A1298C Variant

A1298C – a mutation from adenine to cytosine at position 1298 within the gene. These variants lead to amino acid differences in the protein that reduces its ability to function.

1298:genes_MTHFR_baucom_institute

  • AA-normal homozygous
  • AC or CC – one or two variant copies
  • about 30% of the population
  • not associated with increased risk
  • associated with increased risk if found together with a 677 variant

Severe MTHFR deficiency:

  • Severe MTHFR deficiency is rare (about 50 cases worldwide) and caused by mutations resulting in 0-20% residual enzyme activity.
  • Characterization of six novel mutations in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene in patients with homocystinuria. Hum Mutat 15 (3): 280-7
  • These patients exhibit:
  1. developmental delay,
  2. motor and gait dysfunction,
  3. seizures,
  4. neurological impairment and
  5. have extremely high levels of homocysteine in their plasma and urine as well as low to normal plasma methionine levels.

Epigenetic_mechanisms_MTHFR_methylationBottom line:  If one leads a lifestyle which is unhealthy (smoking, high stress, toxic exposures) and consumes an unhealthy diet (refined carbs, processed meats, saturated fats), having a heterozygous A1298C mutation may contribute to cardiovascular disease, depression, fibromyalgia and others.

Possible symptoms associated with A1298C MTHFR mutations:

  • hypertension
  • delayed speech
  • muscle pain
  • insomnia
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • fibromyalgia
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • hand tremor
  • memory loss
  • headaches
  • brain fog

Possible signs associated with A1298C MTHFR Mutations:

  • elevated ammonia levels
  • decreased dopamine
  • decrease serotonin
  • decreased epinephrine and norepinephrine
  • decreased nitric oxide
  • elevated blood pressure
  • muscle tenderness
  • ulcers
  • pre-eclampsia

Possible conditions associated with A1298C MTHFR mutations:

  • fibromyalgia
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • autism
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • ADD/ADHD
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • erectile dysfunction
  • migraine
  • Raynaud’s
  • cancer
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • recurrent miscarriages

Frequency of MTHFR Polymorphisms

30-40% of Americans are found to have either a single or double polymorphism of either C677T or A1298C.

  • There is ethnic variability in the frequency of the T allel-frequency in Mediterranean/Hispanics>Caucasians>Africans/African-Americans (Worldwide distribution of a common methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase mutation. Am J Hum Genet 62 (5): 1258-60)
  • Higher frequency in chronic disease: Autoimmune diseases, diseases of the gut, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Retroviruses, Cancer, Hormone dysregulation, Mood issues, Cardiometabolic patients.

C667Tpolymorphtandem-baucom-institute

  • There is a mutation from cytosine to adenine at position 677 within the gene.
  • Possible genotypes?
  • 677-CC, CT, or TT
  • CC-homozygous normal
  • About 45% of the population
  • No increased risk associate
  • CT-on variant copy
  • About 45% of the population
  • Some reduced enzymatic activity, alone not associated with increased risk
  • TT-two variant copies
  • About 10% of the population
  • Increased risk for elevated homocysteine level and associated complications

Homocysteine & Vascular Disease

Pathophysiology of Homocysteine:

1. Interference with normal thrombolysisHomocysteine-Damage-Ladd-McNamara

  • decreased antithrombin III activity
  • Activation of factor V or XII
  • Inactivation of protein C
  • Promote binding of Lp(a) to fibrin
  • Platelet inhibition (interaction with nitric oxide)

2. Promote SMC proliferation

3. Promote LDL oxidation

4. Direct toxicity to endothelium

Genetic and Dietary Determinants of Serum Homocysteine Concentrations:

Genetic -

  • Cystathionine-beta-synthase deficiency
  • Methionine synthase deficiency
  • MTHFR deficiency
  • Defective absorption of B12 or folate
  • Prevalence – 30% Female V. 25% Male

lowering-homocysteine-levels-naturally-baucom-instituteNutritional -

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate

Risks Associated with MTHFR Variants/High Homocysteine:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cerebral Vascular Disease (stroke)
  • Venous and Arterial Thrombosis
  • Methotrexate Toxicity for Cancer Therapy

 

Methylation

Methylation can turn genes on or off.

Some nutrients affect the methylation process quite dramatically. Methylating factors like B12, B6, MD, Zinc monitor specific methylation reactions.

Methylation_DNA_Baucom_InstituteMTHFR

What is MTHFR?

  • Methylenehydrofolatereductase is an enzyme responsible for converting 5, 10- methylenetetrahydrofolate to the product: 5-methytetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF)
  • Certain mutations in the gene coding for MTHFR produce an enzyme that has reduced activity
  • Reduced activity can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine especially when folate levels are low
  • MTHRF genotyping can provide information about potential causes of elevated homocysteine and how to address it
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolate is involved in the metabolism of folate and homocysteine
  • The product of the reaction catalyzed by MTHFR converts homocysteine (a potentially toxic amino acid) to methionine (a useful and necessary amino acid)

What Does Gluten Do?

Rose Family Fall 2013 074Maddy’s story begins like so many others – born into a middle class family in the midwest, she has had the privileges of most teenagers her age and is now a freshman Criminal Justice major at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Maddy has found that eating is a rather difficult thing, especially at college, even though they have a gluten-free menu, because of all the temptations on the regular menu. She has a gluten intolerance, on the extreme end. It makes it hard to take care of herself away from home, yet she’s working hard to do it, realizing that eating gluten is just not worth the pain.

Maddy says, “First off, you can tell as you are eating it you start to feel full but you aren’t sure if you are bloated or if you are actually getting full. After you’ve eaten, about only 30 minutes later, you start to get indigestion. You get really bad issues that come with extreme gastrointestinal stress, extreme nausea, heavy fatigue, you become moody and irritable and it can even result in vomiting. You also have energy depletion and headaches that include throbbing, making it hard to focus. Speaking of focus, your attention span is decreased, making it hard to work, study, pay attention in class, and go through daily activities that would normally not be an issue for you. You also feel heavy, muggy, miserable, and all around sickly. I also get hot and cold flashes sometimes – that’s when I know it’s really severe. It wasn’t until I talked to Dr. Baucom about my symptoms that I realized why I was having trouble every time I ate. She had me read various articles on gluten, making me realize I was on the extreme end of this issue.”

What is gluten? It is a protein that has been engineered as a component of wheat that provides the elastic qualities for baked goods. But the protein is also difficult to digest. And even a healthy intestine does not completely break gluten down. For those with celiac disease, the undigested gluten essentially causes the body’s immune system to lash out at itself, leading to malabsorption, bloating and diarrhea — the classic gastrointestinal symptoms — but also, at times, joint pain, skin rashes, etc.

Joseph A. Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota says of gluten-intolerance, “It truly has become more common.” Comparing blood samples from the 1950s to the 1990s, Murray found that young people today are nearly five times as likely to have celiac disease, for reasons he and others researchers cannot explain. And it’s on the rise not only in the U.S. but also in other places where the disease was once considered rare, like Mexico and India. “We don’t know where it’s going to end,” Murray says.

Mark Hyman, M.D. practicing physician and founder of The UltraWellness Center is a pioneer in functional medicine. He’s done some extensive study on the effects of gluten. He says that a review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. (iv) These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, (v) and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric (vi) and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, (vii) schizophrenia, (viii) dementia, (ix) migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). (x) It has also been linked to autism.(ix)

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughoutgluten-warning-baucom-institute the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity–not just the symptoms.

How can you know if you are gluten-intolerant? Try going off food that causes the symptoms – breads, pastas, sauces made with flour, chips, french fries, chocolate, anything with wheat or barley in it, etc. Even body and hair care products can have gluten and can be absorbed through the skin. See how you feel. If you have less symptoms like intestinal distress, bloating, etc. you know that gluten was at least a culprit. Most importantly seek a medical professional educated in restorative medicine or naturopathic education. Unfortunately, most MD’s are not aware nor educated on the effects of gluten, although society’s awareness is pushing the medical community to become more aware.

How do you relate to Maddy’s story? What symptoms cause you to think you may be gluten intolerant?

To Age or Not To Age

Do we actually have a choice whether we age or not? Can we restore our bodies to health or is all the talk about longevity and restorative medicine just a bunch of hype?

Most people are interested in knowing how to lengthen their life span and create a healthier, happier life at the same time. But the average person deals mostly in putting out fires when symptoms occur, going to the doctor and getting some medicine to deal with the ailment, having surgery, etc.

restorative_medicine_baucom_instituteWhat if we got in front of the ol’ “8 ball”, so to speak, and became not only a “preventative health” society but a restorative one? Think of the disease prevention and quality of life we would create for ourselves!

There are now doctors becoming more interested in this type of medicine. In fact, more organizations of doctors that believe in not only holistic medicine but in restorative medicine are becoming more prevalent. There are also organizations in which MD’s, ND’s, NMD’s, and DO’s are sitting in the same conferences and are collaborating on the idea of restorative medicine.

Disease is rampant and there doesn’t seem be any better answer in dealing with these diseases other than drug therapies, surgery and living out one’s life. Not any kind of quality of life at all.

No wonder doctors are turning to other answers.

According to AARM (Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine), “. . . the principle is to actually restore fundamental balance and not simply suppress, palliate, or otherwise superficially treat symptoms. Many endocrine disorders and chronic diseases have a limited possibility to be overcome by conventional approaches.  Restorative Medicine offers new scientific data that leads us not to conform or succumb but rather spearheading the rebirth of restorative health.”

“Chronic diseases have now eclipsed infectious diseases, and the old paradigm of focusing on cures is not working,” according to Harvard Medical student, Sandeep Kishore. He says instead of focusing on medications to treat disease, we should focus on causes and not just treat symptoms.

Dr. Michael Friedman, President of AARM, says “the goal [of restorative medicine] is to repair tissue degeneration, optimize cellular and metabolic function, and build organ health. In many cases, medications can be discontinued altogether over time as health and vitality are truly restored.”

What do you think about approaching health from a more restorative perspective?

The X Factor

the-x-factor-metabolic-syndrome-baucominstitute

We’re always looking for the next big thing but the next big thing is already here – Metabolic Syndrome X – the biggest problem in America! The USA has the highest percentage of obese in the world, 34% female and 27.7% male, 35% of whom are Mexicans and 40% African American males.

What is Metabolic Syndrome X? In our blog last week, we shared that this syndrome is a result of having three or more metabolic risk factors: insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high lipids – TG, LDL, etc.

“94% of the rats who were allowed to choose between sugar and cocaine, chose sugar. Even rats who were addicted to cocaine switched their preference to sugar!”

Here are the symptoms:

  • Borderline high or normal blood glucose
  • High triglycerides (above 2.3 mmol/l)
  • Low HDL (good cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Excess weight resistant to dieting
  • Skin tags
  • Osteoarthritis

According to researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, insulin resistance in skeletal muscle leads to changes in energy storage and insulin-resistant individuals rerouted carbohydrates to liver fat production. This leads to elevated triglycerides in the blood by as much as 60% while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol by 20%. In a study done by Yale, participants who were young and lean, with no excess abdominal fat became insulin resistant. The good news is, they found that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle can be treated with one simple method – exercise!

Let’s talk about sugar for a moment, because that it ultimately the biggest culprit in the cause of The X Factor.

The average American eats 142 pounds of sugar a year, or about 2.5 pounds each week, a 23% increase over the last 25 years! And most of it is coming from, one guess . . . soft drinks – which includes artificially sweetened drinks as well! In the US, ¼ or 22% of the daily calories are from drinks, according to a report called “What America Drinks.”

According to Drs. Fischer, Hommel, Fiedler, and Bibergeil, in a study done on “reflex mechanism on insulin secretion,”  we are seeing that soft drinks are linked to Metabolic Syndrome:

  • Men and women who drank more than one soda daily had a 48% adjusted higher prevalence
  • insulin level rises in the first minute after the start of a carbohydrate-rich meal, vs glucose level rising in the third minute of a balanced diet
  • An increase in triglyceride levels and LDL
  • Consumption rose 135% of high fructose corn syrup between 1977 and 2001
  • Americans eat an average of 132 calories of high fructose corn syrup a day

In a lab experiment with rats by the University of Bordeaux called “Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward,” 94% of the rats who were allowed to choose between sugar and cocaine, chose sugar. Even rats who were addicted to cocaine switched their preference to sugar!

Obviously, we have to get over our addiction to this satiable substance! In the meantime, many changes have to take place to get this X Factor under control.

Doctors, in weight-loss fields, GP’s, restorative, and otherwise, are all finding that to get this syndrome under control several factors have to take place:

  • Balance glucose/insulin levels
  • Increase metabolism
  • Increase fat burning
  • Create appetite suppression

A study done by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that a natural substance can greatly help in this fight:  Green Tea Catechins or EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). After 5 and 10 weeks of treatment with EGCG, and GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia, the blood sugar and insulin levels of mice were tested. The researchers found that the mice did just as well on the green tea extract as they did on the drug. The extract has been found to have these benefits:

  • Reduces fat absorption
  • Reduces LDL cholesterol/TG levels
  • Reduces glucose/insulin levels
  • Increases beta oxidation
  • Helps decrease appetite

Which ultimately:

  1. Reduce body weight gain
  2. Reduce body fat accumulation
  3. Stimulate oxidation in the liver

All in all, here are the recommendations by Alexander McLellan, ND, Neuropathic Physician in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and professor at the Canadian School of natural Nutrition and Chief Medical Officer for three clinical research trials in Diabetic Neuropathy in Canada and the US, in treating obesity and Metabolic Syndrome: Check thyroid function, Restrict carbs, Check for food allergies, Keep hydrated, Get stress levels down, Get to a support group and stay educated, Detox, detox, detox! The bottom line? It’s the samo, samo:

  • Eat right
  • Exercise more
  • Don’t rely on a “magic pill”

What do you think?

BIG Bellies – drugs or lifestyle change?

belly_fat_diabetes_baucominstituteWe have a major problem in our society . . . we’re fat! Especially in the belly. Why? Are some of us presupposed by our DNA to struggle with weight? Are we just lazy? Is it all because of what we eat?

Let’s break it down.

  • There are an estimated 23.6 million people in this country with diabetes.
  • There are another 57 million with high blood sugars
  • Between 2000 and 2010, the prevalence of a BMI >40 kg m(-2) (type III obesity), calculated from self-reported height and weight, increased by 70%
  • Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. (CDC)
  • Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.

It all comes down to insulin resistance.

What does insulin do? It helps the body utilize glucose – it’s really the key that unlocks the cell door so glucose can pass into it from the bloodstream. Once inside the cell, glucose is used either for energy or stored for use later in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles. belly_fat_metabolic_syndrome_baucominstitute

Insulin resistance occurs when a normal amount of insulin is not able to open that cell door so the body secretes even more insulin in an attempt to maintain normal blood glucose levels or when there aren’t enough insulin receptors (the average overweight person has 75% less receptors).

So, glucose stays in the bloodstream which is sent to the liver and then converted into fat and then stored throughout the body. These fat cells are even more insulin resistant and often coalesce near the middle – a lot of belly fat. Other symptoms are: headache, day-time drowsiness, insomnia, fatigue,  frequent illnesses, sugar cravings, erratic and insatiable appetite.

And then there’s Metabolic Syndrome – Syndrome X a result of having three or more metabolic risk factors: insulin resistance, elevated blood pressure, abdominal obesity, high lipids – TG, LDL, etc.

What’s the treatment? Do we treat the problem with drugs or with lifestyle changes?

3200 adults with impaired blood sugar control were put into three groups:

  • Metformin (drug)
  • Exercise 150 minutes per week (lifestyle)
  • Usual Care

After three years, there was a reduction in progression to diabetes:

  • 58% in lifestyle group
  • 31% in drug group

In 2008:

  • two clinical trials revealed that diabetic patients on antidiabetic medications gained no significant protection from heart attack and stroke
  • a third study was ended when interim results showed more deaths in volunteers using diabetes drugs for intensive blood sugar control.

So what’s the answer? Lifestyle change – the right nutrition and exercise. It’s simple. Age old. Cliche. But it works. We just don’t want to have to change.

Nutrition -

  • 30% protein with high fiber and avoidance of starch, sugary carbs
  • abundant greens and fresh vegetables
  • frequent ginger, garlic, curcumin, oregano, onions
  • avoidance of refined processed foods like pasta and bread
  • Avoidance of artificial sweeteners and sugars
  • Intake of nuts, legumes and lentils

Supplements -

  • Herbal treatments – Fenugreek, Guar Gum, apple pectin, beet powder, oat fiber, etc.
  • Niacin
  • Lecithin
  • Vitamin E
  • Nattokinase
  • Fish oil
  • magnesium
  • Green Tea, etc.

A restorative or naturopathic physician should always be consulted when creating a pathway to change when dealing with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

What are your thoughts on treatment insulin resistance leading to metabolic syndrome?

Nutrition – Convenient Yet Effective

1364832703339We’ve been talking the last month about the bacteria, fungi, yeast, etc. that can build up in the gut and how to treat the issues that occur as a result. One of the overarching ways to take care of the gut is nutrition. There isn’t anything more convenient and effective on the market today than Juice Plus+. It is a complete vegetable and fruit supplement in a capsule. It is the actual vegetables and fruits themselves, so the body can process the nutrition just as if you were eating that many foods.

Clinical research has showcased the benefits of adding Juice Plus+ to your diet and it’s those studies that impressed Dr. Baucom of The Baucom Institute to take a closer look at the product and eventually start herself, her family and her patients on it.

The Juice Plus+ Clinical Research that is published in medical and scientific journals can be accessed via pubmed.gov.

stellar-events-pic-juice-plus

Pubmed is part of the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) . It is one of the most reputable resources for obtaining peer reviewed journals articles.

There are over 20 gold standard studies that have been conducted in leading hospitals and universities around the world.

Because of this substantial evidence, Juice Plus+ stands above the rest in nutrition effectiveness.

How do you supplement your diet? If you are a doctor or nutritionist, what do you use to enhance your patients’ nutrition?

Intestinal Health – the Four “R” Program: Part IV – Obesity

mid section view of a man sitting on a bench in a park

In Part I of our four-part series, we looked at the gut and how bacteria plays a part in a good way and a bad one as well as the treatment for it – the Four R Program - four steps to creating a healthy gut:  Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair.

In Part II, we looked at bacteria specifically in relation to our gut health and what it does to create havoc in our system, not just our gut.

In Part III, we dealt with yeast and fungi in relation to the gut and the treatment options that are available to deal with these two gut busters.

In Part IV, we’ll look at how obesity plays a part in overall gut health.

Why?

Research has found that obesity has a microbial component that alters caloric yield from ingested food. Altering the gut microbiota may also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose intolerance.

What causes this?

Bacteria (Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes classes – Clostridiasp., Streptomyces sp., Lactobacillus sp., Mycolplasma sp., Bacillus sp., Bacteroides sp., and Prevotella sp.) known to increase caloric extraction from food are present. Basically, one thing leads to another – bacteria takes away what the body needs, coupled with a Western diet and lack of exercise, which leads to inflammation, leading to affects on the body i.e. diabetes, cancers, etc.

Jeff Leach with the Human Food Project states in his article Anthropology of Microbes, “In chatting with the researchers from Shanghai (about a 26 year old man at 300+ pounds who lost weight with a low-fat, high carb diet and found to have elevated levels of Enterobacter cloacae subsp. or B9), it’s clear that our B29 microbe is not the only heavy-duty endotoxin-producing bacteria that is contributing to obesity and associated metabolic disorders in mice and humans. Several members within the larger Enterobactereriaceae family (within the phylum Proteobacteria) will emerge as opportunistic pathogens as well. Opportunistic in that they only cause significant damage to the host under elevated conditions which are brought on by a western diet and lifestyle (apparently). . . .therefore, ipso facto, elevated levels of Enterobacter cloacae subsp. (B29) in your gut in the presence of a high fat diet maycause an increase in your circulating levels of LPS endotoxins which will in turn increase your levels of inflammation which will definitely contribute to a cascade of metabolic disorders including, but not likely limited to, obesity and type 2 diabetes.” (http://humanfoodproject.com/are-you-carrying-the-obesity-pathogen/)

What are the treatment options?obesity_SS_131375909_081613-617x416

In order to alter the gut for microbiota:

  1. balance of predominant bacteria using the 4R protocol (below)
  2. remove opportunistic bacteria, especially Bacillus sp.
  3. supplement with Bifidobacter sp., and S. boulardii
  4. reduce refined carbohydrates
  5. address all the GI imbalances.

In case you forgot the the 4 R’s to intestinal health, they are:

1. Remove – offending foods, medications, gluten and reduce poor quality fats, carbohydrates, sugars and fermented foods.

2. Replace – what is needed for normal digestion and absorption i.e. betaine HCI, pancreatic enzymes, herbs to aid in digestion (licorice, marshmallow root), fiber and water.

3. Reinoculate – with favorable microbes (probiotics i.e. Lactobacillus sp.) and supplement with prebiotics (i.e. inulin, beta glucan and fiber).

4. Repair – mucosal lining by giving support to healthy intestinal mucosal cells, goblet cells and to the immune system i.e. L-glutamine, zinc, vitamin C.

What are your thoughts concerning obesity and the effect it has on gut health?