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December 06, 2011

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Tim Walsh

Hey Mitch! Regarding "what nutrients to balance what genetic error" and how that translates into therapy, we have to ponder how our genetics translate into physiology. Usually the gene will code for a protein, let's say this protein is an enzyme. So if your family trait is to pass along a gene that does not make a good enzyme for converting homocysteine into methionine (the MTHFR enzyme), one way to make this biochemical step more efficient is to either supply the necessary cofactor (vitamin or mineral) or if possible supply a needed molecule further down the biochemical pathway. In this case you would supply the 5-MTHF form of folate (folic acid) or SAMe which is low when this enzyme is inefficient. The bad thing that happens when MTHFR is inefficient is a buildup of homocysteine, which results in a family history of cardiovascular disease.
To answer the question of how this was discovered, for centuries there has been tremendous research into biochemistry and its requisite enzymes and cofactors. Research institutes, progressive laboratories and biochemically oriented institutions are all very good resources. Unfortunately, the nutrient-oriented field of medicine is not attractive as a business model because nature can not be patented for profit. This book (http://www.metametrix.com/learning-center/books) from Metametrix laboratory is awesome and includes citations from research studies. It's expensive, but much of the information can be found on their website. Ralph Moss' information comes largely from hospitals, particularly burn units that have to use nutrition (such as key amino acids) to keep people alive who are in severe catabolic states.
Some resources are:
http://www.ralphmoss.com/html/about.shtml
http://www.fmtown.com/
http://www.metametrix.com/
http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com

Mitchell Harris L.Ac

Tim,
This is a very well written post with useful points about choosing a diet based on individual need and not the most influential paper, book or diet in one's life at that moment.

To discover the large possibilities of genetic errors seems the challenge here. Do you know how this information of what nutrients to balance what genetic error was discovered and how the therapies were decided? Not that I can answer that question for TCM...too old to know...but I figure there is a traceable history with this format of medicine. Are they based on clinical results or have there been studies we can look at (depending on funding of course)? I believe this is a part of functional medicine's outlook. Where would one go to learn more about functional medicine?

Best,
Mitch Harris L.Ac

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