The Detoxigenomics profile from Genova Diagnostics identifies genetic defects in the detoxification system that have been linked to an increased risk for a variety of cancers, all psychiatric conditions, addiction (alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, psychiatric medication) multiple chemical sensitivity, depression and chronic fatigue.
These genetic variations may affect your ability to detoxify toxins, both internal and external like pesticides, heavy metals, food additives, drugs, pollution, mold etc., as well as waste products from metabolism or organisms like candida, bacteria, viruses and parasites. When toxins are not eliminated efficiently, then poor health and a vast array of psychological and physiological conditions ensue.
Genetic polymorphisms in the detoxification system make the individual vulnerable to the toxins in our modern world. At some point evolution concluded that these polymorphisms were needed for some reason in response to an environmental stressor and they provided some advantages that we are not aware of, but now we are all exposed to unprecedented levels of toxins in our environment, which wasn't part of the biochemical evolutionary plan and the advantage became a disadvantage.
A genetic polymorphism develops through the process of evolution, therefore may be inherited and altered by natural selection. These genetic factors often explain why one person can smoke their entire life and have no effects, while another person develops cancer. Why one person gets heart disease, depression, cancer, etc. from pesticides, air pollution, indoor pollution etc. while another does not. Why one person can eat a junk food diet with no consequences and another is greatly impaired.
Essentially, the Detoxigenomics tells us who is the most vulnerable to toxins of all kinds, genetically. Toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, gut endotoxins, mold mycotoxins, pollution, medications, preservatives, solvents, hormones, petrochemicals, cosmetics, rubber and more.
Once we know if an individual has a greater or less vulnerability toward a specific condition, disease or disorder, then we can make interventions with diet, lifestyle, environment and nutritional changes that will help counteract its impact and improve the expression of the gene. This is called optimizing epigenetic expression.
Epigenetic changes are changes in the way a gene expresses itself or behaves as a result of non-genetic factors like diet, environment, stress, toxins, nutritional supplements etc., but there isn't any change to the underlying DNA sequence.
There are many aspects that affect the way a gene expresses itself. Our level of health is determined by a complex interaction between genes, the environment, the diet, lifestyle, toxins, oxidative stress, detoxification capacity, emotional stress etc.
Optimizing genetic expression in an individual with an existing health condition can help alleviate the symptoms. From a wellness point of view, optimizing genetic expression can help maintain good health and prevent future conditions from developing. For example, if you know you have a genetic polymorphism in your CYP1A1 which makes you much more vulnerable to petrochemicals then you would not want to have a job in an industry that exposes you to these substances.
Thus, identifying your genetic polymorphisms will assist you in the process of optimizing not only your detoxification system, but your health in general.
There are two primary pathways in liver detoxification, called phase 1 and phase 2. In Phase I, a variety of enzymes in the liver, known collectively as cytochrome P-450 oxidize the toxin to make it easier for the body to excrete. Some toxins like a variety of drugs may be eliminated directly from phase 1, but most toxins move on to phase 2 to be conjugated which means it is attached to another water soluble substance and excreted.
If phase 1 and phase 2 do not work in synchronicity, then problems can occur, resulting in degradation of health.
For example, if phase 1 is impaired, the toxin can't move on to phase 2 to be excreted, therefore toxins will get back logged in the system. If phase 2 cannot keep up with phase I, then the oxidized toxin which is actually more potent than it was in its unoxidized form, will build up and result in excessively high levels of oxidative stress, resulting in accelerated aging, inflammation, damage to DNA and cellular metabolism, cancer heart disease and more.
There are a variety of genetic variations that may affect the efficiency of both phase 1 and phase 2. Although there are many genetic polymorphisms that exist, testing is only performed on those that are relevant, prevalent, modifiable and measurable.
The following genes are assessed in the Detoxigenomics Profile:Phase I
Cytochrome P-450 Enzymes
Each enzyme in the cytochrome p-450 is responsible for detoxing a variety of different toxins. Collectively they are needed in eliminating toxins like pesticides, heavy metals, prescription and illicit drugs, pollution, auto exhaust, cigarette smoke, charbroiled meat, hormones, nitrates, fluorocarbons, benzene, toluene and much more.
COMT (catechol-o-methyltransferase) (Catecholamine methylation)
Very important for the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. A polymorphism in this enzyme puts one at increased risk of a wide variety of mental health disorders and addiction because it reduces the brain's ability to eliminate norepinephrine.
A polymorphism in this gene, reduces one's ability to attach glutathione to toxins. Glutathione is needed to detoxify a wide variety of toxins like heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, herbicides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Acetylation is important for detoxifying many xenobiotics including hyeterocrylic aromatic amines like benzene, caffeine and cigarette smoke.
Superoxide dismutase - Reduces oxidative stress
Superoxide Dismutase transforms oxygen into a less reactive H202 (hydrogen peroxide), thus in phase 2 detoxification it takes the highly reactive oxidized toxin and turns it into a less reactive form, thus reducing oxidative stress.
The Detoxigenomics test is often used in conjunction with a variety of Functional Medicine tests to get a more complete picture of one's biochemistry and develop a more comprehensive recovery plan.
Detoxigenomics tells you where the vulnerabilities are in the detoxification system and Functional Medicine testing tells you how many stressors or toxins are affecting the system and how the gene is expressing itself.
Functional medicine can also be used to measure the epigenetic changes along the way, by assessing the baseline epigenetic expression before interventions and then assess them again after interventions are made. This will also allow you to monitor the efficacy of the interventions being used. The two go hand in hand and support one another.
Schedule a consultation today to learn more about how the Detoxigenomics can help you optimize your health. If you already have your results, then we can discuss your results and the steps that need to be taken next.
- Academy of Functional Medicine, Dentistry & Psychology - Dr. Charles Gant Webinars
- Genova Diagnostics - Detoxigenomics Interpretive Guide