Nutrigenomics, the study of how genes are affected by the food we eat, offers genetic information that can be life changing for children with neuro-immune based disorders (Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Seizure disorders, Lyme disease, or Depression). Nutrigenomics panels will provide information on: Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP), clinical definitions on what a SNP means to a child’s health, nutritional recommendations for the identified genetic weaknesses, nutritional supplement recommendations, lifestyle recommendations and further lab testing recommendations. Nutrigenomics testing provides evidence-based information on specific nutritional needs of a child. Nutrigenomics testing can safely suggest dietary supplements that would be helpful to an individual child. Nutrigenomics provides comprehensive nutritional information based on an individual child’s needs.
DNA reports and cell functioning information can provide feedback on root cause for neuro-immune issues. Feedback can also be given for child specific recommendations. Every child has a unique genetic makeup, detox pathways, inflammatory responses, histamine responses, energy frequencies, hormone responses and neurotransmitter responses. Due to these differences there is no such things as a one size fits all approach when it comes to: therapeutic diets, foods, supplements, vaccines, therapies, or medications. A child’s body will react in a unique way at the cellular level according to their genetic makeup. When a child suffers from a neuro-immune based disorder (Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression) it’s important to know the root cause and genetic SNP’s that will affect the recovery process. According to Dr. Kendall Stewart M.D. the major issues happening in the body with a neuro-immune based disorder are generally: methylation deficiency, vitamin D deficiency and inflammation. He suggests the first healing steps are reducing inflammation, increasing cellular energy and implementing proper nutrician that is specific for an individual. According to Dr. Daniel Pompa,PSc.D, we need to fix our cells to heal our bodies. He believes the body has an innate ability to heal itself. To fix the cells in the body we must first remove heavy sources of toxins coming into the body. We need to remove the toxin overload for our children and focus healing time on detoxification. Once we remove the toxins coming in we can begin to regenerate the cell membranes. Dr. Pompa believes cell membranes are our destiny and not the DNA. When our cell membranes are not working properly our Glutathione hormone level goes down. Low Glutathione levels result in increased aging, more sickness and disease. Do we have to worry about increased/rapid aging for our small children? In a way, yes, we do. Children are now embarking on the worries of autoimmune disorders that adults only faced in the past. Our children are being diagnosed in larger proportions with diabetes, cancer, arthritis, crohns disease, fibromyalgia, celiac disease, chronic fatigue and chronic pain. Many of the conditions our children suffer from today are not genetic according to Dr. Mark Hyman M.D. He believes the diseases and many mental health conditions are caused from epigenetic factors that we can control.
Epigenetics are the outside factors that trigger our genes. Our genes are triggered from: toxic cells in the body, methylation, retrovirus’s, inflammation, stress, and nutrician. Individuals can control the epigenetic factors triggering genes to be turned on or turned off. Our genes make us susceptible to disease or disorders, but lifestyle determines the outcome. According to Dr. Mark Hyman M.D., we can control our gene expressions and we are in control of our health. I have heard too many people say, “My disease is caused by genetics and it has nothing to do with my lifestyle” or “My child has this condition because it’s genetic and it runs in the family” or “My child has Autism that is not curable in any way.” This is incorrect thinking when you understand genetics, nutrigenomics, neuroplasticity, the microbiome, and epigenetics. A child’s genetic makeup does not have to be there destiny or an excuse for not making lifestyle changes. Parents can help slow the epigenetic process from triggering their child’s DNA by helping the child’s body regenerate cell membranes. Restoring cellular energy and developing the mitochondria in the cells is also a key step in slowing down the epigenetic process according to Dr. Pompa. Mitochondria disfunction in children could cause weak muscle tone. Children with mitochondria dysfunction could be a child that is “wired but tired”, due to low cellular energy and slow detoxification pathways.
Dr. Pompa believes we need to reduce inflammation in the body and re-establish methylation. A child’s body needs to make methyl groups for: optimal health, mental health and detoxification. Many children with neuro-immune based symptoms are very slow to make methyl groups in the body due to their genetic SNP’s. The methyl groups move toxins out of the body. For example; methyl groups move toxic levels of testosterone out of the body which can help the body avoid a disease like cancer. Methylation is needed in our child’s body so their cells can detox, and their cells can adapt to stress. Dr. Pompa reports that methylation can de-activate adrenaline and move it out of the body more effectively. Hyperactive children are often running on adrenaline that can’t move out of the body effectively.
Stress inhibits the methylation process for children if they do not have enough Zinc. If a child’s body is a slow methylator, methyl groups will not take out heavy metals efficiently. Slow methylation means heavy metals will store up in a child’s body. Children with a high histamine response to allergens typically have low methylation in the body. Children with a low histamine response have a faster methylation rate. If you have a child that’s always stuffy and suffers from allergies you need to pay attention to your child’s methylation to help them heal. Histamine panels, genetic panels and methyl testing could reveal important information about your child’s body. Histamine panels can indicate the methylation levels in a child’s body. Genetics testing can give insight on the methylation process happening in the body. Methyl testing can tell you about the neurotransmitter activity in the body. The more methyl being detected indicates neurotransmitters turn on more, which is needed for proper cell functioning.
Genetics play a major role in how the body will detoxify. Many children cannot detoxify properly, and this important information can be determined through genetic and nutrigenomic testing panels. Detoxification is removing toxic substances out of living organisms, which is the body. The liver is heavily involved in the detox process to move toxic substances out of the body. Supporting the detoxification process is one of the most important steps in healing your child from neuro-immune based disorders. The first step to detoxifying your child’s body is to lessen the toxic burdens coming into the body. The detoxification process must become a lifestyle because our bodies will always need to detox and flush out the harmful chemicals we are exposed to each day. Detoxification is extremely important when a child is showing symptoms of: Autism, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Sensory processing difficulties, Mood disorders and Learning disabilities.
Many children on the Autism Spectrum and with ADHD have a mutation in the MTHFR gene. It has been reported by Dr. Jared Skowren N.D. that 90% of children on the Autism spectrum have this genetic mutation. According to Dr. Skowren, 50% of the population has this mutation. This mutation makes it harder for the body to detoxify because methylation in the body is slow. Methyl groups bind together in the body. The methyl groups turn on and turn off symptoms. Stating it again, methyl groups turn on neurotransmitters. Methylation issues in our children hinder: concussion healing, the conversion of folate and B-12 vitamins to usable forms in the body and inflammation control. According to Dr. Ben Lynch N.D. (an epigenetic pioneer), folic acid is not found in nature therefore we need folate. Folic acid should be avoided for children because it prevents folate from getting into the cells. Dr. Lynch calls folic acid a bully in the body. If a child has the MTHFR genetic mutation they may need methyl-folate to help speed up the methylation process and allow the body to absorb the folate.
Genetic testing could also uncover that a child has a GAD mutation. This mutation causes too much glutamate (a neurotransmitter) to build up in the body. If a child has a head injury high levels of glutamate could get into the brain. When glutamate is high, GABA (a neurotransmitter) could be low. When this happens the cells in the body can’t calm down. When GABA levels are low a child could suffer from chronic a lack of focus. Genetic testing could also uncover that a child has a COMT mutation. The COMT gene works to turn off neurotransmitters like dopamine. This mutation could lower dopamine levels which can cause ADHD symptom to occur. Low dopamine levels are a large issue in children with ADHD according to Dr. Stewart M.D.
Understanding a child’s genetic makeup, detox pathways, inflammatory responses, histamine responses, energy frequencies, hormone responses and neurotransmitter responses can be critically important for the recovery process of neuro-immune disorders. A child can be symptoms free when we understand what their bodies need and don’t need. A useful recourse to have in addition to nutrigenomics testing is the book, “What the heck should I eat” by Dr. Mark Hyman M.D. This provides great information about foods that are truly useful for avoiding chronic disease or conditions. The book, “Dirty Genes” by Dr. Ben Lynch N.D. is a useful reference and learning tool for understanding how we can control our genetic codes. The book provides tools to re-program the genetic code. We can help improve our child’s brain, body and genetics. Their bodies do have an innate ability to heal from neuro-immune disorders with the right type of nurturing.
Author: Dr. Elizabeth Ward, Ph.D., LCPC