Are There Errors in Your DNA?

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     April 18, 2016   [printfriendly]

errors in your DNA?Have you heard about SNPs (pronounced “snips”)? So many people are talking about them. Some people are obsessed with finding out if they’ve got them. So, what are SNPs?


SNPs are Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms. They actually are tiny errors within the coding of our cellular DNA. Here is how they may develop.


When cells grow, they divide into two new cells. Just before their division, their DNA also duplicates and divides. Sometimes there could be an error in a tiny section in the DNA when they divide. Think of this coding error like a “typo” in a document that gets copied and duplicated over and over again. Genetically, this error in DNA gets duplicated as the cell continues to grow and divide.


Interestingly, SNPs are very common. We all have SNPs. In fact, there are roughly 10 million SNPs in each person’s total DNA makeup. While many people are concerned if they have various SNPs, the far majority of us do not need to fret because most SNPs have no effect on our health or development.


However, some of these distinct copying errors may affect an individual’s response to certain drugs and environmental factors. Some of these SNPs also could increase the risk of developing specific diseases. It is noteworthy that there is new research that may allow medicine to repair specific harmful SNPs in the future. However, this technology has not been perfected to date.


There also has been some research suggesting that there are SNPs that could increase the risk of gum disease.


So, what’s a person to do?


Two important questions you need answered:

  • Do you need to know if you have specific SNPs?
  • If you did in fact have potentially damaging SNPs, does it matter?


In my opinion, it is not critical to know if you have SNPs since there are no specific treatments to repair them. Also, if you had SNPs, the effects of SNPs could actually be controlled about 90% of the time by manipulating the environment through changes in diet and lifestyle.


Science today supports the power of controlling our environment. It is possible to protect yourself from potential harm related to SNPs by eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet. A Paleo-type diet fits the bill by eating real foods and avoiding processed foods. Also, living a primal lifestyle that incorporates restorative sleep, efficient exercise, and reduction of all forms of chronic stress could offset the potential problems from SNPs.


Still, if there were more serious issues that you could not control by changing your environment, then a functional medicine practitioner might be able to recommend genetic testing and recommend specific supplements to improve your health.


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Beware Those Who Peddle Drugs and Supplements

      Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS     April 8, 2016   [printfriendly]

Antioxidants and Gum DiseaseI know that some drugs are critical for specific medical situations. I know that some supplements are critical for specific nutritional deficiencies. However, beware of those practitioners that only peddle drugs or supplements to solve symptoms. Drugs and supplements may be necessary to resolve acute and painful situations, but most are only Band-Aids.


In dentistry, some of my profession push fluoride to decrease decay. In nutritional healthcare, some practitioners push antioxidants to offset free radicals. In medicine, many medical doctors write prescriptions for drugs to treat disease manifestations. Most of these pills – the drugs and supplements – still only deal with the signs and symptoms of disease. Can you see the disconnect? Where is the science? Who is delving into the real and underlying causes?


If you had a splinter in your finger, all the medicines or supplements in the world, and all the lifestyle changes you could think of, would not take care of the pain, inflammation, and infection that the splinter was creating. Not until you simply removed the splinter that was piercing the skin of your finger, would you have a chance to heal.


With that thought in mind, only after you recognize the injustices you have been hurling at your body for decades, and then address them, could you begin a healing process.


As a periodontist, I want to treat my patient’s immediate concerns. If there were acute infection, I want to reduce it. If there were irritants causing inflammation, I want to remove them. If there were oral hygiene procedures that my patient needed to implement, I want to teach them. However, I can never improve a patient’s future gum health and overall health without addressing nutrient-dense foods and lifestyle changes.


Research has demonstrated over and over again that diet and lifestyle can correct or improve almost everything chronic that is going on in the body. I have posted many of my articles about this subject on my website.


My Summary Thoughts: After eliminating any acute problems, correcting diet and lifestyle would be my next step. Then, if the body needed an extra boost, specific drugs and supplements could be recommended that might serve a supportive role.


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