, you're not some weirdo.” “So if I just remove folic acid from my diet, then in effect I'm cleaning out my genes, and my MTHFR gene is going to work better without even adding anything.”
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield here. And if you've ever tested your genes, or wanted to, and you've have had a very head scratching experience when it comes to interpreting your results or kind of translating your results into actionable information that goes above and beyond just like a bunch of SNPs with robot names or information from 23andMe about your hair color, then today's podcast is going to be right up your alley because I have on the show with me today a guy who I consider to be one of the world's leading authorities in interpreting your genes and fixing your genes without necessarily traveling to China and getting Crispr technology performed on yourself. His name is Dr. Ben Lynch, and Ben actually attended a naturopathic medicine university pretty close to where I'm at over in the Seattle area, Bastyr University, where he kind of just began to take a deep dive into nutrigenomics and what's called methylation, methylation dysfunction. You may have heard of MTHFR before, and Dr. Lynch is really a leading expert when it comes to that MTHFR gene and many other genes that affect not only your risk for chronic disease, but also your ability to be able to go from good to great when it comes to your performance and your health.
In addition to being a doctor of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Lynch was also named number 37 in Inc.'s list of 500 entrepreneurial superstars from America's fastest growing private companies, and number one in Washington state. And he made that list again in 2016 because he's developing all these extremely cool web technologies for doing things like analyzing your genes. He's got one company called StrateGene that I've personally uploaded my 23andMe results to and gotten very interesting information from. He's got another company called Dirty Gene that he'll talk to us about in the show today, and of course his website Seeking Health. And I'll link to all of this stuff in the show notes. So the show notes for today's show are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/benlynch. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/benlynch, and you spell Lynch, L-Y-N-C-H. So Dr. Lynch, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Dr. Ben: Hey. Pleasure to be here, Ben.
Ben: Yeah! No problem! And like I mentioned, Bastyr University is not far from me. And back in the day, I had even thought about going into naturopathic medicine. So I toured Bastyr and I toured National College of Naturopathic Medicine, and I toured a smattering of different naturopathic facilities, and one thing is that a lot of these naturopathic institutes, you see a lot when it comes to, at least my initial impression, like healthy nutrition, and herbs, and massage therapy, and a blend of Chinese traditional medicine, and some of the good things from Western allopathic medicine, but I didn't have the impression that they were very focused on genetics and on gene analysis. So how did you going to Bastyr University as a naturopathic doc, get interested in genetic analysis, and the genes?
Dr. Ben: That's a great question. It's a great question. I didn't know you were a local and someone has mentioned to me that you were pretty close to me 'cause I'm in Seattle, Kirkland area, and so we should hang out sometime and dirty our genes with some alcohol possibly.
Ben: Absolutely! You just got to come over to this side of the state where there's far fewer Starbucks and more trees.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Well, and more pesticides and herbicides?
Ben: Possibly. Yeah.
Dr. Ben: Awesome. Yeah. So back to your point. Yeah, so I got my undergrad degree at the University of Washington here in cell and molecular biology, and that was really fascinating to me. And I chose that degree because I love understanding how our amazing bodies work on a cellular level. And when I was at Bastyr, we studied a lot of nutritional biochemistry, which was fascinating to me. And then I started understanding the power of the environment and the exposures and how they influence our chemistry and how they deplete our vitamins, or how they block certain things and make us feel like garbage and effect our hormones and all this stuff. So I started really specializing in Environmental Medicine, and applying my nutritional biochemistry there, and also utilizing sauna therapies, and chelations, and so on. And while I knew that these various nutrients, like glutathione, or NAC, or glycine, or all these other things were helpful and I was using them on patients, what dawned on me was they weren't responding the same. And that bothered me. And while we would get 60% better, there was 40% that weren't doing well and there was some that were doing worse. And so I'd ask my colleagues and I had the great fortune and privilege to work with Dr. Bill Rey, who was one of the leading environmental doctors in the world, and I asked him, I said, “Do you think there's a genetic component here?” And he's like, “I don't know. Probably. But we don't have the technology really to utilize it.” And so I wanted to dig further, and I did, and I had opened Pandora's box, and that's what I've been trying to figure out ever since.
Ben: Interesting. Got it. So in terms of kind of like stepping back and looking at this process of testing genetics, it's obviously come a long ways. Like I remember back in the day when I was at this thing called the Ancestral Health Symposium like, gosh, must've been like five years ago, I was talking to this doc who was super excited about, I think it was National Geographic was rolling out the ability to be able to test your genes for, I think it was like 500 bucks. And within a few years, it dropped down to 100 or 200 bucks through 23andMe. And now there's all these companies popping up, for example one website that I talk about a lot on the show, Ben, is 23andyou.com where you can go and just get a list of this these dizzying number of services that will analyze this part of your genes, analyze another part of your genes. And it gets relatively confusing.
So you've got this service called StrateGene, and what I'm curious about, and I've personally uploaded my results to StrateGene and gone through some of them, but what is it that's different about something like StrateGene? Like what was your goal when you set something like that up in terms of genetic analysis particularly?
Dr. Ben: Great question. There's many things there. And I would say the first is most genetic reports out there and most geneticists, and practitioners, and laypersons, they look at genes in isolation. They look at MTHFR in isolation. I did. I used to. And then I connected it, and it's like, “Oh. It's related to this other gene and it works with this other gene to support homocysteine recycling and lowering.” So I quickly realized that genes don't work in isolation. They work in tandem with others. And when one gene turns off, another one might turn on. And then I also realized that just because one has an MTHFR polymorphism, let's say, they have an MTHFR issue, or SNP, or whatever you want to call it, MTHFR variant, doesn't mean that they're going to have an issue. It just shows that they have a variant in their MTHFR or it's different than the standard population. Other people will not have an MTHFR variant at all. They won't have any MTHFR mutations, or SNPs, or what have you, yet they will have all the symptoms of someone who has an MTHFR SNP.
So I was thinking, “Well, why would that be?” So when you start diving down into how genes are regulated and then how the enzymes that they are producing, 'cause genes will make enzymes, and they need vitamins, and cofactors, and other things to do that, and then these enzymes are produced and then they have jobs to do and then they're influenced by the environment. And remember, this all goes back to my cell and molecular biology days and my environmental medicine days. So it's really important for me to look at genes and how they communicate with each other, and it's even more important to understand how, well it's actually not more important, it is as important to understand how genes are influenced by our lifestyle, our mindset, environment, and nutrition. So that's why StrateGene came along, because I'm sick and tired of people saying, “Hey, I have an MTHFR SNP. I need to take methylfolate.” Or they go to the doctor and they say, “Hey. Look. I have MTHFR,” and they give them a bunch of methylfolate. And then meanwhile, they have headaches, and migraines, and they're irritable, and they can't sleep, and they're going to have leg pain and acne, and they have chronic runny noses and nerve pain. But it can't be the methylfolate because they have MTHFR. So now they go on for months, days, years of feeling like crap because of improper treatment. So that's why I did it.
And then the other reason is many of these reports will have a slew of SNPs, right? More is better in the American way. You have pages, and pages, and pages of all these SNPs, and greens, and reds, and yellows, and you're like, “Oh my God. Where do I start?” So most of those are clinically irrelevant. There's no data, there's no research, there's no evidence, that the majority of those SNPs are even causing a problem. Yeah, maybe in the future we'll have evidence. But why are we putting all these SNPs in front of people that are scary, that look like they're doomed and half dead when they see all these reds and yellows on the report.
Ben: Yeah. I have a 71-page report in front of me, Ben, for myself from this website called MTHFR Support. It's literally just 71 pages with a bunch of highlighted reds, and greens, and yellows with very little information on how to actually interpret this aside from the fact that there's a bunch of red stuff on it so you might be F-ed. But there's a couple of terms you've thrown around that I want to make sure we don't lose people in the weeds, leave people in the weeds, however that phrase goes, too much as you move forward.
So first of all you mentioned the SNPs, and just for those of you listening in, a SNP, all that stands for single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP, and you pronounce it SNP. You're going to see it if you see it written as SNP. And your DNA, as you probably know, it's made up of A, T, Cs, and Gs. Like adenine, thiamine, cytosine, and guanine is the last one I believe. And basically each of these different As, Ts, Cs, and Gs, those are in different variations, different DNA sequence variations.
So basically a single nucleotide polymorphism, or a SNP, is a DNA sequence variation that occurs when one of those letters in the genome differs between the members of a species or between individuals. So you all have your own unique set of SNPs, and those SNPs can actually be associated with certain genes. Like you keep mentioning the MTHFR gene, Ben, which from what I understand, that provides instructions for making an enzyme. Like you already said, genes provide instructions for making enzymes, but that enzyme would be the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme, and that would be important for a chemical reaction that involve forms of a vitamin called folate, which if you're listening in, you might know that as vitamin B9. So that MTHFR gene provides codes for the enzyme that converts that folate into something called a 5-methyltetrahyrofolate, and some people can make that and some people can't. And so that's an example of the MTHFR gene.
Now when you have something like StrateGene, Ben, that is looking at the different biochemical pathways for each gene and not just the isolated SNP, what exactly does that mean? For example, I'm looking at my own results right now, and when I go to the folate cycle for example, I see the biochemical pathway for the folate cycle along with my SNP. But why would you include something like that? Like what's the importance of the biochemical pathway being shown?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Great point. So I just opened mine as well. So let's talk about it this way, alright? So you live east of the mountains, or somewhere in Washington. Correct?
Dr. Ben: Okay. I live west of the mountains. So I live in Kirkland, you live in a different town. You send me your address and say, “Hey, here's my address,” and then I give you my address, and we try to go each other's house. And that's all we've got. There is a lot of stuff between that. There's not just [0:18:39] ______ there's all sorts of connecting dots in there and there's different ways to get there. I could take I-5, I could take I-90, I can possibly take [0:18:50] ______, Highway 20. I mean there's all different roads and routes to go. And depending on the time of day, traffic can vary. Depending on what I'm driving, I'm taking a bus or a train, which doesn't exist here, or plane. So there's multiple ways to get to that same destination and there's multiple things which can be affecting it. Snow, ice, traffic, so on. Semi-trucks in front. So just having the destination is not good enough. So MTHFR is probably, it's not one of the most researched genes out there, but it's way up there. It's way up there. So MTHFR has a ton of research and that's kind of like that the golden child for a lot of people. They test for that first, and that kind of gets them into it.
So if you look at the folate pathway on your StrateGene, you see MTHFR as the last one. It's way at the bottom. But at the very top, we have reduced folates and we say, “Uncooked leafy greens.” And then like, “Oh. Wait a minute.” So that's kind of step one where you've got your healthy folates. And then we have these other genes which show how your folic acid is supposed to get through to your methylfolate, to making methylfolate. So it's empowering to know the steps involved to convert the synthetic folic acid into the most bioavailable, most common form of folate in your blood, which is methylfolate, which is what your MTHFR gene makes. And all along the way, there are other hindrances that can happen, which most people don't understand, including other vitamins and minerals, including drugs, including environmental compounds like organophosphates, or infections can vary these things. And it's done in a pathway so people can see and understand the map in which these steps are involved and they understand the complexity.
It's confusing for many people at first a hundred percent. But as I talk them through it, as they start staring at it more and more, they start seeing amazing things and they realize that, “Hey. By looking at this thing, I can remove things like folic acid and actually speed up my genes.” ‘Cause a purple on your StrateGene report slows these genes down and slows the enzymes down. So if I just remove folic acid from my diet, then in effect I'm cleaning up my genes and my MTHFR gene is going to work better without even adding anything. Most people are like, if they find a problem, they want to add something. The beauty of StrateGene and looking into chemistry and understanding how it works, it's all that purple. If you start removing that, your genes are getting cleaner and they're going to start…
Ben: Okay. Interesting. And by the way, if you guys just want to see the results, you don't even need to pay for your StrateGene if you just want to see what results look like. I'll upload my own results over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/benlynch and you can look at my results to see what we're referring to. But like I'm looking at page four of, for example, my own StrateGene results, which shows this folate cycle that you were referring to, written in purple. If I were to take Bactrim, which I think is like an anti-bacterial, or Sulfasalazine, which is an antibiotic I believe, or Methotrexate, what's methotrexate?
Dr. Ben: That's the drug they use for autoimmune diseases.
Ben: That's right. Okay. Cool. So if I were to take any of those, that would slow down the specific pathway that that's referring to, for me particularly, in that part of the folic acid cycle. So I can go through and see, “Okay. Well these things are going to damage my ability to be able to engage in a proper folate cycle, whereas these things are going to help me.” What color is the stuff that helps me? Is it the orange font or something different?
Dr. Ben: Well, it's the green.
Ben: The green. Okay. Oh, I see. So green where it says, I guess, let me see a green. Would that be like something that's encircled in green or a green font?
Dr. Ben: A green font.
Ben: Okay. So I see. So magnesium and ATP for example, it's showing that those would be two things that would assist. And that's in a certain pathway, a part of this folate cycle. Okay! Interesting. So I can just basically go through each cycle and the purples are the things that are going to slow that cycle down and the greens are going to be the things that help to speed that cycle up. And am I always wanting to speed the cycle up?
Dr. Ben: No.
Dr. Ben: No. The green are actually the cofactors.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha.
Dr. Ben: That's what the enzymes are needed. So on StrateGene, we have the bubbles. The big bold capital letters in the bubbles are the genes, but genes make enzymes, and then you have the cofactors which are green. The purple slows the enzymes down, the orange speeds them up.
Dr. Ben: So for example, if you look at the TYMS gene and you're like, “Okay, what's that?” The function of TYMS, there's no polymorphism on there, there's no SNP, there's no SNP identified there. But what's important to know here is organophosphates will slow this down. And organophosphates are found in toxic environments.
Ben: Yeah, insecticides.
Dr. Ben: Insecticides.
Dr. Ben: And they're everywhere. So if you're eating a dirty dozen fruits and vegetables, your organophosphate levels are going up. And then you look at there, and if your organophosphate levels are high in your body, which they are in many people, then your ability to convert uracil, which is an RNA base, to thiamine, which is that DNA base, which is what you talked about earlier, the AGTs and so on, that ability to make thiamine from uracil goes down. So now your own ability to make a DNA base in your own body is deficient because you are consuming organophosphates when you're exposed to organophosphates.
Ben: Interesting. Okay.
Dr. Ben: And you can order that. So while StrateGene, the first couple pages of your StrateGene report lists the SNPs that are only clinically relevant, the real beauty of StrateGene is these cycles because you can see how your cycles get dirty and how you can clean them up and say, “God. If I eliminated organophosphates from my blood and my exposures, then I eliminate folic acid, then I'm already cleaning this sucker up.” That's the cool thing. And a lot of people think that SNPs are bad, and the SNPs that I talk about mainly are not bad, they're selected for a reason. And I'm not going to get into that without you directing me with your next comments 'cause you probably have a track.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So basically one question that I have when someone is looking at their StrateGene results, on each page it shows the cycle and then it also shows, as you mention, the greens and the purples, what increases activity, what decreases activity, and what are the cofactors. But along with the results that people get, is there like a list of recommendations? Like hey, based on the SNPs that we've identified that are actually clinically relevant, meaning not the 72 pages of every single SNP on the planet but instead just the ones you've identified as being clinically relevant, here are the action steps that you should take.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. There's information on each one of the polymorphisms that we discuss. So if 23andMe identified that you had MTHFR and we reported that, we talk about the cofactors needed for that, you need riboflavin for it. We discuss that hypothyroidism could be an issue. But no, we do not give treatment recommendations, we do not give supplement recommendations. There's really no hard-set actionable plan that you get from a StrateGene. What StrateGene is, it's a map, and you use the map to figure out where you want to go in your life. Your folks want to go from good to great. I don't know any of them and I will never meet them. The ability for them to understand their own exposures, their own lifestyle choices, and so on, they can start utilizing those within StrateGene and make decisions either by themselves or with a health practitioner. And that's how you go about it.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. And I noticed, by the way, you have like a list of health care practitioners on your site, which I'll link to in the show notes, by the way, for those of you listening in where there are certain people, certain doctors for example who know how to use strategy who have been through your training programs who I can send my results to take a deeper dive with me if I wanted to do that. It looks like you also have a free Facebook page as well. Or private Facebook group.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. The StrateGene Facebook group is amazing.
Ben: Interesting. I'll have to log into that. Do people just go in there, and upload their results, and say, “Hey. Anybody got any recommendations for me,” or is it…
Dr. Ben: Yeah. They do. We have rules and we're very strict about it. And people know by now, I mean we get newcomers coming in all the time, but we have a pinned post that has a lot of free information and videos for them to read. The Dirty Genes course, Facebook lives that I'm doing on my professional page right now are really helping out a lot of people. But yeah, they'll upload their genes, and they'll talk about symptoms that they have, and they'll ask others what their experiences are or they'll say, “Hey. I took this drug or I took this vitamin and feeling this way. What are the mechanisms why?” We're really mechanism-based. We're not treatment-based. We tell people and we teach them how and why their body is responding, how it is based upon nutritional biochemistry and physiology. And so they get it.
Ben: Gotcha. So when I mentioned like I've got a 72-page report here from another website, and I've seen others that, it just gives you reams of data, then you say that your report is kind of, it's a lot more short because it's all clinically relevant SNPs. When you say, what do you mean? Like who did the research to figure out which SNPs you were going to identify, which ones are actually clinically relevant?
Dr. Ben: The thousands and thousands of researchers who have dedicated their lives to understanding how enzymes are working and the impact of the environment and all that. So, PubMed. National Library of Medicine is where we get all our evidence, and that's me and my research team. We've gone through that 70-page report that you have in front of you there, and we've gone through every one of those RSIDs and those SNPs looking for clinical relevance. If we didn't find it and it didn't meet our standards, then it was not included in StrateGene. So it's hours, months, years of work to remove that excess noise. And it's very expensive. It's not a money maker for us because the amount of investment that I put back into it is…
Ben: Yeah. I was going to say it cost me, I don't know. What did it cost me? Like 30 bucks to get analyzed? It was something like that. So it wasn't expensive. And 23andMe, like you guys don't do the… so I didn't send you my saliva, right? Like I sent 23andMe my saliva. I paid 23andMe, so I've got all my genetic ancestor results and stuff. And then as I think a lot of people listening in probably know, there's a section on 23andMe where you can download what's called your raw data. I download that to my computer and just keep it on my computer so if ever I want to use a website like yours, Ben, I can upload to that website. It's like a .zip file. But just so people know, just to clarify, there's no option for people to send you their saliva. Right, Ben?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Right now, we only work with 23andMe. We don't work with National Geographic. We don't work with ancestry.com. And people commonly ask, and that's one of our FAQs, why don't you take Ancestry? Other ones do. Why don't you take National Geographic? Other ones do. Well, it's because they're not clinically relevant. I bought them. I've ran them through it. I didn't buy the National Graphic, but my other team members did. There weren't enough clinically relevant SNPs to make StrateGene worthwhile. I purchased Ancestry, I read it through with our programmer, we evaluated how many SNPs were relevant. Half of StrateGene was empty. Ancestry didn't call enough relevant genes. So 23andMe is the only one currently. 23andMe is now starting to reduce it with their Version 5 chip, MAO-A SNPs are missing and some of the nitric oxide synthase genes are missing, which is a shame. But the usefulness of StrateGene is still there because of all the pathways and all the other number of clinically relevant SNPs. We are currently in production of our own chip as we speak. We are working with a major chip company and we have hundreds more clinically relevant SNPs that we are adding. So StrateGene is getting bigger, but the rigors of the research and the credibility maintains the same.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So I want to delve into kind of like giving people some practical recommendations here based off of SNPs. So you've got, for example, all these clinically relevant SNPs. And it's not a dizzying number of them, but a handful of different SNPs that I'm looking at here as I scroll through my own results. And what I'm curious about would be, can you tell me some of the biggest issues that you see pop up over and over again. And I realize this is little bit of an involved question, that's okay, we got the time, but what those issues are and what some of the common fixes for them are. Like what are the things that seems like human beings, especially folks who are like exercising, eating healthy, uploading their genes to StrateGene, finding out they have issues, and then fixing those issues, what are some of the common issues you see and some of the common fixes?
Dr. Ben: Great question. Love it. I would say personalities. We all…
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Our behavior. We all tend to have our type of personality. I'm driven, I'm type A, I'm a go-getter. I was a night owl for a long time. I changed that because I also was not almost ready, and other people's work of… I want to be good to great and it's killing me. I gotta fix my sleep pattern here. But I was programmed, am programmed to be driven, focused, attentive, type A. That's just me genetically.
Ben: So there's a natural gene for that?
Dr. Ben: See, that's the thing. There are genes, isolated genes, which will increase the personality type tremendously. Yes.
Ben: Is that like the “warrior versus worrier” gene?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Exactly. And let's take that one step further because your audience is his on it, they're educated, they're smart, and they want to know more. So let's talk about one thing that's commonly not talked about, and that's called haplotypes. Haplotypes are combinations of genes. And when you have a combination of a set series of genes, then that can amplify your type of personality or it can reduce your ability to perform in certain situations. Maybe you're a track athlete and you can do some things but you can't do other things. Maybe your post-workout recovery is crap. You take way longer your entire life than other people you're competing against. And it's like, “What is wrong with me? Why does it take me so long to recover and these other athletes are kicking butt?” So haplotypes are the combinations.
So for example if you're having a beer, you get some impact. But if you mix a beer with a vodka and a Bloody Mary, that's going to be a triple whammy and you're going to feel it worse the next day. So with genes, like the worrier and warrior gene like you talked about, that particular gene can impact it. Now you combine the worrier and warrior gene with MTHFR and then you combine it with the COMT gene, now you really, really have a potential to be a different type of personality. So let me give you a concrete example, if I may.
Ben: Okay, let's hear it.
Dr. Ben: Alright. So, COMT. This is a gene whose job is to help eliminate some aspects of estrogen. His job is also to help eliminate dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine from the body. So three major neurotransmitters and estrogen, which is a major, major hormone. So if COMT is slow, then you would think, and it's true, that these people will tend to have higher levels of estrogen, certain forms of estrogen, higher levels of dopamine, higher levels of norepinephrine, and higher levels of epinephrine. They do. So in a person who has a slower COMT gene with higher estrogen, higher dopamine, higher norepi and epi, what do you think they'll be able to do in life in terms of personality?
Ben: In terms personality, they would be able to basically jump into more stressful situations and be able to manage those more effectively.
Dr. Ben: I would say they would be more attentive, more focused.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. So if you have more dopamine…
Ben: That's okay that I failed that question.
Dr. Ben: Hey. We fail questions all the time, but I wouldn't say we failed that question. I would say that these people are more prone to put themselves into more stressful situations because they're driven. I mean we could alter your statement a little bit, right? The people who have higher dopamine and higher norepinephrine levels are driven to succeed. And they will do pretty damn much anything to do it. So if they have to put themselves in a stressful situation to do it, they'll do it. The problem is they'll become more anxious because of it. So for example, children. If children have a COMT slower gene, they'll be more prone, not always, but more prone to be excelling in class and being focused and attentive. My middle boy has got this. And he has MTHFR as well, MTHFR also slows COMT down a bit. So my middle boy's focus and attention is through the roof. But when it comes to test time or you're trying to push him too hard, he cracks, he gets anxious and irritable, he can't manage his stress.
Now on the flipside, let's flip it back to someone who has this COMT faster type of gene. If someone has a faster COMT gene, their dopamine is flying through, their estrogen is flying through, and the norepi and epi are flying through. Now these types of people, I believe, excel in stressful situations. They excel because they can think better, they do better. And why is that? Because the COMT gene's job is to move the dopamine out faster and the norepinephrine out faster. But when they're stressed and they're under fire, their dopamine and norepi actually [0:40:00] ______ versus gets too high, like the slower COMT and become anxious. So I bet you that ER docs, paramedics, rescue people, I bet you that these types of people tend to be faster COMTs. And they're more daredevils. They're more prone to doing things which like, “Oh my god…”
Ben: These would be like the Navy SEAL type of personalities, like the warriors.
Dr. Ben: Yeah! Because they need that environment of stress to kick ass. But if you have someone with the environment of stress who has a slower COMT, they're going to panic, they're going to get anxious, they're going to get irritable, and they're going to make wrong decisions.
Ben: ‘Cause they have way more dopamine and norepinephrine?
Dr. Ben: Yes.
Dr. Ben: Okay. So higher levels of COMT enzyme would mean less levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, meaning you would operate better in an extremely stressful situation. Whereas lower levels would mean higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, and you would get more stimulated in stressful situations and be almost too stimulated or get too stressed out.
Dr. Ben: Nailed it. That's exactly what the research finds too.
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Ben: Okay. So what can people do? Like let's say you're one of those people who's easily stressed out. Are there things you can ingest, supplements you can take, lifestyle factors you can take advantage of to lower your propensity to be stressed out in stressful situations?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. The first step, yeah, you're right. So now what do we do about it, right? The first thing is awareness. The first thing is understanding that's how you are built. If you understand that you perform better in stressful situations and you have a faster COMT gene, then maybe you can change your occupation or choose an occupation which does that, or does a lot to perform. Or maybe you understand why you put yourself in these situations, you're not some weirdo. And if you're slower COMT, now you realize, like, “God. Yeah, I am a type A, I am driven, and I burn myself out. So I should probably take more time out for myself and relax, and take longer vacations, or just go for walks part way in my day, or avoid these situation where [0:45:25] ______ high pressure and try to either do those less or do something about it. Like okay, this situation's going to make me stressful. I have a presentation. I don't like facing the public, but I have to do it. It's my job or it's part of what I do, then I could take things like herbal adaptogens to help calm me down prior to going on the stage. Maybe I can do breathing techniques. Maybe I could meditate before. Maybe I can practice more. Maybe I can get a better night's sleep because I do know sleep is a factor, and if I don't get my deep sleep at night, then I'm going to be even more anxious.
Ben: Yeah. That makes sense. And looking over my own results, and by the way I'm intermediate, which I guess means I'm like half worrier, half warrior, it looks like, for example, some of the things that would aggravate, that would result in lower levels of COMT enzymatic activity, which would cause, I guess, higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine or being more stressed out would be low levels of folate, low levels of vitamin D. Looks like low levels of quercetin or EGCG, which is found in green tea. So it looks like I can kind of piece together some of these results and say like, “Hey, I'm going to optimize getting enough sunshine, I'm gonna drink some green tea, I'm going to get adequate quercetin from eating dark berries and things that are rich in flavonols and polyphenols, and I'm going to avoid anti-psychotic medications, for example.
Dr. Ben: Perfect. Okay. Exactly. Spot on. Now let's say that you start doing those things. Let's say start adding the quercetin from your grapes, and your onions, and so on, that you even start supplementing with it. Maybe you start drinking green tea more 'cause you're realizing that your focus today isn't so good. And so you drink green tea, and you're just like, “God. You know what? This is actually helping me. I'm feeling good.” So now let's say it progresses and you start seeing that you're performing better, your concentration's better, but now you start getting headaches a week or two later. You start getting more irritable and snappy. You're staying up later than usual. And you’re like, what in a hell? What's going on? So what would you think? Why would that be?
Ben: Basically, I've overdone it? I guess this one would be too little COMT activity?
Dr. Ben: Yes. Yeah. COMT stands for catechol-O-methyltransferase. Big words aside, its job is to process compounds which are called catechols. So green tea, catechol. Quercetin, catechol. Dopamine, estrogen, norepi, catechols. These are all catechols. So you've given your COMT a lot more work to do. And if you have a lot of work to do, say you have 500 emails in your inbox, that's going to take you longer to go through those 500 emails than it is to go through five emails. So your COMT is now slowed down because you've got estrogen in your body, you've got dopamine, norepi. Now you have the added catechols from the green tea extract, you have the added catechols from the quercetin. So you've slowed it down. And now it's gone from you doing okay to going great, but now that great is too much and you've overdone it. So what would you do?
Ben: You would probably reduce your intake of those specific things and then go back and look at your StrateGene results to see what could potentially increase levels of COMT activity, which looks like things like L-dopa, or ways to increase testosterone, and appear lipopolysaccharides, would that be like a higher intake of fat-based compounds?
Dr. Ben: Lipopolysaccharides are actually produced by your… I believe, gram negative bacteria. So harmful bacteria. But you're right. You would reduce those things. So again, awareness is number one. So I had a green tea the other day at a conference, and oh my God. My head was hurting, and I was more hot, and I was more anxious than I should have been. I'm really, really susceptible to green tea. And I have MTHFR, and like you, I have a very slow MTHFR. I have two copies there. So mine is slow. And I also have intermediate COMT like yourself. So as again, we talk about haplotypes, two combinations of genes. So I have a very slow MTHFR and I have intermediate speed COMT, but that combination makes for a very, very slow COMT. I know people who have a slow COMT, and a slow MTHFR, and a slow MAO-A. Oh my god. They're very susceptible to anxiety, and irritability, and insomnia, and all sorts of things are very, very sensitive compared to those who are on the flipside.
So once you are aware of these things and you're drinking green tea some days and you're good. Other days, you drink green tea and you're not good, you're like, “Okay. I've dirtied my COMT. Now I need to clean it up. So maybe my magnesium's low. Maybe I took too much green tea. Maybe I'm too stressed out, maybe I'm not sleeping enough, maybe my blood sugar's jacked and that spiked up my norepi's and all that. So that's the beauty of StrateGene. It teaches you how your body works and it then make the changes. And as you read from the COMT paragraph there, how to speed it up and slow it down. So then you start playing with those things. There's no supplement recommendations. It's mostly food and lifestyle, right? We talked about nutrients, but I'm not sitting here promoting my supplement line because I don't know who's running the report. I can't do that. Nobody should do that.
Ben: Interesting. I mean there's a lot we could dive into obviously with just the COMT gene itself. But if you could identify like one other SNP issue that you tend to see repeatedly or that is kind of like a low hanging fruit for people to be able to tackle. Are there any others that you think just pop up over and over again that people should know about?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Let's look at your report, if we may.
Dr. Ben: Do you have… what else is red on your report there?
Ben: What else is red? Everything is red. No, I'm just kidding. Let me see. Scroll up to my red. So the ApoE is red.
Dr. Ben: Let's skip that one. That's complicated.
Ben: Okay. And when you say red, are you speaking specifically to the fact of something being homozygous?
Dr. Ben: Yes.
Ben: Okay. Cool. MAO-B is another one that's red. Is that one too complicated?
Dr. Ben: What about MAO-A?
Ben: MAO-A, I'm good there. That's minus-minus.
Dr. Ben: On both?
Ben: Yeah. MAO-A, I'm good on both of those. All of them are minus-minus.
Dr. Ben: Okay. Now flip to the page.
Ben: It means I'm never going to die. Okay. I'm on the next page.
Dr. Ben: Nope. Go to the MAO gene.
Ben: Go to that gene?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Go to your MAO section.
Ben: Okay. Scrolling there right now. Okay, I'm there.
Dr. Ben: What does it say?
Dr. Ben: It should say in the biopterin pathways. It should talk about MAO-A. Does it?
Ben: Yeah. It does. It's got like a whole page about MAO-A. It says, “Monoamine oxidase type A. It codes for the mitochondrial membrane enzyme that catalyzes deamination of biogenic and xenobiotic amines and functions in the metabolism of neuroactive and vasoactive amines in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues.”
Dr. Ben: Mhmm. And what does it talk about the activity of the MAO-A minus-minus on your report?
Ben: So it says that the minus-minus is associated with normal MAO-A activity. And that's all it says. I mean aside from…
Dr. Ben: It should say something else too.
Ben: Let me see. It says just slower activity compared to GG and GT.
Dr. Ben: Bam! There it is.
Dr. Ben: Read that again.
Ben: Slower activity compared to GG and GT.
Dr. Ben: Correct. So your MAO-A gene is normal compared to the regular population. So the regular population, the same as you, the majority of the population, let's call it that way. So it's a minus-minus. However, it's slower. There's people who have a different MOA-A, those who are plus-plus, like myself. I'm plus plus. So my MAO-A gene is faster than yours. So if your MAO-A gene is slower than mine, what do you think will happen to your serotonin? So go to your biopterin pathway.
Ben: Okay. Going up to the biopterin pathway. If it's slower, what would happen to serotonin would be, if it's response for synthesis of serotonin, I would have a lower amount of serotonin production.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. But look at the arrows. Look at where serotonin is and look at where your MAO-A gene is in relation to serotonin.
Ben: Let's see. I'm looking for serotonin on here. Serotonin-O-sulfate? That one?
Dr. Ben: To the right of that. So you see serotonin?
Ben: Okay, yeah. I see serotonin. Okay.
Dr. Ben: And then there's MAO right beneath it.
Ben: Yeah. I see that.
Dr. Ben: Okay. So your MAO gene is slightly slower. What's going to happen to your serotonin?
Ben: It appears that it is going to get converted into something called a AANAT?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. It could go more that route. Exactly. So MAO-A gene is slower. Then there's different routes your serotonin can take according to this thing. You can [0:56:25] ______ your serotonin, which is very, very balanced in the body. I don't know all the things which influence this. As you can see, flame retardants and bisphenol-A do slow that down, which is a problem. But if your MOA-A gene is slower, then you’re going to be pushing your serotonin to the AANAT gene more. And what is the end step of that pathway?
Dr. Ben: Okay. Now when you fall asleep at night, do you tend to stay asleep or do you wake up super early, like 1, 2, and 4? Or do you stay asleep?
Ben: I usually wake up at some point during the night. If I've had like a big glass of wine before bed, I'll typically wake up around 2. Otherwise, I'll kind of pop open around 3 or 4, and then go back to sleep.
Dr. Ben: Okay. So let's talk about the wine for a moment. So the wines increase histamine, and MAO, monoamine oxidase genes are associated with breaking down amines and monoamine oxidase. So they are also involved in the histamine pathway. And you have a MAO-B gene, which is also slower. So if you go to your histamine pathway, you'll see your MAO-B genes. So your red wine at night is going to be causing you to fall asleep and also cause various other issues in your sleep-wake cycle 'cause of the histamine. But the serotonin typically, this is also how StrateGene is important because you're not your genes. You're your environment. That's an important point. You're not your genes, you're your environment and your perception of the environment as Bruce Lipton so commonly says. But yeah, your serotonin does stick around longer to make your melatonin. And I would also suspect that, do you have any propensity towards headaches or not?
Ben: I don't get headaches.
Dr. Ben: Okay. Great. A lot of people who have a slower MOA-A will have increased propensity to have headaches. You're a healthy guy and you are looking for ways to constantly improve your health. Am I correct with that?
Ben: That is pretty dang correct. Yup.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. So your lifestyle, your choices have, even though you have a slower MAO-A gene, your lifestyle choices and the things that you're doing throughout your life are not causing that slow gene to cause you that much problem. Now you start eating like crap, you start working too hard and not sleeping very well, these slower genes are going to amplify and cause risk. And they're going to slap you along the head and they're going to increase your symptoms. Whereas other people that you and I both know who are living a life of junk food, and smoking, and drinking, and they seem fine, their genes can handle that load. But if I try to do all that alcohol and bad lifestyle like I used to, I mean I wasn't a big drinker at all but if I had any type of alcohol, I would really feel it the next day. But my other friends in college and even now, they can drink it and they're okay. So our genes show us susceptibility…
Ben: So because the MAO-A, sorry to interrupt, because MAO-A in me operates slower, and because that deaminizes things, and because one of the things you need to do when you consume alcohol is to deaminate, basically what this can mean is that my body isn't going to do so well producing melatonin, for example, to keep me asleep at night if I do excess alcohol or anything else. I would need to be deaminated.
Dr. Ben: Well, it's a multiple-step process there to make melatonin. You can see the last gene there, ASMT, SAM-e. You see that? SAM?
Dr. Ben: An alcohol will really mess up your SAM-e production. So alcohol will reduce your body's ability to synthesize and make melatonin. There's multiple steps here.
Ben: Very interesting. Although honestly, I don't mind waking up at night if I can have my nice nightly glass of organic wine with dinner and sit around with my wife sipping on some vino.
Dr. Ben: I totally get it. And let me give you a term that I don't like to say, and let's say we are strategically supporting your genes and your lifestyle choices, which many people have. I mean sitting down with a glass of wine with your wife and your friends is a great thing to do, right? A lot of people across the globe doing these things and it's nice. So how can you tweak your biochemistry in your favor to enjoy your wine and still get the sleep that you deserve? Right?
Dr. Ben: What would you do here? So you could take things like histamine lowering probiotics. Bifidobacteria probiotics are known to degrade histamine. Red wines are higher in histamine. So you could take bifidobacteria probiotics to do that. So now when you're drinking the red wine, the bugs are going to go to town for you and start degrading that histamine, which is a wonderful thing. The other thing you can do, wines are also higher in sulphites. You can get lower sulphite wine, but all wine has sulphites in it. You can take a compound called molybdenum, which is a mineral. And if you goes to the transsulfuration pathway on your StrateGene report, which on for me, it is page 11. For you, it's probably, actually no. It's page 10. So probably…
Ben: It's page seven for me. I'm there.
Dr. Ben: So if you see, look. There's a SUOX gene there. So it's on the left. You see sulphite?
Ben: Okay. Here we go. SUOX, yup.
Dr. Ben: So it's on the left, SUOX. The green, again, is how your enzyme works faster. That's MD. Molybdenum. So molybdenum helps break down your sulphites and turn them into sulphites so you pee them out. So if you take molybdenum and you also take a bifidobacteria probiotic prior to consuming your wine or immediately after along with some molybdenum, or putting a drop of molybdenum in your wine, just one dropperful, a few drops, like 50 micrograms of molybdenum in your wine, or just directly in your mouth 'cause you don't want to ruin your wine, which I totally get, then you're processing those sulphites and I bet you you'll fall asleep better. And then since the alcohol, there's alcohol and your wine, correct?
Ben: Last time I checked, yes.
Dr. Ben: Last time you checked. Right. So there's alcohol in your wine, and does alcohol affect your methylation? Does alcohol slow your methylation down?
Ben: I believe it does.
Dr. Ben: Yes. Right it's contraindicated in pregnancy because it affects methylation. And so what is the green thing on the gene which makes your melatonin? If you go back to your…
Ben: Get back on that other pathway. This is wonderful podcasting. All you of you can imagine these pathways. Or just pull open my results as you're listening to this podcast 'cause that would actually really help. So I'm back on the biopterin pathway and what makes melatonin, I see SAM.
Dr. Ben: SAM-e. You could pop a capsule of SAM-e.
Ben: Interesting. So SAM-e, bifido-based probiotic, or molybdenum.
Dr. Ben: And molybdenum. That's three pathways we supported. Because that red wine is affecting your sulphites, molybdenum. It's affecting your histamine. Probiotic with bifidobacter strains. No lacto. There's some lacto that do it, but that aside. Then you're supporting your methylation to handle the alcohol so you can reduce your melatonin with SAM-e.
Ben: Very interesting. This is intriguing. So if you take nothing else away from this entire podcast, you now know how to biohack your wine consumption.
Dr. Ben: Biosupport.
Ben: Biosupport. I know you love the word biohack. Okay. This is super interesting. And I know we're getting a little long, but there are a few other quick questions that I wanted to ask you, Ben, if you have a chance, because one absolutely intrigues me. First you've got this thing called Dirty Genes. Dirty Genes. What is Dirty Genes?
Dr. Ben: Dirty genes is what we just talked about in terms of drinking red wine. We want to enjoy things in life, and we deserve to. But these things put loads on our genes, and they put loads on the products that our genes make, which are enzymes. So if we understand that red wine is dirtying our genes and it's affecting our sleep, it's affecting our ability to think and to perform at our best, and we understand that. And then we understand how it's working on our genes, then we know how to support our genes so we can continue our lifestyle, things that we enjoy and love, like drinking red wine, and supporting and refining so we can continue performing how we deserve, which is also great. So the things that we do in life are not always great for our genes. We fly, we travel, we are exposed to toxins, we get stressed out, some nights we don't sleep well, some nights we drink wine, some nights we eat too much protein or sugar. All of these things dirty our genes. And the whole concept of the book “Dirty Genes” is to identify how your genes are, and we have seven genes that we talk about in depth. Every chapter's a specific gene. We talk about the function, how it gets dirty, and then the symptoms that are associated with it and then how to clean it up. And then there's a program of how to support it as well.
Ben: So basically what we just went through is what the Dirty Genes program does?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. And it's also, like you said, I answered too long here, like I typically do. But a dirty gene is just something that our genes got dirty with through our lifestyle and we deserve to know how we can support our genes working as optimally as it function.
Ben: So Dirty Genes is, basically a book.
Dr. Ben: It's a book. Yes.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. When I looked at your website, it says course. Is there a difference?
Dr. Ben: Yeah. Yes and no. So the Dirty Genes course is a way to start cleaning up your genes right now. So you access the course, you immediately get the content. And then when the book is published in January 30th, then the books ships out to you. So when you buy access to the Dirty Genes course, you start learning how your genes get dirty through air, food, water, the environment, and with your mindset. So it's about five hours long, and very actionable practical information. And we have a bonus chapter too that was not included in the book because the publisher said you got 80,000 words and I went too long, but it's the ABC's of clean genes. It's shows you how to support your genes and then you get the book along with it when it is available.
Ben: Okay. Cool. So that's basically a book. People can go to your website, and I'll put a link on the show notes if you want to check that out. Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/benlynch where you can also grab my own results. And then you have a book that goes along with that, it looks like a little e-book, like “26 Steps To Clean Genes” and you've already given me a couple of steps on the show, like find out whether you're a warrior versus a worrier, and if so, figure out how to adjust your dopamine levels accordingly. Get, especially if you have the MAO-A issue, some probiotic, some SAM-e, and some molybdenum when you drink wine, which I would imagine would help just about anybody who's drinking alcohol. So those are the type of things that you lay out in this little e-book, “26 Steps To Clean Genes”?
Dr. Ben: I talk about that a bit, yeah. But the book goes into way more detail. That PDF will get you a lot of great information. Not as specific as I was here on your show today.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Throw one more at me. Just in the few minutes that we have left, what's one other cool genes cleaning up step that you think more people should know about that people don't know about?
Dr. Ben: Boy, there's so many cool ones. I would say…
Ben: Pick the coolest.
Dr. Ben: The coolest. They're very jealous, these things. I would say that the DAO gene is pretty cool. So is the glutathione one and the phosphatidylcholine one. You tell me, histamine, phosphatidylcholine, or glutathione. Which one do you want?
Ben: We've talked about glutathione on the show before. Let's go with this DAO thing.
Dr. Ben: Yeah. This DAO thing, so DAO is… genes have many, many names and many abbreviations. So DAO is one of the gene codes for the gene which processes histamine in your small intestine, in your gut. So when you eat histamine containing foods as salami, bologna, cheese, wine, grape juice oranges, fish, all these things are very, very high histamine. And if you have a DAO that is dirty, so if your histamine gene is dirty in your gut for various reasons, then you're going to be way more susceptible to drinking higher histamine-containing drinks or consuming higher histamine foods. Leftovers are also a big problem. ‘Cause left over foods, the protein is degrading and the histamines are being produced by the bacteria sitting on your food despite being refrigerated. So you're going to be less tolerant of leftovers than others.
So this gene gets very dirty, very fast, and makes your life a living hell. And my DAO gene was not born dirty, we call it that in the book, “Dirty Genes”. We call it born dirty or got dirty. Most genes get dirty even if they're not born dirty. So I have no genetic problem in my DAO gene that I've spotted with the research that we have available. However, my DAO gene gets dirty, and it gets dirty because it lives in your small intestine lining. And if you have a leaky gut for various reasons, say you're not consuming enough glutamine, you're not consuming enough fiber, or you have harmful bacteria in your digestive tract which are producing histamine, 'cause you can have your microbiome producing a ton of histamine, which is a problem, then your DAO gene gets overwhelmed. And since you have all that histamine in your gut, your DAO gene just throws its arms up, says, “I can't help you out.” That histamines gotta go somewhere, it gets into your blood, it contributes to nosebleeds, headaches, migraines, insomnia, irritability, eczema, psoriasis, progressing of leaky gut. It's a big issue. So a really good thing that a lot of people do well with, again are the bifidobacteria probiotics and reducing their histamine containing drinks and foods. So you lower the histamine-containing food in your diet, you toss those out, you eat fresh.
Ben: Would that include like fermented foods like kombucha, and probiotics, and things like that?
Dr. Ben: Yes. Yeah. Some of them, yeah. These are all a big issue. I'll do a shout out to Yasmina, the lowhistaminechef.com. So if you've not had her yet on your show, Ben, she is someone that you should bring on. She's a histamine guru, and this is an area that people are living a life of misery and they don't know why. They react to food and drinks, they don't know why. They do a food allergy test, it all comes back fine, but yet they keep reacting and they don't get it. They're also more prone to being sweaty, exercise-induced asthma, sweaty feet, profused sweating. It's horrible. And I was one of these people, and I'm now pretty dang, I've cleaned up my dirty DAO gene. And the big one for me was supporting my gut and using the right probiotics. I used to be very, very sensitive to dust mites to the point where I'd have to wash my sheets very frequently and I have to avoid all of these histamine-containing food and drinks or I'd struggle, nosebleeds and so on. But I'm good now.
Ben: Interest. Man, this is so cool. So that's a simple as, and by the way, I looked at my gene while you were talking and I definitely do have the variant associated with reduced DAO activity and increased circulating histamine levels. So actually not only do I add this to the show notes, the lowhistaminechef.com, but I'll also go to go check that out and get my head wrapped around what some of these low histamine protocols would be. This is so fascinating.
If you're listening in, you can see how interesting this is. Obviously it's pretty scientific and you would probably want to take advantage of the StrateGene and Facebook page and Dr. Lynch's book to really wrap your head around everything that you can do here. But regardless, I'm going to put all of the resources for you, the Dirty Genes book, Dr. Lynch's website, my own results if you want to look at those and maybe even listen to this while you're looking at those if you want to kind of scroll through your finger as Dr. Lynch and I are going, the 23andMe genetic testing I did that I sent in to Ben to actually do this particular protocol, the StrateGene protocol, which again is not expensive, it's like 30 bucks, and everything else that we discussed during the show. Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/benlynch. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/benlynch, L-Y-N-C-H. Dr. Lynch, I probably could've talked to you for like two more hours and we could have just banged out all the rest the SNPs, but I would imagine you have a life. So I'll let you go. But in the meantime, thanks for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man. It's super fascinating.
Dr. Ben: A pleasure. Thanks for the invite.
Ben: Awesome. Alright, folks. Well I'm Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Ben Lynch of StrateGene, Dirty Genes, and beyond signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have an amazing week.
If you’ve ever tested your genes (or wanted to) and had a completely head-scratching experience when it comes to interpreting your results or translating your genetic testing results into actionable information, then today’s podcast is right up your alley, as I interview Dr. Ben Lynch, one of the world’s leading authorities in interpreting and “fixing” your genes.
Dr. Lynch, ND received his Cell and Molecular Biology, BS from the University of Washington and his doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (ND) from Bastyr University. His passion for identifying the cause of disease directed him towards nutrigenomics and methylation dysfunction. Currently, he researches, writes and presents worldwide on the topic of MTHFR, methylation defects and genetic control.
Dr. Lynch is the President of www.DrBenLynch.com, a supplement company oriented towards disease prevention and health promotion. He also founded and directs www.DrBenLynch.com, an educational institute providing specialized training for both health professionals and consumers. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife, Nadia, and three boys, Tasman, Mathew and Theodor.
He first discovered the power of epigenetics in 2008. At the time, he was a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, graduate of Bastyr University, with a special interest in environmental medicine—helping people recover from the assaults of industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and other environmental toxins. When he discovered what a big role genes played in this whole process, he began eagerly reading every scientific paper he could get is hands on.
Dr. Lynch quickly realized that there was a huge gap between what the geneticists published in their research papers and what the medical providers practiced in their offices. The scientists were ridiculously far ahead of doctors and nurses, who often had no idea how to help their patients respond to genetic abnormalities or even to follow the basics of good gene health. Nor did practitioners have any idea how to create a targeted program geared to specific genetic issues.
So he made it his mission to bring that cutting-edge science right into the doctor’s office. He threw himself into genetic research, chasing down any article or paper that could shed any light on what we regular folks could do to improve health. He began working with individuals whose health-care providers just weren’t giving them the help they needed. And he started to give seminars, webinars, workshops, and talks so that practitioners could learn how to help their patients.
In a remarkably short time, he had established himself as the go-to guy for treating genetic abnormalities through diet, supplements, and lifestyle. In 2011, he founded Seeking Health, a research-based company producing high-quality supplements targeted to particular health issues. In 2015, he was named Number 37 in Inc.’s list of 500 Entrepreneur Superstars from America’s fastest-growing private companies and Number 1 in Washington state. In 2016, he made the list again.
He also established Seeking Health Educational Institute (SHEI), a website for both health professionals and lay people who want to learn more about nutrigenomics and methylation. SHEI quickly became one of the most trusted resources on genetics for health professionals and laypersons worldwide.
In 2015, he developed StrateGene, a unique approach to helping people develop natural strategies for overcoming genetic abnormalities. People who were getting their genetic challenges from websites like 23andMe or Genos Research were receiving massively confusing documents with wildly contradictory information. His system zeroes in on the genetic abnormalities that pose the greatest challenges in people’s health and then provides comprehensive plans for overcoming those challenges through diet, environment and lifestyle.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
How Dr. Lynch first become interested in genetic and genes, despite this being uncommon in naturopathic medicine…[8:30]
Why most genetic analysis programs give you a ton of clinically irrelevant info, when most of it is not what you actually need…[11:30 & 26:00]
How to upload your raw 23andme data into a website like StrateGene to get very relevant information about your genes…[29:30 & 31:20]
How the “warrior” vs. “worrier” gene works, and what you can do if you are a worrier…[34:50]
Examples of very common SNP “issues”, and what the impact of those is, along with potential associated symptoms and conditions and what you can do about it…[44:15]
Why you should consume bifidobacteria probiotics, SAM-e and molybdenum, when you drink wine or other alcohol…[60:55]
How to know what your own “dirty genes” are…[65:30]
And much more…
Resources from this episode:
eHarmony – Come see how eHarmony can change your life. Go to eHarmony.com and get started. Enter my code GREEN at checkout to get a FREE month with every 3-month subscription.
Organifi – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi and use discount code BEN for 20% off your order.
Human Charger – Go to HumanCharger.com/Ben and use the code BEN20 for 20% off.
Bob’s Red Mill – Head to BobsRedMill.com to get 25% off with promo code GREENFIELD.