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Natural Awakenings Hartford

EMPOWER YOURSELF Know Your Genes and Transform Your Health

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What does the body need for optimal health? It probably depends on the unique genetic codes carried within. Dr. Roberta Kline is dedicated to individualizing personal health and wellness strategies based on genomic testing; which she says is revolutionizing the field of medicine and putting health back into healthcare.

Some people get chronic diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes and cancer, while others simply don’t. And of those who become ill, there is a varying response to medical and nutritional interventions. Why is this?

“My research into the answer has led me to look at what makes each of us unique (genes) and how learning more about a person's genes through genomic testing can individualize and personalize health and wellness strategies, rather than using a one-size-fits all approach,” states Dr. Kline.
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Most people are aware that some diseases can be passed on through genes. Breast cancer is one of them. Yet, Dr. Kline points out that less than 20 percent of breast cancer cases diagnosed each year are inherited through genes. So, what causes the majority of breast cancer and how can genomic testing be a benefit?

“My research found that over 60 percent of breast cancers are related to estrogen, which are termed estrogen-receptor positive (ER-pos) breast cancers,” says Dr. Kline. “It is well known that a woman’s cumulative lifetime estrogen exposure is associated with her risk of breast cancer.” Kline adds that the National Cancer Institute projects the incidence of ER-pos breast cancers to rise in the U.S. over the next several years.

So, who is at risk? Kline states that all women are at risk due to being exposed to estrogen as part of a monthly hormonal cycle and other likely sources.

“Four out of five women who are sexually active have used birth control pills, millions of women have done at least one cycle of IVF, and 50 percent of postmenopausal women have used some form of estrogen (HRT or BHRT),” says Kline. “This doesn’t include women taking other hormones that can be converted into estrogen, such as progesterone, DHEA, pregnenolone and testosterone.”

If all women are at risk, what should they be doing to protect themselves? Research has long shown that various foods, herbs and other supplements can ward off the onset of breast cancer. Kline points out that “broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, fish oil, flax seed, various vitamins and antioxidants have all been documented to reduce your risk for ER-pos breast cancer. But, up until now, knowing which ones and what doses are right for you has been a guessing game.”

Thanks to the human genome project that was completed about 10 years ago, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the area of genetics called genomics, which involves the study of errors in our genes called SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). Genes provide the instructions to make proteins in the body, which are involved in all of the body’s biochemistry. If there is a SNP (a mistake) on a gene, it can change the way the body functions, and over time can create havoc with metabolic pathways and increase the risk for a chronic disease.

“The good news is that we have a large body of research helping us understand how to modify the expression of these genes so that the impact of a SNP is lessened,” says Kline.

In the case of ER-pos breast cancer, knowing the risk for any one person requires genomic testing. There are six genes responsible. Research has shown that a SNP in only one of these genes may not significantly increase the risk of ER-pos breast cancer, but the interaction of two or more SNPs can increase risk. Therefore, genomic testing can evaluate the DNA and identify whether or not there are SNPs on these six genes.

“The benefits are significant; you can now know more about your genes, whether you are at risk, have individualized and personalized therapeutic and lifestyle strategies to mitigate that risk and monitor the effectiveness of those interventions,” states Kline. “That is true preventive medicine tailored to you, rather than guessing what food, supplement or lifestyle recommendation might work best.”

Dr. Roberta Kline is a board-certified ObGyn and co-founder and CEO of Genomic Solutions NOW! To learn more, go to rklinemd.com or genomicsolutionsnow.com.
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