Could your undesirable coping skills be predetermined by your genes?
By now I think we have all come to accept that the idea of “going back” is no longer an option. We are beginning to realize that we are moving towards a different story and a future, that while uncertain, is where we are undoubtedly heading. This time has taken its toll on many of us and for some its unleashed unhealthy coping strategies.
As my knowledge and interest in how lifestyle and environment effects our genetic expressions, it became crystal clear to me why this time has unleashed unprecedented cases of depression, anxiety, drug relapses, suicidal tendencies, and overall declines in mental health. First lets distill the difference between a gene and an single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). A gene is a fact. Like your hair or eye color, it is something predestined to be there at all times. An SNP, on the other hand is a vulnerability, meaning that its expression is dependent on the environment and physiology occurring in real time.
While I will not be reviewing specific SNPs, understanding how they play a role in the brains ability to produce, sustain, breakdown and control the delicate balance of neurotransmitters is a game changer in mental health. Levels of serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine are all controlled by enzymes. In times of stress, the nutrients needed to fuel the functionality of these enzymes is often depleted. SNP’s dictate the efficiency of your enzymes and they can either allow them linger longer in the synapses or degrade faster than can be produced. Someone like me, who has difficulty breaking down adrenaline can easily be prone to coping mechanisms like over exercising, OCD and aggression. The urge to drink, smoke or gamble likely are expressed in individuals who degrade dopamine very quickly. Serotonin metabolism may be altered in someone who becomes violent, self-harms or simply isolates in deep depression. As you can see, how we thrive mentally is a delicate dance between our inner and outer worlds.
The good news is there is help. We no longer have to self-shame or walk around thinking we have weaknesses or character flaws. Those days are over, we can now hack our SNPs and use nutrients like SAMe, Folate, B6, B12, Tryptophan, Tyrosine, Choline, Glycine and many more, along with diet, mindful practices and exercise to self-regulate. This in no way replaces the need for coaching and therapy. In fact, as a life coach, and integrative practitioner, I believe the two go hand in hand. Having the SNP data from a test like “23 and Me” gives me a glimpse into your innate tendencies. This allows us to work in partnership on a much deeper level. This my friends, is nutrigenomics, using nutrients to transform our epigenetic expressions.
If you read this far you are probably wondering how this all works. It is very easy, If you've already had a 23 and Me test done, with your permission, I can access your raw data. Once I review, we can schedule a 30 minute consult to discuss which and what SNP may be important to address. If you have not already had a 23 and Me test, please contact me for advise on other testing options that may be more precise for your specific health journey.
Lastly, please see my websiteNephesh-Health.comfor more information on all my services. I offer afree introductory 15 minute callabout nutrigenomics to see if testing is a fit for you. I am also part of the Coaching Collective, a group of life coachesthat are offering free sessions during this unprecedented time.
Finally, If you find this information interesting, informative or helpful in anyway, please share it.
In Love and Service
Wendy Finkelstein PA-C, MMS, FAAMFM