Genetics and Energy
By Mike Clark, PhD, MBA, JD, ABHRT, FAARM
“Any form of life that can’t generate its own energy is essentially dead. There is no life without energy.”
Our body needs energy to perform and to survive. How this energy is used and produced is essential to the health of our body and our children. For example, our brains alone use 20% of the energy generated by our internal systems.
Interesting fact: we may produce ten thousand times more energy (per gram) than the sun every second. See reference below.
The brain’ s primary function, processing and transmitting information through electrical signals, uses about 75% of this energy. Our nerve cells required tremendous energy to send out signals telling our cells how to act. (BrainFacts.org. Feb 1, 2019). And this is where we start to get into trouble.
When our signals are being interrupted or are not strong enough due to lack of enough energy, our minds slow down (or kick into hyper drive), we miss signals, we may engage in erratic behavior or suffer from a host of signaling issues including ADD, ADHD, dementia, Autism, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor sleep quality and many other conditions. For instance, imagine the frustration you experience when your cell phone is missing calls or has static.
So, what does this have to do with Genetics?
All of us have mutated genes, as many as 1.2 million! Most are benign. However, many can cause serious problems. The good news is that “genes are not our destiny” as one author states. The science of epigenetics tells us that we can modify how our genes act (called gene expression). How? By changing the environment which turns our genes on or off (like a light switch).
Through proper nourishment, a healthy lifestyle, and focused treatment through the knowledge obtained by genetic testing, we can help our mutated genes act in our best interest instead of against us. Also, using Nutrigenomics, the study of how our genes are affected by proper nourishment and our environment, is rapidly developing. It is providing us with more precise information on how to turn on our protective genes and turn off our harmful ones.
Methylation. When we are eating processed food and many of the over-the-counter supplements, we are consuming folic acid. Unfortunately, the body then needs to convert this folic to folate so it can use it to perform the approximately 250 processes involved in Methylation. If any or some of our 21 genes variations (referred to as mutations or Single-nucleotide Polymorphism -SNP) involved in methylation, are not working correctly, we are unable to provide fuel to our energy powerhouse, the mitochondria.
This also means we are not transporting key nutrients to the cells (simplified explanation) and our ability to heal and recover from any illness or trauma is compromised. Our ability to produce our No.1 antioxidant, Glutathione, is also compromised.
There are seven steps in this process and 21 gene SNPs that can affect the pathway. Testing all of them (not just the MTHFR gene) is necessary to ensure proper methylation treatment and to ensure fuel is getting to the Mitochondria so it can be used by the cells for energy production.
Did you know? Food sources of folate: Legumes, Asparagus, Eggs, Leafy Greens, Beets, Citrus Fruits, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli. Avoid Folic acid which is in most processed foods.
Mitochondria. “They (Mitochondria) are organelles that act like a cellular digestive system that takes in nutrients , breaks them down, and creates energy for the cell.” (See Mitochondria and The Future of Medicine, at p12). The mitochondria are small organelles that are the powerhouses or our cells. Think Hoover Dam power and energy production! They are designed for maximum work. So why are we often tired? Why do we often seem to lack energy for any mundane tasks or complain that we wish we had more energy. Whyall of the Starbuck fixes? The energy drinks?
The genes that are instrumental to a properly functioning mitochondria may be mutated. If mutated, then without proper nourishment and lifestyle, you will lack energy. If you lack energy, your brain does not function at optimal levels. You may be depressed, anxious, lack enough brain power (energy) to perform daily activities. Signals from your brain are disrupted so cells do not act as they were meant to
Genetic testing will provide focused information for better treatment options. Did you know? Moderate exercise creates more mitochondria. Strenuous exercise can create excess free radicals and damage the mitochondria.
Approximately 60 to 70 percent of people in the United States have a genetic mutation that makes it challenging for their bodies to create enough 5-MTHF.