Genetics and Nutrition at Ananda Integrative Medicine

A Westside health center that tailors diets to patients’ DNA. 

By Staff Writer 

From pressed juices to plant-based diets, Westsiders are known for leading the way in healthy eating trends, and a health center located in the heart of Brentwood takes healthy eating to a whole new level based on an individual’s genes. 

For the health savvy Westside resident, nutrition genomics can help guide personal diet, nutrition, and exercise that can not only optimize your health, but the health of future generations. 

“Epigenetic factors including diet, environment and lifestyle habits have the power to regulate our DNA by switching genes on and off, which can influence the health of up to four generations,” said Reshma Patel, PA-C, MMS, CEO & Founder of Ananda Integrative Medicine. 

Before opening Ananda Integrative Medicine, located at 11950 San Vicente Blvd, Suite 110, Patel spent 14 years practicing family medicine, urgent care and occupational medicine in the Los Angeles area. Ananda Integrative Medicine helps patients not only be healthy but address the root cause of issues. 

According to Patel, one diet cannot suit everybody and at her practice, patients can develop a nutrition plan tailored specifically to their DNA. 

“Nutrition has an ‘epigenetic’ effect on our DNA. In other words, nutrition is one of the major ways we can change the destiny of our genetic healthy history and reverse disease statistics,” Patel said. “Genetics and biochemistry help us discover how we are different, and what we can do to potentially overcome disease susceptibilities through the understanding of epigenetics by applying it to our diet, lifestyle and your environment.” 

A specific example of how Ananda Integrative Medicine can use genetics to overcome disease susceptibilities is with patients who have a change in the amino acid sequence of the MTHFR enzyme, which adds a methyl group to folic acid so that the body is able to use it.  MTHFR variants are linked with miscarriages, depression, fibromyalgia, autism, coronary artery disease, infertility and autism. At Ananda Integrative Medicine, however, nutritional genomics can be used to develop a diet with foods like dark leafy greens and supplements like methylfolate that can support any variants in this gene.  

“Carrying the MTHFR gene is a potential risk; it doesn’t mean that the enzyme won’t function well,” Patel said. “Genes are not your destiny.  They are a blueprint for diseases and conditions you may be at risk for.  We can use this information to mitigate the risk by using nutrition and lifestyle changes.” 

Other examples of gene variants nutritional genomics can help address include the BCOL gene which can be supplemented with Vitamin A, FUT2 gene and Vitamin B12 and PPAR-ALPHA GENE. Variants in this gene have a poor response to fasting due to low ketone bodies, and according to Patel, this may explain diverse reactions to a ketogenic diet. 

According to Patel, 15 years ago such personalized care was not available to patients, but rapid advances in science have made nutritional genomics something anybody can utilize to lead a healthier life. The Human Genome Project was completed in 2003 at the cost of $2.3 billion.  This opened the world to understanding what makes us unique.  In 2006 it cost $300,000 to sequence one human genome.  By 2016 the cost was under $5,000. Today you can get your whole genome sequenced for $1,000. 

“The hope is to have it down to $200 in the near future. The genome is the complete set of DNA, and where you find the instructions to build health. The DNA remains fixed for life, but the epigenome remains flexible,” Patel said. “Understanding your genes leads to personalized medicine that is made for you.” 

And nutritional genomics is just one of many ways Ananda Integrative Medicine help patients develop personalized health plans, including infrared sauna treatments and vitamin injections, both of which provide patients a wide range of health benefits.

“Infrared saunas are an effective tool for natural healing and prevention. Benefits include: relaxation, detoxification, pain relief, blood pressure reduction, improved circulation, skin purification, anti-aging, wound healing, cell health muscle recovery and immunity,” Patel said. “Vitamin injections are great for boosting energy, metabolism, promoting better mood, immune support and thyroid support.”

For more information about Ananda Integrative Medicine’s services, visit AnandaIntegrativeMedicine.com/Services, call (424) 259-2089 or follow on Facebook @AnandaIntegrativeMedicine and Instagram @integrative_Pa. To book an appointment, click HERE.

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