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Environmental Exposure and Detoxification
Environmental chemical exposure has never been more pervasive with thousands of chemicals in use around the world. Many chemicals are integrated into our food supply, the air we breathe and the water we drink. Every day, we ingest small amounts of many chemicals and our bodies cannot metabolize and clear all of them. Chemicals not metabolized are stored in the fat cells throughout our bodies, where they continue to accumulate. As these chemicals build up they alter our metabolism, cause enzyme dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies, create hormonal imbalances, damage brain chemistry and can cause cancer. Because the chemicals accumulate in different parts of the body—at different rates and in different combinations—there are many different chronic illnesses that can result.
Doctor's Data offers a spectrum of tests designed to evaluate the exposure to environmental toxins, and assess the body's capacity for endogenous detoxification. Especially important for the latter category is the Plasma Methylation Profile.
Identifying single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may influence health and rise for diseases facilitates clinical support for patients. The Doctor's Data DNA Methylation Pathway Profile includes a variety of SNPs known to influence many aspects of health including:
- insulin sensitivity
- bone health
- cancer risks
- cardiovascular health
- detoxification processes
- mitochondrial function and metabolism
- neurotransmitter balance
SNPs may have subtle but true biological effects. Some SNPs have been correlated with health concerns or disease risk. Often several SNPs need to be present to alter metabolic or biochemical functions in the body. SNP activity and gene expression may often be modified by epigenetic factors (diet, lifestyle, nutrition, toxicant exposures). The effects of SNPs are often cumulative; the expression of a single SNP often depends on the presence or absence of other SNPS.
The identification of SNPs and their impact on health and physiology is an ongoing area of research – the hope is that finding and studying these small variations in DNA will lead to better and more individualized medical interventions. In many cases the environment – diet, nutrition, toxicant exposures, stress - may further modify the expression of genes and SNPs.
The SNPs affecting detoxification and methylation become even more important if a patient has been exposed to the toxicants such as mercury, lead or bisphenol A (BPA). Lead and BPA inhibit the function of methyltransferases, and mercury inhibits methionine synthase, an important enzyme in the re-methylation of homocysteine. Methylation is an essential step in the detoxification and elimination of arsenic and other xenobiotics. Normal methionine metabolism is a critical component of Phase II detoxification processes; the B-12 and folate-dependent transmethylation and B-6 dependent transsulfuration pathways convert homocysteine to cysteine. Cysteine is an important precursor in glutathione biosynthesis.
The greatest difficulty in interpreting a SNP results is determining the extent to which a DNA genotype is phenotypicallyexpressed. Functional tests, combined with evaluation of the patient’s symptoms and responses to intervention, are necessary to assess the influence of known SNPs on the phenotype. DDI’s Plasma Methylation Profile is one such test; it provides a direct assessment of several major metabolites that indicate genetic and epigenetic affects. The Plasma Methylation Profile is a functional follow-up test when SNPs affecting methionine metabolism are identified.
DDI’s DNA Methylation Pathway Profile allows clinicians to screen their patients for a variety of SNPs that may impact the function of important biochemical processes. Identifying SNPs that influence health and disease risk allows clinicians to support their patients with appropriate lifestyle changes and nutrition to maximize health and wellness.
Before You Start:
Please read all of the directions, and familiarize yourself with the collection procedures.
The test requires no special diet. The Informed Consent Form must be completed and returned with the specimen in order to process this test.