Dr. Ben Lynch is a naturopathic physician and methylation expert. In this episode, he discusses life beyond MTHFR genetic variants and common gene SNPs. It’s all about paying attention to your environment, he says. We also discuss ways to overcome exercised-induced asthma and seasickness, and how to handle over/under methylation.
About Dr. Ben Lynch
Benjamin Lynch, ND received his Cell and Molecular Biology, BS from the University of Washington and his 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 and methylation defects. You may learn more about Dr Lynch and his work at www.MTHFR.net. Dr Lynch is also the President & CEO of www.SeekingHealth.com, a company oriented towards disease prevention and health promotion. He lives in Seattle, WA with his wife, Nadia, and three boys, Tasman, Mathew and Theodor.
Connect with Dr. Ben
#1 Supplement or food substance
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng). It's a non-stimulating herb that is a great adaptogen.
#1 Health Tip
Stop adding chemicals to our food. Put food first.
1:44 Dr. Lynch is working on identifying mechanisms that the body uses, merging different styles of medicine and the “ologies” of segmented medicine.
3:37 The Foundation: He wants to start with lifestyle, mindset, diet and environment. If we are not breathing properly or not consuming clean water and food, it is illogical to focus on the minutia. All of these foundational things impact gene expression.
6:07 You have the power. Dr. Lynch believes that we should not blame our genetics for mental health issues. He says that we have a responsibility and the power to work at fixing them.
8:51 We want simple reasons and remedies, but that is not reality. We can identify SNP (Single-nucleotide polymorphism), a DNA sequence variation. We can identify a condition. Using the SNP, we can identify a nutrient which may help, but there are over 20,000 other genes, the food you eat and your environment are interacting with your gene.
12:08 It’s complicated. The SNPs, the processes, the influences of other genes, and the myriad of other influences are not where we start. We start with the condition, using lifestyle, mindset, diet and environment. The SNPs, gene variations, may make one more susceptible to a condition, but it is not causing it. Start with the big picture.
15:33 Under Methylation/Over Methylation: These are buzz words to over simplify a very complex system. In your system, hydroxocobalamin needs to have a methyl group attached to it so it can become methycobalamin so it can be used by your body. But when some people take methylcobalamin, they react badly. This makes people believe that they are over methylated. It’s just not that simple.
19:08 Enzymes and Cofactors: Biochemist Bruce Ames discovered that enzymes work much better if they are flooded with cofactors. So if you have an enzyme that is not working well and provide additional cofactor, that enzyme should perform better. That is not always the case, because other genes work with these cofactors as well.
21:12 COMT SNP: If a patient with a COMT SNP improved by taking SAM-e, that indicates that they probably do not have methylation blocks, have adequate methylfolate/methylcobalamin and the enzymes, the conversions and recycling are working well. However, if the patient with COMT became worse by taking SAM-e, it could increase homocysteine, a potentially dangerous condition. SAM-e can be both beneficial and negative. He would prefer that people first try to use methylfolate, methylcobalamin, or other B-12s.
23:36 Foundations: Dr. Lynch got his start in environmental medicine; food, air, water, life style…, but he found that some people still did not get better and he began to dig into genetics. He believes that all healers should know environmental medicine, naturopathic medicine, and functional medicine. Without these foundations, trying to deal with methylation, or the like, will be a huge struggle.
28:48 Multiple Variables: MTHFR, mutations decrease the ability of the body to produce methylfolate. Amounts of riboflavin, the cofactor for MTHFR, amounts of foods like leafy greens full of methylfolate, thyroid function, B-2, glutathione, together have an impact. All components need to be optimal for optimal functionality.
30:50 Histamine: We need histamine for stomach acid and gut motility. Diamine oxidase is an extra cellular histamine enzyme. Foods and drinks can be high histamine, like alcohol, fish, citrus foods, blueberries, chocolate, walnuts, fermented foods and leftovers. Fermented foods and leftovers are high in histamine causing bacteria.
33:23 High Histamine: It is prevalent in many conditions like eczema and other skin disorders, asthma, hives, itchiness, increased sweating and intolerance to alcohol. High histamine causes sea sickness. Reducing foods that are high histamine can be helpful. There are polymorphisms within the DAO enzyme which impact the body’s ability to deal with extracellular histamine.
37:37 Mitochondria/Histamine: If you don’t support the mitochondria, the histamine goes up.
38:27 Treating Exercise Induced Asthma in kids: Address diet; removing high histamine, gluten containing and leaky gut causing foods. Address environment, like mold. Address lifestyle, like getting enough sleep. Take glutathione to reduce oxidative stress. It is in high demand in the lungs. And start with very very low dose methylfolate and methylcobalamin. Fish oil/krill oil and vitamin C to support cell membranes. Other nutrients may be needed as well.
43:21 Glutathione: It is the body’s master antioxidant. Its job is to get rid of hydrogen peroxide, which naturally occurs in our bodies. If there is too much hydrogen peroxide, it can block key enzymes needed for methylation and influence many important functions in the body. Glutathione carries B-12 throughout the body, and impacts the functionality of mitochondria, your cardiovascular system, and your neurotransmitter system. It is not the magic bullet. Not everyone responds well to it.
49:29 Adenosine: Adenosine makes adenosine tri phosphate is ATP, critical for life. 40% of our ATP is used at rest to pump magnesium and potassium into our cells. Many of us can make ATP quickly. Others struggle.
53:58 Mitochondrial Support: Athletes perform better when mitochondria and methylation is supported. Aerobic capacity increases, breathing is not restricted and fatigue is not an issue when this support is given prior to exercise.
59:03 SHEICON 2015: October 15-18 Denver. Dr. Lynch’s conference has grown to include a number of presenters, actively applying the pathway planner to case studies, and Q & A.