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Darcy Dane, DC, DACNB

6404 Falls of Neuse Rd., #201
Raleigh, NC 27615
Telephone: (919) 703-0207

As always, your initial phone consultation is free of charge. Just fill out the consultation request form found on our website.

Dr. Dane is the founder and owner of the Carolina Brain Center. She is a Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and has extensively studied childhood developmental disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and vestibular disorders. She is a charter member of the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation.

Epigenetics: Understanding
How “Nurture” Shapes “Nature”

By Darcy Dane, DC, DACNB

Epigenetics is the study of how different environmental and lifestyle factors can alter gene expression (phenotype) without actually changing our genetic makeup (genotype). Genotype is an organism’s full genetic constitution. In other words, your genotype is made up of your full hereditary information, whereas, phenotypes are actual observable distinctions such as physical and behavioral traits.

Dr. Dane with the Carolina Brain Center’s therapy dogs, Doc and Ollie.

Certain phenotypes— such as eye and hair color —are not changeable. But what about our suscepti-bility to disease? In fact, people today are far more interested in their genetics because we know that environmental factors and lifestyle can put us a greater or lesser risk for certain diseases.

In the extreme, some people have a strong gen-etic disposition that makes getting breast cancer almost inevitable. In these extreme cases woman can now elect to have a mastectomy before any sign of cancer. The same is true for certain types of stomach cancer. In less extreme circumstances—such as when there is a family history of heart disease, Type II diabetes or obesity—lifestyle modification is extremely beneficial.

Eating for Your Blood Type: The Basics

Type O: A high-protein diet heavy on lean meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and light on grains, beans, and dairy.

Type A: A meat-free diet based on fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, and whole grains.

Type B: Avoid corn, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds. Include, green vegetables, eggs, low-fat dairy and meats that are not corn fed.

Type AB blood: Foods to focus on include tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoked or cured meats.

Therefore, you want to nurture your nature! The first step is studying your nature (genetics). There are a variety of genetic tests available. At Carolina Brain Center we use Mindful DNA by Genomind and we do a thorough review of family history. Genetic tests and family histories are used as a “Beware” so that we can help tailor a healthy lifestyle suited to a patient’s genetics. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is how you nurture your nature.

First Priority:
Healthy Eating

As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Adopting heathy eating habits is key to nurturing your nature. Therefore, you need to learn to eat for who you are. We encourage all people to eat a diet that is full of whole foods and minimal amounts of processed foods. Beyond that, there are some nuanced eating choices based on your phenotype that should be considered. For example, making food choices based on blood type is beneficial for most people.

Eating for Your Body Type: The Basics

Ectomorph: Must have carbs around exercise and can tolerate a higher carb diet at meals.

Mesomorph: Needs to include carbs around exercise and can tolerate some starchy foods at other meals.

Endomorph: Any carbs consumed should be around exercise. Limited starchy foods at meals

It is also helpful to identify and eat according to your body type— your morphology. Ectomorph body types tend to be thin, and struggle to gain weight as either body fat or muscle; endomorph body types are big, often pear-shaped, with high body fat, and a tendency to store body fat; mesomorphs are muscular and well-built, with a high metabolism and responsive muscle cells.

Each blood and body type has different macronutrient guidelines. Knowing what you are, can inform the ideal diet for your health.

Beyond Diet—the Impact of Environment

Food is not the only thing that gets into our bodies. The air that we breath, the water we drink, the lotions, potions, and sprays we put on, the chemicals we clean with, etc., etc. While all environmental factors affect our nature, they may not be nurturing it. Since we can’t live in a bubble it is a good thing that our bodies are pretty darn amazing at detoxifying our sometimes toxic ‘in’vironment. That is why finding out if you have trouble methylating is a valuable genetic test. Mutations to the MTHFR gene can mean you are not detoxifying well. Adding in a specially methylated folate is important when this is the case.

It seems fitting to keep harking back to the idioms passed from one generation to the next in this article, so here is the last one for the day, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Genetic testing and/or knowing your family medical history is the best way to implement you-specific preventions.