Thinking the Genetic Possibility of Health

I was very intrigued when listening this week to a recorded presentation by Dr. Joe Dispenza  and Bruce Lipton Ph. D.  If you don’t recognize these guys, they are specialist in conveying the understanding that you are what you think.  Another way to say this is they are specialist in epigenetics.  The name of the recording is “Get Your Shift Together”.

I have many times discussed epigenetic action on the genes.  This recording is an ‘eye opener’ in how our biology is transformed by our thinking.  I have said that it is essential to get correct vitamins and minerals in the correct amounts.  However, this is only part of the necessity of our biology for healing.  As we all know, the placebo effect is very real.  Our thinking and interaction with our environment is responsible for this effect.

As I now understand epigenetic action, it may be that the thinking is the largest part of creating who we are and our health from our gene maps.  That’s right; genes don’t cause action, but are only directions for our biological processes.  As discussed in the presentation, another way to describe genes is to think about them as blueprints.  You cannot simply throw a set of blueprints on the ground and have a building spring forth.  It is the interpretation and action of craftsmen that the building takes shape.  There will be as many different types of buildings as there are interpretations and actions.

A gene can have as many as 30,000 expressions depending on the inputs of our environment.  Now consider that there are 23,000 genes, then, we can expect at least 690,000,000 outcomes.  But it does not stop there.  It is the combination of those 690 million outcomes that makes you – you.  This gives us a number of unique individuals so large that you cannot even imagine.  That is 690 million expressions taken 23 thousand at a time.  I tried 690 million factorial to find the odds of being one type and stopped my Windows calculator after five minutes.  Fifty two playing cards taken five at a time give approximately 2.6 million combinations.  One in a million does not even come close to your uniqueness or your possibility.

Your thinking drives your emotions and the emotions release hormones that allows genes to express themselves into you as a unique individual.  If you have an emotion and you hold onto it for several days you may say you are in a mood.  If you continue to hold onto that emotion you may say that you have reached a state.  If you continue after that it becomes a personality trait. Typically we get into trouble by holding onto foul moods that eventually turn into a chronic disease.  You have to decide if you want to make yourself sick by hanging onto foul emotions.

It is important to have a physical environment that is beneficial to your desired being.  However, all of the vitamins and minerals or medicine for that matter in the world cannot overcome your thinking.  They can help you think better and remove some physical pain, but it is up to you to decide if you truly want to make a contribution to the world.  The key is to think of beneficial things while giving up judgment and ill will. Consider Galatians chapter 5.

There two things that I have learned as a Christians that many have not or refuse to accept.  First from the first sentence in the Bible – “In the beginning, God….”.  Second, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood from Hebrews chapter eleven.  Jesus has shed all of the blood that is necessary to be shed for forgiveness.  If you don’t forgive, then it is on you.  Our Lord said it best when he was healing the two blind men: “According to your faith (or belief) let it be done to you..”  Mt. 9:29, NIV.  I have heard this discussed many times as to whether you have to have belief or faith to be healed.  I now know that this is indeed the case as Christianity and quantum physics begin to arrive at the same conclusion.  You are what you think and you define that by the truth of your self-observation.  – Pandemic Survivor


Health is an ONOFF Issue

At one point in my career, I had responsibility for many engineers, forty mechanics, and associated support staff in a large industrial plant.  When a major maintenance issue would arrive and there was difficulty in trying to find a solution, I would try to release the tension by saying it was an ONOFF problem.  Of course I would spell out the letters very quickly.  There would be moments of silence as the mechanic raced through his mind trying figure out which control or mechanical part I was referring.  Then a slow smile would cross the face as the knowing became realization.  Every situation with equipment is whether the equipment or some component is on or off – ONOFF – especially true with computers.  This is the case with human biology as medicine turns to gene switches for disease cures.  This has become commonly referred to as epigenetic.

Foods that are available for consumption routinely turn off and on genetic switches.  This is because there are many “parallel” systems in the body for the major biological processes to occur depending on what the environment presents.  This type of robustness in our physiology has allowed us to survive in many different environmental conditions.  Stress, temperature, food, and even how you think, all act to turn on and off our genes.  Modern science is now using this understanding to make drugs to cure disease.  Unfortunately, the focus has been on drugs and not on optimizing nutrients for gene switching to prevent disease.  I guess the old saying, ‘you are what you eat,’ has now been given more significance.

Just in the last decade, the gene map was completed.  It was much smaller than originally thought with less than about 30,000 genes for the human body.  Interestingly enough the rest of the genetic material, about eighty percent, are switches that are use to either express the gene or make it go silent.  The largest question for health professionals at this point should be; what turns the switches on or off?

Methyl groups seem to be the primary players in this epigenetic switching maze.  How simple that a carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms grouped together can determine your health and well being.  Of course many methyl groups combined with other compounds is an organic molecule.  What controls the use and availability of the methyl groups is another matter.  We have long known that certain materials are essential to health.  These items have been reduced to the following: water, air, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

First it was the major groups of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates we considered for health.  Think of the 1910 Antarctic expedition by Captain Scott where the food was too low in fat.  The members of the group started to get sick and starved to death because they did not have fat to consume.  The Inuit people know that whale blubber and seal fat are the staples of life in the cold for its energy and nutrients.  The recent emphasis on fats (omega-3 good, trans-fat bad) is critical to health.  I suspect we have made the similar errors in protein and carbohydrates (too many carbs –especially wheat, not enough protein) that are yet to be discovered.  Then throw in genetically modified foods – ouch!

We are now in the trial and error stage of understanding where to use micronutrients versus the use of drugs to heal disease.  The money of course is in the drugs and this is where the focus will continue to be for our large research organizations.  However, all government research funded projects for genetic switching should solve the problem of optimum nutrition (GMO foods, nutrient switching) before any money is spent on drugs for healing, curing, diagnosing, and preventing disease.  After all, it is our money.  Sustaining large organizations without empathy for the individuals it serves is just plain evil.  If the money is first spent on researching micronutrients for epigenetic healing, the need for research of drugs will be significantly diminished because of less disease.  Of course we are where we are; a nation ailing with large amounts of chronic disease.  How ironic that our economy is suffering from so much chronic disease when the major motto of Health and Human Services is ‘markets before mandates’ with the belief of a strong medical economy is more important that the health of the individual.

We know that the sun through the production of vitamin D3 is very significant.  Close to ten percent of the genome is controlled by vitamin D and its co-factors.  I don’t know how large the percentage of the genes is controlled by methyl groups, but I am sure that it is significant and most likely larger than the group for vitamin D.  Since all organic molecules are a combination of methyl groups, then all genes have some switches controlled by methyl groups in combination with cofactors (I never was much for logic, I am more of a links and connections kind of guy).  The complete control of genetic switching is made by all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, environment (light, temperature, air, and water), and yes your state of mind.  Could it be that methyl folate from spinach and betaine from beets is all we need for the methyl donors for health?  Life in all its complexities is really just a matter of ONOFF.

Don’t worry, be happy, eat your beets and spinach, and spend lots of time in the sun.  – Pandemic Survivor

Grassroots Health Webinars on Vitamin D

The scientist, researchers, and doctors at Grassroots Health have been presenting webinars on vitamin D and various topics.  This is a wealth of information about how a given disease works with vitamin D as well as the interaction of calcium.

I highly encourage you to go to the website and watch and listen to the webinars.  There is a new one every Tuesday at 1PM eastern time.  Also after becoming familiar with the information, I encourage you to ask your doctor to watch, if he is giving you a hard time about supplementing with vitamin D.  It is important that you maintain your 25(OH)D level above 40 ng/ml.

If you don’t watch and listen to any of the others, I highly suggest that you watch – Why Test Vitamin D!?  The question is always – How much should I take?  This gives you and understanding that everyone responds differently to amounts.  At the Grassroots Health home page you can find a table of how to start supplementing before testing.     There is also a downloadable chart as a PDF.

Here is the link to the Video Page

  • Diabetes & Vitamin D
  • The Sun & Vitamin D I and II
  • Pregnancy & Vitamin D  I and II
  • Upper Respiratory Infections & Vitamin DI and II
  • Ethic Disparities & Vitamin D
  • Premenopausal Breast Cancer & Vitamin D
  • The Cost of Vitamin D Deficiency: In Dollars & Disease
  • Vitamin D & Calcium, Fractures, & Kidney Stones  What do we know?
  • Why Test Vitamin D!?
  • Prostate Cancer Positive Core Biopsies Reduced with Vitamin D
  • Prostate Cancer Lesions Reduced with Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Stops Breast Cancer
  • Vitamin D & Gene Expression
  • Vitamin D & Treatment of Autism
  • Pregnancy & Vitamin D Interview
  • Alzheimer’s Prevention & Vitamin
  • Interaction of Vitamin D and Calcium
  • Vitamin D Requirements for Breast Feeding Mothers
  • Vitamin D & Breast Cancer
  • Vitamin D & Cardiovascular Disease
  • Vitamin D & The Immune System
  • Vitamin D & Cystic Fibrosis

Be well and stay healthy – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D2 Should Not be Used by Humans

“Food is medicine.”  – Randy Jirtle

Vitamin D3 is naturally made in our skin by exposure to sunshine. The practice of prescribing vitamin D2 should be stopped.

Into the new understanding of epigenetics, troubled by the ever menacing difference in the two primary types of vitamin D, leaves me somewhat in a state of great questioning.  The confusion over nomenclature of vitamin D is troubling but not as troubling as the confusion of what vitamin D does in the body.  As you most likely know, vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 have long been considered as equals in the world of biological research, more importantly for you, in the practice of medicine. These two compounds were treated as equals basically because they were considered to have an equal effect on stopping rickets and the ability to ‘move calcium.’  Rickets, a bone disease, was the first disease that was identified as a result of vitamin D deficiency.  This was the most important function identified and the only important function of our connection to the sun that was considered by medicine.  Things then got spicier as it was discovered in the sixties and seventies the importance of calcium signaling in biological processes.  The importance of this signaling included calcium gates opening to allow calcium into the cell to start the RNA/DNA cellular processes, but also important neurological functioning as the opening of a calcium gate on the end of a neuron results in the release of neurotransmitters.

In the last five years, the spice has become an exotic blend of calcium signaling and the control of our genome by vitamin D.  Vitamin D has now been recognized as an important ‘switch’ for the action of our genes.  The way to think about this epigenetic action is to consider our genes as the hardware of a computer and the epigenetic switches as the software.  It has been discovered that there are over 2700 genes, about ten percent of the total genome, with vitamin D ‘pathways’.  There have been over 200 genes that are directly related to chronic disease that are controlled by vitamin D.  So the question that brings confusion is what happens when we substitute a compound with an extra methyl group for one that occurs naturally in our body as an important ‘switch.’

Here is the troubling factor.  Randy Jirtle has discovered at Duke University that methyl donors have significant impact on whether genes are activated in our biology.  He calls this epigenetic action methylation of genes.  He shows that methylation will blind receptor sites on the genes to have an effect on cellular differentiation.  The troubling part about vitamin D2; it has one more methyl group and an extra double bond than vitamin D3.  So the question then becomes, does vitamin D2 act as a methyl donor to impact the epigenetic action of vitamin D?

This question of biological action of D2 versus D3 needs to be answered.  Until this question is answered, we should stop the practice of treating vitamin D2 as equal of vitamin D3.  This includes specifically that vitamin D2 should no longer be allowed as a prescription drug or as an additive to food products.  The IOM has already raised the alarm by stating that our 25(OH)D level should be no higher than 50ng/ml as a higher level may increase the opportunity for disease.  I believe this finding is directly related to the lack of separation in published papers about the difference in D2 and D3 biological results.  There was no problem with toxicity in the 1930’s until vitamin D2 was introduced into the research.  After vitamin D2 was introduced, the reports of toxicity started coming every month.

As a consumer of medicine, your response should be to not consume or take any prescription of vitamin D that is not vitamin D3.  In other words, vitamin D3 will make you feel great and heal disease; vitamin D2 may make you feel awful and even cause disease.  – Pandemic Survivor

Mesmerized by Epimerization

Franz Mesmer was a German born physician that had interest related to human and animal behavior.  He contended that through ‘animal magnetism’, significant physical results could be realized.  His name is the basis for the word Mesmerized.  It has been an unfortunate occurrence in vitamin D science that the medical professionals and the general population have been hypnotized like chickens with a line drawn in the dirt. (We did this as kids – check it out Chicken Hypnotized) We all need a nudge to wake up from this surreal dream.  The following is not for the faint of heart or for those that do not have the curiosity to pursue a deeper understanding.  If not curious, then just watch the chicken video and have a good day.

Epimerization is simply the difference in the positioning or bond angle of the OH group in the Carbon 3 position of the vitamin D compound.  What do we know about how much difference a bond angle will make?  It seems that this bond angle is of significance in genetic expression, so let’s explore.  Check out this example for the sugar glucose: Epimers

It came to my attention several years ago that one of the local hospitals that was attached to a state university was doing vitamin D testing only on D2 and its metabolites.  The reasoning was that the clinicians wanted only to know the level of the drug, vitamin D2, because this is what had been prescribed.  The logic was that the level of the hormonal metabolites of natural vitamin D3 were so low that it was of no consequence.  After all, there had been a great job done for the last fifty years of scaring people out of the sun.  Or maybe, this was not exactly the logic, but I am sure this is close.  So the mixture of treating D3 and D2 as equals and ignoring the total effect of the metabolites of these pre-hormones has done the practice of medicine and the population as a whole a great disservice.  It is only through the separation of these two compounds and not allowing peer reviewed papers to be published without designating what is being used that we can achieve our goal of being reconnected to the sun.

I had always thought that the complications of not having accurate serum vitamin D levels or 25(OH)D was a matter of the different test methods not giving either totals of the two or only values for one or the other  –  25(OH)D2 or 25(OH)D3.  In the later case I was right as is suggested by what was being done at one of our university hospitals.  But it turns out that it is a lot more complicated.  Consider the recent release by the American Chemical Society – “New Standard for vitamin D testing to assure accurate test results”, January 25, 2012.  The paper describes the storage metabolites of vitamin D:  “The researchers developed four versions of the standard, with different levels of the vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 in human serum. They also determined the levels of 3-epi-25(OH)D in the adult human serum samples. Surprisingly, they found that this metabolite — previously thought to only exist in the blood of infants — was present in adult serum. “This reference material provides a mechanism to ensure measurement accuracy and comparability and represents a first step toward standardization of 25(OH)D measurements,” say the researchers.”  It seems that these epi-metabolites have a less effect on calcium.  In order of effect on increasing hypercalcemia, it is 3-epi-25(OH)D3, 25(OH)D3, 3-epi-25(OH)D2, and 25(OH)D2 (and don’t forget the toxisterols that can be made during manufacture of D2 from over irradiation of fungus).  It also seems that the epi-compounds are just as effective as the original.  Did I get this correct?  Here is a starting place for you to begin your consideration. 1α,25(OH)2-3-Epi-Vitamin D3, a Natural Physiological Metabolite of Vitamin D3: Its Synthesis, Biological Activity and Crystal Structure with Its Receptor  This is an open access to the full paper.  Do you begin to see the need for the separation of D2 and D3 and metabolites?

Now does this really get us to a better place in the understanding of our natural hormone D?  Consider the recent attention on cholesterol sulfate and the resulting compounds of hormones that are made from cholesterol sulfate, in particular vitamin D3 sulfate.  So now are we looking at eight storage metabolites instead of four?  How confusing can it get?  Consider what the writers of this paper:  HPLC Method for 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Measurement: Comparison with Contemporary Assays, March 2006, had to say: “According to Shimada et al., nearly equal amounts of 25(OH)D3 sulfate and 25(OH)D3 are usually present in patient sera.”  The Shimada paper: Shimada K, Mitamura K, Higashi T. Determination of vitamin D3 metabolites using high-performance liquid chromatography or immunoaffinity chromatography. J Chin Chem Soc 2000;47:285-228.  

Only after the clinical outcomes related to the levels of the eight compounds, 3-epi-25(OH)D3, 25(OH)D3, 3-epi-25(OH)D2, 25(OH)D2, 3-epi-25(OH)D3 sulfate, 25(OH)D3 sulfate, 3-epi-25(OH)D2 sulfate, and 25(OH)D2 sulfate are determined will we be able to accurately assess the health benefits  of vitamin D. 

Just think of the confusion of test methods to determine the amounts of the various vitamin D compounds and correlating clinical outcomes with one thing that we call 25(OH)D.  Researchers and reviewers, it is really up to you.  If you fail in allowing papers to be published without making the necessary distinctions, then, the population will continue to suffer at your ineptness. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary HHS   –  Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., Director Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, are you listening?  Okay, all you chickens, GET UP!

If you really were not curious and you made it this far anyway, then may God bless you and go spend some time in the sun.  – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D Testing – O Canada

Not often do you find a true ‘elephant in the room’ but I believe that Canada’s effort to reduce the amount of vitamin D testing is a rogue elephant.  Of course it may be more like ‘hidden in plain’ site as the majority of people are not aware of the benefits of vitamin D.  Ontario Ministry claims that it has nothing to do with the cost in their desire to go back to 2004 testing levels.  The medical practitioners are very upset with the proposal by the Ontario Ministry of Health.  Here is the article in the Globe and Mail – “Ontario considers curbing vitamin D testing.”

I believe that the truth is a major concern for reducing the amount of total services.  Income will be lost when people become vitamin D replete and disease is reduced.  Let’s take one minor example.  Last year the Canadian health authorities encourage parents to increase the amount of vitamin D per day for children.  There were a grand total of 10 pediatric deaths (as of May 1, 2010) in Canada during last year’s flu season.  That is for everyone under eighteen years of age.  Less than sixty percent of that population had the flu shot.  The US pediatric deaths for the 2009-2010 flu season was 281.  The population of Canada is about 35MM and the population for the US is about 300MM or a per capita pediatric death rate for the US that is 3.5 times higher than Canada.  Is it because of less vaccination and more supplementation with vitamin D or both?

I do truly believe that the Ministry is earnest about its statement that the testing for vitamin D has nothing to do with the cost.  I do believe that it has everything to do with the lost income from a healthier population.  Given that in August, Oxford University reported that there were 2,776 genes that interact with vitamin D, why would you not want to test.  Genetic Influence of Vitamin D.  The report states that there are over 200 genes that affect directly- heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

It is going to be really interesting later this year when the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board finally issue their long awaited report on vitamin D and calcium. What will the recommendations be and how will that report be treated?  In the last fifty years there have been 25,000 peer reviewed medical journal articles about vitamin D and disease.  If the reports states there is not enough research then there is a large gray wrinkly animal just waiting to stump on you. The researchers are basically saying that everyone should have the serum level of vitamin D of people that live in a sunny country.  Why are the skeptics calling these MEGA-doses of vitamin D?  I don’t know about you, but I feel really good when traveling in sunny countries.

In most of North America we have reach a season where the sun no longer provides an adequate amount of vitamin D.  That is if you are not afraid of getting cancer and you go into the sun.  Have your serum 25(OH)D tested and try to maintain it at the level of a sunny country or 54 to 90 ng/ml.   – Pandemic Survivor

Genetic Influence of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been found to influence over 200 genes is a news article in  “Vitamin D status is potentially one of the most powerful selective pressures on the genome in relatively recent times,” says Professor George Ebers, Action Medical Research Professor of Clinical Neurology and one of the senior authors of the paper.”

We have discussed before the importance of vitamin D and its influence on genetics.  The findings in this study show that are 2776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the genome.  This is a must read for those of you that like to assign the cause of disease to genetics.  This shows that even with a perfectly good gene map, if it is not being adequately activated by vitamin D, that many disease states can follow.

You may want to review a prior post on how vitamin D works with genetics.  D3 Epigenetic Master Switch.

D3 Epigenetic Master Switch

A survivor of the vitamin D pandemic tried to comment to my July 14, 2009 post on Genetics, Epigenetics, and Vitamin D.  In my earlier post I had the comments turned off because I did not want to take the time to respond.  I now know that this was a mistake.  Sorry about that Rich.  I have now turned on the comments.  Here is what Rich Blumenthal had to say in an email:

Hi Mark –

I see you responded to my comment on your recent blog about the IOM. I wish I could be a fly on the wall while they deliberate.

I was reading your blog of July 14, 2009 on Genetics, Epigenetics, and Vitmain D. I was trying to respond. For some reason it didn’t allow me to do that. Here’s what I wanted to say.

You wrote: “I propose that vitamin D3 is the ‘master switch’ of epigenetics from nutrients. It acts like a shepherd in allowing the body’s various hormones to act for your health. Genes that need to be on get turned on and genes that need to be off get turned off.”

This statement is profound, life-altering, and so stunning that if people truly could grasp the message it would change the world. We have 23,000 genes and the active form of vitamin D is known to switch about 10% of them to a better, healthier state. In the world of steroid hormones, how many genes they affect determines how effective they are, and 1,25(OH)2D is believed to be the hormone with the most impact. This statement is supported by hundreds of cohort studies, ecological studies, and randomized clinical trials that provide irrefutable evidence of vitamin D’s therapeutic and strong preventive effects.

I’d like to recommend all your readers take two hours of their busy lives to watch a Nova episide that will help them understand how “switches” can turn on or off sections of DNA. The name of the episode is “What Darwin Never Knew” and it can be seen in its entirety for free here:

“What Darwin Never Knew”

The video basically shows how altered DNA becomes the underlying cause for visible evolutionary changes. They don’t mention vitamin D specifically but they do imply that the switches are more significant than the genes themselves, and that steroid hormones are the agents that flip those switches. I really do believe that epigenetics needs to be included with a serious study of vitamin D to understand its profound impact on health and longevity. Nova has made it relatively easy to understand, but be forewarned: If you are often stumped on the science questions in the TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” some of the chemistry and biology will be a little intimidating. But even if you don’t grasp everything, you will still get a good overview of how the switches work. Add the knowledge contained in your excellent July 14, 2009 blog, along with some of John Cannell’s writing on the subject, and I think you will experience the same “aha moment” that I did.

Let me make this claim: Anyone watching the Nova segment in its entirety along with reading many articles on vitamin D, thinks about it, truly learns it and understands the subtleties, details and nuances, will become privy to one of the greatest secrets of all time. Your life will never be the same. In making this discovery you are bringing the world one step closer to enlightenment. I know this is a big claim but I strongly feel that the world desperately needs to move in the direction where people know how to prevent serious disease.

Thank You Rich      – Pandemic Survivor

Genetic, Epigenetic, and Vitamin D3

Researchers clear your minds as this is the opportunity for new novel designs for preventing and healing disease.

Note 1.

Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council says that Vitamin D3 targets over 2000 genes or about 10% of the genome.  We have long thought that we are predisposed to get this disease or that disease because our genes were pre-programmed.  We have thought that the genes were responsible and this is correct.  But in the human body it is not only that the genes exist, it is whether it is turned off or on.

Not being hampered by an education in the biological sciences I can freely speculate about how this happens.  We too often are so tied into how a certain thing works.  Our models that we have created in our minds become permanent fixtures. This may or may not be how a process actually presents itself.  Science has had a long history of confirming a certain theory only to find out later that there is more or worse it is not even close to being accurate.  However, the theories that we have developed allow for many wonderful outcomes.

This is the case with genetics.  It is my belief that everybody has a reasonably reliable gene map.  That is; it is capable of given you a healthy life.  Something in our environment has allowed this gene map to be turned off/on.  Genes are almost ‘digital’ in this matter.  Only on occasion do we have a part on gene and part off gene.  Or some cells may be turning on a gene and others may be turning off the same gene or a ‘fuzzy logic’ sort of action.  This happens in tumors where the immature cells continue to grow and their program to stop growth does not act for apoptosis or programmed cellular death.

The genes are present so you cannot really say that we are genetically predisposed.  What has happened is that either because of the stress of the environment or the diet that we consume has had a significant impact on our genes.  Yes there is imprinting from parent to child, but can that be affected by our present environment and our diet.  Evidently this is how the vitamin D3 works.

Here we introduce epigenetics as a way to turn off and on genes.  Epigenetics time line can be seen at this google page where a history of our understanding of this science is displayed.  We see that most of the work in this science did not start to happen until the twenty first century.  We mapped the genome and found that we could not with certainty say that this gene caused a certain happening.  The gene existed, but it was whether it was turned off/on.  This control ‘above genes’ is known as epigenetics.

This idea about how our environments stressed us and our diets affected us in this manner was promoted in a book by Bruce H. Lipton, Phd ( you may find his work here: called ‘The Biology of Belief’.  Now this was too far out for most doing research in the biological sciences because they had always believed that if the gene existed it would give you a certain result.  It is like saying that because you have a light bulb with power attached that you will have light without consideration for whether the switch is turned off/on.

Some years ago Dr. Randy Jirtle at Duke University starting doing work with twins to try to make some sense of biology versus nurture.  His discovery was that it is both.  You can find out more about his work at this PBS Nova Science Now website.  There is a short video describing his findings.  Be sure to watch one of his researcher’s ‘Tale of Two Mice’ in the middle of the page.  In brief what they found was that by feeding the mother certain nutrients that they could make the offspring either thin with a brown coat or fat with a gray coat.  I am like the fat mouse with the gray coat.

This lead to the discovery that bisphenyl-a or BPA could give an undesirable effect.  Many recent news articles have been published about how BPA would affect your baby.  Here is a recent article form the Chicago Sun-Times. If the bottles that you were using had this form of plasticizers then you could expect a not so good effect on you child.  I believe that by now all of the baby bottle manufacturers have voluntarily removed BPA as they were most likely concerned over the liability.

If you would like to read more about Dr. Randy Jirtle’s work you can find it at his geneimprint website. Also here is his Duke web page for the researchers. It has a brief description of the current work on carcinogenesis.

It seems that methylation or the binding on the surface of genes by methyl groups (free radicals) keeps the genes from expressing themselves for your health.  There are some great images from ‘A Tale of Two Mice’ above that clearly show how this works.  Now some genes we want turned on and some we want off.  In the case of the mice it was a ‘fat gene’ that was staying on constantly.  By feeding the mice methyl donors, the gene was forced off. This seems like a very precarious balance that we need to negotiate.  After all in the press we read about how ‘free radicals’ are really bad for us but in some cases it appears that they are a necessity.  I would suspect that when you are eating the right things this ‘fat gene’ gets turned off and tells the body to not eat any more food.  I also suspect that the mounds of junk food that we eat do not have the right kind of methyl donors.

Now Dr. Cedric Garland and Dr. John Cannell (Newsletter on Vitamin A) have both expressed concern over too much Vitamin A as they believe that it somehow ‘blinds’ the receptors for vitamin D or VDR’s. Dr. Cannell thinks that taking any preformed vitamin A may give you a problem.  He thinks that people should only get their vitamin A from carotene and let the body make whatever retinol and retinoic acid that it needs.  I do not believe this is the case.  This gives me a real disconnect when you read articles about how too much beta-carotene is not good if you have prostate cancer and lung cancer.  This most likely is because vitamin A and vitamin D are antagonist and they deplete each other as the body is using them for health.  Without enough vitamin D to balance the A the cancer gets worse.

During the healing of my vertebral disc, I found that by taking vitamin A from fish liver oil that the cartilage healed quicker.  I had my major increase in height where I actually grew an inch and one half (a sign of healing vertebral disc) in three months when I started taking this form of vitamin A.

I had found from the Oregon State Micro Nutrient center; and from this article from Japan;  that vitamin A and vitamin D worked together for cellular differentiation of chrondrocytes or the cells that form cartilage.  There were many more articles but these two will get you started.

It seems that dimers are formed from the large family of retinol receptors or RXR and vitamin D receptors or VDR.  Also I found that retinoic acid receptors, RAR, and thyroid receptors, TR, work in synergy for cellular differentiation as well. I also started a seaweed supplement for iodine for a healthier thyroid.  If you chose to read more then you may find a paper on this understanding at the Journal of Biological Science, Nuclear Import of the retinoid X receptor, the vitamin D receptor, and their mutual hetrodimer.

So where does this lead us.  Given the body of work by the many scientists on how vitamin D prevents so many different diseases, I propose that vitamin D3 is the ‘master switch’ of epigenetics from nutrients.  It acts like a shepherd in allowing the body’s various hormones to act for your health.  Genes that need to be on get turned on and genes that need to be off get turned off.

The new body of research and drug development for treating various diseases should be pointed toward the combination of nutrients for healing.  I know that the work will most likely be pointed toward drugs and we will just have to read the research to find out what combination of foods will give us health.  After all, our system of medicine is about treatment, the money that results, and not prevention.  However, now that we know the ‘master switch’ or vitamin D3, we can start down the road to health.

I have not lost the weight even though vitamin D3 has a significant effect on blood sugar and insulin which are some of the controls for appetite.  I am that fat gray mouse.  What are those methyl donors -give me some of that!  Somehow I need to overcome the ingrained statement in our family at dinner; ‘Now I need just a little something sweet.’  I suspect that this saying is gene imprinting from my mother-in-law.  Don’t worry; she does not have a computer.  Our environment and how we perceive ourselves and our needs definitely affect our genes.

Get rid of all the bad carbs, eat more good fats, be sure to get enough protein, eliminate the artificial sweeteners because we do not have a clue, and GO INTO THE SUN. 

– Pandemic Survivor

1. Okay researchers, how are you going to make some sense of the combination of nutrients?  I do not think our present statistical method for evaluation of combination of factors will get the job done.  I know that we have forever been using analysis by the variance.  This type of model requires way too much data to determine what is happening with certainty and really does not point to which factor and their interactions that gives you the result.  In manufacturing, I learned a method of analysis of the means which allows you to use small data sets of 3 to 10.  It will plainly show which factor causes what result and more importantly the interaction of the factors and results.  This interaction is what is extremely important in epigenetics. ANOM has been shown by many scholarly papers to be as precise as AOV.  Ellis R. Ott, (ASQ bio) developed ANOM for his work in military and industrial applications which require much accuracy before making a process change.  You can learn the method from his book: ‘Process Quality Control’.  This graphical method will point you to the correct solution without headache.  I am sure that it is available from Amazon as well.