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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4 Ways to Improve Our Genes

        Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS       December 14, 2015


Human GenesCurrent research suggests we are made up of approximately 19,000 genes. They hold the architectural and manufacturing plans that perform all of our body’s functions. Can they malfunction? Can they be manipulated? Are there ways to improve our genes?


Many of our genes might have slight variations in their complex building blocks. The technical term is single nucleotide polymorthism (SNP). In each of us, there may be as many as 10 million of these genetic variations in or between our genes. Some are more significant than others. SNPs even have been associated with periodontitis. (Here and Here)


So, does that matter or not?


Many of us have heard about these SNPs (pronounced SNIPS) and want to check out our bodies to see if we are plagued with these “deformities”. Many of us are running all kinds of tests from various labs to find out if we have “damaged” genes in our bodies and where these genes are located. Then, after we find out all our genetic variations, we go off half-crazed and find 20 or 30 supplements that claim to fix each one. We are a society that wants pills to fix problems.


Again, does that matter?


The truth is that all of those supplements may interfere with one another and won’t take care of the “problem”. What’s more important is that it is rarely necessary to fix all of these potential “problems” because they are not real problems. SNPs usually create problems only when their genes become overworked or overburdened.


So, what really matters? What is really affecting our genes?


I have written about the 4 pillars of health:

  • Nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods
  • Efficient exercise
  • Restorative sleep
  • Reduction of stressors


It seems that taking steps to optimize these four pillars will improve the function of our genes – even the ones that may contain SNPs.


Are there SNPs in your genetic makeup? If you are concerned about them, the first (and maybe most important) thing you could do is to be sure that your personal four pillars of health are strong. This will support and improve the healthy function of all your genes.