The Link Between the Risk of Stroke and a Genetic Variant
This video from WebMD takes my previous post on single genetic polymorphisms (SNPs) to another level. It discusses the latest finding by a team of researchers associating the risk of strokes to a genetic variation. The gene, phosphodiesterase 4D gene (PDE4E), had previously been found to be a risk for men. Now, researchers are saying this link exists in women as well.
Furthermore, the video reports that men and women who smoke and have this variation are at a higher risk of having a stroke then those who do not smoke and have this variation. This notion combines the expression of genetic variation with environmental factors
A further study on this same gene was reported by the California Pacific Center Research Institute. The results showed a weak association of high blood pressure with specific SNPs in PDE4E to risk of stroke. This once again shows how lifestyle and other markers can interplay with how our genes are expressed.
Breast Cancer and DNA Repair via Calcium
Finally, vital choice recently reported the study of how a specific nutrient, calcium, effects a women’s risk of breast cancer, when DNA is comprised:
“Vitamins and calcium intake are protective for breast cancer … Vitamins intake is an independent protective factor for [breast cancer] while the protective effect of calcium may be explained by an increased [DNA repair capacity].” (Vergne y et al. 2010)
Specifically, women who took vitamin supplements were 30 percent less likely to have breast cancer.
And women who took calcium supplements were 40 percent less likely to have breast cancer.
The link between taking daily vitamin pills and a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer persisted after the researchers controlled for the women’s recorded levels of DNA repair capacity.
In contrast, calcium supplements no longer appeared as protective when the researchers controlled for women’s DNA repair capacity (DRC).
Why would a 40 percent cut in risk from calcium pills disappear in women with high DRC levels? The Ponce team speculated that calcium may enhance the DNA repair capacity of breast cells.
Exciting isn’t it!?? Finding genetic variations as risk factors, changing lifestyle, and using nutrients to modify these factors—introducing–nutrigenomics!
Though not a perfect association, these studies are demonstrating why different nutrients and drugs work for different people. I will be introducing more functional medicine tests in my practice, especially with the certification course in September approaching. This form of practice aids in even more specific and individualized treatment using functional tests to determine nutrient deficiencies and health effects at the cellular level.