Back to podcasts
Episode 4: What Your Genes Can Tell You About Gluten Sensitivity and Glutathione
In the final episode on genetics we focus on what genes can tell us about gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Dr Murphy also details us on how to harness the power of glutathione to support detoxification though the lens of genomics. Music by Bensound.
The content of this podcast has not been evaluated by Health Canada or the FDA. It is educational in nature and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult a qualified medical professional to see if a diet, lifestyle change, or supplement is right for you. Any supplements mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please note that the opinions of the guests or hosts are their own and may not reflect those of Advanced Orthomolecular Research, Inc.
* * * Intro Music * * *
[0:43] Hello, and welcome to Supplementing Health, a podcast presented by Advanced Orthomolecular Research. I’m your host, Dr. Paul Hrkal. This show is all about applying evidenced-based and effective dietary lifestyle and natural health product strategies for your optimal health. We are going to feature some very engaging clinicians and experts from the world of functional and naturopathic medicine to help achieve our mission to empower people to lead their best lives naturally.
* * *
[1:12] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Welcome to the Supplementing Health Show. I’m your host, Dr. Paul Hrkal. We’re just in the midst of a three-part “All About Genetics” Series. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Robin Murphy and Dr. Aaron Goldman, and I’d like to welcome them back for part three. Welcome back, guys.
[1:32] Dr. Robin Murphy: Thank you.
[1:32] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Thank you.
[1:33] Dr. Paul Hrkal: In this part, we’re going talk about some of the further clinical applications, some of the information you get out of knowing your genetics. We talked about the introduction about genetics, what epigenetics is, and what that has to do with relating back to genetics and the difference between our environment and the way our genes are expressed. Everyone has a pretty good foundation. If you have any questions, go back and check out that episode.
[2:00] In part two, we talked about some of the applications specific to nutrients and diet. We talked about can genetics inform us if keto is good for us, or plant-based, and some of the nutrients that may be impacted by that? But we still didn’t have time to talk about some of the gold that is present in a really good genetic test.
[2:25] We had to go back and do a part three, so here we are. In this episode, we’re going to zoom in on food sensitivities, and we’re going to talk about gluten. That’s a huge thing now. Do I go gluten-free, or do I not?
[2:41] If we have time, we’ll get into hormones and detoxification because those are hugely relevant, but let’s get right into food sensitivities. I’m going to ask Robin this because I know that we’ve talked about this a lot, to do gluten-free, or to not do gluten-free?
[2:59] I’ll set the stage by saying that clinically avoiding gluten with my patients has been a huge benefit for them. I do a lot of concussion recovery and brain injuries. This is the one nutritional intervention that when they avoid gluten 100%, there’s a huge improvement in things like brain fog, the gut/brain connection, there’s really, really involved in inflammation, which I know that is incredibly helpful. I want to get your take on gluten, and specifically what our genes might tell us about it.
[3:38] Dr. Robin Murphy: I think this topic, there are so many different angles that we could talk about gluten, we could talk about environmental chemicals and the effect that it’s having on the quality of our food. But today, we’re going to focus on the genetic implications and how that can inform people of whether or not they actually need or should be avoiding gluten or doing follow-up testing to see if they have any sort of reactions to gluten.
[4:05] We know that gluten, particularly gliadin, found in different grains, wheat, rye, and barley, some people have a reaction to those proteins within those grains. That reaction is causing inflammation within the gastrointestinal system, and that can extend into the rest of the system, so we can see joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, digestive complaints, abdominal pain, maybe constipation.
[4:34] Dr. Paul Hrkal: So, not just symptoms localized to the gut. Right?
[4:36] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah. Widespread.
[4:36] Dr. Aaron Goldman: There are symptoms that are happening throughout the body.
[4:38] Dr. Robin Murphy: Feeling fatigued after eating. I hear that a lot. That’s not the only reason for it, but that can be a sign that you’re having a reaction.
[4:45] Dr. Paul Hrkal: That’s a big one.
[4:47] Dr. Robin Murphy: The first thing in medicine we want to know is why are people responding, and should you actually be avoiding gluten because it can be a burden on people. Any sort of dietary change, unless you’re making it for a purposeful reason, can cause undue stress at the same time.
[5:06] Dr. Paul Hrkal: And the skeptics point that out. They’re like, “Do you really need to avoid gluten? It’s so stressful to do so.” I think there is something to that if we’re just asking people to avoid things. Are there some nutrients we’re missing out by not eating wheat, which is primarily where gluten is found?
[5:26] But there are other grains that also—there’s a psychological aspect of things. However, if a person truly has celiac disease, which is the main autoimmune disease that is related to the consumption of gluten. The body is actually creating an autoimmune response to it, and unfortunate bystanders, our gut lining, gets hurt. Right?
[5:50] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah, gets damaged. One percent of the Canadian population is actually diagnosed with celiac, but 33% of the Canadian population avoids gluten.
[6:01] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Oh, interesting. Thirty-three percent?
[6:03] Dr. Robin Murphy: Thirty-three percent. They’re not strict, but this is where you’ve seen the explosion of gluten-free products. People are really concerned about just trying it out. They’re interested about trying gluten-free.
[6:18] So, with genetics, you can look at a particular gene, and that can tell you whether or not you have a high risk for celiac disease. That’s the first place to start. It’s important to understand, “Are you at risk for celiac?” because you may not have obvious symptoms of celiac, and it may not actually come up and have long-term damaging effects until you’ve had the disease for a number of years.
[6:45] Dr. Paul Hrkal: This is a question for you, Aaron. Is this something that should be tested in young children and identifying it. Based on what you just said, Robin, that preventative power of that is really impressive.
[7:00] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Yeah, absolutely. I think so. Your data doesn’t change, so as a child or as an adult, your DNA, if you have the risk of celiac and it’s there as a child, so I think it would be important to know early on.
[7:19] Dr. Paul Hrkal: The collection of the DNA is actually quite easy.
[7:23] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah.
[7:23] Dr. Aaron Goldman: As a bit of a sidebar, it can be done in infants if you really wanted to.
[7:27] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s just a cheek swab. You swab inside the cheek, like a Q-tip. It takes about 30 seconds, and that’s it.
[7:34] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Probably one of the simplest lab sample collections that you can ever do. There’s no blood involved. That’s good, and then right away, if you have that positive—and maybe, Aaron, you could talk a bit about there’s this HLA component to it. What does that mean because people that may be thinking about getting tested for celiac, they might have researched this on the internet, or their doctor has talked about this?
[7:59] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Yeah. I think it’s important to clarify the difference between the DNA test, which looks at the HLA gene versus a blood test for celiac disease. HLA is a gene. It’s a new gene that we all have. Everyone has different versions of it.
[8:21] As part of the test that we do, we look at six different genetic markers within that gene, and we can identify whether someone is at risk of celiac or not. We can also identify if someone is excluded from the likelihood of having celiac, which I think is powerful. People think they might be sensitive, but their DNA might say otherwise.
[8:43] Dr. Paul Hrkal: What if you have only two mutations in those six genes? Is it all or none, or what’s happening there?
[8:52] Dr. Robin Murphy: That’s a great question. There’s something called haplotype. We don’t have to get too technical here, but we’re looking at a combination of the six. You don’t have to have all six. You can have one, two, three, four, and the different markers mean different things.
[9:12] Importantly, you bring up a good point. It just popped in my head. There are other tests out there. Some of these big consumer genomics companies that do ancestry testing, some of them do offer information about celiac, but you have to be very careful because some of these tests only look at two of the six markers. So, you might be in the clear from the two markers, but if you have a genetic variant of one of the others, it will be a false negative there.
[9:39] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Yeah. Right. So, other particular mutations may be occurring in one of those other six that are not being tested.
[9:46] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Exactly, yeah.
[9:47] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Wow. That’s really interesting. Robin, let’s talk a little bit about the difference between celiac and wheat sensitivity. Just taking a step back here for our listeners, those of you who are thinking about, “I’ve tried gluten-free. It’s made no difference. I’m not celiac.” Is it still beneficial to avoid wheat?
[10:09] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah. There’s celiac disease. It’s like a gradient or spectrum, where celiac disease is the autoimmune reaction to gluten. Whereas non-celiac gluten sensitivity is where you don’t have the antibodies to gliadin and something called transglutaminase. They aren’t present, but your body is still having a reaction to it. You can still test using other—
[10:37] Dr. Paul Hrkal: You do a blood test to do that for other food sensitivities.
[10:39] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah, to confirm. Then the important distinction is even if you’re a carrier, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to have celiac disease.
[10:48] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Okay. Tell us about that. Why?
[10:50] Dr. Robin Murphy: What we’re looking at is lifestyle diseases. What that means is you can have a risk, but depending on the environment will depend on how your body actually expresses that gene or that disease. With gluten and celiac disease, you can be what’s called a carrier, meaning you have the potential to have gluten-sensitivity or celiac disease.
[11:15] We are starting to understand certain environmental triggers. Some of those environmental triggers have to do with whether or not you have an infection, a gastrointestinal infection. They’ve linked it to enterovirus and risk for—maybe it’s adenovirus, but risk for the onset of celiac disease as well as if you have another autoimmune disease, say type 1 diabetes that will increase your risk of celiac and that gene getting expressed.
[11:48] Dr. Paul Hrkal: That’s so intriguing because it goes to show that, yes, your genes are your blueprint, you inherited, that’s what you have for your whole life. But environmental, infectious things can basically trigger it. The point that I want to make is that just because you have that particular mutation, it is one of the x’s or one of the strikes against you.
[12:13] You’ve heard of the three-strike theory in cancer, where it’s not like, “What causes cancer?” Is it the fact that I had asbestos in my house, or is it the fact that my mom had it?” The answer is probably a combination of both. It seems like one of those examples.
[12:30] Dr. Robin Murphy: Exactly, and having a first-degree relative with celiac also increases risk, and also the amount of gluten that you’re consuming can also trigger the body to produce the disease. The important piece is knowing, is there a risk factor? Then, what can you do in the environment to reduce your risk of having that disease expressed?
[12:52] Dr. Paul Hrkal: We talked earlier, and we’ve talked about this topic at length, and you mentioned about a study that was done. I believe it was in Denmark. It was something to do with wheat and baby formula. Can either of you share with that because I found the conclusion for that to be intriguing?
[13:08] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah. It was between Denmark and Sweden. It was a population study where they had started to see it—I believe this was in the ‘70s or ‘80s, but they started to see this rapid explosion of incidences of celiac disease in children. They said, “This is really bizarre. What’s going on here?” Because Denmark and Sweden have generally similar patterns as cultures.
[13:37] They went back and looked and found that a company had decided to use 40-times the amount of gluten that this other company was using, and kids were being exposed to.
[13:51] Dr. Paul Hrkal: In baby formula. Right?
[13:52] Dr. Robin Murphy: In infant foods. Yeah. The amount of gluten that they were being exposed to at a really young age influenced how those genes were getting expressed. So, there was a sevenfold increase in celiac disease in these children compared to Sweden.
[14:13] Dr. Paul Hrkal: So, something like an early exposure. That’s a hot button question. There’s now research coming out that you should eat everything early for peanut allergies, for anaphylaxis. It seems like this research is flying against that. Do you have any thoughts on that?
[14:29] Dr. Robin Murphy: I think it’s actually showing that exposure is still fine, but it’s the amount.
[14:32] Dr. Aaron Goldman: The amount. Yeah.
[14:35] Dr. Robin Murphy: And so, I wonder if that’s the same with other anaphylaxis types of reactions, too. Does it have to do with the amount that the kids are being exposed to? Even just as a general rule, we know that when there’s a variety of our diet, and we’re not just consuming the same 20 foods over and over again, there’s less likelihood that we’re going to create an allergy to that.
[14:59] Dr. Paul Hrkal: There’s so much in the whole wheat-sensitivity in the celiac world. I think we talked a little bit about this. Can you quickly breakdown for me the difference between gluten, and you mentioned gliadin, and also the difference between celiac and then nonceliac gluten sensitivity or wheat sensitivity?
[15:22] Dr. Robin Murphy: The gluten is a protein, and that’s part of the wheat molecule, so people can have a gluten sensitivity. That’s where the antibodies are reacting to that gluten, so it’s not necessarily autoimmune. It’s just that there’s food-sensitivity. We can see whether there’s a risk for non-celiac gluten sensitivity within the genetics, and it’s not a diagnostic, so it’s just saying whether there’s a higher or low risk. That would be an opportunity to go get food allergy testing.
[15:55] Dr. Paul Hrkal: So it’s informing you to say, “I need more testing.” It’s not diagnostic by anyway. That’s important to point out.
[16:02] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah. Then with celiac disease, it’s an autoimmune disease, and that’s reacting to another protein or molecule within wheat, barley, and rye, and that’s gliadin. When the body is reacting to that and binding to that molecule, there’s a mix-up in the communication, and it actually causes damage to the body to start damaging the lining of the gut.
[16:28] What’s interesting about that, when you start to get into the genetics and how these antibodies—they have little arms and they connect to these antigens, is how strongly they bind and how they bind can influence our reactions to these antigens or our foods, but also to other infections, too. This is part of our antibody or immune system.
[16:51] There’s research showing that if you are at a high risk for celiac disease, you can also be at a higher risk for mold toxicity, as well as Lyme infections. If you think about it, the body is so smart. It’s creating these networks of our infantry to try and protect us from certain invaders. So it learns about and adapts to its environment. The genes can influence how well we’re binding and identifying who is the enemy, and what we’re tolerant to, or identify self.
[17:34] Dr. Paul Hrkal: It almost seems like the person who has these mutations got dealt a bad deck of cards in the sense that now, they’re also susceptible to mold and Lyme. Is that what you’re saying?
[17:44] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah.
[17:46] Dr. Paul Hrkal: That might be a little bit depressing for somebody to learn that. What do you share with your patients if they have this mutation, as a message of hope?
[17:57] Dr. Robin Murphy: Usually, in my practice, I’m seeing pretty sick people. They’ve had chronic diseases. A lot of them have gone to many doctors, so they haven’t been able to figure out what the issues are. This is quite informative for them. It’s actually giving them answers as to why potentially they got sick, or what was the mechanisms, and then what are the treatments that we’re going to look at, or diagnostics so it can help me to figure out, do we have to test for Lyme or mold toxicity?
[18:27] In Ontario and Toronto, over 50% of homes have mold. 50% because we’re by the water. I’m sure there are similar statistics in Vancouver and other areas where older homes weren’t meant to have basements. Essentially, it was storage and a cooling cellar, not for us to live there.
[18:53] Dr. Paul Hrkal: To live there. That is something that is going to have a huge impact on chronic disease when you’re looking at these chronic infections and mold. Oftentimes, one of the key first steps of people that are experiencing these chronic issues is identifying food sensitivities and eliminating them, so the body can use these pathways properly, and the immune system cannot focus on food allergies or food sensitivities. Then focus on controlling inflammation to do with mold and/or an infection. Right?
[19:27] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Yes.
[19:27] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah, exactly. We know that if someone is having a reaction, and they’re constantly exposing themselves to this trigger, the analogy that I like is if you have a cut. The cut is there, and you keep scratching the cut, it’s never going to be able to heal properly. Or you keep ripping off the scab or whatever your ticks are. What ends up happening is you never get to heal properly.
[19:55] That’s what happens in the digestive system. We’re starting to understand more and more that these exposures are causing chronic inflammation, and that’s causing an increase in the permeability of the digestive system. Most people know this as leaky-gut, but we’re seeing real evidence that this is a major contributor to a number of chronic diseases and unless we’re able to avoid some of those triggers, help heal up the gut lining, it’s really difficult to move the barometer forward.
[20:26] Dr. Paul Hrkal: I’d like to come back to the gluten piece because that’s really, really valuable. But, I want to skip over to another part of the test that will give us insight into gut health and gut lining. Aaron, I want to ask you about what is this glutathione pathway that’s in the body. If you haven’t heard of glutathione before, it’s the body’s master antioxidant.
[20:51] It protects our body from damage and free radicals. It’s produced in our cells, primarily in the liver, but it’s also very important for brain function. Clinicians use it a lot for repairing all the things we just talked about. But, there is a connection between glutathione and gut health. Can you talk about that?
[21:15] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Sure, I can touch on the genes. There are these genes that you might have heard of called GST, Glutathione S-transferase. There’s a whole family of them. I believe there are eight of them that we have in our bodies. There are genetic variants, as expected. If a genetic variant, changes the function of one of these genes, which means—
[21:38] If you go back to the first podcast in this series, we talked about how genetic variants change in the DNA can result in a physical change in the protein. So, there are changes in these glutathione pathway genes that impact its function. We look at some of these genes in our testing, and we can provide recommendations on how to bypass the pathway if you need to.
[22:13] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Now that we have that information, clinically, Robin, how would you use that information if somebody is presenting with, “I have gluten sensitivity,” or “I have celiac.” How can you now start leveraging the information and the MyBlueprint test or another genetic test to basically have a therapeutic effect?
[22:33] Dr. Robin Murphy: We know that glutathione is used as an antioxidant. It’s used to protect our DNA to protect our cells from further damage. It’s also used for detoxification, so making sure that we’re eliminating any of the chemicals and byproducts from not only the environment but also our internal processes.
[22:58] Genetically, we also see that when people have alterations in these genes, some people can actually be missing these genes that collectively, that has a big impact on their risk for things like oxidative stress, which is a general term for the amount of damage that can occur within the body and DNA damage included.
[23:21] There have been links to development of cancers, development of cardiovascular disease. We’re starting to look in female hormone health and how that can affect potentially breast cancers, but also endometriosis, as well as even response to treatments, too.
[23:44] So, glutathione—once we identify that there are issues in this pathway, it’s how well the body is able to take glutathione and then use it within the detoxification pathway. But there are other genes that also can affect your production of glutathione, as well as the recycling of glutathione, so risk for glutathione deficiency as well as these internal cellular protection pathways.
[24:10] It starts to give you a plan of action. Do you help the body produce more glutathione? Do you help with the recycling? Things like, say, N-Acetyl Cysteine is very commonly used. You can nebulize it. That helps with glutathione production within the lungs.
[24:28] Dr. Paul Hrkal: You breathe it in. Yeah.
[24:30] Dr. Robin Murphy: So there’s a particular gene, GSTP1, which is mostly found within the brain, within the lungs, as well as with reproductive tissues. When we know that there are issues in that pathway, we know directly where to look if there are symptoms in those areas.
[24:44] Dr. Paul Hrkal: So it’s better to take it—breathing format, rather than say orally?
[24:48] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah. Exactly. Are you going to help the body produce more glutathione, or are you going to give the body glutathione directly?
[24:56] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Because N-Acetyl Cysteine has always been considered a precursor to the formation of glutathione, that rate-limiting step in its production. But now, you can actually purchase glutathione as a supplement, and there are various forms of it: lyposomal, which is combined in a fat is the most recent iteration of getting glutathione. It’s a bit more expensive. Some clinicians swear by it, but some find N-Acetyl Cysteine being helpful.
[25:29] So if you’re missing these genes, does it make sense to take N-Acetyl Cysteine, and glutathione or should we be supporting some of these supportive pathways that you mentioned with, for example, the broccoli-family of vegetables has been shown to promote the glutathionization in the production of glutathione.
[25:54] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah. You kind of jumped to my next point. We’re talking from a clinical standpoint, the products that we would use, but people at home can also find out this information and know that some of these dietary ingredients actually are better at increasing our detoxification pathways. And particularly, increasing the body’s production and use and function of some of these genes.
[26:25] People at home can start to identify and say, “I’m going to eat more of these foods on a day-to-day basis, and this is going to help me as a baseline.” We think of a holistic medicine. You want to start with food. Then we work our way up into getting into supplementation, and more potentized versions of the natural forms.
[26:44] But also, looking at things like vitamin C, which can help recycle glutathione and some of the other antioxidants that help with the actual enzyme function like selenium, is a big one. Lipoic acid is another one. We can look at foods that contain some of these nutrients, as well, to help overall.
[27:07] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Yes, for example, Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium. I recommend that to my patients in lieu of, let’s say, an additional supplement if they’re already on a whole host of things. Some things you can’t get through diet, like you can’t eat something that has glutathione in it. There are small amounts of glutathione in food, actually, but not from a therapeutic perspective.
[27:30] N-Acetyl Cysteine, as well. It’s an amino acid. It’s actually the highest found in whey protein. It’s a good source of NAC, and there are a number of research studies looking at whey protein and the increase of glutathione. But I agree with you. Foods are—
[27:49] Dr. Robin Murphy: It’s good for infections, too, those studies, whey protein, HIV, and—
[27:55] Dr. Paul Hrkal: There are other little things, too, that are part of whey protein, like lactoferrin, which is basically found in milk. It’s found in breast milk as well as bovine milk that these immune factors help promote on the function of the immune system, which is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
[28:16] Dr. Robin Murphy: There’s another point that I think is important, as well. What I’ve seen, too, is people say, “My antioxidant pathways are deficient.” Or, “I heard that this is good. I’m going to take loads of this for the rest of my life.” It’s like, “No. We’re pretty dynamic as human beings.”
[28:33] We’re responding constantly to changes in our environment, to exposures, and the body is extremely intelligent. So, when we say antioxidants, it’s really important to protect against oxidative stress. What’s important to understand is that the body produces some of these other, what’s called oxidants, but it uses it as chemical signals.
[28:58] So, it actually is important for the body in things like cellular repair or a program, cellular death. It’s necessary. So, there are studies that are starting to come out that are showing if you’re taking too much glutathione, and typically, you see this with IV. When you’re loading up the system, it’s offsetting that balance between the antioxidants and the oxidants.
[29:30] It’s called the redox balance, but there are studies that show that if you’re missing some of these glutathione genes, that you may want to be careful in over supplementing glutathione, and maybe focusing more on these productions and ancillary pathways to help.
[29:50] Dr. Paul Hrkal: So, things like the broccoli extract. Things like vitamin C, selenium, and making sure that those building blocks are in place before mega dosing. I think that’s really valuable because I think a lot of people listening might say, “Hold on. I have some issues with my GST class of genes,” as I personally do. First of all, you’re not just dropping dead from that. There are these other complementary pathways that the body can use to protect itself.
[30:23] For example, people that have an issue with this class of genes, they’re at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and diseases of oxidative stress. So I think we need to be a bit more cognizant of things that might be damaging. For example, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea if I was a smoker, as an example, because that’s extra oxidative stress. And it probably would be a good idea if I kept an eye on my broccoli-intake family of vegetables. Is that the way to think about it?
[30:54] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah, and we know that this pathway is particularly important for pesticides, for solvents, industrial chemicals. Avoiding pesticides, certain pollutants, heavy metals, which also go through this pathway. Those are some of the areas to highlight. Also, look at what are your exposures? What are your symptoms? What is your family history?
[31:19] Again, looking at the genetics is a way for us to understand where to place that magnifying glass. Then, our job is to figure out how is it affecting the body, and is it appropriate for us to treat or other lifestyle interventions that we can do for more of a preventative?
[31:40] Dr. Paul Hrkal: We’ve covered a lot of ground. Let’s summarize before we wrap up. We talked about gluten in the beginning, and identifying your risk for celiac disease is one of the things you find in this test, Aaron. That is valuable information that you can then take and test more.
[32:03] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Absolutely, yeah. One thing that I think should be pointed out is the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity or intolerance. A good example of that from the test is for lactose. Lactose intolerance is very common: 75% of the population has a genetic variant in the gene that breaks down lactose.
[32:29] What happens in those people is when they have lactose in their system, they’re not breaking it down themselves, they have gut bacteria that ends up breaking it down, and that can lead to bloating, and gas, and stuff like that. Whereas, an allergy to lactose, which is much rarer, would be like an immune response, similar to what we were talking about with gluten.
[32:52] Dr. Paul Hrkal: And it’s important to point out, gluten is a protein, where lactose is a sugar. So, a sugar usually, like you said, it’s rare to have an allergy to a sugar, but you have allergies to proteins, usually.
[33:04] Dr. Robin Murphy: Casein, yeah.
[33:05] Dr. Paul Hrkal: Casein is a protein, which is found in dairy. Just because you’re not lactose intolerant, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a dairy-sensitivity. The difference between a tolerance and sensitivity is, they’re not the same. One is, you can’t break it down, intolerance. The other one is, your immune system seeing it and reacting to it.
[33:26] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Exactly.
[33:26] Dr. Paul Hrkal: That reaction is what’s happening in celiac disease at the worst level, the autoimmune level. Then there is that gluten sensitivity where if a person is more inflamed, they have an intestinal permeability, they’ve had an infection, or they’ve had a brain injury or something that has triggered that kind of intestinal leakiness. They may now be at an increased symptomatic risk. Right?
[33:54] Dr. Robin Murphy: Yeah.
[33:54] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Yeah.
[33:56] Dr. Paul Hrkal: We talked about that in the beginning, and that’s a great insight into the dairy sensitivity. Both of those are included in the MyBlueprint test. So, you’re going to get the two most commonly-asked questions. Dare I include? Do I have to do that? It’s going to give us a bit of insight, and might inform us, “Do you need more testing?”
[34:15] We could talk a lot more about gluten in so much more detail. We did touch on the connection between if you have this particular gene, you may be at increased risk for mold and things like Lyme borrelia which is chronic infections because they are part of the immune system.
[34:33] We didn’t even talk about GMOs. We’ll save that for another episode. But, I like how we finished up talking about glutathione, which is one of the actual ways that we can protect the body and help heal the lining of the gut. Things like zinc, probiotics, fibre, vitamin D and vitamin A are really important in healing the lining of the digestive system. If you have that particular gluten and celiac disease, you should probably be considering some of those and working with a healthcare practitioner.
[35:08] Robin, you talked a lot about our glutathione pathways, and that has to do with detoxification. It has to do with our body’s ability to prevent some of these long-term issues. What would be the final takeaway that you would want to share that you often share with your patients when they have issues with their glutathione production?
[35:29] Dr. Robin Murphy: I think it goes, generally, with any genetic information or information that people understand about themselves is that this is actually empowering. This is helping you to make significant changes that are going to have an effect long-term on your health.
[35:48] Doctor comes from the Latin word, docēre, which means teacher. The big takeaway is that you get to teach yourself about some of the nuances of who you are, and then more importantly, in the information, how to move forward and be responsible and take control of your health.
[36:11] Dr. Paul Hrkal: I even take that one step further and use the word empowered because a lot of people consider, “I don’t want to know about something that may have to make an uncomfortable short-term change” in their life, like avoiding gluten. But, long-term, it’s empowering to know that if I’m avoiding this particular food, that can be causing long-term health effects, not just to my gut, but my whole body.
[36:34] That is further taxing my own protection systems, glutathione. So now, couple that. You have issues with gluten, and then you’re not making as much glutathione. You have that perfect storm where you should be ultra-vigilant. I find that empowering with patients. You touched on it beautifully that it’s all about teaching yourself.
[37:00] That’s all we have time to chat about today. It was really great to learn more about all the aspects of genetics. I want to thank both of you for your insights and your input. I think it would be absolutely invaluable for the listeners to learn about this topic, and hopefully, and definitely, it has been for me.
[37:20] But, there’s a much clearer understanding of how you can apply a simple genetic test. It’s easy to do. It’s not that expensive when you consider it in the grand scheme of things. It can inform your treatment. It can inform your diet. It can inform the way you move your body and all your lifestyle decisions. I think that was really, really insightful. Thank you so much, both of you.
[37:43] Dr. Robin Murphy: Thanks.
[37:43] Dr. Aaron Goldman: Thanks.
[37:43] Dr. Paul Hrkal: All right. Looking forward to our next episodes. Thanks so much for tuning in, and we’ll see you all next time at the Supplementing Health Show.
* * * Outro Music * * *
[38:10] Thank you for listening today. For more information about our guests, past shows, and future topics, please visit aor.ca/podcasts. Do you have a topic that you want us to cover? We invite you to engage with us on social media to request a future topic or email us at [email protected] We hope you tune in again next week to learn more about supplementing your health.
[End of episode 38:37]