How Your Genetics Affect Your Gut, Diet

Did you know that a genetic variant might be causing your gluten sensitivity? There are issues genetically that could be causing you to be lactose intolerant or needing to stay on specific diets (carnivore, low fodmap, low histamine). In this episode with Dr. J Dunn, we will show you how to address genetic variants and heal your gut!

We’re going to answer these questions:

  • How is IBS affected by genetics?
  • I have gluten sensitivity; how do I address it?
  • Do diet changes work long-term?
  • What are genetic variants?
  • How do you become a fat burner and which genetics affect that?
  • How do you heal leaky gut?
  • How do HLA genes affect your food sensitivities?

Dr. J Ann Dunn BS, DC, CKP, CWK, Author of the Book Wholistic Kinesiology, CEO of MyHappyGenes, creator and innovator of Wholistic Kinesiology, and Wholistic Methylation, teacher and lecturer. For over 30 years, she has researched, practiced and taught this technique to hundreds of individuals who, like her, are on a quest to find an alternative solution to allopathic medicine.

Dr. Dunn began her career in the Natural Health Industry after a long bout of ill health, which drove her to seek out alternative healing methods. The results she experienced peaked her interest in Kinesiology, and she decided to study and learn this amazing technique herself. She eventually developed her own technique, combining anatomy, physiology, emotional work, bodywork and nutrition to create Wholistic Kinesiology. Since then she branched out into studying Genetic variants and their effect on our health, our brain and our mood. She teaches practitioners around the world how to interpret genetic tests and design nutritional programs to make the most of your genetic potential. She recently began a project to help the world become happier and healthier by making the most of their genetic potential called Her philosophy is to treat the person as a whole being, not just a collection of parts and symptoms.


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Dr. Ann-Marie Barter is a Functional Medicine and Chiropractic Doctor at Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic. She is the clinic founder of Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic that has two offices: one in Longmont and one in Denver. They treat an array of health conditions overlooked or under-treated by conventional medicine, called the “grey zone”.



Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:00:00] Today on the Get Health Reset podcast, we are covering so many issues associated with the gut, but also associated and tied to your genetics.


Podcast Intro [00:00:13] Are you struggling with bloating, gas, constipation and fatigue, but don’t know what’s causing these problems? The Gut Health Reset podcast with Dr. Ann-Marie Marie Barter dives deep into the root causes behind these issues that start in the gut. This podcast will give you the knowledge you need to heal your gut and reset your health.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:00:33] The big things that we’re going to talk about today is what genetic variant might actually be causing your gluten sensitivity, what issues genetically could be causing you to be lactose intolerant or need to stay on a diet or have to be carnivore to feel better or be on a low fodmap diet or a low histamine diet? We’re going to cover those genetic variants and how you can address these genetic variants. We’re also going to talk about how to go from being a carbohydrate burner to becoming a fat burner and what genetics do to actually play a role in those carbohydrate cravings, really needing that pasta, those carbs. We are also going to talk about how IBS is actually really dictated by genetics as well as leaky gut and how healing up that leaky gut may actually look a little bit different than what you’ve learned in the past. Thank you so much for joining us here today on the Health Reset podcast. I am your host, Dr. Ann-Marie Barter. And today I have a returning guest who is so amazing and so awesome. And she talks about all things genetic. And her name is Dr. J Dunn. And she is the author of a book called Holistic Kinesiology and the CEO of My Happy Genes, which has been a huge project for her and how she’s actually changed so many lives by working with the genetics. She is a creator and innovator of holistic kinesiology and holistic methylation, teacher and lecturer. For over 30 years, she has researched, practiced and taught this technique to hundreds of individuals who, like her, are on a quest to find alternative solutions to allopathic medicine. Thank you so much for joining us again. You’re back again, Dr. Day. It was such a pleasure to have you. The first time we totally kicked out, we had so much fun. And so I was so excited when you accepted the invitation to come back on. And today we are going to dove into all things gut and genetics, which I’m super looking forward to. So can you tell me how IBS is actually affected by genetics?


Dr. J Dunn [00:03:08] Yeah, that’s it’s a really good question. And thank you so much for having me back on. I’m excited because this year you and I are on the same track as far as like, you know, kinesiology and functional medicine and et cetera. So we both, I’m sure, have seen a ton of of IBS patients. And gut health is such a prominent piece of our whole health. You know, it can affect everything. And it’s really interesting because it when I started working with the genetics, it changed everything. I thought I knew about gut health and what I knew about leaky gut, you know, the increased intestinal permeability kind of things and food sensitivities. So I want to kind of take you down a little journey to my discovery about how it all works according to the genetics, if that’s OK. Perfect. OK, cool. So, you know, one of the things that we look at with IBS are our gut bugs. You know, we want to look at are there is there Zevo or small intestinal bowel overgrowth? Are there parasites? Are there you know, is there different kinds of critters in there that are causing some of the irritable bowel kind of symptoms? And one of the genes that I saw really had a huge impact on that was the vitamin D receptor. And as I started to look into it, you know, at first glance, it’s like, what does vitamin D have to do with SIBO or small intestinal overgrowth? And it has everything to do with it, because when you start to up regulate your immune system, your immune system can fight off infections so much easier. And the vitamin D receptor, if you have a genetic variant there, then your immune system isn’t going to mount a good enough attack on these bugs and create a nice you know, with without that immune support, you create a nice little intestinal Mallu for bugs to hang out and create problems. The other piece of that is the nitric oxide synthase, the next gene, which has a lot to do with how we mount an attack against all kinds of infections, especially parasites. So without you know, if you’ve got a genetic variant in the nitric oxide or the nose gene, you can’t make hydrogen peroxide. Well, you can’t make superoxide and you can’t make peroxides. And those are directly able to kill off bugs, especially in the intestinal area. So those those two genes we look at initially first. But there are some other ones that I’ve really found are a big piece of the puzzle. And, you know, when we look at irritable bowel and leaky gut, there is an association, there are two that I found that, you know, if you have intestinal increase, intestinal permeability, often you get food into the bloodstream that can then cause allergic reactions and create some digestive upsets of all kinds. And, you know, some of the genes that we look at there are the D.A. and the H and T and those those actually break down histamine. So if you’re not able to break down histamine, well. Hi, histamine levels can create a lot of inflammation, especially in the gut area, so we look at methylation with that one because when you regulate methylation, you actually get increased breakdown of histamine and that can really help the irritable bowel kind of symptoms related to histamine. And then some of the other ones that we look at, there’s a really interesting gene called the SLC 20 to a four five, and that SLC stands for solu carrier, which means it’s a it’s a transporter. Essentially what it does is transport fats into the cell so that you can burn them as a fuel. And genetic variants in this one can inhibit your ability to break down fats, which can then lead to some irritable bowel kind of things, especially when you consume fat. It’s a it’s one that I had and I actually have a lot of irritable bowel syndrome kind of symptoms have had for most of my life. And once I started paying attention to that particular genetic variant and it requires something called Urgo thickening. Are you familiar with Urgo? It’s it’s really interesting because it really rivals Glutathione in its ability to be an antioxidant, you know, has huge antioxidant properties and it’s much more stable than glutathione is. And it comes from mushrooms. So like Reishi, my she talki all those mushrooms contain Urgo thickening and Urgo finding actually opens up the cell so that carnitine can get in and then you can burn fat. So this genetic variant can really inhibit your ability to use carnitine and therefore burn fat as a fuel. So it’s a big it’s a big deal and it leads to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel. So that’s another one that we look at very heavily. And then there’s the human looks like antigens are it’s your unique pattern of how you know, you from not you, you know. So like, if you get a transplant, for instance, you have to take antirejection drugs because they’re HLA pattern does not match your HLA pattern and your body thinks this is enemy. So same thing can happen. You know, the holidays are very much responsible for gluten intolerance, celiac disease and other food sensitivities that can lead to irritable bowel syndrome as well. And then lastly, we would look at sulfur because sulfur is a nasty it’s a bad actor when it comes to gut issues and in weird, weird gut issues that you can’t quite figure out. It’s like, gosh, there’s no you know, as a functional medicine practitioner, we look at, you know, do they have the right flora? Are there bugs? There is. They’re leaky. You know, you look at all the normal things. This one defies logic. It’s like I’ve tried everything with this patient and they still have digestive issues and indigestion and sometimes leading to like Gerd and et cetera. And often that’s a sulfur intolerance that’s causing the problem. And it’ll look like irritable bowel as well. So those are those are my big areas I will look at when when it comes to gut health and specifically irritable bowel kinds of things. So go.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:09:44] Yeah, I want to just unpack a little bit because you talked a little bit about food sensitivities and then I want to unpack each of these individually. But we have, for example, for irritable bowel, we have the recommendation for people to do a low format diet, to do an elimination diet, to do this thing, to do that thing. What’s your what’s your feeling on really changing the diet, period, you know, doing a low fat, m’appelle, histamine, et cetera. So what’s your feeling on the dietary change?


Dr. J Dunn [00:10:19] Well, it’s a really good question and it’s something that I tried to do for thirty years. And patients don’t stick with diets. That’s what I have found. And it really doesn’t solve the problem. So that was the other thing. I’m coming right back in with the same symptoms again and again. This forever. You have to avoid this food forever. You just didn’t sound like the right answer. And it turned out to not be, but that when you have food sensitivities, they indicate an underlying imbalance. So what we have found is that’s that’s an indicator for me. You know, like, oh, gosh, gluten really trashes me. It’s like, oh, OK, let’s look deeper and see why that is and get it fixed. And what we’re finding, believe it or not, people can eat gluten. No problem that once we put them on the correct program for their genetics and their health, they don’t have to avoid the foods. I mean, there there are categories. Well, I’ll go, you know. You got that. Became a one gene. You really need to stay low on the gluten because if you overdo it, it’s really going to come rearing its ugly head at you. It’s not going to be your friend, but you should be able to tolerate it in small amounts and same same true with all the all the food sensitivities, even the ones that cause anaphylactic shock. I’ve been able to see what they’re telling us about your underlying physiology. And once we get that underlying physiology balance, they can tolerate those foods again. So No. One, it’s problematic because patients just don’t don’t do it. You know, they’re like, OK, they do it for a month. And it’s a very small percentage. I don’t know if you found that like a very small percentage of people that will stick with a diet. So very much so. And I like to get it fixed. And they love it because they’re like, oh, I can eat that again. I’m so happy, you know, life is worth living.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:12:05] So I think yeah, I think my my concern with all the food restrictions or someone will come into my office and they’re like, I don’t eat this, I don’t eat this, I’m going to low Hesterman low fat MAB elimination that I don’t eat eggs, I don’t eat this and like that. I’m like, what do you eat in there. Like I eat chicken, I eat carrots. I mean the foods that they eat, you know, you can name on, you know, ten fingers and you know that creates some problems. And so that’s that’s actually what comes into my office. So I, I don’t ever get the opportunity to do any sort of dietary changes after reincorporate food. That’s always my role, it seems like, at this point. But I was like you. I did the dietary changes for a really long time. It was like, yeah, it’s kind of better. Yeah, but if I come off, I’m in trouble kind of thing. So I. Have you seen any underlying genetic problems specifically associated with gluten?


Dr. J Dunn [00:13:02] Yes. Yes. That is related. Yeah. That one is is very strong in the literature that it’s highly associated with gluten intolerance. And again, though, you can have that gene, if we get you balanced, if we get your biochemistry balanced, you can tolerate gluten. So I’ve I’ve had people I had a one woman who came in and she been gluten intolerant or celiac diagnosed celiac, and she had to be very careful. She’d go to the restaurant and she’d have to ask, does that have any gluten in it? Any parts of this have any gluten because any tiny little bit of gluten. And she was massively miserable, you know, got pain and wrenching and diarrhea and stuff like that. And we have her to the point now, she can eat gluten, no problem. So it’s very, very possible. And that was that was one of the first cases that I saw where we were able to turn that around. I’m like, wow, this is big. And then I had another case of a little boy, just like you were talking about. You know, he had like two or three foods he could eat without having massive reaction. And his reactions were more like definitely gut, but also pain, like widespread pain throughout his body. And, you know, coming from a functional medicine background, it’s like, OK, this is leaky gut for sure, you know, we got to do the elimination diet and stay on these foods and don’t eat these and take all these supplements to heal up your gut. Well, we decided it was right when I just started working with the genetics and I was like, hey, let’s do this a little differently, because, you know, what’s the four hours we remove every replace, we innoculate repair. Yeah, yeah. That was my old motto. And I was like, let’s try this because I’m working with genetics. And yet I wanted to see if he was open to it. He’s like 11 years old. His family was like, yeah, let’s do this. We’ve been to 40 doctors trying to get this kid fixed and he’s reactive to almost every food. And we did find Lyme disease on him as well. And vaccine reactions, vaccine residues. But we so I started working with him and, you know, I tested him on all of his foods. And sure enough, he was reacting to like 90 percent of the foods. And second time he came in after I put him on a program for his genetics and he wasn’t reacting, he didn’t react, at least physiologically. We were down to like 10 foods from, you know, down to 10 percent of foods versus 90 percent of foods. And I was like, I don’t understand this on the leaky God was testing gone and I hadn’t even addressed it. It was like I put him on this program and. I was like, I don’t I don’t understand this, this doesn’t make sense to me, but your leaky gut is gone and your food sensitivities are going. And then the next time you came in, I, I said, did you try some of the foods? He goes, yeah, I can eat, I can eat all kinds of food now. And I don’t have reactions. It’s like, oh my gosh, without going in and doing the whole four hour protocol and dressing like he got, we were able to get his body to repair it, to repair the gut, to get rid of Sebo, to get the gut lining, to get rid of the Xinyu line, to get the gut lining, to close the gaps, the gap junctions and the food sensitivities just kind of disappeared. And I was like, oh, what just happened? And the more I dug into it and looked in the literature, I found the reasons why I had to do a lot with the histamine histamine pathways and, you know, to close up histamine then and drops. And Zoglin is a lot of your listeners probably know is the main indicator that there’s Lukie got that there’s increased gap junctions and food is getting into the bloodstream. And so when you close those junctions, you stop a lot of the food in the actions. So it was like Eye-Opening to me. And that’s that’s why I say it was a paradigm shift because I don’t have to micromanage the body anymore. I give the body what it needs according to the genetics. So with a with the Dow and two genes that that cause high histamine, we give the methyl groups like the methyl B twelve and methyl methyl folate. And then then those enzymes work better and you break down histamine and you get rid of those online and the lukie goes away. So it’s it’s so cool because you’re getting to the core of where that we got really originated, which is in the genetics. So, yes, change in diet for sure, as indicated, but not long-term. You know, it’s it’s not the it’s not the answer. I don’t think it’s organics or and I don’t think it’s much fun to have to avoid 90 percent of the food that you’re eating it.


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Dr. J Dunn [00:19:12] Yes, for some people, it just depends on how well they’re methylated. They may just be the the benign or they might even be 12. So it’s it just depends on what’s going on in their methylation cycle. So you have to look at that first. So the cool thing about the software program that we created was it does all that for you. You know, it looks at OK for this person. They just need V12 or they need benign or they don’t need methylation, they need support for the software or they need support for the diamond receptor or that the the software program does it for you. So you don’t have to have a PhD in genetics or biochemistry. It was designed to to help you kind of sort all that out because you you’re looking at interactions of this gene with this gene. It’s not like, OK, you’ve got the Vdara, take this. You’re going to create problems down the line. And that’s that’s the piece that a lot of people working with genetics don’t understand is you can’t just go in and work with one gene. Because you’ve now set in motion an effect on other on the pathways that are affected by that gene, so


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:20:21] that completely makes sense. So, yeah, it seems like we have done it bite sized, right. It’s just like this gene looks at this and it’s everybody’s talking about how far and everybody talks. Oh, I have far. Oh, I haven’t. I have this. But what about these other genes or genetics. But it it just is very interesting because everybody knows about my father, but not really anything else.


Dr. J Dunn [00:20:47] That’s so true. And it’s very short sighted and can create a lot of problems if you just go in and start taking metal, folate, you know, the active form of folic acid, it can create huge problems for people if they don’t understand what they just did in the body, because you set in motion methylation and you better know where those methyl groups are going to go and what they’re going to do. And so I see people with you know, they go to a doctor who’s a little bit savvy about genetics. He says, yeah, I’m going to check you for your father. And, oh, yeah, you have it here. Take methyl folate in massive doses. And I’ve seen them walk through the door and they’re miserable. I mean, they have headaches and they hurt all over, but they’re like, no, I have to take this because I have the ah gene. And I’m like, yeah, no, you don’t understand. There’s much more to the puzzle. And we found out the hard way because I started there, you know, I started with oh empty Chapala. What is that. And OK, take a mouthful. And then we saw people really sick and I did it myself too because I had like a minor l’oeil of them teach of our gene and start taking in massive headaches and nausea. And I just felt terrible. And I was like, this can’t be the answer. My patients aren’t going to put up with this for a very long time. Yeah. And then we started looking at the related genes. So go ahead.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:22:05] OK, so we’ve got a gluten issue now. Let’s talk about, hey, I’m lactose intolerant. What does that generally mean for me genetically?


Dr. J Dunn [00:22:16] Yeah, good. Good question. So there’s several things going on there. Is it is it really lactose? Number one, is it casein or is it some of the bovine growth hormones in in dairy products? You know, there’s lots of things there, but there are some genes. There’s the gene and the M.S. genes that are associated with true lactose intolerance. In other words, you have genetic variants that don’t allow your body to make lactase very easily the enzyme that breaks down lactose. So that’s a real thing. That’s like, OK, and I see that quite commonly with people that, you know, you can have one. They’re like five. Five lactose genes, so you can have one of them be a problem, you know, one of them be a homozygous variant and then four of the other ones are fine. So you can’t just base it on one gene. So on our in our report, we give you a slider that looks at, you know, like you may have three out of the five genes here. So you’re at 65 percent or you may have all five. And I’ve seen all five on some people. Oh, yeah, you have all five. So, yeah, you’re 100 percent lactose intolerant and or are people that are 25 percent. So you kind of it’s all over the board and again, not one gene, but then the other piece of that is what’s going on with your sulfurous. So if you’re if you have sulfur intolerance, dairy products actually can be a problem for you. So it’s not just it’s not the lactose persay could be causing a sulfur reaction. And you know, again, the question is, is another. Another issue, I’m not sure the exact gene there, but I do see that some people react to Casey. And then when we get methylation going, they don’t and they can eat dairy products again.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:24:10] Does that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. And then with a low Ford Map diet, if somebody feels a ton better on a low fat map diet. Have you seen any Jenette correlation to that?


Dr. J Dunn [00:24:21] Yeah, you know, again, we look at the histamine pathways largely. There are two. I can’t say I’m super knowledgeable about the Ford map. I’ve kind of looked at it a little bit here and there. And I just sort of stopped looking because, again, it seemed like a bandaid, you know, Band-Aid here. Same with, you know, the what is the Kitto Diet? You know, how long can you sustain that? And, you know, I see a lot of problems down the line with that as well. I see the Carnivore diet is very popular right now, too. It’s like, oh, I’m just not I’m fond of eating. For your life, you know, eating correctly, for your body, for life, not not like, oh, follow this diet program. So parts of the fat map for certain people are good and parts of it not good is what I’m finding. You know, the fermented food kind of thing is there. So we look at in the in the report that we give people with diet and lifestyle. We have different categories of fermented foods, histamine foods, sulfur foods. And you can kind of really get a sense of for this person, you know, partly format, partly Mediterranean, partly, you know, so you can really kind of dial them in genetically. And it’s not got a name. It’s not like, oh, you know, this is the doctor and Bertaud diet coming out soon. Very soon said I just got to make it difficult for you and the diet that I follow. I looked at my genes and it’s like I don’t do well on fermented foods. I stay Rulo in those. It doesn’t mean I don’t eat any, but I stay low on those. And so it’s all like, you know, dialing you in for your genetics and it makes a huge difference. So that’s sort of my philosophy on that.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:26:11] Fermented foods do not work for me either. It is just not ready. It’s not pretty at all. And so you see a lot of advice. And then I end up having super high histamine levels and you see me over there like itchy my forearms, like just like, yeah, I get really itchy on high fermented food diet. So where can people find you if they want to get in touch with you and get this genetic test run?


Dr. J Dunn [00:26:37] Good question. If you just go to my happy genes, all one word, my happy genes .com, you can get your testing done there. And for the listeners, what I’ll do is I’ll put in a coupon for twenty five dollars off. And we’ll call it Fearless 25. If they put that in, when they check out, if they’re interested in buying the DNA test and seeing if they do have that BTR or the SLC 22 or the A’s or the. And sulfur suffrages, some of the genes we’ve talked about, especially those ones down in the electron transport chain, this is the way to find out, you know, and this is a way to find out what’s your best diet for you. So that’s kind of cool. So, yeah, capital f fearless 25. And then when you get your your DNA testing done, it’s all private, too. That’s the good news is we never share your data and your your information is only tracked by a barcode. So your name is never on there. It’s very private, which is which is not true of a lot of the DNA testing sites that are happening right now. So that’s my story.


Dr. Ann-Marie Barter [00:27:46] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here. And thank you, everybody, for listening. If you like what we’re doing, please subscribe. Say hello. Let us know what you want to hear more of and we will talk to you soon. Thank you so much.


Podcast Outro [00:27:59] Thank you for listening to the Gut Health Reset podcast. Please make sure you subscribe leave rating and reviews the more people can hear about the podcast. And hey, take a screenshot of this episode and tag Dr. Ann-Marie on Instagram or Facebook at Dr. Ann-Marie Barter. And for more resources, just visit Dr. Ann-Marie Barter .com.


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