Nutritional Genetics Gene Descriptions

Nutritional Genetics Test
Gene Descriptions

Basic Information about Vitamin A & Genes:

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it is transported and metabolized along with fat in the body. Vitamin A obtained in fruits and vegetables, called carotenoids, is actually the inactive form of the vitamin. The active and most usable form of Vitamin A, retinoids, is in specific animal products, such as grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, and wild-caught salmon. The genes tested in this report make it difficult for a person to convert the inactive form into the active form of Vitamin A. This means that if you have genetic variations listed above you will need to concentrate on eating the foods with active Vitamin A. You can and should still consume fruits and vegetables that are high in beta-carotene (the main type of carotenoid), but you could be deficient in Vitamin A with these genetic variations if you do not consume animal products. You may also need to add additional Vitamin A supplementation with certain variations.


Basic Information About Vitamin D & Genes:

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it is transported and metabolized along with fat in the body. It is a critical nutrient for immune function and bone health. Vitamin D is often considered one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. While Vitamin D is readily synthesized from sunlight, it is often difficult to maintain levels due to climate conditions (cold, rain, etc.), the use of sunscreen, or genetic variations. The gene assessed in this test is directly linked to Vitamin D deficiency, as it is the controls the capacity for Vitamin D binding within the cell. Foods that are high in Vitamin D include grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, pasture-raised eggs, and sardines. Mushrooms are the only plant source of natural Vitamin D, as all others are fortified.


Basic Information About Vitamin E & Genes:

Vitamin E (tocopherols) is a fat-soluble nutrient, which means it is transported and metabolized with fats throughout the body. The health status of the liver actually determines how much Vitamin E is needed for each individual person, as it secretes alpha-tocopherol as necessary. As a whole, Vitamin E helps reduce oxidative stress in the body, which is protective against cardiovascular disease and cancer. The gene tested in this report directly affects Vitamin E secretion into the bloodstream. Variations are linked to lower levels of serum Vitamin E, which may allow for greater oxidative stress. Foods high in Vitamin E include wheat germ, roasted almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, and soy. Those with gluten-intolerance are exceptionally prone to Vitamin E deficiency, and it has been linked to neurological concerns. Most multivitamin supplements contain adequate Vitamin E levels for all age groups; however, topical liquid Vitamin E suspended in oil can be useful for skin conditions (burns, rashes, etc.).


Basic Information About Vitamin K & Genes:

Vitamin K is well known for its blood clotting properties and is necessary for bone health. This vitamin is found in multiple forms, but the most studied include K1 and K2. The best food sources for K1 are green leafy vegetables. The best food sources for K2 include animal products and fermented foods, especially natto, as the bacteria in the fermentation process is required for K2 production. The gene assessed in this report is most often studied for its effects on blood clotting medications; however, a variation in this gene is known to reduce the capacity for Vitamin K1 conversion from food sources and supplementation. With this variation, Vitamin K supplementation in the form of K2 may be utilized to offset the inability of the liver to convert K1 from food-based sources. However, if blood clots are a risk factor for you at any stage of life, speak with your physician before using Vitamin K supplements.


Basic Information About Vitamin C & Genes:

Vitamin C is a nutrient that can only be obtained by outside sources, such as food and supplementation. Since its antioxidant properties aid in the reduction of free radicals within the body, it is beneficial to include a wide variety of Vitamin C containing foods in your diet. Foods that are high in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, and squash. The genes tested in this report are associated with Vitamin C deficiencies. Overall, Vitamin C is linked to immune health, heart health, and musculoskeletal health. Supplementing with Vitamin C may be necessary during the various stages of life. In fact, using Vitamin C daily has been linked to a decrease in multiple disease processes.


Basic Information About Folate & Genes:

Folate, or Vitamin B9, is an important nutrient for over 200 processes in the body. The genes in this test specifically function as folate conversion genes and folate transport genes. MTHFR helps to convert folate from your food into usable, active folate (known as methylfolate or 5-MTHF). When you have a variation in this gene, you are less efficient at converting folate from your food, which can lead to deficiency. SLC19A1 is a folate transporter gene, which moves active folate into your cells for use. When you have a variation of this gene, you are more likely to have folate deficiency. The foods highest in folate include green leafy vegetables, legumes, avocados, pasture-raised eggs, and asparagus. Consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If you need to supplement, use methylfolate or folinic acid (aka calcium folinate) in forms. During pregnancy, you may require folate levels starting between 800mcg – 1000mcg. Minimize folic acid use, as it is the synthetic form and less efficient than the other forms. If you have had blood work and know that you are Folate deficient or have high homocysteine, our “Homocysteine-Control” product is ideal for these variations.


Basic Information About Vitamin B12 Genes:

Vitamin B12 is necessary for a variety of functions in the body, especially neurological health and energy. The genes assessed in this test often lead to B12 deficiency when a variant is detected. B12 can become deficient for several reasons. Most commonly, heavy alcohol use, Celiac Disease, and vegan diets are linked to B12 deficiency. The best food sources of B12 are animal products, especially grass-fed beef, sardines, clams, tuna, eggs, and dairy. Non-animal-based products are fortified with Vitamin B12, especially nutritional yeast, nondairy alternatives, and grains. If you have variants in these genes and have symptoms, consider supplementing with the methylcobalamin form of B12. This is the most active form. Other options include hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin; however, each form of B12 can be used for different purposes. Avoid cyanocobalamin, as it is synthetic. If you have high levels of homocysteine, our “Homocysteine-Control” is an idea product to incorporate.


Basic Information About Vitamin B6 Genes:

Vitamin B6 is often considered vital for neurological health, especially neurotransmitter production. Found in foods such as hazelnuts, fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, garlic, and sweet potatoes, B6 is relatively easy to come by with a varied diet. The gene tested above actually states that the wild type (no variant) leads to potential B6 deficiency. This is one of the few times where having a variant is a protective factor. Taking B6 as P-5-P or Pyridoxine HCL is a simple way to increase your levels; however, food sources are often adequate. Supplemental B6 can have a toxicity associated with too much, so if you notice pins/needles in your feet and hands after taking a supplement, it may not be appropriate for you.


 Basic Information About Vitamin B2 Genes:

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) goes hand in hand with all other B Vitamins, especially folate. They work together in a variety of ways, but B2 is often known for eye health, skin health, and cardiovascular health. When B2 is deficient, it increases the potential for folate and B12 deficiencies. Foods rich in B2 include roasted almonds, spinach, oats, peas, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs, and grass-fed beef. Consuming these foods provides adequate levels of B2; however, supplementation may be necessary if symptoms are present. A multivitamin or prenatal is generally considered adequate; however, additional Vitamin B2 may be necessary if homocysteine is high or if migraines are present. Our “Homocysteine-Control” is a good option for this.


Basic Information About Choline Genes:

Choline is a nutrient required for every cell in the body. It is used to protect cell membranes, aid in neurotransmitter production, and protect liver health. Foods highest in choline include egg yolks, liver, fish, meat, dairy, brussels sprouts, and fermented soybean. The genes assessed in this test are specifically linked to phosphatidylcholine deficiency and have been linked to a variety of health conditions, especially inflammation and dementia. Supplementation of this nutrient can be used for a variety of conditions, but research suggest it is especially important for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity.


Basic Information About Fatty Acids Genes:

Fatty Acids are a necessary nutrient for overall wellness. Heart and brain health depends on the levels of anti-inflammatory fatty acids circulating in the blood stream. Specifically, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are known for their role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. The genes assessed in this report are linked to altered ratios of Omega 6 Fatty Acids (pro-inflammatory) to Omega 3 Fatty Acids (anti-inflammatory). While consuming wild-caught fatty fish is the best source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, supplementing with fish oil or vegan alternatives may also help. Other foods, such as flax and chia seeds, have some levels of anti-inflammatory fatty acids; however, genetic variations make it more difficult to fully utilize plant-based sources.


Basic Information About Mineral Genes:

Most people associate minerals with bone and immune health; however, minerals are needed for every function of life. Separately, minerals are known for specific actions on the body; however, when taken together they work synergistically. The genes assessed in this test are known for creating deficiencies with these specific minerals. The best food sources, for minerals in general, include green vegetables, beef liver, shellfish, nuts/seeds, and avocados. Using a broad Magnesium supplement in addition to a Multi will generally provide enough minerals for genetic variations.


Basic Information About Glutathione Genes:

High levels of oxidative stress may lead to high levels of free radicals in the body. This can lead to a variety of health-related complications, especially poor detoxification and metabolic dysfunction. Maintaining healthy levels of antioxidants in the body such as Glutathione, can be considered one addition to wellness care along with maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Glutathione aids in the maintenance in levels of vitamin antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Folate, and Vitamin E. It also improves the immune system and aids in detoxification. Most Glutathione supplementation is not effective at increasing serum levels; however, using the precursor, NAC, has been shown to provide high antioxidant properties. Foods high in Glutathione include asparagus, spinach, okra, and avocados.


Basic Information About Carbohydrate Metabolism Genes:

Carbohydrates are sugar, cellulose, or starch, and they provide energy on the cellular level for all ages. The genes assessed in this report specifically control how well you metabolize carbohydrates and whether you can utilize carbs for weight management. All people do well with carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, fruit, and fiber; however, genetically, people may be sensitive to processed or refined carbs. Ultimately, if weight management is a goal, pay close attention to these genes. Following a diet based on these genes may result in necessary weight loss/gains and stronger muscle. Consult the following page for details about lipid (fat) metabolism, as well as the gluten/dairy sensitivity page, to create an ultimate dietary plan of action.


Basic Information About Fat Metabolism Genes:

Lipids are fatty acids that are required for cellular health and growing bodies. Dietary fats are essential for all ages; however, your genes do control whether or not you can create a meal plan around them. All ages do well with mono and polyunsaturated fats in their diets, especially from foods such as olive oil, avocados, nuts/seeds, and wild-caught salmon. Most people genetically do not tolerate saturated fats, such as bacon, butter, and fried foods. You will always have a combination of APOE variations, so err on the side of caution if you have any combo that contains E2 or E4. The combination of E4/E4, however, is most commonly linked to neurodegenerative diseases and deserves immediate dietary action.


Basic Information About Dairy Sensitivity Genes:

Dairy is one of the most revered food groups across all cultures; however, there are a few genetic types that will find it difficult to consume dairy. Diary includes milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, and all other milk byproducts from animals (most commonly cows, goats, and sheep). Human breastmilk is not considered dairy. The genes assessed in this report specifically look at lactose tolerance and the metabolic implications of dairy consumption. Contrary to popular belief, dairy is not a necessary food source at any stage of life. While it may be rich in calcium and fats, there are other food options that have adequate levels of those nutrients. If you choose to consume dairy, make sure it is grass-fed and organic whenever possible.

Certain people should avoid dairy regardless of their genetic status:

  • Children with ASD
  • Children with asthma or allergies
  • Children with chronic ear infections
  • Women with thyroid conditions
  • Individuals with autoimmune conditions
  • Overweight or obese individuals
  • Individuals with cardiometabolic conditions


Basic Information About Gluten Sensitivity Genes:

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is the molecule that gives breads and pasta the “sticky” feeling when mixing dough. It also happens to create inflammatory issues for a large percentage of the population. While breads are a symbolic food for many cultures, the latest literature links gluten to multiple disease processes, especially autoimmune reactions. In general, it is safe to follow a gluten-free diet. Be cautious when eating at restaurants or consuming processed foods, as there are many hidden sources of gluten. While gluten itself if not a required nutrient, there are essential vitamins and minerals that are found in wheat. Vitamin E and selenium are common deficiencies in those eating a gluten-free diet, so supplementation may be necessary. The genes tested in this report have been extensively researched in their connection to Celiac Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.


Basic Information About Environmental Sensitivity Genes:

While everyone has difficulty processing environmental toxins, children and older adults are most susceptible, and a variety of genetic variations make them prone to experiencing neurological and metabolic dysfunction. The genes assessed in this report have been linked to poor detoxification of several chemicals, especially pesticides and food dyes. Milk Thistle and Glutathione are considered gold standard nutrients for issues within the detoxification system.


Poor Detoxification Symptoms Associated with These Genes:







Low T

Spider Veins

Heart Disease


Brain Fog



Fatty Liver


High Histamine Foods






Left Overs

Smoked Meat




This is not an exhaustive list of high histamine foods, but avoiding these may be a good place to start if you are concerned about the above-mentioned symptoms and/or are at risk for histamine intolerance.


Basic Information About MAO Genes:

MAO genes serve to break down neurotransmitters, so they can be used properly in the body. While the gene affects all neurotransmitters, it is most widely associated with serotonin metabolism. Serotonin is the hormone most often associated with happiness. Males are more likely to have symptoms associated with MAO gene variants, as it is a sex-linked gene. This means, males can only gain a copy of the gene from their mother. In females, heterozygous variations are neither high nor low, which is considered ideal. This gene has been most widely studied in association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and mental health conditions. The symptoms may be present at any stage of life, and the food and supplement recommendations are relevant for any age. Literature often discusses the activity of MAOa in terms like “high” or “low” activity level. High MAOa means gene activity quickly breaks down serotonin, leaving too little in the brain. Low MAOa means the gene slowly breaks down serotonin, leaving too much in the brain.


Basic Information About the COMT Gene:

Much like the MAO genes, COMT serves to metabolize neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, your “feel good” chemical. Dopamine plays a role in the pleasure centers of the brain, and COMT enzyme activity will greatly affect your mood, productivity, and personality. COMT enzyme activity is discussed in terms of “high” or “low,” creating an exaggerated effect on the levels of dopamine in the brain. There are good and bad aspects of high and low COMT activity, so the goal should always be to balance neurotransmitters so that no adverse symptoms are present. Heterozygous variations are neither high or low, which is considered ideal. Every stage of life is affected by COMT, so food and supplement recommendations remain constant for any age. Both males and females have an equal opportunity for COMT activity to be problematic.


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