Your genetic code is like a recipe book that holds the instructions for the specific combination of ingredients that combine to make the delightful masterpiece that is you! Each gene contains a unique recipe that makes specific proteins. These proteins are the building blocks that make up everything in your body like your hair, bones, muscles, blood, skin and hormones.
Although we (mostly) all possess the same set of genes, our recipes are all slightly different and that is the basis of why we look different, react differently to foods and stress, prefer different things, suffer different ailments, need different amounts of sleep and exercise etc.
Your genes don’t act in isolation of course, your diet and lifestyle (which includes stress, sleep, exercise, relationships and environment) add elements to the recipe that serve to either enhance or detract from the “dish”.
Your hormones are greatly influenced by your genes. Before menopause, the main source of oestrogen in women is the ovaries and the predominant type of oestrogen is oestrodiol (E2) which is a strong form of oestrogen. After menopause, the main sources of oestrogen are the adrenal glands (think stress) and fat tissue, and the predominant type of oestrogen is oestrone (E1) which is weaker than E2. The rate at which you produce oestrogen is controlled by the specific gene that holds that recipe. The activity of this gene along with diet and lifestyle factors can lead to low or high oestrogen levels, both of which are undesirable.
That oestrogen is then converted into other forms in the body, some healthy, some less so. The not-so-healthy kind is very strong and can be a risk factor for developing oestrogen-dependent conditions. This conversion is also largely dependent on specific gene activity and how your diet and lifestyle impact this.
For oestrogen to work its magic in your body it needs to attach to specific oestrogen receptors in specific cells where it is needed. These oestrogen receptors are also regulated by specific genes holding that recipe.
Finally, your body needs to clear out hormones that have done their job and need to retire. This happens largely via the liver. These processes are again under the control of specific genes but also depend on gut health, the right nutrients from the diet and healthy functioning organs, particularly the liver and kidneys.
Other factors that play a role in hormone health that also fall under the control of your genes are stress, sleep, dietary choices and needs, and ability to deal with caffeine and alcohol as well as toxins and chemicals from the environment, food and cosmetics.
Taking a DNA test will help you to understand the function of specific genes, the role your recipes play on the activity your genes and the specific diet and lifestyle factors you should adopt or avoid to achieve optimal function. We hope to enable you to understand your health and the underlying cause of your symptoms and to empower you to make the necessary diet and lifestyle changes to get you back to feeling fabulous!
Diagram of Oestrogen Metabolism from our VitaFEM DNA report: