Did you know that your gut is filled with a complex network of living microorganisms including bacteria and fungus? That’s right, as you’re reading this your gut is crawling with thousands of little critters, but while that might sound like the beginning of a horror film, it’s a good thing. As humans (and most mammals) evolved, we formed symbiotic relationships with gut bacteria that aided our digestion and enabled us to eat the wide and varying diets that we do. By the time you’re two years old, your gut is fully formed and seeded with good bacteria that ferment dietary fiber, support the immune system, inhibit the effect of pathogens on the body, synthesize vitamins, and metabolize most of what we eat. But what happens when the environment in our gut shifts and leads way to an overgrowth of bad bacteria? Read More
Did you know your genes determine if your body is resistant to losing weight? Genetic predisposition also plays a roll in how our bodies show signs of aging. Enter your email address below to receive our free instructional guides. Learn 7 ways your DNA influences your ability to lose weight, process carbohydrates in your diet, effectively absorb folate, and more!
When you wake up in the morning, what’s your go to meal? Maybe a bowl of multigrain cereal with 2% milk, maybe a small bowl of strawberry yogurt with some pieces of fruit. Maybe you’re more traditional and prefer pancakes with syrup, bacon, eggs, the whole shebang. Or maybe you’re one of those people who runs out the door with their vanilla latter or coffee with cream and sugar. No matter your eating habits, odds are you’re starting off your day with way more sugar than you even realized. In fact, your entire diet likely consists of hidden processed and refined sugars and could be what’s keeping you from feeling energized, losing those few stubborn pounds, or even causing more serious health concerns. Read More
Whether you like it or not, working out is a great thing. It’s a way to get your body moving, your blood pumping and your heart racing. Sometimes getting started on a consistent work out schedule can be a miserable experience, but that’s only because your body is still adjusting to that much activity. So let’s talk about what working out really is, all the different reasons you should be doing it, and all the benefits of being active. Read More
If you’ve been following our blog, or our products for that matter, then you know that our individual genetics have an effect on how our bodies process food and nutrients, as well as how well it will react to exercise. We also know that if we know how our bodies react to food and exercise, then we can leverage that information to get the most out our bodies. The same goes with how we age. We can now leverage our genetic information to slow down the effects of aging.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: “How is that even possible?”
Not only is it possible, but the process for combating the effects of genetic aging is a simple one: locate your weak points and target them. The first step to figuring out your weak points is knowing where they might be. With GxRenew, we give you insight into those weak points and provide the tools to potentially improve your personal aging process. Read More
Metabolism. Chances are you’ve heard this word and understand it to be related to how efficiently your body processes food and energy, which is true. High metabolism means you will burn more energy and probably store less fat, and a low metabolism means you will burn less energy and might be susceptible to weight gain.
Did you know that your daily behavior and lifestyle have significant effects on your metabolism?
Here are 7 quick and easy tips to boost your metabolism:
- Eat breakfast! You know how people say breakfast is the most important meal of the day? That’s because if you don’t eat in the morning, your body thinks that food is scarce for the day so it holds back your metabolism and energy expenditures so you don’t waste too many calories. Eating a breakfast at the start of your day tells your body that more food is coming so it starts burning calories at full capacity.
- Work out before your breakfast! If you wake up and go straight for a walk or run, you are going to be burning calories from whatever is left in your stomach, which shouldn’t be much after sleeping, and then move onto your energy stored in your body. If you wait until after your breakfast, then you will mostly be burning off just the food in your stomach. Even doing a few sets of pushups or air squats before you eat can help.
- More muscles = higher metabolism! Not only that, but high intensity interval training (aka, “HIIT”) will provide you with an additional boost on your metabolism for the 24-48 hours following your workout session. Ample protein is necessary building muscle, so make sure you have plenty of protein in your diet.
- Drink lots of water! Not only is water essential to a healthy body, but it also takes energy to digest it. Drinking water as soon as you wake up can also help jump-start your metabolism. Try keeping water on your nightstand for the morning.
- Get your omega 3’s! Omega 3, typically found in fish oil, improves your cardiovascular efficiency and will result in a more balanced metabolism. Try to get at least 1000mg per day. Flaxseed oil is also another good source of omega 3.
- Eat healthier! Whole foods with pesticides and preservatives will interfere with your thyroid, preventing your metabolism from running at full speed after eating. In addition to having zero nutritional benefit, refined sugars will trigger insulin spiking and make you feel sluggish, working against an active lifestyle.
- Be more active! Being active, even with little things, will not only burn more calories during that activity but also temporarily give you a slight increase in metabolism. Adopting a more active lifestyle can collectively add up to as much activity as a daily workout! There are plenty of ways to work this into your day, and you can always kick it up a notch if you are already doing these things and want to see improved results:
- Take the stairs.
- Use a small glass of water at your desk so you have to keep getting up to refill it.
- Walk to get food or run an errand instead of driving.
- Park further away so it forces you to walk a little more.
- Play golf? Walk instead of riding the cart.
When people hear about our programs, the first thing they want to know is how they work. We always explain the process, but sometimes it’s better to hear about a real experience from someone that doesn’t work for the company that makes the product. So I’d like to share the experience of Hannah Wallace, from Sarasota Magazine, with GxSlim, which she documented in the magazine’s “I was a human guinea pig” segment in June of last year.
Hannah had her GxSlim test performed at ARCpoint Labs, an affiliate partner with Genetic Direction located in Sarasota, Florida. In case you are not aware, you can purchase our tests directly from us via our website, or from a local affiliate (physician, dietitian, etc.), with the added benefit of the affiliate providing in-person coaching on diet and exercise recommendations.
After an anxious two weeks, Hannah received her results. She was a little taken aback by some of the report’s findings, but was provided clarity and reassurance once she spoke to a health professional, which she described as “arguably the most important part of this process”. Once Hannah and her health professional coach were able to customize a weight loss routine based on her genetics, she was off to the races. While some of the results may not be what a person hopes for (we can’t all have super high metabolism), some of the truth of your genes can actually be refreshingly good news. For Hannah, her good news came in the form of her fat loss response to cardio being low. She could now enjoy long walks and light jogs, which she used to think weren’t helping her, because they are the key to her losing weight from cardio. Once you know this about yourself, like Hannah, you can adjust your expectations and avoid being discouraged when you don’t reach potentially unrealistic results. Most importantly, you can modify your diet and exercise programs to take full advantage of your new-found knowledge of your genetics and see better results from your efforts.
“Now I don’t look for instantaneous weight loss. I know I have to be patient, and I know it’s not my fault—it’s my genes.” —Hannah Wallace
Genetic testing has become drastically more accessible to the general public over the last few years. Some of these tests have been around for some time but are only now available for reasonable prices due to advances in the testing process and technology. So now that we can easily take these tests, should we make them a part of our standard physical exam?
First lets look at the different benefits to be gained from genetic testing and what genetic testing can tell us about ourselves.
There are many diseases that we inherit genetically from our parents and their ancestors. Many diseases don’t show strong signs until a person has had them for some time. Knowing that you have a good chance of having one of these diseases in the future is great information to have ahead of time so that you can potentially find and treat them before things become too severe. Some of these diseases include cancer, Celiac disease, age-related macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, psoriasis, and many more.
Recessive Disorders Passed Through Pregnancy
As just mentioned, parents can pass along predisposition to hereditary genetic diseases to their children, and these diseases may or may not materialize. With genetic testing, both parents can be tested prior to a pregnancy to find out whether or not their children are at risk for certain diseases. Most of the time, these “recessive disorders” need to be passed down by both parents for the child to be affected, but even with both parents passing down the same gene, there is still only a 25% chance that the child will actually have the disease. Knowing this information prior to having a baby can be very helpful for knowing what to watch out for with your child. You may be able to find a life changing disease before it has a significant effect on your child’s life.
Self Improvement and Increased Efficiency
Some of the more recent testing programs provide reporting about how our bodies process food, perform during exercise, and even age – introspective information about how our bodies work that can make our lives much easier. A lot of people aren’t the biggest fans of working out, so wouldn’t it make sense to do it as efficiently possible and get the most out of it? It can also be fairly discouraging to keep working hard but never see any significant results, which easily happens if you are working against your genetics. We have programs for both healthy weight loss and healthy aging. Our healthy aging program, which is available for pre-order, will tell you how to slow down the negative effects of aging.
Soon, you may even be able take physical performance one step further and attempt to reach your ultimate genetic potential. We are currently working on a program for this, as well.
Medication Sensitivity (VERY IMPORTANT!)
Knowing what diseases to look out for could save your life, but knowing which medicines people are sensitive to will save thousands of lives annually. Medications don’t always work for everyone, and that can mean big trouble if you are depending on that medication to survive. Adverse drug reactions are the 4th leading cause of death in the US, according to Rxight, claiming more than 100,000 lives each year. Rxight (don’t ask me how to pronounce that) makes a test that measures drug sensitivity based on your genetic makeup. I actually insist that this become a common test. It’s a no brainer, and should be a part of our Electronic Medical Records.
Genetic tests can tell you more about your heritage and where your bloodline comes from. This isn’t really helpful for your health, but it is interesting.
So in summary, genetic testing can tell us what diseases we and our kids might develop, how to get the most out of our bodies, how to fight the effects of aging, how to know which medicines do or don’t work on our bodies, and the ancestry of our blood lines. If the goal of a physical is to check your overall health and make sure you don’t have any medical problems you are unaware of (which it is), then it seems pretty obvious that the advantages of genetic testing will only enhance the goal of a physical and end up saving lives.
Yours in Good Health,
In the last post, I talked about self-control, denial, and my “slight” sweet tooth, so I thought it would be good to follow up with a discussion about how sugar affects the body. Spoiler alert: it’s all bad.
There isn’t a single good thing that sugar does for you:
- It has zero nutrition value whatsoever. It actually works very strongly against you since it triggers insulin spiking, typically resulting in more body fat.
- “Sugar makes kids go crazy!” – FALSE. While sugar can be burned in the body as fuel, it provides no boost in energy and actually slows you down due to the insulin spiking. Kids are just crazy already.
- Sugar is VERY addicting and doesn’t fight hunger at all, leaving you very susceptible to over eating. This just compounds the effects of its empty calories. In fact, it can take up to a couple of weeks just to get the sugar cravings out of your system, and those cravings can be strong. Like ”cigarettes” strong, and eating or smoking to relieve a craving is sort of like tying your shoes REALLY tight so that you can feel the brief relief from untying them later. You’re doing it to yourself.
- It can really mess up your skin in the short term, and even cause long term damage if you don’t get it under control in time (I’ll go into that more in a minute).
All in all, it does NOTHING good for you internally, and, in case you didn’t know it, your skin is basically a billboard for your internal health, advertising what’s going on in the inside.
Back to your skin… Two of the proteins in your skin are collagen and elastin, which are responsible for keeping your skin nice and young, both in structure and appearance. When you have extra sugar in your blood stream, it attaches to proteins in a process called glycation, which produces advanced glycation end products (aka AGEs). Guess which proteins are glycation’s favorite: collagen and elastin. AGEs then cause your skin to become thin, rigid and discolored, which leads to wrinkling and sagging, as well as deactivating the natural antioxidants in your body that protect your skin from sun damage. If you aren’t seeing the results now, you will by your thirties, which is when they typically start to show, according to most studies.
So what can you do?
- First off, cut back on foods with sugar in them! It’s surprising how many things have high sugar content, but eating natural foods is easier than ever now that eating healthy is becoming more popular.
- Avoid condiments and drinks with a lot of sugar: soft drinks, heavy coffees, margaritas 🙁 , ketchup, and barbecue sauce. Even most diet soft drinks still trigger insulin spiking, so you should honestly avoid those too. (Healthy Condiment Alternatives)
- Exercise! You can burn off that extra sugar in your blood by staying active.
- Foods with natural sugars in them – fruits, vegetables, etc. – are great in the right proportions. If you don’t over eat them, you should be fine.
- In regard to dessert, eating ice cream or cake right before you go to bed basically guarantees that you’re going gain body fat while you sleep because it has no chance of being completely burned off in time.
- And if you’re really worried about your skin, you may want to look into changing up your sunscreen regimen as well.
Plus, you could always go cold turkey on sweets until it’s out of your system. If the withdrawals seem like they’ll be too much then find a buddy. Suffering is always better when with a partner!
There’s a lot of information about sugar and its effects available out there, so look around if you are curious. This is another good video we found that explains how sugar became so popular and some of its other negative effects.
In Good Health,
…or at least reduces it.
I have a pretty big sweet tooth and used to eat a lot of candy. I mean a LOT of candy, like so much I’m honestly surprised I don’t have diabetes yet. For context, on my first birthday of my fiancée and I being together, she thoughtfully bought me a whole grocery bag full of my favorite candies. Easily the most candy I’ve ever had in my possession at once. While she innocently assumed that it would last me months, we were both surprised to see it gone within a couple weeks.
The actual candy from my birthday…
Why did I do this to myself? Part of it was that I was weak and had poor self-control when it comes to candy and the biggest reason for this was that I kept telling myself that I had a great metabolism and could eat all the candy I wanted without gaining weight. I kept telling myself that as a justification to my weak behavior and since I was never really that out of shape there was nothing telling me otherwise. So I kept drinking my own cool-aid.
But then I was tested, for genetics not diabetes, and I could no longer lie to myself about what my body could handle. In fact, after taking GxSlim I learned that I have a high metabolism for all carbs EXCEPT for sugar. The only reason I wasn’t ballooning up from all the candy was because of how much I lifted weights. I know that because GxSlim also told me that I have enhanced anaerobic training response, which means that I will increase my metabolism and burn a lot of fat very effectively by lifting weights often. If I hadn’t been eating so much candy I would have been in a lot better shape, and on the flip side, if I hadn’t been working out some much I would have done some serious damage to my body.
Today I barely eat any candy or sweets and my body has become a lot leaner and I feel better as a result, although I never turn down the free lollipops at the rapid lube I take my car to. I still think about buying sweets when I see them at the store or on the dessert menu at a restaurant, but thanks to the undeniable results of my genetics test and how great I feel without all the sugar in my system, the craving just isn’t there anymore.
THIS POST WAS GUEST BLOGGED BY RYAN BALL
The term “hack” or “hacking” is somewhat misunderstood. Thanks to pop culture influence from movies and television shows, a lot of people seem to think that hacking is about breaking into a computer system to steal something or plant a virus. Really, when most people today refer to hacking, especially people in the tech industry, they are talking about using existing systems to get a desired result or to simply build something new using existing materials. There’s even this great thing called LIFE HACKS that are neat little short cuts to help you in your daily life. If you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend you check some out. They could change your life.
My favorite Life Hack for figuring out what clothes I can get rid of…
In the same way that life hacks can help your life stay organized and efficient, we can now use genetics to hack our bodies to achieve the best health results. Every single person has a different genetic makeup, and depending on their genome, will react to exercise and nutrition differently. Some people can burn fat just by lifting weights, some by running everyday, and others by doing sprints a couple of times a week. Some people can eat a lot of carbs and not gain fat, others can’t. The key is to figure out what your genetic makeup is and follow a routine that works best for your body.
Now the key is to figure out how YOUR unique body works. You can, of course, track your body composition for months, or years, while you use a trial and error process to evaluate different workouts and diets, OR you can purchase GxSlim from Genetic Direction. GxSlim uses a simple home test kit that requires a quick swab of the inside of your mouth to get all the genetic material the test needs. Order the kit online, follow the simple instructions, drop it back in the mail, and then a couple of weeks later you will get online access to your comprehensive, personalized report. The report does a great job of simplifying such a complex sounding concept, and GxSlim also includes “telehealth” sessions with a dietician/health coach who will explain exactly what everything means and tell you exactly what you should eat and how you should exercise in order for you body to get lean and healthy.
Sample of the report summary page
GxSlim also includes other resources through the online portal, such as articles, videos, recipes, custom diets and exercise routines tailored for your unique genome. PLUS, if you are already a 23andMe customer, you will get a $130 discount on GxSlim.