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Eating For Your Genes

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Most people have heard the saying, “you are what you eat.” A report from a World Health Authority says people might need to eat according to who they are.

Could a person’s genetic background play a key role in which foods are good for them and which ones aren’t?

The question has been researched since a published report by the World Health Organization. The report investigated why good health was declining around the world and made a direct link to the incompatible difference between what people of specific genetic and ethnic background traditionally ate years ago and what they eat today.

“If you look at certain people with their bone structure and their face structure, the way their nose lies, the eyes, the slant of the eyes, that all comes from an origin,” said pharmacist Dr. Gary Green.

According to research, it’s not just outward appearances that differ according to our ethnic origin.

Some of a person’s genetics are also structured based on ethnicity, making some physical functions ethnically specific, including how people digest food.

“There are differences in the way we metabolize foods in some situations. I’m thinking of lactose intolerance. There are some ethnic groups who may be deficient in the enzyme lactase,” metabolic nutritionist Diana Pantalos said.

The lack of ability to digest dairy products is often found in African-American and Asian populations. That intolerance transfers through generations.

“Oh it definitely would get passed down genetically,” Pantalos said.

In 2003, the World Health Organization looked more closely at declining world health, and its findings pointed not only to genetics, but also how people have been removed from them and the traditional foods of an individual culture.

“They simply said that the genetic systems are programmed for certain foods, genetically,” chiropractor Dr. Roger Roff said.

“When groups make a change from their traditional foods to foods that are more highly processed that are imported,” said Pantalos. “That has an impact on the health of those people.”

Some medical professionals have taken it a step further. They believe the foods that are best are the foods of our ethnic region of origin.

While one group may be predisposed to tolerate starches and vegetables from their region of ethnic origin, another may be prone to tolerate dairy products and meats common to the original continent of their ancestors.

For example, those of African descent may be more genetically engineered to handle beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish, in comparison to those of European descent whose original diet consisted of breads and meats and Asians include rice, fish, vegetables and other oils.

When traditional foods were exported in exchange for other foods not of a particular region, it caused health issues, including a host of digestive problems, which some medical experts say still exist.

“Unfortunately, generation after generation, it just trickled down, until now, we’re at the point where certain ethnic groups are really suffering based on what happened 70, 80, 90 years ago and we still haven’t caught up to that,” Gary Green said.

In America, all ethnicities are eating more processed foods their bodies may not be genetically engineered to handle. When there’s lack of proper digestion, that sparks a host of other medical issues.

“They would do better to be eating the fresh fruits and vegetables that are also many are from their culture, their native culture,” Pantalos said.

There are more studies being done on this aspect of genetics and ethnicity. A Florida company called MiGenetics focused on helping various ethnic groups get back to their dietary roots and improve their digestive health.

“The power to this is harvesting in regions that we are all basically originating from makes sense if you really start doing the math,” Green said.

The supplements come in four different ethnic blends: Asian, European, African and Hispanic.

“The organic factor, the more I read, the more fascinated I became,” said pharmacist Christy Green said. “Everything is plant based, organic.”

Using plant and fruit extracts from the region of those ethnic blends, the supplement focuses on using the natural vitamins and plant enzymes that help break down foods.

That includes the amaranth plant, a known source of vitamin A, calcium, iron and B6, among other nutrients.

“The idea is to keep that intestine flushing 100 percent. You want it to move regularly and you want it to be able to digest food appropriately and you want a healthy intestine,” Roff said.

“As medical professionals, we saw the value of this immediately,” Gary Green said.

On its Website, MiGenetics states the supplements also include probiotics, or good bacteria, and eight simple sugars, which help cells communicate to boost our immune system.

“I was absolutely skeptical,” said Annazette Houston, who tried MiGenetics. “Because I’ve never seen anything that was tailored for anyone genetic group, everything is one size fits all.”

Houston and her husband, Charles, took the African blend.

“I guess my first results I got from the pill was probably my body fluids, my body functions changed in a day or so,” said Charles Houston.

Annazette Houston, a cancer survivor, said her body felt rejuvenated.

“At that point, I just became extremely thankful to have this product in my life because we hadn’t really done anything different to get those kinds of results,” said Annazette Houston.

MiGenetics states it’s made in an FDA approved facility, but it does not have FDA backing and doesn’t claim to cure any diseases.

The Houstons and the Greens researched MiGenetics before trying the product.


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