We've had a little over 18 years to research what genes control in the human body since the humane genome was first mapped in 2003. Since then, we have come a long way, but there is still a lot more to go.
We are discovering that some genes can be impacted by the foods that we eat, or the way that we eat. As the research continues, this is going to lead to some really neat future advancements in health.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [0:00] Welcome to the Summit For Wellness Podcast
- [2:45] Dr. Yael Joffe originally started in architecture before she became fascinated with genomics
- [6:30] How did researchers figure out which specific genes are correlated with different conditions
- [10:45] What adaptations have our genes gone through over different generations
- [13:00] Our fast changes in the world, such as increased environmental toxins, are changing our genes. We just don't know how much
- [14:45] There was research done on the umbilical cord of pregnant women, and babies are exposed to over 200 environmental toxins before they are even born
- [17:00] Being exposed to these toxins before even being born, will this change our genes to be more resilient to environmental toxins
- [18:45] What type of genes can be correlated to foods that are good for you
- [22:15] Can our genes tell us what percentage of macronutrients we should be consuming
- [24:00] Many companies feel they need to give you information to follow, even though the science doesn't support it
- [28:00] What will the future look like when we understand more about individual health recommendations
- [30:00] How do epigenetics impact how our genes express themselves
- [36:00] What is 3x4 Genetics and how is their testing different than other companies
- [43:00] Are there common misunderstanding around diet-based DNA
- [46:00] What are 3 things Dr. Yael Joffe does to improve her own health
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan Carroll: [00:00:15] back in 2003, the human genome project was completed. If you don't know what the human genome project is, it was an international scientific research project. That sole purpose was to map out the human genome, which first began in , 90, 13 years later, the project was finally complete.
And since then researchers have been working hard to try to understand exactly how these individual genes work and what can influence them. What's up everyone. I'm Bryan Carroll and I'm here to help people move more, eat well and be adventurous. And in this episode, I have Dr. Yael Joffe on the show to talk about Nutrogenomix, which is how nutrition can impact your genes.
All the research around this topic at this point is very complicated and there is still a ton that we do not know, but Dr. Joffee does a fantastic job of sharing some of the information we currently do know and what you can do with that information. Before we dive into this episode, I have been seeing so many people right now having issues with muscle cramps, which is an indication that your electrolytes are out of balance.
I have been testing out a new electrolyte product called LMNT, and so far it has been fantastic. I usually only like to drink water because I'm not really a big flavor type of person, but their flavors are really good. I'm a fan of the raspberry salt flavor. And Sarah really likes the orange salt.
LMNTis also low carb sugar-free and has no questionable ingredient, unlike a lot of other electrolytes out there. So to try out LMNT go-to summer for wellness.com/l M N T. Now let's get into my conversation with Dr. Yael Joffe in the rapidly evolving discipline on Nutrogenomix. Dr. Yael is globally acknowledged as a leading expert in the field.
She is a highly sought after speaker has coauthored two books. It's not just your genes and genes to plate and has been published in multiple peer reviewed scientific journals. She is the co-founder and chief science officer at three X four genetics. Thank you for coming onto the show. Great to be here.
Of course. And I'm excited to chat with you about genetics and, you know, a lot of the new science coming out about how we can use that to kind of create a health journey for people. But before we get to that, let's learn a little bit more about you. What's your background and what got you into all of the Nutrogenomix stuff.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:02:45] Okay, great case to start because it is relevant. I actually started off in architecture and not in genetics. So there's a story. And the story is that actually that my grandmother died from cancer when I was a student in architecture. And this is in the 1980s. And there wasn't a lot that people understood about cancer and they definitely didn't understand the idea that you could eat differently or live a different life and try to prevent cancer.
And if you did get it, you could treat to a degree with, with diet and lifestyle. And I was absolutely devastated by a death. And I was really. Quite horrified that there was nothing anyone could give us in terms of what you could've done differently or live differently or how we could have even treated it differently.
And so that was kind of the tipping point for me on setting me off in a very different journey. So I left architecture and I went off to find a degree in health in the 1980s that wasn't so easy. And the closest thing I could find was dietetics. Which turned out not to be about health at all. And I discovered that very soon in my degree that, you know, when they were dishing up chocolate cake and ice cream, for patients in hospitals, I realized that health really didn't have a part of, of how dietetics was taught.
Anyway, I got my dietetics degree. I, I didn't enjoy it. I was very frustrated. I was extremely disillusioned by the way, nutrition was being taught and practiced. And so I did what every good. Person does when they finished the degree, you get a backpack and you go traveling in London. And then when you're in London, you have to make money to travel some more.
And while I was working for a nutrition clinic in Harley street in London, I met an extraordinary woman who had started an extraordinary company and it turned out to be the first ever company in the world that looks to put together nutrition and genetics. This was the year, 2000. And if you think that the human genome project, the draft of the human genome was only 2003.
So her name is Roslyn Gill Garrison. And three years before the world was even talking about the human genome. She started the first company called Sarona that said, we can look at genetics and we could come up with better and nutritional recommendations based on understanding your genes. Well, There was something magical about it for me and something about it that I had a sense would give me the answers that I'd been looking for when I started my journey.
And so I, I landed up being the second employee in the company, stayed with Sona for seven years, moved to Boulder, Colorado to work with her. But I also realize that genetics was very complicated and that I didn't have that knowledge. So I did go back to university and I did a PhD in genetics. So I did in the end land up with and my PhD was very, very focused on this, this word Nutrogenomix, which is nutrition, genetics.
And in fact, my area of speciality is obesity. So studying what, why do some groups, some individuals land up being obese despite what they may eat or not eat. And that's that's really the beginning of my journey. And I wouldn't say it brought me here, but it brought me into the world of Nutrogenomix and, and then that journey has all been about education, teaching, building genetic tests working with practitioners.
And that's how I find myself here today.
Bryan Carroll: [00:06:13] So I'm curious since, you know, working with genes is a fairly new process. How do we make different correlations between different health aspects and jeans? Like, what's the process of that? How do they figure out which specific Jean is for X condition or what nutrients would work better for X gene, et cetera.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:06:35] Great question. I'm going to have to take you back a little bit to the beginning. So if we think of our genetics as our blueprint, it's like a book written about who we are and the writing and the book might be 99.9% the same, but they're going to be part of our story that is written differently.
So, what happens is we have this code, this genetic code, and this code makes every single protein that functions in our body. And actually our body is really about protein because proteins are about cell membranes on our hormones. Our neurotransmitters are enzymes, all these things that we have and what.
What actually makes the protein is this code. So we have a code that says, you need to make that enzyme. You need to make that hormone. And that is our blueprint. That is our DNA code. Right. And when we make these proteins, we make them. 99% of the time identically. So your proteins or my proteins will be 99.9%.
Same, but at 0.1%, our code is different, which means when we make our enzymes and hormones and proteins, there's going to be slight differences. Now, the interesting thing is it's the Slack differences that actually make us. Who we are, but also make us different in how we respond to the world around us.
So I'm going to give you an example that will answer your question better, which is what is that connection? So we haven't DNA code and this code wants to make a hormone. That is called. I'm going to give it a name. It's called TNF alpha. And this is a protein that is responsible for increasing inflammation in the body.
So to me, necrosis factor is a protein. It has a code in a gene in our body. And when we make this protein, if this protein gets switched on expressed or made, it turns up the inflammation in our body, Now we know that inflammation is actually not always a bad thing. It's got a bit of a bad rap, but actually it's not entirely a bad thing.
Sometimes our body needs inflammation to heal the body, especially when something bad happens like an infection, but when inflammation is switched on. When the protein too much of the protein is made for too long, we could actually get sick from having an inflammatory response in our body. Now, if we go back to the code and I said that you and I have mostly the same code, but slightly different.
Imagine you've got this DNA sequence, which is just letters. It's same as the alphabet of English. It's the alphabet of genetics, but I have some different spelling than you have. And when I made my protein from my code, my spinning was a little different from you. So when I made this inflammatory protein, I made more of it than you might've made.
So if I can study the code and I can read that code and I can work hard with, I've got the spelling that I, that makes more of the inflammatory protein or less of the inflammatory protein. Suddenly I understand something about you. That gives me an idea. Of what might be happening in your body, because if I know that you making more of an inflammatory protein, I'm going to start thinking, what are the kinds of foods and supplements and changes in your life that I can do to decrease in inflammation in your body to kind of compensate for the fact that you have the spelling to make more information.
Does that make sense?
Bryan Carroll: [00:10:10] That does make sense. So with that 0.1% difference how fast are we seeing that, that difference change among people and among generations? Like what type of ad that ad adoptations are we saying in that 0.1%? Yeah.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:10:26] So again, great patients. This is a area called evolutionary biology, which is what you speak about, which is how do we, which is Darwin.
I mean, this is Darwin. How do we respond to our environment? And the interesting thing is. When we look at where we are in our health, where the Western civilization really has got quite terrible health at the moment, especially lifestyle diseases, diabetes, obesity you know, inflammatory conditions, auto-immune heart disease.
We seeing so much of it. What we're seeing is that actually the genetic code changes very, very slowly. So the code we have now is kind of a code we've always had his hand together as going back. Right at the beginning, but I environment has changed significantly. So the speed of change of DNA is actually maneuver.
You might land up in your lifetime with a few changes to your spelling, but generally it would take. Generations and generations of an exposure to sugar, to carbohydrate, to pollution, to stress, to start getting those checks, those spending changes. But the problem is our environment changed so quickly. So the way that food changed so quickly, we went from growing our food and eating wholesome food to suddenly having these extremely highly processed should agree.
Corn syrup foods. And that is this disconnect between our genome, which is actually quite ancient and I environment, which is quite modern. And there's this, this conflict is actually what's causing this incredible rate of, of what we call lifestyle
Bryan Carroll: [00:12:06] diseases. Yeah. It's kind of interesting because I had a great grandparents that lived almost to 110 years old.
And then generations later were saying age changing at the time of death. So it's like, you know, the world has changed so much in 110 years that they might not have had as much exposure to pollution and different environmental toxins that are potentially out there. And now we're having a tougher time dealing with that.
So it definitely, it makes it interesting how much of an impact, the stuff that we're doing on this planet can impact, you know, our life and just in general. Absolutely.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:12:45] So it's not the, it's not always the obvious stuff. I mean, we know about sugar, right? We know about concert, but it's it's as you say, it's so it's actually, there's a lot more watered it's what's in our water.
It's what's growing. And I feel as it's Watson our soil, it's our stress environment. It's what's happening in our ozone. There's so much, we don't understand about how we always say that every single decision and exposure that we have in a day and we make. Thousands of my new decisions a day impacts our DNA.
So it, it changes the way our DNA behaves and expresses itself, but it also means how we respond to those decisions. So, you know, I'm pretty sure that 110 year old answers would not drinking cup after cup of caffeine all day. You know it was hard work to get a coffee, a cup of coffee, you had to work hard to get your coffee, you know?
So it's just, there's so many, it's not, it's not always these big things that we think of, but actually the small decisions that we make about where we live, what house we live in, what transport we take, you know, how we manage our stress. Even over-training over-exercising endurance training has an impact on our DNA.
So it's, it's this. This whole environment that we find that is, that is really creating this disconnect between ancient genome and our environment.
Bryan Carroll: [00:14:09] Yeah. And now I'm curious your opinion on this, because a few years ago, there was a study where they tested the umbilical cord of a lot of pregnant women and found over 200 plus toxins that the baby is exposed to before they're even born.
So what do you think. Being exposed to toxins like that, even before you're born. And you're in that development process, what do you think that is doing to the genetic code?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:14:34] Yeah, I mean, yeah, that's it. So, you know, your, your DNA is sitting there from the moment there's an agonist foam yet. That's where your DNA starts.
And so any exposure and what we know is that. A lot of environmental toxins, actually they create something called DNA adducts, which is like a fancy research word. I think of it as like potholes in your DNA, little, many breakages in your DNA. And every time we're exposed to toxins, we create these little breakages and generally our body is able to fix the breakages.
But if our exposure is very, very high, Then we don't, we don't actually fix these breakages. And so when we replicate ourselves, when we make more cells, these breakages minute ones get born into the next generation of cells and the next generation of cells. And when we see can sit into incidents, so these breakages are directly correlated with the incidents of cancer.
Right. But when do we stop thinking about toxins and toxins affecting our DNA integrity or DNA wholesomeness. So right at day one, you can imagine how we increasing our risk for things like auto-immune, but cancer at earlier ages, which is what we see because. You know, if you're in the prenatal stage, you really gotta clean up the diet.
You've gotta be able to remove environmental toxins for the exact reasons that you were saying, because it's, it's not, you know, these diseases don't start. When they get diagnosed, you don't, you don't get cancer. When you go to the doctor and the doctor says you've got cancer. It took you 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years to develop cancer.
And where it starts is where we get the DNA being impacted by the environment, which causes these macro changes, which then get built into our system.
Bryan Carroll: [00:16:31] Hmm. Do you think with a super early exposure, like in the umbilical cord, that our bodies would be able to adapt and change in a way that it causes less damage?
Being exposed to those types of toxins and pollutants. So I think
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:16:48] there's always stuff we can do even at that point. So there's always stuff because we, we now understand how to switch on and switch off different genes. So we know that. We know that if there's been exposure in the umbilical cord, at that point in the pregnancy, we can treat the pregnant woman to be able to switch on genes that detoxify environmental toxins.
We have beautiful foods that can do that. We have some nutraceuticals, we can do that. So, you know, people always say like, is it too late? When I'm 70 to do a genetic test and find out how I'd managed toxins in my body? I'm like, it's never too late and it's never too early because there's. It's the same with the inflammatory.
So like, know who you are. Understand what you bring into this world, both from a genetic sequence point of view. So no, your spelling changes if I use the same, no. Your spending changes. No, your propensity, you bring in understand what your environmental exposure is, because if you have those two pieces of information, you can actually make some really incredibly powerful diet, lifestyle, and environmental changes to compensate for it.
So you really can do an amazing amount. I mean, things like trauma, all those things. If we know about it, if we know our genes, we can always do things to bring us back to a better baseline.
Bryan Carroll: [00:18:10] Now let's transition into talking a little bit more about how our genes and the foods that we eat can play with each other.
So what type of genes are you looking at to see what type of foods are better for someone and what type of foods are, is something that someone might have more of an issue with?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:18:26] Okay. Let's talk about let's, let's see, let's start with salt. So there is an entire industry That is very profitable and selling low salt foods or low sodium foods.
And in fact, if you look at the doctor guidelines for the country, they'll tell you that you must eat less salt, but if you look at it through a genetic lens, what we actually come to understand is that about 50% of the population have no response to salt whatsoever. So you can eat top pools of salt. And your blood pressure will not budge will not budge.
And in fact, you can have high blood pressure reduce your salt intake and your blood pressure will not budge because genetically you're not responsive to salt. Okay. So often in Nutrogenomix another word I love to use is responsiveness. How do I respond to salt? So salt is a perfect of that idea.
Caffeine is another excellent example. We know that there's certain individuals who will drink caffeine all day. They will have a double espresso before they go to sleep at night and it will have no impact on them. Others like myself. I have to have my caffeine very early in the day, because if I load up too much caffeine, I feel very agitated after the rest.
This, this is, remember we spoke about the spelling chain. So there's a spelling change in the gene puts up one 82. And when sup wanting to make the, the enzyme. That breaks down caffeine metabolizers caffeine. I have a spelling change. That means I'm very slow at broke breaking down caffeine. And you may have the version of the sequence that you really efficient at breaking down caffeine.
We can test that in a genetic test and be able to give you insight on how you break down caffeine. Another one is gluten gluten. Everyone's gluten crazy. Right? So interestingly How we break down gluten and manage it. And our body is very genetically driven. So we can actually look at genes that tell us if our body is unable to metabolize and utilize gluten.
And that's why we get an adverse reaction to it. And Gleason has such a bad effect on our gut. That is actually genetic. But indeed there's some individuals who. Even though they will be exposed to enough. Sunshine can not in Seattle, but in a sunny country like South Africa, I have a huge exposure to, to sun.
And yet when I measure my vitamin D levels, they low and that's because genetically how my buddy and remember vitamin D is actually like a hormone. It's much more than a vitamin. How my body metabolizes vitamin D how it converts vitamin D is governed by these spelling changes. So, what I'm kind of getting at is that there's no one recommendation for an individual.
There's no one dietary guideline because actually we all respond totally differently to different foods. And if we understand what our responses to all come, but even beef, Pilates, Coleen, I mean, I'm just thinking of all of them. The top of my head, we all have a different response
Bryan Carroll: [00:21:42] to others. And are you able to look at the genes and assess like specific types of foods, carbohydrates versus proteins, if someone would do better on a low carb, high carb diet, low fat, high, fat, et cetera, that type of stuff.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:21:55] So there are quite a few genetic testing companies in the industry. Who in their genetic reports will tell you that they can tell you what percentage of carbohydrates or fat or protein. I've been doing this for 20 years and I still do not believe that is so, so while we understand responsiveness to different foods and how the body interacts with different foods, the idea that we can.
In isolation of knowing who you are and what your goals are and your medical history and what you're trying to achieve. And what I do not believe that genetics right now can give you that information. I can give you information about the quality of dietary fat you should have. So the kinds of fatty acids, you can have, the better kinds of carbohydrates you can have.
I can even give you some information about the proteins, but what I can tell you is whether you. The proportion should be 70%, 60%, 40%. There's some things I can, I can understand around high fat versus a low fat diet, but I would never take it so far as to say, you know, you needed to go down to like a super low carbohydrate is going to be better for you.
I think that that's pushing the science a little bit too far.
Bryan Carroll: [00:23:09] Yeah. I've seen some people test with multiple different genetic tests in the States here, and they'll get the results back and they'll say the complete opposite for like their carbohydrates in their fats and proteins. So I've always been curious about that.
And I feel like the science quite isn't there yet. And I feel like a lot of those companies just want more markers on their paper too. You know, show you, Hey, look at all the stuff that we ran for you. So that's why I was asking that. Yeah,
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:23:37] I agree with you. I don't, I think the science has grown a lot, but we have.
To be so careful that we keep genetics and context that we don't overreach. The science that we capture the gyms of what genetics can give us, but we don't pander to the marketplace to be able to sell something that will actually no longterm undermines the science. If that makes sense. Yup.
Bryan Carroll: [00:24:04] Yeah. The same thing happening with the microbiome too, because you'll do a microbiome test is soil test.
And that's a snapshot of that specific moment on that specific day. And it'll give you a giant report that this is what you should eat, blah, blah, blah. Well, your microbiome could change tomorrow and based off of those results, it could be completely different. So, yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:24:24] Well, I mean the microbiome is another conversation, but the microbiome like genetics.
Genetics came first, the microbiome came second and we're still learning so much about genetics and how to give recommendations. And the microbiome is like 10, 20 years behind us. So, so my challenge with the microbiome, while I do think it's gonna play a fundamental part in the future of, of, of health and, and humans.
And we're still trying to understand how to interpret the data. So there's a difference between collecting data and translating data. And the great challenge of genetics of the last 20, 30 years has been measuring genetics as one thing, just because you can build a technology platform that can test our genes doesn't mean we know what to actually tell you to do, and you made an excellent Excellent point earlier about companies that just load stuff into the genetics, because if you're paying 200 or $300 and you're getting a thousand genes, it must be better than a test.
That's got a hundred genes in it. And in fact, it's the opposite because what happens with these companies is it's happening a bit with microbiome as well, is that they load up their genetic tests with genes because the price of testing has come down. So I can actually give you. 600,000 genes for the same price as 134 genes, but I can only clinically translate 134 of the 600,000.
So if I gave you 600,000, I would actually be giving you data, but no value, if that, right. But if I give you 134, that I know how to interpret, that are informative, that will give you information to bring into your life, to choose your foods, to choose your lifestyle. Then I'm creating value. And that is the exact problem where we have in the genetic testing industry.
And it's also happening in the microbiome where just because we can test it. Doesn't mean, we've worked out what to tell you to do with the data. And microbiome is really battling with that. And exactly you're at this genetics doesn't change, right? So if I test you today and I tested in 20 years, I'm going to get the same report because your genes don't change.
You might have like one little Barrett spelling change in their lifetime, but it's, it's it's module. But of course, as you said, your microphone, you could actually travel to Japan. And after being in Japan for 28 to 45 hours, if you do your microbiome, it will change. So, so that is the challenge that we have.
Bryan Carroll: [00:26:51] Yeah, and that I watched one of your videos and not like that too in the show notes as well, where you were talking about kind of the future of healthcare and a lot of more AI based. And I could totally see in the future that what whatever systems that are available, have your genetic sequencing in place.
And then when you go to the bathroom, number two in the morning, it'll automatically test your microbiome and then you'll get like a 3d printed. A dietary supplement or something like that, that is specific for you. So yeah. What, what do you think about that?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:27:24] Yeah, I mean, I do think the future so the future has to be about how we managed to translate data, not just data.
So we have this like data revolution, we obsessed with data, big data, right. We just, we want to. Test people. I mean, you want to sell it, but the challenge we have is what to do with it. Now, I think what's happening. And what you describing it is the future where genetics will always be your baseline, but then you want to see what's happening.
You got, then you want to see what's actually happening with your protein levels, right? And then you want to make decisions based on all those different things. And so at the moment, we're making decisions or giving recommendations based on. Genetics. And then some blood tests that you would go that your doctor would send you for some urine tests, some come at other tests.
And as a practitioner, I'm going to look at your genetics. I'm going to look at your blood tests from the labs that you've been to. I'm going to ask you a whole lot of questions and I'm going to make decisions what's going to happen in the future is going to have layers and layers of data. So I'm going to be able to extract much more information from your micro-biome exactly as you go to the bathroom in the morning.
It's going to measure it, urine test. It's going to tell me like your glucose, your incident, et cetera. And we're going to, because we have much better AI and machine learning. We're going to be able to put them into kind of a more systems approach where we can lay information. And that is definitely the future.
And at the moment. It's happening in the research world where we starting to build these layers of data and trying to figure out how they talk to each other. But it's definitely not ready for the commercial world. I think we've got some time to go still.
Bryan Carroll: [00:28:59] Yep. 50 a hundred years. Probably not an hour long.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:29:05] No, you look younger than I do. I don't think that far. I think, I think in the next decade, we'll start seeing it. I do think in the next decade, we'll start seeing it.
Bryan Carroll: [00:29:15] Wow. That's going to be quicker than I thought. Interesting. So another question I had is dealing with epigenetics. So just because you have a gene sequencing doesn't mean that that gene is going to express itself.
So how does that play its role in the type of foods that you eat?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:29:30] Okay. So if genetics is a word that everyone battles with, even practitioners would be working with me for years. So I prefer to talk about that. Let's just go back to basics. So we have a DNA sequence, which is our code. It's our blueprint.
We born with it and we have it for our life. And th and this code makes proteins, but something has to tell the body. To switch on the gene. It's like a light switch, right. I walk into the room and I switch on the light and the light comes on. So something needs to tell the body to switch on the gene to make that protein and whatever that enzyme or protein or hormone on your transmitters.
And this is the process of epigenetics. What is in our, in what is in our environment that is sending a message to our DNA, to either switch on. Or to switch off. And sometimes we even have master switches where we can, you know, you walk into a house and it's got like a master switch and you switch it on and it switches on all the lights.
We have that in genetics as well. In fact, we have this amazing, what we call a transcription factor called NRF two, which is a mega mega switch. And when you switch it on, it switches on about 500 genes that are all what we call defense genes. Detox genes and T inflammatory genes and to oxidate us fantastic genes.
So epigenetics is what we call if he is outside of. So outside of genetics, what is the thing that is happening that is talking to our genes that is switching them on or switching them off. And it's a very complicated process where it puts like a little, very chem, like a chemical marker under the gene.
And that when a gene gets tagged with that little chemical Maka, it wakes it up, it unravels and it makes a protein super smart. So when we do, Nutrogenomix what we do. We actually work in both spaces. We want to look at the DNA sequence and understand who you are. What are your spending changes, but we also want to use epigenetics or gene expression, as you said, to be able to help you to make the best possible decisions.
So I'm going to give you an example of epigenetics and why it's so powerful with food. So we do a genetic test on you, Bryan, and we discover that there's a couple of genes in your detoxification pathways that are not. Functioning up to me. So you have some spinning changes. That mean when you're in, when you go in fly to Beijing and you suddenly have this exposure to this huge amount of pollutants, your body is okay, most people will not be really good at dealing with Beijing, but you particularly are going to have a problem of processing those pollutants, which are coming into your body and getting them excreted and expelled from your body.
Right. You're just not a great detoxifier. Now, if I know that about you from your test, I want to use epigenetics to try and compensate and fix that. So what we know is we know there are some fantastic genes in the detox pathway, and if we can switch them on kind of manually, right, like intentionally go and switch them on.
We can improve how efficient jars or dicks detoxifier. So there's a family of genes called the GST genes, but gluten is transferred as genes. And these genes are very, very potent in terms of grabbing that pollutant molecule binding it, converting it to be weird water-soluble so that you can get it onto your body.
And we know that there are certain plant molecules, what we call bioactives, but they're really plant molecules. That can switch on those genes. So an example of those are plant molecules found in cruciferous vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, all those. Okay. But main ones, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.
Those are the ones that you mostly going to be eating. Brussels sprouts is obviously another one and broccoli sprouts. And we know that there's something in there could be Lucozade nuts. And this compound, when it enters your body and you eat a drawer and you chew that vegetable. So that's the tough bot role.
And two, it switches on these deep GST genes and it switches on your detox processes and helps you clear the pollutants. So next time you go to Beijing or any way pollutant, you pack your cabbage, cauliflower and your broccoli, and you snack on it all the time. Or we find you a very nice supplement that does the same thing, but that is an example of how we can use a nutrient in this case, a plant molecule to help genes express in the way that we want to, because the problem is it's not, that's the positive angle.
The negative angle is. When I do go to Beijing and I have the pollutants, those toxins are going to switch on genes or switch off genes that are going to have a negative impact. That's also epigenetics. So one side of the coin is know who you are, know what genes you were born with. Nobody, which your areas you want to focus on.
The second part is making choices in your life to switch on and switch off genes that are going to help you manage that health.
Bryan Carroll: [00:34:51] Well, that was an amazing explanation on how all that works. Thank you for that. Thanks for really breaking that down. Yeah, and that, that just shows kind of the complication, but also the beauty of getting these types of tests done.
And I do want to talk about the tests that you have available at a three X, four genetics. Can you talk about what it is that you're doing over there and who is able to get those labs?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:35:15] Okay. So. I've been building JTS for 20 years. And about five years ago, I hit a wall. I just felt that I hadn't done my best work.
And in fact, I believe that I, when I look back to where I started around my Grande and the cancer, that really I'd lost my way. And one of the reasons was it's kind of come back to our previous conversation, which is that I was building genetic tests. That were being led by scientists. So I, as a scientist was determining how the tests would look, how it would, what would it have in it?
Who would send it et cetera. And I realized that. To be valuable data has to be translated into a way that both a practitioner, a dietician or a doctor can use that information, but also for the person who paid for that genetic test, it has to be something they can engage with. They can understand it's meaningful to them and also tells them what to do.
So I went very much back to the drawing board and I went looking for a partner who would help me build a genetic test that wasn't just based on the science. And I, I, my business partner, his name is Jason Haydock and his background. I actually found him at a gaming company. He was the chief technology officer in a game of education company, and they did behavioral gaming.
So not candy crush, but how do we use gamification to change? Human behavior. And that for me was exactly the answer, right? Because we know that genetics gives you the most amazing insights to change your daily behavior, to live a better and healthier life. But no one had bolted genetic test that would inspire you to make those changes in your life because it just looked like a PDF with a table in it with some letters.
So Jason and I set off on this mission to bring design thinking user experience. Consumer centric innovation into genetics to say, how do we build a report that a practitioner will love to use? Because it's easy for them to understand, but also it's easy for them to use what the patient. We also made a decision that we would only sell our genetic tests through healthcare professionals.
And we did that because there are many, many companies in the market that you can go online, put your credit card details, get a genetic test, send it off and get your report. But genetics, it does not live in isolation. Genetics is a piece of a puzzle of who you are, but there's lots of other stuff. Your childhood, your background, your goals, your dreams, your current health concerns, you know, your training, your stress response.
So when I bolded you any tests, I'm not able to guess what those things are. So when I give you a report that tells you what to do, how do I know that I'm actually speaking to you? So I wanted to work with practitioners who didn't know who you are. I would give the practitioners that genetic piece of the puzzle, but the practitioner would fill in all the other information about you.
So that's the first thing. We work with practitioners who we train, I mean, mentor and we help use genetics in the practice. The second thing was around the design innovation. We built a genetic report that is based on two things. One is color. The whole report is based on color. So there's a language of color and we talk about falling the purple, where you can literally track a color through your boat so that you don't need to know the science.
You don't need to know the genes. You just need to follow the purple to the areas that are most impactful or meaningful to you. We did something else. We created something called pathway based analysis, which is the only company that has launched that in genetics, which said these genes. By themselves, you can't make these life changing decisions based on a single gene.
You can't say, well, I'm going to start eating 20 portions of cruciferous broccoli a day based on the same gene, because there's so many of these genes. So what we did was we grouped the genes together and we said, what are all the genes that work in detoxification? Let's take all the detoxifications group them together and see when we score them as a grouping.
How much is your detox impacted? Because all the other companies in the marketplace. They will give you one gene and they'll give you a doctor recommendation and probably a supplement for that gene. But the reality is you have 10 or 20 or 25 detox genes. So we grouped them and we both pathways. We have 36 pathways for everything from detox and information to glucose and insulin to estrogen too.
Sports prowess, how your VO two max works, how you more likely to be injured when you do training to vitamin D and caffeine or pathways. And there are grouping our reports. And finally, the thing we did, which I love the most is we both would be called a visual conversation because when I was in practice, which I was for a very long time, every time I.
Trying to explain a genetic report to a patient. I would draw pictures because understanding detox, so inflammation or methylation, very tricky. One is extremely difficult. So I had all these pictures, I would draw like a story. So when Jason and I were building this board, we said, well, if I'm drawing pictures all the time, why not build pictures?
Into the report. And so that's, we did, I report is based on what we call infographics, but they're really storytelling, visual conversations that, that show you in a visual way. What is detox? What is inflammation? The practitioner then is able to tell the story of what's happening with you and every single infographic changes for every single patient.
So depending on your genetic results, your picture looks different. And so it gave the practitioners of way to have a conversation with the patient that was about storytelling and pictures and not about data. And this is why one of the reasons why we really have created a completely different paradigm for working with genetic genetics, which is bringing the best elements of design technology, design thinking behavioral change and trying to bring it into the world of genetics.
Bryan Carroll: [00:41:43] Awesome. And practitioners that are listening and they can learn more at three X, four genetics.com. There was a couple of other questions I wanted to cover. First one is, are there any common misunderstandings around DNA based dieting that you think people should know? The
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:41:58] lots of misunderstandings around dieting?
So dieting is my dieting and genetics is my favorite area. So the bottom line for X, we could talk for like an hour, just about genetics of, of weight. Is that when I trained as a dietician, I was taught that calories in calories out that if we reduce calories, I mean, increased expenditure. Absolutely.
Everyone would use it. We've also taught that if a patient came to us, And we put them on a diet plan with reduced calories and they didn't lose weight when they came back to us, it was because they had lied to us. They were lying to us. They had cheated and they were lying and there was never an opportunity for us to think that maybe actually they had reduced the calories, done everything.
We told them that they hadn't lost weight. So one of the most exciting things for me in the world, genetics is understanding how people gain weight differently and lose weight differently. In fact, it's way more nuanced than that. We actually are driven to eat differently so we can take a bunch of our best friends and go to a buffet restaurant and stand in front of those tables, loaded with food.
And they're going to be seminar thing who go. Oh, I see the food alike for update plate, go to the table finish and they go, I'm done. And they're going to be a group. They don't go. There's more food. I'm going to get more food. I'm going to get more food and then go back to the buffet table and back to the buffet table.
Now, originally we used to do they greedy. They've got low willpower, lack of self-control, but the reality is way more complicated than that. Oh, genes. Drive out, eating behavior, binge eating snacking. You don't have to have a whole eating disorder, just something around the buffet table. How often do you snack?
How when we see food, what is our level of control? We also experience hunger differently. We don't all get hungry in the same way. We don't all get food in the same way. So how can we say that there's a diet plan for this person. We can feed people the same diet. Then one person will raise weight and keep the weight off.
Another one will lose weight and gain the weight back. And another one won't lose weight at all. And they all be doing the exact same thing. So one of the best things about the genetic report that we say we work with is trying to understand the individual. Of how they engage with energy that goes into the body, which is the eating, how we store energy in our body.
And we all store differently. Some of us hold on to that energy and don't want to let our body and how we burn up energy. There's a whole world of. Complexity and nuance and understanding why one individual eats in one way, Gaines weight and loses weight. And there is definitely no judgment about how we respond to that environment.
Bryan Carroll: [00:44:54] Awesome. And then my final question for you is what is your vision of what healthy looks like and what are three things you do daily to reach that vision?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:45:02] I'm not a hardcore health person, but enough, I am. I believe that my idea of health is really about finding, finding, finding your, your like your earth.
And I mean, that like applied point and it speaks back to what I, what I spoke about, about the weight. You've got to find your truth to be healthy. You cannot find someone else's truth, and it may be that your body weight is going to be higher than everyone, you know? But it may be your genetic truth. And then you work in that world.
You say, well, if I'm going to be that way, what does health look like to be in that space? Well, I'm going to eat a lot of veggies. I'm going to exercise a lot and that's the truth comes back to the exercise story. We are not all meant to be endurance athletes, doing hundred milers. We are not all meant to be doing.
CrossFit. We've got to find the thing that resonates with us. It's like a frequency it's tapping into frequency from how we manage stress. Not, not every person who told to meditate is going to meditate. I do not meditate. It's not my thing. You have to find your thing. So my thing is I am deeply passionate about cold water swimming.
I will swim in anything that's deep enough for me to get in and cold enough. And when I found that I found a way to manage my stress, to manage, to calm myself down, that some people use meditation. I found an exercise in a sport that I loved and felt comfortable in. I found a social connection. So for me, that ticked a whole lot of health boxes.
So for me, the is no one health and the journey of genetics is really is a journey of self knowledge of finding what your. Health world ecosystem looks like and not being falling into the trap of, of the social media, of what the latest trend is, or how many calories or Peloton, or I've done a million miles this week.
And for me, that's, I've always, I'm very, very careful about that.
Bryan Carroll: [00:47:15] Awesome. Well, people can find more about you at three X, four genetics.com. You also have your two books that I will link to in the show notes. Are you on any social platforms?
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:47:25] I am. I am. I'm not then, but I'm on Instagram. I'm on face. Well actually probably Instagram is this.
And LinkedIn, I love LinkedIn. So if you really want to find me you'll find me at GL jockey at three X, four genetics, and you'll find my endings and that's the best way to find me. You can also email us at info at three X, four genetics.com. It will be definitely Porter to me if you want to speak to me directly or go to my team.
But that's probably the best, two ways. Email and LinkedIn.
Bryan Carroll: [00:47:52] Perfect. Well, thank you Dr. Yael so much for coming onto the show. I appreciate it. I love this episode. There's so much information about genetics and I'm so excited to see the direction that understanding genetics is going to go in the future.
So it's really cool that you were able to come on and just share, you know, what's going on right now and the direction that it's headed. So thank you.
Dr. Yael Joffe: [00:48:14] Thank you very much. And thanks for having me, Bryan. Great. Being here.
Bryan Carroll: [00:48:17] I really enjoyed this conversation with Dr. Joffe. I'm glad she was not afraid to say that there is so a lot for us to learn about Nutrogenomix and if there isn't enough research to fully support a claim, then she wasn't willing to recommend to follow that claim.
At this time, if you are interested in taking one of the three X four genetic tests, feel free to reach out to me and I can help get you all set up for a test. Now next week I have a three-peat guest on the show. Cynthia. Thurlow let's go learn what we will be talking about. I am here with Cynthia Thurlow.
Hey, Cynthia, what is one unique thing about you that most people don't know? Oh, goodness.
Cynthia Thurlow: [00:48:56] I would say, say, and this is kind of an embarrassing thing, but it's so out of character that I think it would be probably funny when I was in college, my sorority sisters convinced me to become a Hooters waitress and I didn't know what that was.
And so for about six months when I was in college, I was a Hooters waitress. And it's about as far from who I am as an individual, but it kind of shows you I've got a
Bryan Carroll: [00:49:17] playful side. I don't know if there's many Hooters left. So I feel like we're about to enter a generation that has no idea what that is.
Cynthia Thurlow: [00:49:25] Yeah definitely the most PC thing in the world. I remember I was like, you want me to wear it?
Bryan Carroll: [00:49:32] Well, what will we be learning about in our interview together
Cynthia Thurlow: [00:49:36] talking about ways that people struggle with weight loss, which is probably the most common reason why people want to work with me.
Bryan Carroll: [00:49:45] And what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Cynthia Thurlow: [00:49:50] Ooh, I think first would be some fatty fish. So I think about salmon and sardines and tuna, cause we need more of the Omega threes and less of the Omega sixes. So those fatty acids I would also think about. Consuming more cruciferous vegetables, probably not the most sexy topic, but like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower and cabbage, like I'm on a total cabbage obsession.
And then I also think about I had some really good ideas when I was thinking about this earlier. I would say, you know, the other thing is, you know, really focusing in on you know, selenium rich. So that was one of the. Co-factors for thyroid hormone. So selenium rich foods, I always think about like Brazil nuts and things like that.
That can really be very nutrient sourcing for your thyroid.
Bryan Carroll: [00:50:40] In what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness? Ooh, high
Cynthia Thurlow: [00:50:46] quality sleep, seven, eight hours in a cold dark room. Eat less often. Doesn't necessarily have to be intermittent fasting and get sent some sunlight every single day.
I know, depending on where you are in the United States or abroad there may not be as much opportunity to have bare skin, but vitamin D synthesis is really critical. So getting out in the morning helps to reset your circadian rhythm. And also your, you have receptors in your retina that help remind your body that it's time to get moving.
Bryan Carroll: [00:51:14] It is always a pleasure to chat with Cynthia. And if you want to learn how to break through weight loss, plateaus, then make sure to listen in next week. So until then keep climbing to the peak of your health.
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