The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #81 - Dr. Ben Lynch
Dr. Ben Lynch is the best-selling author of Dirty Genes and a leader in the field of nutrigenomics. He’s also president of Seeking Health, an innovative company providing supplements, courses, and tools designed to help people overcome genetic dysfunction and optimize health. After earning his Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington, he then obtained a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. Dr. Lynch lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and three sons.
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6:55 - Ben's Background
12:10 - The Purpose Genetic Expression of SNPs
16:55 - Addressing Dirty Genes
19:35 - Which Genes Didn't Make it into the book
20:40 - NOS3
21:40 - Breathing exercise
23:10 - Explaining Common Problems with Genes
25:15 - medication Causing dirty NOS3
28:00 - Cleaning up nOS3
28:20 - other causes of dirty NOS3; Overtraining
30:40 - keto and high protein diets
33:05 - Nitrogen Balance
35:25 - Producing Ammonia After Eating Protein
37:10 - Elevated BUN
39:40 - Carnitine Synthesis
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42:50 - Carnivore
45:15 - GST/GTX and Hydrogen peroxide
48:25 - Aspirin and gut health
50:00 - serrapeptase to replace aspirin
51:10 - Metformin and Histamine Intolerance
57:05 - DAO and histamine Overload
58:50 - Low reactive diets and microbiome diversity
1:01:05 - histamine degrading probiotics
1:02:20 - supporting glutathione
1:06:15 - Side Effects of glutathione
1:09:10 - supplements
1:12:35 - IV Glutathione
1:15:20 - overwhelming your body with glutathione and iV Chelation
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1:18:40 - MTHFR
1:23:55 - MTHFR and cofactors
1:25:50 - Supplementing Methyl folate
1:26:45 - balancing supplements
1:28:20 - PQQ balancing Glutathione
1:29:50 - Folic Acid
1:34:40 - folic acid enrichment in processed foods
1:36:00 - COMT/MAOA: genes associated with Dopamine and Serotonin
1:39:25 - COMT/MAOA effect on PMS
1:41:40 - COMT/MAOA Effect on Sleep
1:48:50 - Genetic testing results
Melanie Avalon: Hi friends, welcome back to the show. I am so, so excited about the conversation that I am about to have. When I first started this show, I made a list of ideal guests that I wanted to bring on the show and today's guest, he was at the top of the list from day one. I literally remember writing his name down. That is because as you guys know, a lot of you are very familiar with things, like, genetic testing, epigenetics, what our genes mean. I've been obsessed with the whole gene thing for quite a few years now. It probably started when I first got the MTHFR “diagnosis” that a lot of people experience and I went down that whole tangent rabbit hole, I actually, at the time, wrote a really long blog post on it. I remember for quite a while, I would Google it, and I wrote that blog post, and then my blog post would come up as the answer, and I was like, “This is not helpful,” because clearly, I don't know the answers.
A lot of people when it comes to genetic testing and learning about your genes, it can be very confusing, because I think people think genes are their destiny or that it can mean that they're wedded to some outcome. When really, the reality might be that our environment, our diet, our lifestyle can make so many changes in all of that. That's why I have been such a fan for so long of Dr. Ben Lynch because he is one of the go-to sources in this whole world. What I love about his approach is, it's very comprehensive, it's not fearmongering when it comes to, “You have this gene, this is your destiny, this is what this means.” I read his book quite a while ago when it first came out Dirty Genes, and I just revisited it and it's amazing. It goes deep into the potential “dirty genes” that you might have. We'll talk about what that means and what that might mean for you. So, yeah, that was a long-winded intro, but I am so excited about this conversation. Dr. Lynch, thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Awesome to be here, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: My listeners are probably familiar with you, but I will tell them a little bit about your background. Dr. Lynch, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington. He obtained a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. As I mentioned, he is the bestselling author of Dirty Genes and a leader in the field of nutrigenomics. He's also the president of Seeking Health, which is a company that provides supplements, courses, and tools designed to help people overcome genetic dysfunction and optimize their health. I'm sure we'll talk all about that in the show. To start things off, would you like to tell listeners a little bit about your personal story? What brought you to where you are today with your whole focus on genetic health, health and wellness in general, and all of that?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, sure. I've been always a very curious person. I love to read, I love to explore. I'm a kind of the guy who goes on a hike and I reach the top of a hill and I see a hill in the distance, then I have to go down and back up and see another hill, and I’ll just keep going. I'm always seeking, and saying that, it makes sense why my company is called Seeking Health, isn't it?
Melanie Avalon: I was just thinking that now when you said that.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You can never really stop. You can, but then life would be boring, and you would not get as much out of it. When you're constantly seeking health and you're constantly moving forward and/or sideways, and then eventually forward, sometimes backwards, sometimes you fall down, you’re always in motion, you're going to end up somewhere, I believe better than where you started, and growing up, I struggled with all sorts of things, and some things I even forgot happened to me as a young kid that were very, very embarrassing. I shared on a podcast for the first time last week and I'll share it with you all now.
I was in fifth grade. I even forget to name this diagnosis at the moment, but I pulled my hair out as a kid. I literally had a bald spot on the top of my scalp from stress and anxiety. It was soothing for me to pull my own hair out and I had this like four-inch, round spot of no hair. Kids would make fun of me. I was a nerd, and I was also in the sports, but I also grew up on a ranch and I would get sick, nosebleeds all the time. I would be exhausted all the time. We would spray chemicals on the ranch-- I would spray chemicals on the ranch getting rid of Canadian thistle and so the horses didn't get it on them. I’d spray tansy, so they wouldn't eat it. I'd be doing this in shorts and a t-shirt and tennis shoes, and I'd be soaked with Roundup. It got to the point, Melanie, where I couldn't even mix or be around Roundup without getting headache. I didn't know what that meant, I just had a headache. I grew up with all these issues growing up, as we all do, we all get symptoms, but I didn't like not understanding why I had these symptoms.
Then, I eventually learned skipping many, many years ahead, when you start understanding of how the body works, you can reverse engineer of how you got sick, and support the body in a way to help reverse it. In the moment when I saw that Tale of Two Mice video on Nova, where the researcher took genetically susceptible mice which were programmed to get diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer and all she did was alter the nutrients in their food, and they never even got any of those conditions, I'm like, “What the hell.” I thought when you're genetically destined to something like cancer or cardiovascular disease or diabetes, that you're just destined to get that stuff. Here she is, all she did was alter the food, and they didn't get them? I literally put my hands on the table, and I forgot I was on a rolling chair. I pushed hard against the table and I slammed on the shelves behind me. That's what I want to do. I just was so excited. I'm giddy even just talking about that because it's what I do to this day, and that was like more than 10 years ago.
Melanie Avalon: That is so incredible. It makes me smile. I think so many people often do have that epiphany where it's like-- this just happened with my mom because she has a genetic tendency towards-- something with her how she processes cholesterol. It's not a ApoE4 but it's something else. Her doctor wanted her on statins and all this stuff and she decided to do a dietary change for a month. The doctor was floored, like, at how it changed her cholesterol levels and said he needed to rethink basically what he was doing. It's absolutely incredible.
Yeah, so speaking to that, there is this idea often that our genes are our destiny and the whole concept of-- so these genes that seemingly go awry and seem to be our destiny for these different conditions, whatever they may be. There's this idea of SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, and basically this idea that there's a switch in the gene that makes it perform differently. You talk about this in your book. These changes in genes that potentially can cause problems, evolutionarily, do you think they have a purpose? Why do you think our genes “go awry”? Are they even going awry or is there a purpose there?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Wow, that's a great question. Thank you for asking it that way, because so many people just start talking about SNPs and being bad and it just causes people to tune out because we want to protect ourselves from negative information and thinking too hard because it uses energy, which it's easy for us now to reach in the fridge and get energy, but we still have that ancestral brain to protect us from expensive energy. I would say that you nailed it on the head. Are SNPs even bad? Are these little changes that we've inherited from our mom or dad, are they actually bad or were they selected for over generations? I would say for the most part, the genes that I work with, dirty genes, are genes that we've inherited from our ancestors and at the time, they were evolutionarily at an advantage for inheriting those.
Now, you and I, Melanie, are no longer and you listening, are probably no longer even close to where your ancestors were 200-300 years ago in terms of the environment, and what has evolved since then. Horses and buggies and cars and jets and planes and Teslas and EMF and Wi-Fis, all this is so new for our human body, and yet we just go through life thinking that it's fine and it's okay. The addiction to social media, the kids swiping constantly and incessantly through Instagram, and they're becoming a user, literally a user of Instagram. Watching the movie, Social Dilemma, you’ve all got to do that.
Melanie Avalon: I watched that. Yeah.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Oh, goodness. I would say the bottom line is, I talked with a brilliant doctor, Dr. Robert Naviaux, who's a researcher at UCSD, is just amazingly brilliant, puts me to shame in terms of what he knows about genetics. He's just amazing. He said, “Ben, you know what you do?” He goes, “You study genes that have [unintelligible [00:10:21].” He goes an [unintelligible [00:10:24] is a variant in a particular gene that has been selected for based upon where that individual’s ancestors, it allowed them to adapt in a beneficial way to that environment. But we've pulled ourselves out of that environment and we're living in a completely different environment, way faster-paced, way more full of chemicals, way more electrical interference, which is confusing our genes in a big, big way.
Melanie Avalon: Like in Dirty Genes, the seven that you picked, those are ones that are [unintelligible [00:10:56]?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Like celiac disease or cystic fibrosis, these are really set. Cystic fibrosis, as of today, as far as I know, I'm no cystic fibrosis expert at all. You have an inability to do stuff with chloride, you struggle. With celiac disease, you can't touch gluten. You just can't touch it, done. That's it, that's the solution. Then hemochromatosis, you have high iron, and you can do things to mitigate these things and support them, but you're locked in, I like to look at genes that you're not locked in, but they increase susceptibility to a number of different things. If you are born with a MTHFR gene variant that is as slower, there are some evolutionary advantages to that. If you're not consuming leafy green vegetables, if you're not eating liver, blech, I don't eat liver either, but I probably should, but I do eat my leafy green veggies. But if you're not and you're consuming folic acid, which is a new introduction into the world or you're stripping-- you're eating refined flours, which are a new introduction to the world, you're getting yourself a dirty MTHFR, and that SNP is going to become problematic.
Melanie Avalon: That answer is one of the questions I was going to ask you, because you talk in the book about how you selected the seven that you do focus on, and you're talking about how they're easy to clean or scrub, but how there are other ones that are not as easy to and that makes sense. Some of the genes, like you said, you're sort of locked into having to do things to address them.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, that is a great question, and I will dive in a little bit on that. There's about 18,000 genes in the human body, give or take. I've got seven, really, and you're supposed to get benefit out of not even a 10th or a 100th -- I didn't hit that 1000th support. Or, maybe did I. No, I didn't. I didn't even hit 1000s of utility in terms of discussing genes. How can the book Dirty Genes help you if I discuss only 7 out of the 18,000? It seems like it's potion, just nonsense. What I did, it was difficult, it was very, very hard, because my understanding of about 100 genes, maybe 150 tops, is actually pretty good. I can talk about probably 150 genes very well, about what they do, and how you can support them, and so on. And so, I had to whittle that list down to 7. How I did it was it evolved, as I wrote the book, the list changed actually, a felt bad for doing it, but I had to.
What I ended up doing is I ended up picking genes that really affected major bodily systems, and I'm talking cardiovascular system, digestive system, neurological system, detoxification system. I picked genes that had major, major influences on these systems. If I pick these genes that had major impact on all these systems and then you supported them in every one of those systems, the individual should get better, they should improve, and that's what happened. I wasn't just pulling SNPs and genes out of my butt. I've been working with genes on clients for a number of years and working with doctors a number of years, and teaching about it for many years before I even wrote the book. So, I had lots of evidence that this stuff worked. So, by combining those seven, when you're done reading the book, you've basically cleaned up all major bodily systems in your body, and you're going to improve.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I love hearing that. Now, I'm dying to know what were some other runner-up genes that almost made it into the book?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, that's a good question. I need to go back and look, but I know some. Superoxide dismutase, SOD, was a big one, that's a really big antioxidant gene. It's really, really implicated in how possibly with COVID or [unintelligible [00:15:15] about that, because I'm already shadowbanned or exercise if you overtrain, you're creating a lot of reactive oxygen species. Over-training people with superoxide dismutase acting at a faster level are going to have a more difficult time recovering. They're going to be more sensitive to infections, but they might overcome them quicker, they'll just be slower to recover from infections. They're going to be intolerant to just general things that trigger inflammation. It's a really, really big one, and I can talk a lot about it and support them, but it was not as important as glutathione. Glutathione, I did have in there, and I don't think I had a cardiovascular gene, and so I bumped superoxide dismutase for NOS3.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to ask, I was like, “This is reminding me of NOS3.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: Exactly. I picked NOS3 because if you have a dirty antioxidant system through glutathione, or a dirty SOD, your NOS3 isn't going to work. I covered that basis by picking NOS3 because NOS3 is so sensitive. If you are dirty at all in pretty much any of these genes, your NOS3 is dirty, and that's why it's also the last one to clean up. If you're sitting there or walking or running or driving your car right now, tune in to how your hands and feet are. Are your hands warm or cold? How are your hands, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: They're cold.
Dr. Ben Lynch: They're cold. All right, so you’ve got a slightly dirty NOS3, mine are slightly cold as well. When we're so cerebral as we are right now, we're not really focused on our breathing, or not breathing through our nose, we might be mouth breathing. I'm talking a lot. My deep breaths are low, but if you're able to just focus right now, feel the temperature of your hands. Now, focus on your breathing. Breathe through your nose, in a nice calm pace, where you don't really feel the air coming in. Just nice, slow even in, a nice slow even out, and you do it again, and you relax. You do it again. How's the temperature in your hands? Still cold?
Melanie Avalon: I'm trying to see if it's warming up. I'm just starting to feel so zen.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. If you're sitting and you're hunched forward, it's going to be also harder to expand your lungs, but your NOS3, it's nitric oxide, oxygen, so you have to breathe, and you have to breathe through your nose. It's a really big one. If you have cold hands and feet, I just really, really invite you to do nose breathing. Look, the yogis, thousands of years have been talking about this. Tai chi, Chinese also focus on slow movement and breathing and focus. Chinese and East Indians know what they're doing.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, this is perfect timing. The episode that aired today, today's Friday that we're recording, was actually with James Nestor, who wrote the book, Breath. That's been very present on my mind the breathing, and then I loved reading your book. I don't think he talked about the genes at all in his book, but he talks a lot about the breathing and all of that. So, it was really nice to have that additional context of everything.
Dr. Ben Lynch: What I do is basically take the things that we all know, generally speaking. Eating carbohydrates in excess is bad. Overtraining makes us feel tight. Drinking alcohol makes us feel sluggish sometimes. Not eating salads can be bad for me, and sometimes I eat salads and I feel worse. I explain the unexplainable, but I also explain the things that are common sense, scientifically by looking at genetic function. So, it's really empowering for the reader or the listener once you start understanding what genes do-- and genes just perform jobs, that's it. They have jobs to do, and if your genes do not have the ability to perform, that means the job is not getting done, which means you're going to get symptoms. When you allow that particular gene to do its job, and you provide the tools for it to do it, and you don't distract it or overwhelm it, it's going to perform for you and you know symptoms are going to go away. That's what the power of genetics when you use properly can do for you. It empowers you to understand things that you do every day, like falling asleep or waking up or having attention or having a good mood or a bad mood or being anxious or depressed, by knowing how your genes work, you can support all that stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I love it so much, and listeners, you've got to get Dirty Genes because everything that Dr. Lynch just said, it's so approachable in the book. You go through the genes, the signs that you may experience and practical solutions through diet and lifestyle to address it. While we're still talking about NOS3, really quick random question, because you talked about how the purpose of NOS3 is to make nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, and when it goes awry, it makes superoxide instead. Is that a case of what we were talking about the beginning where there was an evolutionary purpose to that, why would it make superoxide? What's the purpose?
Dr. Ben Lynch: I'm going to get a little geeky on you here. There's three different genes that make nitric oxide and they do it in different areas of the body. So, you have nitric oxide synthase 3, which is what I discuss in Dirty Genes, which is done in the endothelial, it's done in your blood vessels. Then when nitric oxide is produced, that allows the blood vessel to expand and dilate and get bigger, it’ll allow blood flow. Think of nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin is a medication that is used and developed by big pharma to increase massive amounts of nitric oxide. You also have those pills for men, we call those things, oh my goodness, for erections. Blech.
Melanie Avalon: I know what you're talking about.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Brain fart 2.
Melanie Avalon: Not like Viagra or something.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, there it is. Viagra is a major nitric oxide producer, major. Men, erectile dysfunction, they got a dirty NOS3, filthy. If you clean up your NOS3-- if erectile dysfunction is not mental, it's physical, cleaning up your NOS3 is really important. Viagra and nitroglycerin are two medications that are used commonly to produce nitric oxide. The problem is, is they get resistance to both of these things. Nitroglycerin especially, and I talk about this in the book. If a person is on nitroglycerin, and they take it, in the beginning, their heart rhythms are good, their blood flow’s good, their blood pressure goes down, their angina is gone. Then six months later, they go back to the doctor and like, “Well, guy, my angina is back, my blood pressure's back up. What do I do?” “I'll just increase your nitroglycerin,” which is take more. They take more and they get some benefits, and it starts working again. Now three months later, it's not working, and they go back to the doctor. They're like, “Doc, what the hell?” “Let's just increase the dose again.” Now, they increase the dose again. They come back in a month. Now, they're resistant to nitroglycerin. What has happened? That nitric oxide that they were taking produced so much-- the nitroglycerin they're taking produced so much nitric oxide and they've been low in glutathione the whole time from a dirty GST, dirty GPX gene that was never even addressed because doctors don't even look or talk about glutathione, that nitric oxide has been turning into superoxide, which is doing the opposite of nitric oxide. It's actually causing vasoconstriction. Now, they're resistant to nitroglycerin and they have to put on a different medication, and now they're chasing symptoms.
As I just described you, you've got to take in on some glutathione, you've got to get on some PQQ, you've got to reduce oxidative stress, you've got to lower your carbohydrate intake, sugar intake, your alcohol intake, move maybe a bit more if you're not moving, move a bit less if you're excessively moving, does that make sense of what happened there?
Melanie Avalon: What about people that aren't on any medications? So that can still happen though anyway?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes. If you are consuming, you read that arginine is great for pre-workout. My kids will take pre-workout before they lift weights. They'll get all macho and suck these things out. I just smile. Suck down a bunch of arginine. For them, it's okay because they're young, they're 17 and they're healthy, and they have a good workout. But if you are taking pre-workout, and you actually have a worse workout, your glutathione levels are probably low. Exercise depletes your glutathione at the time, but exercise should also increase glutathione if you're doing it right after you exercise. The problem is some of us are addicted to exercise, some of us overtrain and we find ourselves getting more and more fatigued over time and we're so drilled that, “I've got to exercise because it's good for me and I'm not going to give up and I'm not going to skip a day. I'm going to get up at 5:30 because that's when I have time to do it, even though I went to bed at 12:00 and I'm just going to bust my butt and work out here.” Your glutathione levels are low. You're going to get worse.
I cannot tell you, Melanie, how many people I've worked with who’ve overtrained, I was one of them, when I wrote for the University of Washington crew team, it ground me into the ground. Overtraining is a big one, even for healthy players, athletes. But you've got to keep your glutathione genes clean, and you have to have your antioxidants on board. A fast way to dirty up your pathways is overconsuming of carbohydrates. And here you are, you are an athlete, maybe you're training for marathons, and you've got those glucose gel pack thingies in your bag, in your fanny pack or whatever, your arm sleeve, and you suck those down every two, three miles, and you keep going, where you create something called methylglyoxal, which uses-- it's just a really nasty compound, and you need glutathione to get rid of it. If you're running also in a polluted street, maybe you live in New York City or LA, or there's fires going on from all this fires that we had, and you're breathing down polluted air, you're depleting your glutathione as you're exercising, and it's going to be a nightmare.
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you brought up the methylglyoxal because didn't you say keto diets or high protein diets or other things encourage that?
Dr. Ben Lynch: High protein diets can. A lot of people don't understand that some amino acids can produce sugar, they get transformed glucose. Not all proteins or not all amino acids do that. I don't have the list handy in front of me. I don't memorize that stuff. That's also why I draw pathways so I don’t have to memorize. I can't stand memorization, I like thinking. But you can look up which amino acids convert to sugar, or glucose to be more specific.
Then keto. I've talked about this with Alessandro Ferretti, a dear friend of mine who lives in UK, who's really knowledgeable about ketogenic diets. I talk to Mike Mutzel too about this. I've talked with them about methylglyoxal and why it increases during ketogenesis. Anytime you throw a monkey wrench into somebody's passion where it could be a negative, it doesn't receive as much attention or focus. We all have that mindset with it. But that said, we all want to figure that out, they as well. I think we just got stuck on a different rabbit hole at the time, but just keep in mind that if you are keto, and you have a keto flu or what have you, maybe that keto flu is because you're creating more methylglyoxal that nobody's talking about, and you need more glutathione. I don't know. I don't know enough about it, but it's something that I've read in the research, that methylglyoxal is just nasty. It's just not good.
Melanie Avalon: I zoned in on that when I read that in the book because I tend to follow a really high protein diet, and I was like, “Oh, I might want to learn a little bit about this.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: Let's hit that real quick if we could. High protein diets like GAPS or carnivore as Paul Saladino is talking about, Paul's great guy, I love Paul, but carnivore diet, he does it right. Mike Mutzel does keto right, Alessandro does keto right. You can do these high-protein keto things absolutely wrong. A lot of people are doing it. They're just like genetics, a lot of people are doing it wrong. High protein diets can increase not only glucose, but they can also increase ammonia, and ammonia is super toxic. There's something that I did not talk about in the book, I don't think, maybe I did, is called nitrogen balance. Did I talk about that at all, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: You did not, but that's one of my recent obsessions.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. I'm 46, I'm not growing vertically anymore. My boys are growing vertically. Hopefully, my middle boy stops because he's 15 and 6’5”.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Oh, my goodness.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. He's a big boy. He's thick too. He's really muscular.
Melanie Avalon: 16, 15?
Dr. Ben Lynch: 15 and a half, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: He's in high school and he's that tall?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, and he just slams a ball. You don’t want to play against him in basketball, he just dunks the hell out of that thing. Boom. He can jump, but he got strong legs, like to see him on the Husky rowing team. Growing kids need protein. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women need protein. Macronutrients are not often talked about enough in these situations. You talk about vitamins and magnesium and creatine and all these different things, but protein is lost. And Lily Nichols who wrote the book, Real Food for Pregnancy, really harnesses and zones in on that point, where women are very choline deficient, which is a healthy fat. What is choline anyway, is it a fat? I mean, no, but it's a compound that you get from food and I'll just leave it at that. It's found in meat products, typically in fish and eggs. If you are deficient in protein during pregnancy, you're going to be nauseated, you're going to decrease growth in your baby, you're just going to be feeling sick, you're going to be eating your own muscles, you're going to have brain fog, pregnancy brain.
On the flip side, if you are eating too much protein because you're following paleo or gaps or carnivore, and you're doing them wrong, and you're not growing, you're not exercising, you're not building muscle, you're creating-- the protein is breaking down into ammonia, and you're getting yourself very toxic, because ammonia is toxic. If you are eating protein meal-- and let’s say this, if you eat a protein meal, and you feel energized, it was a good meal. If you eat a protein meal, and you felt okay, and now you're sleepy, and now you have some brain fog, you ate too much. If you did eat too much, you need to probably get some alpha-ketoglutarates, or some citrulline, or some PQQ or some glutathione to try to burn out that ammonia.
Melanie Avalon: Do you know if there’s more likely to be ammonia generation. If protein level was the same, high protein in the context of lower-carb or higher carb, or does that not even matter? Is it like, once you have a certain amount of protein, ammonia?
Dr. Ben Lynch: There's all sorts of different scenarios and nuances with that. I will say that one thing I see in that is, if you are eating a, just-- let's say a strictly high protein diet, nitrogen balance is still an issue. It's protein, is a lot of nitrogen and protein, and then it breaks down into ammonia and your body pees it out. If you've also eat a lot of protein and when you go to pee, does it smell like ammonia? Is it really foam? Does your urine really foam? If your urine has a strong odor to it, that's probably too much ammonia. Now, if you are also eating a bunch of-- let's say, your higher protein but not crazy, and you're also eating carbs and fats, that's just a lot of fuel. That's just a lot of fuel. What's going to happen is you're going to burden your system with excessive amounts of fuel. It's like when you put-- you have a fire going, you’ve got the fire and you're camping and you want to cook and it's a nice, good fire and then your kids come along and they're playing in the fire and they threw 10 logs on the fire, you're like, “No, no, no, no, don’t do that. You’ll put the fire out.” Now it's smoking like hell. That's what happens when you eat too much in a meal. If you eat just the right amount, you're stoking your fire at the right amount and you got a nice slow burn and it's creating energy for you. If you put too much or too little, or you put the wrong fuel, you're just going to put it out.
Melanie Avalon: Would an elevated BUN also be an indicator of that?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Nailed it. Yes, exactly.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. I've been having that a lot recently. They're always like, “You’re hydrated. I'm like, “I think it's I'm eating too much protein.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes. You got it, and Melanie, docs don't know this. Nutrition in standard conventional medical schools, I don't care if they were topping their class at Duke or UDub Med School, which is top in the nation or Harvard Med School, they don't learn this stuff. Yeah, you're probably consuming too much protein.
Melanie Avalon: I knew it. This conversation was meant to be.
Dr. Ben Lynch: But a lot of people are, and I was too.
Melanie Avalon: I always get worried because my mom has always said since I was little, she's like, “The liver regenerates itself, but you've only got like one set of kidneys,” or something, I don't know. I was like, “Okay.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: And one brain. Where are we at? We're 11:40 right now. I have not eaten breakfast. I've hydrated. I'm not hungry at all. Some people will say, “Oh, you're metabolically weak. Your stomach acid is low.” Yeah, maybe, but I've also tuned into eating when I'm hungry. I want to credit Alessandro Ferretti again on that, is he really drives home the point of eating when you're hungry, not eating when you're craving something. “Oh, that sounds so good right now.” I mean, chips, “Yeah, I'd love to have me a bag of chips right now. I'd love to crunch those things. They're fun, they taste good,” but they made me feel crap after.” So, my chip consumption these days has gone way, way, way, way, way down. If you are eating out of a bag of chips, go into the bag of chips, bring yourself a little bowl, not a crazy bowl and put the chips in the bowl, put the bag back in the cabinet, walk away and eat it somewhere else.
Melanie Avalon: I haven't eaten either. It's 2:42 here.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. If you feel great-- if you start noticing brain fog, you might be breaking down muscle as protein which isn't good. There's a trick to being able to be metabolically flexible where you can actually burn fat because, you and I right now, Melanie, we should be burning fat. If we're not burning fat and during your fasting we're actually burning protein, we're going to be increasing ammonia and making ourselves sick. What I like to do sometimes, if I wake up in the morning, I'm not very well rested, I will start the day with an acetyl-L-carnitine, about 500 mg, and that will help me burn fat more effectively. It's not the only nutrient you need for burning fat. Acetyl-L-carnitine doesn't burn fat at all. Actually, it just helps you transport fat in the mitochondria, and acetyl-L-carnitine is made through methylation. If you have dirty genes, your ability to synthesize carnitine is lower.
Melanie Avalon: Diet wise, is carnitine highest in red meat? That's what I always think of.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, that's my understanding, too. I love the work that Paul Saladino is doing with carnivore. He was just recently on the Joe Rogan Show too, which is awesome and his book.
Melanie Avalon: Carnivore Code?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, there it is. I've got it. I haven't read it. I hung around Paul a few times and are all of our conversations have always been super enlightening, because we all think that we need vegetables and fruits. You don't. It's crazy to think. Paul does a great job of diving into that stuff.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I love Paul. For listeners, I've had him on the show twice actually. So, I'll put links in the show notes to those episodes if listeners would like to check them out. Speaking of brain fog, I am currently experiencing some brain fog at this moment and that is because there was a flood in my apartment. It was really terrible. They just refixed the ceilings and painted, and there are paint fumes. I'm feeling my GST/GTX gene, I think.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You have an air purifier in there?
Melanie Avalon: I have. Well, not right now, because we're recording. When we're not recording, I have like five air purifiers, like really intense ones I already had them because-- I think we can talk about the GST/GTX genes, I'm pretty sure those for me have always been a thing. I've always been super concerned about keeping the air really purified and all of that. Right now, with these paint fumes, I'm thinking I might-- I don't know, might go stay in a hotel.
Dr. Ben Lynch: You should go grab one of those filters right now, Melanie, and bring it closer to you and just put on low. Just have it right next to your desk.
Melanie Avalon: I do have one I can put on silent.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, do it. We want you [unintelligible [00:37:14] over on us.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, maybe I will go turn on and put it on silent.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, do it. Folks, you’ve got to handle your dirty genes. This is this is it. This is the exact situation you can't just let them go and persist because it gets harder to clean them up as fumes come in. This is a perfect lifestyle example where it happens to all of us. Our home was rebuilt. Just yesterday, I had people on our driveway, and they were idling their cars where the air is sucked into our home. I'm sitting in my office, and I'm starting to breathe carbon monoxide. I'm like, “What the hell?” We had contractors sitting in our driveway idling. I was like, “Uh-huh.”
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of, so clearly, the chapter on GST/GTX really, really resonated with me. Would you like to tell listeners a little bit about those two genes and what might be going on there?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, so this is one of those genes, as I was writing a book, I was trying to write about GPx, which is glutathione peroxidase, which gets rid of hydrogen peroxide in the body. Hydrogen peroxide, you think, is that like hydrogen peroxide that I have to color my hair or clean wounds or rinse my mouth out or doctors recommend? Yeah, that's the same one. Your body actually makes hydrogen peroxide everywhere. When you break down serotonin, you make hydrogen peroxide. When you are fighting infections, your body makes hydrogen peroxide because it kills bugs and viruses and pathogens, it literally kills them. Hydroxide peroxide is also a signal for your immune system to get to work. Hydrogen peroxide is generated from your DAO enzyme. When you're breaking down histamine in your gut, you're generating hydrogen peroxide, so it's everywhere. It's pervasive. Your glutathione peroxidase gene gets rid of it.
When you're breathing formaldehyde from new cabinets or new tables or new furniture, or gas fumes when you light a gas stove, you've got formaldehyde combustion being produced. That's the big issue. Chlorine, if you're a swimmer, you swim in pools all the time and your skin is dry and your hair is dry, and that's all you worry about, but you're lowering your glutathione because chlorine exposure, that is eliminated-- again, if you look at the science, chlorine is metabolized and eliminated from the body just like formaldehyde using glutathione. Glutathione is a massively important compound and we're using it up all the time in our bodies daily. If you are overtraining, you’re using a pre-glutathione. If you're consuming a lot of carbohydrates, you're creating methylglyoxal and you're using a pre-glutathione. GPx does that. Now, glutathione transferase is a GST gene. I was trying to write the chapter on glutathione just using GPx, and I couldn't do justice because we're also exposed to arsenic and mercury and other chemicals in the environment. Arsenic is eliminated from the body using GST. That's only part of it, but you need quite a bit of glutathione to get rid of arsenic and mercury, and a lot of other things, a lot of medications.
Tylenol, another one. Tylenol is really nasty. My middle boy, same kid who dunks, just had surgery on his big toe. He is taking Tylenol currently for the pain. I didn't want to him on crazy meds, but I've been giving him glutathione as he's taking the Tylenol to replenish him. Those are the two genes that are in one chapter. It's not really seven genes in the book. There are eight. Yeah, Super Seven sounds better than the Elite Eight. Anyway, that's a bit about that gene.
Melanie Avalon: It's a standard question. How do you feel about aspirin?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Aspirin is hard on the gut. Of the number one causes for emergency room visits is NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, because they erode your gut lining. Why? I couldn't really tell you what the mechanism, I don't remember. But I know they're really, really hard on the gut. I've been giving Matthew, my middle boy, as well for the surgery. He's been taking some ibuprofen because Tylenol wasn't enough. I give him some Optimal GI capsules alongside of it, which are demulcents and healing the gut. I've been giving the glutathione to counteract the Tylenol, and I've been giving him gut demulcents and gut-healing zinc carnosine and what have you, in addition to the ibuprofen to support his gut, because I could-- plus use on IV antibiotics because they’re working on his toe, which is a nasty environment, so I've got him on probiotics and saccharomyces boulardii as well.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I always like to ask what the aspirin because it's one of the few things I'm torn about potential health benefits versus the issues with the gut. A lot of people in the Ray Peat community take aspirin as a health supplement, and they take it with K2. They say it mitigates the damage to the gut, I don't know. Aspirin, I'm torn about it.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, I'm not well versed enough. Pete is a brilliant guy, got an avid following, but I would just say be very mindful. If you start noticing you're getting more reflux or you’re having some more left-sided discomfort or certain foods that didn't cause you problems are now causing you problems, maybe you are more reactive to foods that you didn't used to be, baby aspirin definitely be my pick, but why can't you use things like serrapeptase or nattokinase?
Melanie Avalon: I love serrapeptase. My listeners love serrapeptase.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, I mean, why can't you use enzymes? Why do we have to go to a medication? The more natural we can go about it ideally, that's the way you go. Sometimes you can't. If you're pregnant, and you have prothrombin issues, and you got clotting disorders, Lovenox, yeah, go for it, but be monitored, of course. Lovenox can be fantastic, and possibly even a baby aspirin on top of it. There are times when medications are needed. But if you're trying to go optimal, you are truly seeking health, I’d just be careful about medication use. I know some people are taking, what’s it? Metformin, for their--
Melanie Avalon: The other one I'm curious about, I've been thinking berberine, though, recently, I've been experimenting.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, I think berberine would be better. Berberine can be hard on the gut too. Metformin actually inhibits the DAO enzyme, and you can get histamine-related symptoms. Let's say you were drinking wine before, and you were fine, and now you're taking metformin, and you get to take a couple sips of wine, and now you don't feel good from just a couple sips of wine or you can't eat oranges anymore, you can't have shrimp or fish anymore. You're more prone to diarrhea or looser stools, or acid reflux. That's the metformin. It does things with your B12, so you’ve got to make sure you're not getting deficient in your vitamin B12, monitoring your MCV, MCH. Again, you do this one thing that you're hearing in the research and hearing from brilliant people recommend them, there's a lot of things that a lot of brilliant people don't know, that's why we have to work together.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I feel like metformin gets discussed so much by a lot of people I really respect and that's why I've always been like, “Hmm,” I'm curious about it. I've been wearing a CGM for about a month now. I tried berberine and the effects I've seen in my blood sugar have been insane. I'm like, “Wow.” You just touched on DAO, so a lot of people, I think, struggle with histamine overload and responses to food and flushing and swelling and all of these things. For people who do have issues with their DAO gene, questions about that. If people go on a low histamine diet, do you often find that they can-- does the histamine build up and then you can clear it out-- Will the DAO basically be dysfunctional for life? Or can you clean it up and then it can handle histamine again?
Dr. Ben Lynch: That is a very loaded question. Very good one, my brain went and scattered in about 20 places.
Melanie Avalon: Sorry.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, no, that's good. That’s kind of how my brain works, I just see all the pathways and it just goes everywhere. Keep in mind that if you have a SNP in your DAO gene, meaning you have a variation in how your DOA gene works compared to what's typical in the population, that variant might slow your particular gene down. Let's talk a little bit more about SNP. SNP stands for is, Melanie, we already talked about single, one, nucleotide, like a DNA base polymorphism, a difference, a change, a variation. You have one DNA base change, one. A DAO gene, I'm curious, I'm going to look it up real quick. AOC1 is the official name. I'm going to go to GeneCards., and I will look here. Diamine oxidase is what the gene’s name is. This gene is 36,878 bases long.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. And one of those is different?
Dr. Ben Lynch: One of those is different.
Melanie Avalon: Are they DNPs, double nucleotide polymorphisms?
Dr. Ben Lynch: There are copy number variations, there are deletions, there are insertions. So, you can have an insertion of a whole bunch of gobbledygook that got put in there. You can have an insertion in your dihydrofolate reductase gene, DHFR, where you can insert 20 DNA bases, and that's not like a single nucleotide base. StrataGene looks at DHFR, where there's a couple other insertion deletions, and then you have-- GST can also be a deletion insertion, so your glutathione transferase is actually one of those as well. There are looking at the SNPs and DAO gene, you're ready for this? Guess how many variants there are in the AOC1 gene for DAO? AOC1 is synonymous, by the way, for DAO, it's actually the official gene name. How many variants do you think, how many SNPs do you think have been identified in the DAO gene?
Melanie Avalon: So, like the potential for SNPs in the DOA gene?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, Mm-hmm. How many?
Melanie Avalon: I'm guessing it's probably either like a ton or not a lot at all.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Mm-hmm. So, pick one.
Melanie Avalon: A ton.
Dr. Ben Lynch: A ton. 9203.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I was going to say like the top, whatever, however many thousands you said. There are so 9000-- Oh, my goodness, potential. Wow.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. genecards.org is a phenomenal website for geeks and nerds. Go there, talk about rabbit holes, it's extremely scientific, and you might not understand anything that you're looking at. Anytime you're looking at something like genecards.org, you want to look for things that you recognize, so find something that you recognize and look at it. They have structural variations from database for genomic variants. That's where I found the 9203 variations. These are not just all SNPs. They're also copy number variations and other things. Now, what you need to understand is, not all SNPs are bad. Some SNPs have no effect on the gene at all, none. Some have is very significant, and some have just a little bit. StrataGene identifies, I think, two or three commonly found genetic variants in DAO. You think, “Well, why only three?” Because that's what literature is researched heavily. StrataGene will only report genetic variations, i.e., SNPs or deletions, or what have you, that have a lot of evidence behind them. Even though there's 9203 variations in the DAO gene, does not mean they're all studied. They're not even close. We're in a new era right now. You cannot just look at all the variants and say, “Oh, those are mutated and those are all problematic. You have no idea if some can be faster or slower.” Back to your original question, which was? [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: It was, so if a person has histamine overload in their body, and they clear out the histamine, if there's an issue with their DAO gene, to what extent-- will they be able to tolerate histamine foods at some point? Do some people need to just never touch histamine?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right. Yasmina Ykelenstam passed, unfortunately, and she was really, really brilliant with histamine. She originally wrote a book, I believe called, The Low-Histamine Chef.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, yeah. She passed away?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: She wasn't that old, right?
Dr. Ben Lynch: No, she was not. Breast cancer.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, man. I did not know that. That's really sad.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes. Horrible. She's a great lady. I've interviewed her a couple times. She interviewed me a couple times. Every time on our discussions, we both grew in our knowledge, in our understanding of histamine, and it was always fun talking with her. I learned from her, she'd learned from me and we just feed off that. She said, “Ben, I was the low histamine chef in the beginning. So, I was always promoting low histamine foods and low histamine drinks and low histamine diet. And then, I realized it wasn't about that.” She shifted it from low histamine chef to healing histamine.
Melanie Avalon: I remember that. Yeah.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Right. She had this major transformation because if you are living a life of consuming low histamine foods and low histamine drinks, or low histamine probiotics, then you're not getting the diverse microbiome that you need. If you're not getting the diverse microbiome that you need, you're causing problems. Research shows that if you are consuming a diet that is low histamine, or low oxalates, or low whatever, what happens is the microbiome that thrives off of that stuff, it actually works on it, they get even fewer. If you had histamine-degrading bacteria that fed off the histamine and you're a low histamine diet for a long time, those bacteria, that microbiome that were there as residents no longer have a job to do and they disappear. Then you try to reintroduce histamine, and you react worse than you did before because your microbiome shifted.
You have to keep in mind, I see people on a low oxalate diet, low sulfur diet, and low histamine diet, they're on all these low, low, low diets, and they're only eating like 10 foods. Now, their diversity is down, their energy is down, and now they're in a real sticky situation, so how do you get out of that? What I like to do is-- as I just got off the interview with Dr. Shelese Pratt, who practices in Colorado at The Pratt Clinics, phenomenal doctor, really good. She goes, “You need to always look for the causes of the histamine and reduce them.” If you order a stool test, like from GI360 from Doctor’s Data, a stool test that I like these days. I'm ordering it for me and all the boys. t's actually on its way, I believe, to our home. If you have bacteria that produce huge amounts of histamine and you're following a low histamine diet, but you have Blastocystis hominis in there, Blastocystis hominis is producing heaps of histamine. Well, you can be on a low histamine diet all you want, but that Blastocystis hominis is just having a heyday in there, and you need to get rid of it.
This is the other thing, too, I've transformed a bit on, Melanie, is I used to drop bombs on the microbiome. I used to like nuclear war, and I've learned that beneficial bacteria secrete compounds, which kill Candida, which kill E. coli, which kill Blastocystis hominis. In my research, I'm trying to create actually probiotic formulations that target these things and kill them through how we should be killing infections in our gut anyway versus just killing everything.
Melanie Avalon: The other probiotic supplement that is specifically like low probiotic strains or histamine degrading strains by Seeking Health?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, ProBiota HistaminX.
Melanie Avalon: Do you find that selectively using strains like that can be pretty beneficial for supporting the histamine?
Dr. Ben Lynch: It's been life-changing for me and one other family member in our home, Matthew. I’ve been picking on Matthew lot today. Matthew and I, it transformed us. I do take ProBiota HistaminX every night and I give it to all the boys in the family. We have three boys, and we all get ProBiota HistaminX every night. That's that histamine. Yeah, that histamine-degrading probiotic. I firmly believe in the pulse method, which I discuss in the book, Dirty Genes, where you should take nutrients as you need, and change it up, and skip supplements. Maybe you don't need a multivitamin every day. Maybe you don't need glutathione every day. I pulse glutathione. Right now, Melanie, you need glutathione from your environment. I need some too from the car exhaust yesterday, and I feel it right now. I could use some right now, the foggy head, probably because I haven't eaten, too.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking of the glutathione because I know glutathione it's really hard to absorb, I believe, when it's taken orally so how can-- besides eating foods to support it, I do have glutathione in my fridge for to inject. As far as supplementing glutathione, are there ways to do that? Like liposomal or the stuff in my fridge? I tried it the other day though, and it burned. I was like, “I can't do this.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: You tried to take the injectable?
Melanie Avalon: I tried to inject it. Yes. It was a failed experiment.
Dr. Ben Lynch: I mean, I've done it in doctor’s offices. I've never taken that stuff home. It's interesting. You biohackers.
Melanie Avalon: The things I do.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Alessandro talks about the three Fs, friends, fools, and family. There's a lot of testing on me in the boys, and my wife as well if she's up for it and she usually is, so I test a lot of supplements on us all before we go to market, so ProBiota HistaminX was tested heavily by me and the boys and Nadia, and others. Yasmina Ykelenstam also took it and tested it out. With glutathione, liposomal glutathione is phenomenal. It's great. It's very well absorbed and it gets the job done. When you have a good liposomal glutathione, you can put some in your mouth, tastes like trash usually.
Melanie Avalon: It can't taste worse than injecting it burns, that's all I know.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Well, yeah, there you go. The result you get from the liposomal glutathione is fantastic. It can be, but it can also cause crazy side effects in other people. Another form of glutathione is called S-acetyl L-glutathione, and that is oral encapsulated, not liposomal. The S-acetyl L-glutathione is great, because oftentimes when you acetylate a compound, that acetyl group gets cut off by stomach acid, thereby conserving whatever else that acetyl group is attached to. S-acetyl L-glutathione is protected against stomach acid and you need to stomach acid actually to cleave off that acetyl group, so you absorb the glutathione. I actually see supplement companies who encapsulate S-acetyl L-glutathione in an acid-resistant capsule, and that I think is bad, that's just not good. That's just not going to work. They're being protective with the glutathione, which is great, but you should put reduced glutathione in an acid-resistant capsule, not S-acetyl L-glutathione and I talked to the ingredient manufacturer of S-acetyl L-glutathione before we encapsulated it, so, “Do I put this into acid-resistant capsule or regular capsules?” Definitely regular capsule. I said, “Done.”
We have S-acetyl L-glutathione in a capsule and in liquid, liposomal. I prefer the liposomal. A, because I believe it is even absorbed. S-acetyl L-glutathione does have evidence, and good evidence of increasing glutathione levels, according to research, but the liposomal, I feel instantly and I can regulate the amount that I want, so I can just put a few drops in my mouth and wait and I hold it and I wait and I wait for my head to clear if I feel nothing, I take a little bit more, and then I hold it and I start feeling my head clear, I might take a touch more and then my head feels, like, it's not clearing anymore, I stop. As I talked about in the book, Dirty Genes, a lot, you got to tune in. When you're taking supplements you have to know the effect of what they're supposed to do and then wait for that effect to see if it actually occurs. I teach you what you should be learning or looking for when you take a supplement. If you feel more anxious or headachy from taking glutathione, there's reasons for glutathione side effects which are not commonly discussed and they should be, because it's common.
Melanie Avalon: Is it a detox effect with a glutathione or is it something else?
Dr. Ben Lynch: No. Maybe to some regard, but the majority is because the cofactors are not present. Anytime you use glutathione, glutathione is doing a lot of things and glutathione becomes damaged. It's like vitamin C. You take vitamin C, it does its antioxidant thing, and then it becomes damaged. You need glutathione to regenerate your vitamin C. When you take vitamin E, the same thing. Antioxidants work and then they get damaged and they become pro-oxidants. When you are taking glutathione, it's the antioxidant first and then it becomes a pro-oxidant. If you are deficient in riboflavin that is what recycles that damaged glutathione back into useful, ready to be used again glutathione. It does that through the glutathione reductase gene. On the StrataGene report, my wife has a slow glutathione reductase gene, she has a slow glutathione peroxidase gene, she has a slow glutathione transferase gene, and she has a slow glutathione, I think it's synthase gene, it actually makes glutathione. Her entire glutathione pathway is just a snail. She does very, very well with PQQ, which is pyrroloquinoline quinone as an antioxidant, and it does quite well, so she does well with that. PQQ does not become a pro-oxidant until it's used up like 20,000 times, and then it's recharged from glutathione.
In our Optimal Liposomal Glutathione Plus at Seeking Health, we have the glutathione, we have riboflavin, we have some PQQ, and we have selenium which you need selenium for the glutathione to be used, for the glutathione peroxidase, so there's selenium in there. Then you also have molybdenum, which gets rid of sulfites. Anytime you are taking sulfur compounds like MSM or glutathione, or N-acetyl cysteine, or eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, garlic, meat, you are increasing sulfur compounds and then excess sulfur is eliminated in the urine as we talked about earlier. That sulfur turns into sulfite, and it has to be eliminated through the SUOX chain which uses molybdenum, which is surprisingly deficient in people and it's peed out as sulfate. Again, if your urine or your breath or your armpits smell like sulfur, you're probably eating too much sulfur, your sulfites are probably too high, your molybdenum is probably too low, probably taking too much sulfur-based supplements, or eating too much sulfur-based foods. Like you're hearing on the internet that drink a bunch of-- put a lot of kale in your smoothie and eat a bunch of broccoli, and eat a bunch of salmon and take a bunch of glutathione and you feel like crap. Well, there you go you're overloading your genes.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, don't worry, there is a transcript of this episode in the show notes, and then I'll put links to everything in the show notes, so have no fear, it's all there. I'm getting really excited right now. I'm going to order that supplement right after this because I've supplemented individually with all of those, like PQQ. I can never say the word mo-- How do you say it the moly-- molybdenum. I don’t know. I can spell it. Molybdenum.
Dr. Ben Lynch: That's how I say it. I don't know if it's right or not.
Melanie Avalon: Then the selenium and then, well, glutathione, so all together. Liposomal, is it a liquid, like you take it on a spoon?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. I just flipped the cap and I just drop it in my mouth. Anytime you're taking a supplement from a container like that, hold your breath, so you don't breathe on the lid or touch it in your mouth. Just hold your breath as you drop it in your mouth. That way, it keeps clean and you can flip it back closed again. My boys, I’ll just line them up in the house and they'll see me pull out the glutathione on and they all want to run away with the tail between your legs.
Melanie Avalon: As you said, it doesn't taste the best.
Dr. Ben Lynch: No, when they're little, it was easier, I’m just like, “Stand here, dammit.” I would squirt liposomal vitamin C in their mouth because it tastes good. I will squirt, squirt, squirt, and then I hold that and then I'll squirt the glutathione in and their facial expressions will change. And I'm like, “Hold, hold, hold. Okay, swallow.” They're like, “Damn it, dad. They're like, “I'm going to school. I just brush my teeth. Now, I’ve got glutathione breath all day.” [laughs] Yeah, that’s what you see at the Lynch household.
Melanie Avalon: Holding in your mouth, does a substantial amount more get absorbed?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes. You can feel it. Yeah. It's amazing. I wish I had it right here because I would feel and so would you. A little story. My wife would take the liposomal glutathione, Optimal Liposomal Glutathione from Seeking Health, feel terrible. She just didn't-- she’d get irritable, weird, funky stomach stuff. Headachy, sore joints, just not good. Her glutathione levels were low on our labs. It was frustrating. A lot of people experienced that, not just her. Finally, I just dove into-- when enough people cry, and then struggle with something, I dive into the research, especially when it’s your wife, and you figure stuff out. I put those things together, and I learned that I give her some PQQ and I give her some riboflavin, give her some selenium which she already had sufficient selenium on board, but I give her the molybdenum and she would do great. I put all those together in one supplement. A lot of people who do not do well on liposomal glutathione do very well the Optimal Liposomal Glutathione Plus. Those cofactors are massively important. If you just focus on the glutathione utilization, the recycling itself, you're going to miss the boat. You also need the antioxidant potential of the PQQ, and you also need the sulfite reduction of the molybdenum. Those are really, really key and it's been a huge boon for Nadia. It's massive. Liposomal Glutathione Plus and PQQ for her have been phenomenal. I share that story with people on Facebook and Instagram, and people comment like, “Oh, yeah, I've been trying what Nadia does, and it's really been a game-changer for me.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Do you know IV glutathione?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Scares the hell out of me.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, really?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, scares the hell out of me.
Melanie Avalon: Why?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Unless there's cofactors put in there and most doctors don't. Look, a lot of people who need IV glutathione are quite sick, and their oxidative stress is already pretty high. Vitamin B to riboflavin, for some reason, is very deficient in people. Selenium is also pretty commonly deficient. Not as much, but it's there. And then molybdenum is-- gosh, is deficient in lots of people. You can't really test molybdenum from my experience. It's one of those empirical things that you do on people and is like, “Yeah, I feel way better with adding molybdenum in there.” We actually have molybdenum drops, which people can add 25 mcg at a time. If you take the Liposomal Glutathione Plus, and you still feel not quite good, maybe you need to have your molybdenum drops, maybe take a few more drops to increase the molybdenum level. But IV glutathione just scares me. Some people have phenomenal success from it, and that's great. Let's say you take one IV glutathione, you do great. You come back for the second one because you're so excited how much better you are. The second one, and you feel better, but just not quite good. It's like the nitroglycerin. You go in for the third IV glutathione because you're on a series and it's cheaper, you’ve got a discount, and you’re just, like, “Why not?” You're detoxing, and now the third one, now you don't feel so good. You go into the fourth one, bam, now you have some slight breathing issues, your skin is itchy, it's red, your breath is horrible, your pee is super sulfur-y, and you're afraid to go back because now it's just destroyed, you actually haven't recovered from it still. That is a common issue.
People will say, “Oh, you're just detoxing.” I'd love to swear right now, but I won't. It's nonsense. You've burdened, you've created dirty gene from the amount of workload you have. If you're the go-to person in your business and everybody comes to you to get stuff done, or you're the go-to employee, there's only a certain amount of work that you can do before you just crack and you just burn out or get sick. It's the same as your genes. You can't overload them.
Melanie Avalon: The reason I was wondering was, I had really severe mercury toxicity, my blood levels were over 30. I took about six months of chelation pharmaceutically but it was like DMPS pushes with glutathione as well, and I would feel fantastic from it. Then, in retrospect, I was like, “Maybe I was just feeling fantastic from the glutathione push,” because I feel the whole process though, while I got my mercury down, did a number on my body. Now, I'm very hesitant about a lot of things like pharmaceutical chelation. I was curious about the glutathione.
Dr. Ben Lynch: The DMPS in the glutathione definitely helps you, for sure. But yeah, if there's any components that are missing, your kidneys got overwhelmed, your brain got overwhelmed. I don't remember the half-life of DMPS, I think it's a bit longer than DMSA. DMSA, I believe the half-life is four hours. DMPS is a little bit longer.
Melanie Avalon: I think it's 12 or something, or 6.
Dr. Ben Lynch: At the end of that half-life wherever that DMPS was in your body bound to the mercury, it just dumps it. It dumps it. I believe if you do an IV chelation with heavy metals, okay, yeah, it's needed, it's effective and it helps a lot of people. But I also believe people should be put on oral chelation, things like DMSA if it's even available anymore.
Melanie Avalon: It's in my cabinet.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, I've got some sneaky ones in there in my cabinet too.
Melanie Avalon: Like Australia or somewhere I ordered it from. [laughs]
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, but you take that-- as the half-life is dumping and you're losing the half-life from the DMPS, you can supplement with the DMSA, and you can sauna to keep that movement going so you don't just dump all that mercury in one spot. If you're just doing IVs and that's it, scary. Adding the glutathione, good. Adding a bit of oral DMSA, better. Adding sauna, even better. Adding colonics, better yet. Adding gallbladder circulation or elimination stuff, good. Making sure your bowels are moving, great. Binders, good. There's a lot to it.
Melanie Avalon: I definitely did all those other things you just mentioned but I do feel walking away from it-- Got the mercury down but I feel like I just did a number, like I said, on my body. Now I'm very, very hesitant about that route.
Dr. Ben Lynch: I don't think anyone really has the science down too much. Paul Anderson does a pretty good job with it. I don't know. It's tough.
Melanie Avalon: Going back to the first thing I brought up when we started the show, the MTHFR, because I know people want to know about MTHFR because I feel like out of all of the genes that maybe the most well-known or the most, I don't know, it comes with quite a reputation these days. I feel does a really, really large percentage of the population have some sort of SNP with their MTHFR gene?
Dr. Ben Lynch: The Chinese, the Hispanics, and the Italians have a very high prevalence of a significant MTHFR variation, yes. upwards of, I want to say, 20%, 30%, 40% of them.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, gotcha. I feel that's the one that a lot of doctors are becoming more familiar with it, so they'll actually test for it and then people get diagnosed with it, and then they think they're in big trouble. What is the MTHFR gene? If people have issues with it, what can they possibly do to support it? There's a lot of confusion surrounding like B12 supplementation, folic acid, things like that.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Again, with any gene, you have to figure out first, what does it do? What's its job? The MTHFR’s job is to make your body's primary form of folate called MTHFR. I actually just found some glutathione in my office. It's probably not the freshest, but, yeah, I'm taking it.
Melanie Avalon: I'm jealous.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, it's helping. Good. Maybe I can be more coherent.
Melanie Avalon: I can't just swallow the glutathione that's in my fridge, right?
Dr. Ben Lynch: If it's IV, I’d be a little bit, yeah, I don't know what else is in there.
Melanie Avalon: Me neither. Sorry, continue.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, get some liposomal. MTHFR’s job is to make the body's primary form of folate called methylfolate. Methylfolate supports methylation, and methylation is just one of those activities that your body does day in and day out your whole life. Methylation supports many, many things and supports the elimination of histamine, supports the first part of it. It supports the first part elimination of arsenic, supports the elimination part of estrogen, dopamine, transferring serotonin and melatonin, turning genes on and off. It's hugely important. Supporting uracil to thiamine. It's very, very important. Making carnitine, making creatine, making phosphatidylcholine. Methylation is crazy important. MTHFR is like the first domino. If your lineup 10 dominoes, Melanie, on your desk, and you had to make acetylcholine, dopamine, creatine, get rid of some estrogens and histamines and all that. MTHFR would be the first domino, very first one to knock that over. That is why I discussed MTHFR in the book because it does so many things. If you have the MTHFR variants, and you look at the report, and it says, “Oh yeah, you're homozygous for 677,” which is at position 677 in the MTHFR gene, you have a genetic variant, and typing in gene cards now to see how long MTHFR is because DAO is what, 37,000 bases long? MTHFR is 20,000 bases long, give or take. The MTHFR is at position 677, there's this change from a cytosine to a thymidine, that thiamine makes it the shape altered a little bit because when you have a DNA base, it's these proteins. Then when you have the protein structure a bit different, the shape changes. Since the shape changes, the riboflavin that's circulating in the cell and it gets in there, it doesn't bind to the receptor or doesn't bind to the MTHFR enzyme very well and the MTHFR enzyme doesn't work as well if the shape was little bit different. So, position 677, the shape changes, riboflavin floats by, it doesn't really stick. Then, if they have 1298, it doesn't stick as well, either. It's actually a different type of variant, but anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because I have the homogenous A1298C.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, so the research on that one shows homozygous A1298C at 1298 position you have an adenosine switching to a cytosine, and that base change has changed its function, and this is at, I believe, the N-terminus, the end of the gene, and so it is less receptive to being turned off. It's more apt to stay on but the research is a bit funky on it. Research says, even though it's at the N-terminus, I believe, it's at the end of the gene. There's C-terminus and there's N-terminus. I believe, C is at the start and N is at the end, but I'm going from memory here, so careful. That's supposed to be binding more SAMe to tell it to slow down and stop. The research shows that it's not really playing with that. I probably shouldn't be brought that up. I'm probably confusing everybody and then they're all going to look up and research and say, “Well, that’s not what I heard.” Research is confusing as all hell. The more you dig into it, the more conflicting papers you're going to find, and it gets really messy, really fast.
What you need to understand within MTHFR is the nutrient needed-- genes make enzymes, most of them, a lot of them. The MTHFR gene makes the MTHFR enzyme, and the MTHFR enzyme uses riboflavin as the cofactor to make it go. If your MTHFR gene is totally fine, no variants at all, it's perfect. You have the cleanest MTHFR gene in the world. But you're deficient in riboflavin, they won't go, it doesn't work. Okay. People need to understand that. Yeah, it's very, very important. That is also why StrataGene is as useful as a genetic test, because we show your genetic variants if you have them or you don't have them. We don't tell you they're bad or good. They're just different. We tell you why they're different, how they're different. We also show you the cofactors that they use like riboflavin. We also inform you of the lifestyle, the food, the environment, the things which slow it down and make it more dirty. We also explain ways to make it cleaner as well. You're getting all that for 170 different genes in the body or so.
What's happening is people are getting tested for MTHFR, and they ask for it. They ask their doctor, “I want to be tested for MTHFR,” and I'm partially to blame for this having a website, mthfr.net. That needs to be updated, that site is old. But the information is still good. I went through it and made sure the information is still accurate, it is. I went through all the articles and updated them. You can see my updates. I say that was recently updated and making sure I was being in line and accurate, so it's current. It's just on updated website, it needs to be changed. The go-to is to take methylfolate because of MTHFR gene job is to make methylfolate and you were born with a variant that slows it down, like 677 or even 1298, depending on what literature you read, you are then prescribed methylfolate by your health professional, or yourself prescribe it yourself because you ordered a StrataGene or some other genetic test and you found that you had MTHFR and now you're supplementing with methylfolate.
First day, amazing, you feel great. “Oh, God. I'm so glad I figured this out.” Again, you've been taking every day now, you take a milligram of methylfolate, you feel good, good, good. Fifth day, you're little bit more anxious. Sixth day, you take it again, you're a little bit more anxious. Next week, you keep taking it because, “God, it’s such a life changer. I can't be getting anxious or feeling weird from the methylfolate,” because it worked so well in the beginning, and you take it-- Now, you're in week two. Now, you’ve got headaches every single day and it just don't quit. Now, you are irritable as hell, you're screaming at everybody. Now, you're starting to get tingling in your legs. Am I describing someone or am I describing you possibly? Yeah, cut the methylfolate out and take some niacin and neutralize those side effects.
You got to understand the function of the nutrient, what it does, how you feel when you're low in it, how you feel when you're too high in it. I just took some glutathione, and I took probably, it's a 500-mg dose. I took probably, I don't know, I'm guessing about 300, maybe 10 or 15 mg of glutathione. It cleared my head, but now I'm a little bit anxious. Not anxious, but a little headachy, because I took glutathione without any of the cofactors. I'm not feeling ideal. My head is a bit better, but focused, but it's heavier because I don't have those cofactors. I wish I had the Glutathione Plus, but I took what I had and see, here I am, I don't feel awesome.
Melanie Avalon: Getting folate straight from food, if you have the MTHFR issues, are you able to get enough from food? Will you ever have that potential, that issue, that you just described if it's natural folate from food?
Dr. Ben Lynch: I believe so. Yeah. See, I just took a PQQ now to neutralize it. My office is my own little pharmacy.
Melanie Avalon: This is real-time. [laughs]
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, it's real-time and my head is a lot better. Thank God, I have the PQQ here, so I took one of the lozenges, and I bit it and that was literally five seconds.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to ask, it’s that fast?
Dr. Ben Lynch: It's that fast.
Melanie Avalon: In five seconds, where does it go and what does it address in five seconds?
Dr. Ben Lynch: I took the glutathione and remember I told you I took it. You're phrasing the question of the MTHFR when I-- asking about the prevalence of it is when I took the glutathione, and I felt good, head cleared. Then, it was just as I was sharing with you that I started getting this headachy brain fog. That was what, few minutes? The clarity was instant, the headachy, feeling a bit funky was a few minutes later. The PQQ, well, I just reached out what I had here. It helped immensely within seconds and now it's a little bit cloudy again, so I probably just need some food too.
Melanie Avalon: I'm just so surprised that it happens that fast.
Dr. Ben Lynch: It's crazy. It is crazy. When you're listening, you're like, “Ah, nonsense.” Think of it from a business standpoint, if I'm telling you it's that fast, and it's not that fast, and you take it and, it's like, “Oh, he's full of crap,” then, I should be on the safe side and say it doesn't act that fast, if anything, but I really feel it. I am very tuned in. I'm pretty optimal. My labs are pretty spot on. I'm generally quite healthy. I need to exercise more, but I don't, but I'm still thin and fit and toned and strong. I just need to do more. I was doing great in the summer, but now I'm not. Anyway, I digress.
Melanie Avalon: One more question about the folate and all of that. Folic acid, does it help some people? I know there are a lot of problems and they started adding it to help with potential birth defects and things like that. How is it a problem, and does it help? I remember I would always have this conversation with my mom and she's like, “Good thing they added it because it saved so many birth defects.”
Dr. Ben Lynch: I found a paper that was published this year, and I posted it on my Instagram because I was so excited, and so few people liked it, I'm like, “Come on.” [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: You sound like me.
Dr. Ben Lynch: The actual effect of folic acid in improving or reducing neural tube defects across all populations was very insignificant. It's really low.
Melanie Avalon: I thought it might be that.
Dr. Ben Lynch: It's because the research, the methodology of all the other studies showing that folic acid was actually effective, the methodology was not done properly. Methodology and research papers has to be done properly. Otherwise, you get wrong data, or you interpret the data wrong. I don't remember what they did differently in this paper, but I read that, I was like, “Oh my God, that is so brilliant.” I didn't even think of what they did. They made some changes in how the research was looking at it and it was like a minimal effect. Here's the deal with folic acid. I have a whole article on drbenlynch.com, I think it's called Folic Acid Side Effects or something. It's all researched. If you're a geek, you probably are, it's all good, you go to drbenlynch.com, you type Folic Acid Side Effects, and you're going to get a video there where I go over the science and I show you papers, I show you biochemical pathways, and some charts and diagrams and whatever else, so you can totally geek out. But I also provide all the citations at the bottom of the article. In short, folic acid is totally synthetic. It has no physiological use in the human body at all, zero, none, nada, nothing.
Melanie Avalon: So, it can't be used?
Dr. Ben Lynch: It can be used, but it has to be transformed by genes first. The dihydrofolate reductase gene is the gene which takes folic acid and transform it into dihydrofolate. That's the first step. Then from dihydrofolate, you go to tetrahydrofolate, then you go to some other methyl, then another folate group, then another type of folate. Then, I believe, you finally get to methylfolate. You have all these different genes that you have to jump through in order to make folic acid. I'm looking at my pathway in front of me here. See, I have to have stuff in front of me. Folic acid has to go through, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 steps as we know it today to be transformed into methylfolate. I will tell you, Melanie, on StrataGene report, almost every report that I've seen so far, which is crazy, has slow folate metabolism. Almost the whole pathway is slow. The whole thing. The DHFR gene, slow, MTHFD1 slow, MTHFR slow, TYMS slow, SHMT slow, SLC19A1 carrier folate slow. If you're gumming up your system with folic acid, you are slowing the system down. Here's why. DHFR can process folic acid. Yes, but DHFR has other jobs to do. It's not just processing folic acid because that's not even-- it wasn't relevant and our ancestors--
Melanie Avalon: It's like, “What is this?”
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Exactly. 100 years ago, folic acid didn’t even exist. DHFR has got this new job to do but also, at the same time, DHFR recycles biopterin, and biopterin is the necessary compound needed for our genes to make dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, also create the nitric oxide, [unintelligible [01:25:26] nitric oxide synthase gene. If you're consuming folic acid, your dopamine, your serotonin, your norepinephrine, and your nitric oxide production are all in a struggle, that does not sound good. Your DHFR gene can metabolize folic acid. It could process it in amounts of 200 mcg or less in a non-variant DHFR. In a clean DHFR, functioning DFR gene at its best, if it's not working on biopterin recycling or if it doesn't have a genetic variation, it can handle 200 mcg. How many people are taking way more than 200 micrograms of folic acid a day?
Melanie Avalon: I was going to say it's added to so much food.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yes. I think that's one of the main reasons why processed foods-- well, one of the reasons why processed foods are so bad, and it can be healthy processed foods that you think are healthy. But if you flip over the label, and you look at it, it's got folic acid in it, you're like, “Damn, I like those energy bars.” They don't have corn syrup, they don't have food coloring, they use good foods, but they enrich it with folic acid. It's everywhere. You’ve got to get rid of it. I surveyed, I think, 5000 people years ago, where I got 5000 responses, I don't know how many I surveyed. I asked what the number one thing that people learned for me was, and the top response was removing folic acid from my diet and lifestyle. They said it was a massive improvement.
Melanie Avalon: That's crazy. I was wondering if that might be the case, with the research on the birth defects. It reminds me of actually Dr. Alan Christianson, who introduced us. I've just finished his book, The Thyroid Reset Diet, and he completely blew my mind about the research on iodine, how maybe that whole correlation to hypothyroidism might actually be the opposite, with it actually causing thyroid issues rather than helping them. I want to be really respectful of your time. You did touch on one little thing just now with the dopamine and serotonin, which did relate to two other genes in the book that you talked about that, I think, would resonate with a lot of people. We don't have to go super deep into it, but just for listeners, because they might identify with it and want to get the book to learn more. The COMT gene and the MAOA, what's going on with those? Also, what's the difference, because they seem to both affect neurotransmitters and things like that? I know that MAOA has more to do with serotonin, what might be going on there?
Dr. Ben Lynch: A lot. I picked genes that do a lot of work in your body every single day, almost every single moment of every single day. One thing I want to say right now what’s on top of mind is, let's say you grab the book, Dirty Genes, you do the laundry list 1 and 2, basically the quizzes, and you find out that maybe your MAOA is really slow, and your MTHFR is slow and your DAO is filthy, your glutathione gene is actually pretty good, and your PMT is decent. Then, you take the tests, two months later, now you're COMT is fine, your MAOA is fine, your glutathione is actually filthy, your DAO is fine. You're like, “What the hell? What kind of book is this?” Your genes have changed, your lifestyle has changed, all this is changing for you. Having the book as a hardcopy or paperback, hard copy’s being discontinued finally, it's a bad thing for some people. That paperback allows you to take the quiz over and over again and your genes change. It's a guide. It's not just a book that you read once, it's a book that you're going to reference your whole life and to help you out. Eventually, you'll learn everything in that book, and you won't even need to pick it up anymore. You'll just say, “Oh, yeah, my COMT is dirty today. Let’s slow down, I’ve got to speed it up.” You'll remember all that stuff.
Back to COMT and MAOA, these genes are very, very important. They're really heavily focused on neurotransmission, really big players in neurotransmission. You can have any type of neurological disorder, you could have any type of mood disorder, any type. COMT and MAOA are implicated in some degree. That's a bold statement. I would say I can't prove it's true, so I'm not going to say it's true, but hypothetically and theoretically, given their importance of where they are and what they do, yeah, there's something going on with these genes. I don't like disease labels. I don't like bipolar, or Huntington's, or Parkinson's, or depression or anxiety. These are all just dirty genes, all of them. Some are harder to help than others. Parkinson's, let's defeat Parkinson's disease. Let's kill COVID. Let's kill cancer. Wrong mindset, people. Wrong mindset. You’ve got to support the genes.
When you identify that your COMT and MAOA are dirty, you can make a huge improvement. The jobs of COMT helps process catecholamines. It stands for catechol-O-methyltransferase. Anything that is in your body that contains a catechol is processed by COMT. I'm talking, catechols are found in green tea. If you're drinking tons of green tea, your COMT is being slowed down from you sucking down green tea. If it's becoming that time of the month for you, ladies, where you are known to struggle with PMS and it's no laughing matter, it's a serious issue for women, and if you're drinking green tea, you're drinking coffee, caffeine is a catechol-- I'm having a bit of-- trying to remember all the different things with COMT. But your estrogen levels are higher, and higher estrogen levels increase histamine as well. Now, your COMT gene is busy processing the green tea components, is busy processing the estrogen. The dopamine and norepinephrine are also stuck in the epinephrine.
Now, no wonder you have premenstrual syndrome because of massive amounts of neurotransmitters that are in your brain right now. What do you do? You support your COMT gene, and if you support your COMT gene, those PMS symptoms will not be present anymore. You can get over PMS. Yes, you can. Since I've been working with my wife with her liver and microbiome because a lot of estrogens are processed there, they're much better. Her PMS is very slight some months. Some months, it's worse than others. It's a tough one to battle, but it can be done. COMT’s job is estrogen, norepinephrine, dopamine, epinephrine, and any catechols in the diet. The cofactor is magnesium and also SAMe, which comes from methylation. You need both SAMe, which you can't just run out and take the supplement, SAMe, as I described in the book, it's complicated. I'm not going to get into it now. You can learn about it there. But magnesium is really important. That's COMT.
Then, for MAOA. MAOA, it supports the elimination of dopamine, norepinephrine as well, but also processes serotonin and it helps process histamines out of the body, especially N-methylhistamine. You can order N-methylhistamine on Organic Acids Test and see that. If your N-methylhistamine is really high, then your histamines are high. MAOA has been working hard on that. MAOA helps convert-- If the type of person laying in bed and staring at the ceiling at night, and you cannot fall asleep, then the potential for your neurotransmitters to be elevated is pretty darn high because you're not able to fall asleep. You might be the type of person that's really focused, attentive, gets a lot of stuff done during the day. You're go, go, go, go, go, go. You lay down in bed and your brain still stays on, your neurotransmitters are still living produced, your COMT and MAOA are stuck. They're slow. If you have a dirty COMT, dirty MAOA, or slow MAOA, slow COMT and a dirty MTHFR and a dirty DAO, you are going to be staring at the ceiling and you start cleaning them up, you're going to start falling asleep and staying asleep.
On the flip side, if you fall asleep really well, but you cannot stay asleep, there's a lot of factors with that too. Your MAOA and your COMT genes are doing really well, but your melatonin levels are probably getting burned out really quickly, so maybe you need sustained-release melatonin, maybe you need some 5-HTP to stay asleep. We have Optimal Sleep at Seeking Health which supports the staying asleep and I'm working on-- I've already done it. It's been through testing and trials at home and other places. Optimal Sleep 2, which is for people who can't fall asleep. That's what I've been using because I can stay asleep just fine, but my neurotransmitters, I'm a thinker, and I'll just stay in bed staring at the ceiling but Optimal Sleep 2. I’ll tell you, it was a four-capsule serving originally. My brain was so slow, Melanie, I would turn my head and my eyes were still looking at the wall that was behind me. [laughs] It was weird. Now I just take one capsule, that's why I've adjusted the product. If I went to market with that, boy, we’d have a lot of zombies. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Listeners, you've got to get the book because if any of that resonated with you. I particularly loved like, you talk about in the book, the difference between the slow and fast manifestations of COMT and however you say, the MAOA, and how it really does manifest in your personality in a way, in your experience of the world. You might think it's, like I said, just your personality, but it really might be how your genes are reacting to these neurotransmitters and whether or not how they're being eliminated, or used or building up or whatever it may be. People who order StrataGene, when did you launch that, it's newer, right?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, just.
Melanie Avalon: Do you send a spit test?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Imagine 23andMe and Ancestry. You went online, and you grabbed a DNA collection kit from either of those companies. You spit in the tube and send it to the lab. You waited for three weeks or so. Then, you’ve got your raw data from that. You're logged into their account, and you looked at all the stuff that they report to you. While Ancestry doesn’t give you much. 23andMe, the health reports my opinion suck. I don't care if I eat asparagus and my pee stinks, I could just eat asparagus and tell if my pee stinks.
Melanie Avalon: Or cilantro.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, or cilantro, or if my hair is more likely to be red, but, hey, I'm hazel. I'm brown hair and hazel eyes. There's stuff in that the report is just worthless. Or, if I'm 1.4 increased risk of prostate cancer. Okay, what do I do about it? I don't know. What genes are implicated? This one particular gene, sure. How do my genes get dirty, which increases my risk of prostate cancer? That's what I want to know. That's what StrataGene does. You order StrataGene kit, ships to your house. You can get the spit tube, you spit in it. If you have an infant or you have a difficult time with saliva, we have a cheek swab, we have both for people. They're both accurate, but you need to choose what's best for you. You always collect your sample first thing in the morning, ideally away from food or drink or any of that, because you're going to get the most concentrated saliva. The more concentrated your saliva is, the better your DNA sample will be and the better your StrataGene report will be in terms of comprehensiveness.
My wife did her genetic test at StrataGene. I don't think she had any genes missing. They were all called. I did mine, it failed. [laughs] Here I'm giving me instructions, I didn't follow my own instructions. I’ve got to do the test again. I did it middle of the day, I did it after drinking some water. I was like, “Oh, it'll be fine.” It wasn't fine. It was terrible.
Melanie Avalon: Follow the instructions.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Follow the instructions. I'm a man, so I didn't. What happens then is, we also ship you a copy of the book. You get a copy of the book, Dirty Genes, with the test kit, which is great because you can learn as you're waiting. We also give you online access after you activate your kit. You activate your tube, and register your tube, and then you get bunch of online tools as well. You get the Dirty Genes course. You get some other videos to learn. There's a lot of learning going on for four weeks, while you're waiting for your sample, which is good because by the time that StrataGene report hits you, you don't get just bowled over with scientific biochemistry and pathways, and you're like, “Holy crap, what did I just do to myself?” Because now you're educated, and you've been informed. What you're going to get is roughly 122-page report, gag. What you want to focus on though, is not all the stuff that's inside the report, all the information from gene to gene. You want to look at the pathway is the biochemistry. The key is you need to do the quiz in the book and find out which genes are currently dirty from your book, you read those. On the second page of your StrataGene report after you get it is a dirty genes pathway. All the seven genes that have been discussed in the book, we show you your genetics of those seven genes, and then you can look at those and you can dive in deeper and start understanding more. The book is going to give you a lot of insight, and so does the report and it shows you how your genes are born, whereas the book shows you how your genes are acting.
Say, for example, you take the quiz in Dirty Genes, and your DAO is filthy. It's like 10/10 dirt. You get your StrataGene report, you see your DAO gene is slow, it's dirty. You're like, “Okay, all right. That's easy.” That was a little bit tricky. Let's say you do the Dirty Genes quiz in the book, your COMT gene is fast. It's totally fast. You get your StrataGene test back, it's slow. You're like, “What? What? I don't understand. How can it be fast, yet genetically I'm slow? How's that happen?” Well, your environment, your diet, you're probably not eating sufficient protein. You probably are doing something different to make your COMT work too. Maybe you're low estrogen. There's things that you need to understand and then you start eating more protein, maybe you start drinking some green tea, maybe you start supplementing some thyroxine. Now, you start feeling good, and you take the quiz. Your COMT is not slow in the book anymore. It's not fast anymore and you're doing better. That's how all that works.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, that's fascinating. I'm glad you touched on that because I was wondering because historically, it resonated with me. I felt like I had probably a slow COMT. I have my genetic data that I had done, not through 23andME, actually did through this Facebook like thing that I ran it through one report, not yours, but another company, and it said that my COMT was normal. I was like, “Really?”
Dr. Ben Lynch: Okay, I'm going to stop you there for a couple things. You're in trouble. [laughs] You said the word ‘normal.’ Okay. This is one thing that a lot of genetic tests make you feel abnormal, and make you feel broken, correct? Or, they make you feel whole because you don't have a genetic variant there, like, “Oh, I'm good. I don't have a variant. I'm not a mutant.” The word ‘normal’ should be shifted to typical. It's really important that you have the mindset going into genetic testing, that it should not be scary. It should be empowering. The first page of StrataGene, we talk about this. Right on the first page, we state this, “What you're about to uncover in these upcoming pages is extremely powerful. You finally have the opportunity to peek under the hood and see you, blah, blah. There is no such thing as a bad report or a good report, just unique. You won't find any red or yellow colors here that symbolize bad or warning. Instead, you'll learn that some of your genes naturally work slower, and some work faster. It's important you know this information so you can adapt. If you don't know how your genes are built, you have no idea how your genes impact you.” When you did that genetic test, and you found out that your COMT was ‘normal’ you said?
Melanie Avalon: Right. Typical.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Typical. I'm assuming they've looked at your COMT V158M variant?
Melanie Avalon: I could actually check. I'd have to check.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Okay, well, that's fine, but they only looked at one COMT variant, correct?
Melanie Avalon: I'm not sure. It might have been a lot more because it was a really long report on COMT.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Okay. On the current StrataGene-- our old StrataGene, we reported two COMT variants. The new one, we report four. According to research, there is a four-SNP haplotype, new word. Haplotype is when you look at a series of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, and you look at the combined effect of those series of four. You cannot assume that if you have a homozygous variant, or a heterozygous variant, that are all going to be slow. Doctors do this all the time. People who create genetic reports do this all the time. You cannot do that. A genetic variance changes the shape of the particular enzyme which alters its function. It may speed it up, it may slow it down. It may do nothing. COMT V158M, yes, it slows it down. You get another SNP in the gene. What does that do to it? We looked at the DAO, there's 6000 SNPs or something. If there's a SNP that doesn't alter the shape, no effect is done. If it does affect the shape, that effect is done, and then you have another variant and another variant, it's altering its shape in different ways.
The COMT four-SNP haplotype on StrataGene, I think, is the only genetic report that reports this. Maybe there's something new out there now besides ours, I don't know, but we look at the combination of all four. Melanie, I'm going to be very, very curious, if and when you do your StrataGene report from Seeking Health, what your COMT status looks like. Have you been struggling? You don’t have to share this. This is a pretty personal question. Have you been struggling with slow COMT-type issues, basically your whole life?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Okay. I would suspect then, your COMT may be born slow. You just don't have the haplotype that is being looked at.
Melanie Avalon: I just looked at the report, I ran it. It was four. I guess they use the terminology average. Two are average, but two were low.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Two were slow or--?
Melanie Avalon: They're using the word ‘low.’ I guess might mean slow?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah, low is not the right terminology because you don't have something that's low. A marathon runner isn't low. They might be slow, they might be fast, they might be typical, average, but you can't be low. The other thing is, too, they might have 4 SNPs there, they might have 10, but did they look at the haplotype? Are they discussing the haplotype?
Melanie Avalon: Okay, gotcha.
Dr. Ben Lynch: They should say, according to research, a four-SNP haplotype, utilizing these rsIDs, and alleles of these types will calculate into a slow haplotype or a fast COMT or a slow COMT or a typical COMT. You have to do algorithms to figure out what those speeds are. So, I’m very suspect of genetic test reporting low.
Melanie Avalon: Gotcha. This is fascinating. Well, I will have to run the StrataGene and see what it says about my COMT business.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. We'll comp you a kit on the house.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, thank you. I'm really excited.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. Reach out to Katie and get it.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Yeah. You can share your results with me, too, when you get it. We have inside the portal, you can share with your doctor, you can share it with your friends. It's pretty cool, so you don’t have to email it back and forth, it stays in the secure area.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you. Well, thank you so much. This has been absolutely incredible. I can keep talking to you for hours and hours, but I will not. That does bring me to the last question that I ask every single guest on this podcast. It's just because I realize more and more every single day, how important mindset is surrounding everything. What is something that you're grateful for?
Dr. Ben Lynch: Breathing.
Melanie Avalon: Oh. Good answer.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Breathing. Being alive. If your day goes to crap, you're still breathing, and just be thankful for that. It's amazing and it's so easy to let it go because it's part of your autonomic nervous system, you don't even have to think about it. If your hands and feet are cold, then you're not breathing properly, but you're still breathing automatically. The fact that you're able to breathe, the fact that you're able to see, that is amazing. If you're living in a really hard time right now, it's a tough time for many, many people, many people, just be thankful that you can breathe, be thankful for the things that you have and grateful for it and have the mindset of something that is going to improve and pick a date of when it's going to improve. You'll be amazed when you have a positive mindset and a target. I don't want to say goal, because goals are wishy-washy, but a target. I want you aiming at that target, go for it, seek it out. Maybe you want to walk a mile without pain. Maybe you want to go on a vacation with your family, you haven't done it in five years. Maybe you just want to be able to think clearly without a headache. Just pick something, one thing, and knock it out and get it, and then move forward to the next one. Your target should be slightly out of reach, not crazy out of reach, but slightly out of reach.
I will tell you that I've had many, many, many patients over the years, very depressed suicidal, giving up, we would just practice on the things that are going good in their life. When you go to the doctor, what's the chief complaint? What are all the things that are wrong? It's all wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. They're not asking, “Well, what are the things that are good in your life?” Write down the things that are good in your life. If you can emphasize those or increase some of those, do that. If there's something negative in your life-- I talk about this in the bonus chapter of Dirty Genes. A, is to avoid. Avoid toxic things like you're exposed to right now, Melanie, formaldehyde and paint fumes and so on. So, you're working on that with your air filters, and possibly a hotel room. Hopefully, they didn't change their paint. When you reserved for the hotel, make sure they didn't change their carpets. Think of the positive things. Yeah, I'm thankful for breathing.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. Thank you so much. That was so beautiful. I've asked every single guest, like I said, that question, and that was one of the most amazing answers I've received yet. Thank you so much for all that you're doing. Like I said, I've been such a fan of your work and all that you're doing for years and years. Your book is incredible, all of your resources. I've taken your supplements, just all the things. I'm just full of gratitude. I'm so grateful that I'm talking to you right now and that we can share all this information with listeners. Thank you. This has been amazing. Hopefully, we can talk again in the future.
Dr. Ben Lynch: Sounds good. Yeah, it was awesome. Thank you.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you. Bye.