Dirty Genes book by Ben Lynch - review

I just finished reading a new book from Ben Lynch called "Dirty Genes". Actually, it's his first book. Like all of his materials, it's chock full of information.

I'm going to have to read it several times to absorb everything. I got it for free from the library, but I think it has enough info to keep for reference, so I'll be buying a copy of it.

He has selected seven of the most important genes based on two years of researching the medical literature. They are:
MTHFR C677T (methylation)
GST/GSX (glutathone/detox)
COMT V158M (brain/mood)
MAOA (brain/mood)
PEMT (cell membranes, gallbladder, liver)
NOS3 (heart issues)
DAO (digestion)

He emphasizes epigenetics over genetics. Epigenetics are how your environment and lifestyle affect your genetic expression. Therefore you can use certain lifestyle and environmental modifications to clean up your genes and stop them from expressing into disease. He calls this part the Soak and Scrub.

If that still doesn't clear things, then you can do supplements and other measures to further clean them. He calls this part Spot Cleaning.

This is versus what people usually do, which is to look at their genetics and start taking supplements based on their genetics. Then wonder why it's not working for them.

The one part where I think good information is lacking is regarding toxic metals. Both the degree to which they cause your genes to be dirty (I think it's a lot worse and more prevalent than he does), and how to clean up the toxins. He says to sweat them out in a sauna. While that would be somewhat helpful, it won't get mercury out of your brain - you need chelation for that. Plus many of us don't tolerate sauna due to adrenal fatigue.

Also, I don't know if there is anything in the book that would help or ME/CFS specifically. He does mention that a dirty MTHFR can cause CFS, therefore cleaning that up should be at least somewhat helpful. Note that mercury, lead, and a few other metals will make MTHFR dirty. I can't remember if he mentions this in the book, but it is in his other materials, such as the Strategene report.

Fibromyalgia is attributed to a dirty MTHFR, COMT, MAO A and GST/GSX.

So while I do think the book has some flaws, overall I think it has a lot of valuable information at least for general health issues. I found out that my PEMT +/+ is expressing itself with possibly gallbladder or liver issues. I've been having lots of knots and pain in my right shoulder blade area. That is supposed to be referred pain from the gallbladder and/or liver. Menopause (which I'm going through) is supposed to make this worse.

My mother had to have her gall bladder removed, and her mother (my grandmother) died from a gall bladder infection. Both of those occurred post menopause. Yikes.

However, the message from the book is that I am not doomed by my genetically slow PEMT +/+ and whatever is making it dirty - there are things I can do before it gets too bad. So I'll be trying the recommendations for PEMT and see if that helps.

Overall I would give this book a thumbs up, and recommend checking it out.
 

Hip

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He does mention that a dirty MTHFR can cause CFS, therefore cleaning that up should be at least somewhat helpful.
"Dirty" is not a very scientific way to describe genes, but in any case, what evidence does Ben Lynch supply to support his claim that link MTHFR mutations can cause ME/CFS? A study found that MTHFR C677T mutations are not more common in ME/CFS than they are in healthy controls, so that does not suggest a causal relationship.
 
"Dirty" is not a very scientific way to describe genes, but in any case, what evidence does Ben Lynch supply to support his claim that link MTHFR mutations can cause ME/CFS? A study found that MTHFR C677T mutations are not more common in ME/CFS than they are in healthy controls, so that does not suggest a causal relationship.
He seems to be referring to this page - https://phgkb.cdc.gov/PHGKB/huGEPed...k=y&typeOption=gene&which=2&pubOrderType=pubD
which was accessed in April 2017, but chronic fatigue syndrome is not listed now, and I can't find that page in the Wayback Machine to check what was listed last year.

If you were trying to link to the study that refutes that, the link is not working. When did that study come out?

Edited to add: I got the link to work and looked at the study - it's from 1997 and uses the CDC 1988 criteria (Holmes Criteria) to select CFS patients.

This is the Holmes criteria: http://me-pedia.org/wiki/Holmes_criteria
(Could include patients who are depressed.)

I would really like to see something done more recently, with better criteria.
 
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Hip

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The link is working for me; the study linked to is entitled: A common genetic variant affecting folate metabolism is not over-represented in chronic fatigue syndrome, published in 1997. Found here on PubMed.

I could not find any other studies on MTHFR mutation prevalence in ME/CFS. For fibromyalgia, this study found no link between fibro and the presence of the MTHFR C677T mutation.

Although Prof Gottfries found that in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, there may be some relation between good responders to vitamin B12 + folate supplementation and the presence of MTHFR mutations.
 
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The link is working for me; the study linked to is entitled: A common genetic variant affecting folate metabolism is not over-represented in chronic fatigue syndrome, published in 1997. Found here on PubMed.

I could not find any other studies on MTHFR mutation prevalence in ME/CFS. For fibromyalgia, this study found no link between fibro and the presence of the MTHFR C677T mutation.

Although Prof Gottfries found that in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, there may be some relation between good responders to vitamin B12 + folate supplementation and the presence of MTHFR mutations.
I left a message on the Strategene Facebook group. I'll report back if I get a reply.

The page I linked to does show a couple of studies for fibromyalgia and MTHFR. I haven't had a chance to actually read them, so I don't know how good the studies are.
 

JES

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MTHFR heterozygous mutation is according to one source carried by around 31% to 39% of European population, homozygous by around 9%-17%. COMT V158M SNPs are even more common, 80% of the population is carrying at least one SNP in this gene.

Since most of these mentioned mutations are extremely common, I find it hard to understand how he can state that they cause CFS/ME when only around 2% of the population with the mentioned mutations actually go on to develop CFS/ME. Of course they may predispose to develop certain conditions, but when half of the population has these SNPs anyhow, it seems wrong to say that they cause a disease.
 
MTHFR heterozygous mutation is according to one source carried by around 31% to 39% of European population, homozygous by around 9%-17%. COMT V158M SNPs are even more common, 80% of the population is carrying at least one SNP in this gene.

Since most of these mentioned mutations are extremely common, I find it hard to understand how he can state that they cause CFS/ME when only around 2% of the population with the mentioned mutations actually go on to develop CFS/ME. Of course they may predispose to develop certain conditions, but when half of the population has these SNPs anyhow, it seems wrong to say that they cause a disease.
@Hip

Sorry for any confusion - I shouldn't have used the word "cause", which is much too strong. The title of the section is "Health Conditions Related to a Dirty MTHFR". Then there is a big list of diseases and health conditions.

Since MTHFR is a key gene in the methylation cycle, which regulates at least 40 major biological processes in the body, it makes sense that it could have a wide ranging effect.
 

alicec

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Lynch's extraordinary claims are just a series of assertions with little foundation in any serious research.

I've not found any study whatsoever that even suggests that epigenetic changes to MTHFR have some role in ME/CFS, nor that epigenetic changes to MTHFR, COMT, MAOA and GST/GSX have some role in fibromyalgia.

And as for his procedures for "cleaning" genes - where are the studies that show that his proposed lifestyle changes and supplements can reverse covalent changes to DNA and histone proteins or influence miRNA production, ie where are the studies that show his proposed solutions actually affect the mechanisms of epigenetic modification of the genome?

I'm not interested in the vague generalisations and utter hype associated with the new trendy claims about epigenetics, I'm looking for the research studies which should underpin these various claims.

There are studies examining reversal of epigenetic changes - eg this review of drugs trialled in various disease states which have an epigenetic component - and we are just starting to see small studies such as this one identifying mechanisms behind the effects of air pollution as well as the capacity of certain B vitamins to attenuate the effects, but this research is in its infancy.

As this very useful general review of epigenetics notes,
reversal of epigenetic changes represents a potential target of novel therapeutic strategies and medication design. In the future, it is anticipated that innovative diagnostic tests, treatment regimens, and even lifestyle modifications will be based on epigenetic mechanisms and be incorporated into the practice of medicine.
Note in the future - we are not there yet - we simply don't have the knowledge base.

This of course doesn't stop Lynch and his ilk. They are creating a whole new pseudoscience in which "epigenetics" takes on magical properties and they the practitioners will bestow some of this magic on us - for a price.

What we should recognise is that the "epigenetics" bandwagon is just a new way to sell supplements and other "treatments".

It is a replacement of the earlier claims about treatments required for genetic changes - ie SNPs. These claims had become so discredited that a new approach was needed.

Just as it took people a while to understand that there was little or no scientific basis to the claims for SNPs treatments, it will take time for people to realise that the epigenetics claims too are another form of snake oil.
 

Sundancer

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I'm going to have to read it several times to absorb everything. I got it for free from the library, but I think it has enough info to keep for reference, so I'll be buying a copy of it.
have been reading it and looked at several video's from him. Think it's interesting, some things click with me. I like the way he does not want you to start buying supplements but to clean up food and other habits first, some things in that department still need to be done here, so I will.

I like how he has oversimplified things, that makes it readable and then you can go look for more information on the web.

I'll definitely try some things the coming year.

I knew that MTHRF is not found more often in people wit ME, but enzymes can be fucked up due to other things too, like the metals you mentioned.

What I miss is that although he does talk about the way dopamine, epi, and norepi can become too high/low, and become a burden. He does not talk ( or hint) that when those situations are prolonged that receptor-cells in the brain will up regulate/ downregulate that way screwing up everything even more.

on a more personal note

I think that the combination of gluten damage and MCAS has deteriorated my gut so bad that I do have a shortage of B12, I think my gut simply is unable to take in any B12. I'm doing much better since I'm on hydroxy injections. That I should have done years ago. This of course can be another reason that patients with ME do well with suppletion of B12, I've stopped taking folate and do better, I should have stopped that a long time ago... a well, I'm finding out things, that's something.

GP does not want to prescribe....so I buy them myself. Does me loads of good, better then the methyl and adenosyl lozenges I used before.