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Kashif Khan is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of The DNA Company, where personalized medicine is being pioneered through unique insights into the human genome. With the largest study of its kind globally, The DNA Company has developed a functional approach to genomic interpretation overlaying environment, nutrition, and lifestyle... Read More
- Understand the impact of genetic factors on weight loss struggles and learn how hidden genes can influence behavior and hinder progress
- Discover the role of the MSI4 gene in seeking variety and satisfaction in the palate and how addressing this can help overcome cravings and overeating
- Explore the connection between serotonin dysregulation and stress eating and learn strategies to manage stress and break the cycle of using food as a coping mechanism
Hello, everyone. We’re going to look at another actual patient case study. If you missed the first one, just repeating something important here, I’m using my own genetic report just to protect patient confidentiality. We found a patient who matches a profile that I have so I can speak to their issues and concerns without having to share their data. I’m going to use my report for the visual. We’re talking about an actual patient whose issues we’ve been able to resolve and they’ve given us permission to do that. I’m going to share my screen for a second and show you the report one second. We’re going to dive into weight issues here. This particular person was concerned about their inability to get what they called unstuck. They thought they were doing everything right. And there was a specific area that was hidden in their genome that they didn’t realize was the root cause of their issues. This person was dieting while exercising, while counting their calories, doing everything they thought ideally, but they still couldn’t deal with that loss a little bit and they didn’t know what was going on. Here’s what was happening for this person. This gene MC4r, by the way, had gotten into the diet nutrition report, as you can see. And I’m looking at the behavioral genome genetics section, meaning the behaviors that drive your relationship with food.
This is really important. It’s not just about the food itself and the calories itself, but how you think when it comes to food. You’ll see things in here like I tend to overeat at a buffet, more likely to snack. Let’s go back to what this person was dealing with. Just like myself, they had a suboptimal version of the MC4r gene CT. The other area where they were not doing well was their serotonin response. Their serotonin or 5HTTLPR was as we can see here SS which is the suboptimal version. Between these two genes, we found something unique and I’m going to share that with you. What we found was the MC4r gene creates satiety of the mouth. So think ancestrally when our caveman gene or agricultural ancestors that were not overburdened with food supply like we are now, we’re struggling to find food. They often develop this coping mechanism of seeking out variety, meaning that even when food was available, it probably didn’t deliver the nutrition they needed. We know that malnutrition was a major problem. Still is in many poor countries, but it was a global problem up until recently. And so this ability to seek out variety the MC4r not allowing satiety of the palate and this is what was happening with this person which also happens with me by the way. So when they were plating their food, counting their calories, thinking that they were doing everything right, the empty calories that they didn’t know that they were eating, that added to that.
Why am I stuck and can pass this plateau? Was the MC4r not allowing them to be satisfied by their meals? So when they would have their steak and potatoes or their soup or their whatever their meal was, their mouth and their palate were seeking out variety. And it did that as a coping mechanism to desire nutrition variety. So they probably came from, again, from an ancestry where there wasn’t enough variety and they needed to seek out more. And so there was this strength or this coping mechanism of wanting more variety. What we taught them was, it’s not about calories or your plate in order. Visually, it looks like you need to have this, your mouth needs to feel satisfied or you’re going to be leaning on those cookies and those Doritos and the things that you didn’t even know you were doing. You’re going to be constantly snacking, walking by the pantry, throwing things in your mouth, and not counting any of those things. So the hack is simple, salty, soupy, crunchy, sour, all variety when it comes to flavor and texture allowing the signal from this slow MC4r to tell the brain we’ve had enough. And now that sensation has set the satisfaction of the palate, the wow factor that’s required is dealt with. The second thing that was happening with this person, their serotonin pathway was dysregulated. What ends up happening is when people are in today’s reality where the negative stimulus is so constant and we’re overstimulated and your serotonin is dysregulated, you often get burdened with a cortisol response, a constant stress response. And we talked about this in the first case study with anxiety.
So when you have that constant anxiousness and stimulus driving you because your serotonin is dysregulated, you can’t manage all of this reality of our current stimulus. It leads to this stress experience that the body knows is not healthy. Stress is one of those last things where you can do everything right. But if you’re stressed, you’re still going to get sick. And so the cortisol spike, which leads to, inflammatory insults that you don’t want to be there, the body knows this is wrong. When you’re doing it chronically, when it’s a constant and to daily like I’m stressed from anxiety, your body wants to protect you from that. So it will drive you towards coping mechanisms because of your serotonin dysregulation to make you happy. And the easiest thing you can do is make you hungry to go eat something. And it’s typically soul food. It’s typically that thing, the wow factor that’s going to make you feel great and happy. And so with this person, this is also happening. By the way, this particular lady was a lawyer who worked downtown in Toronto here where we are, and she worked with us during our research phase. And you can imagine the stress of being a high-powered lawyer downtown. She was very senior at her firm. And that constant pressure where she didn’t realize every time she walked by the pantry for satiety wasn’t there. So she was snacking and she was leaning on food as a coping mechanism. So she was always leaning on the muffins and the cookies and the chips, not even realizing she was doing it. Because that food is perceived or that hunger, I should say, is perceived as real. She really thought she was hungry because the brain was creating that hunger to make her happy.
So these are the two areas where she was stuck. It didn’t have to do with her plating her calories or training. She was doing everything right. But there are two hidden things that are genome. They are causing behavior that led to extra of the wrong types of calories that led her to being stuck, as she said in her own words. Now we resolve these things, both the supplementation, behaviors, awareness is the first thing when you even are aware that you catch yourself up. Now, I know what’s happening here, so being aware allows you to stop and this is what happened with her. And now she’s thriving. She’s been able to pass that plateau and she’s hit her goal. She’s doing well. We’re going to see you again for the next case study.