How important is MTHFR and how severely does it affect your health? We’re talking to Dr. Emily Hecker about every last detail here on the blog. Find out the necessary basics, as well as some amazing breakthroughs regarding genetics, and what steps to take to improve your overall wellness.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 00:00 Good afternoon, everybody. Dr. Seth Gerlach with Core Health. Today we’ve got a special guest, and we’re going to talk about genetics and your health. In particular, we’re going to talk about MTHFR. If you haven’t heard of it, stick around. If you have heard of it, stick around also because it’s very interesting, a lot of moving parts. Luckily, we’ve got Dr. Emily Hecker with us today who is somewhat of a specialist when it comes to MTHFR, and really how it affects every part, every cell, everything of our body.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 00:32 I am very excited to have you on here today Dr. Emily. I know we’ve talked a lot in the past. We’re always shooting back and forth with ideas and questions, things like that, because it’s all about helping others. So I’m glad we could jump on this today, and see how many other people we can help out also.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 00:47 So Dr. Emily Hecker, thanks for joining us. She, if you don’t know, Dr. Emily is a functional medicine practitioner here in St. Louis. She is the owner and clinician at Enlighten Functional Medicine. Dr. Emily, hello. Welcome.
Dr Emily Hecker: 01:01 Hello.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 01:01 Can you give us just a quick background on you, and how you got into this?
Dr Emily Hecker: 01:05 Yeah absolutely. Well Seth, thank you so much doc for having me on here. Listeners, if you have questions, please put it in the comments below because that’s where it’s brewing. That’s where all this is. So yeah. Please comment below as you’re hearing this and like if you haven’t already.
Dr Emily Hecker: 01:23 A little bit about me and how I got into this. I am a chiropractic physician by training, but I fell in love with this functional medicine stuff. It’s just like putting these dots together and figuring things out. It’s funny because I was doing a mentorship when I was in chiropractic school at a really great doc’s office. I was seeing a lot of moms come in. This was when I was fresh out of school. The moms would say, “Oh, yeah. I have this genetic defect called MTHFR.” And then I would do some craniopathy with the babies, some real gentle work and they would say, “Oh yeah, my baby has a tongue tie.” I’m like, “Huh.” And then the next mom would come in and say, “Oh, I have an MTHFR defect, and my baby has a tongue tie.” It was just this reoccurring, clinical reoccurrence. And I’m like, “What is up with that?” There was just something else that I had to dig in. Something was telling me, “Okay, Emily. Dig deeper. Dig deeper.”
Dr Emily Hecker: 02:26 So I did what anyone else would do and I googled MTHFR and saw, “Oh, you need to take folates. You need to take the active form of B9 to do this.” So I started telling my patients, “Oh yeah, you need to take B9. You gotta take folate.” You know what I ended up doing? I ended up screwing up more people. I know. Because they got worse and I work with a lot more chronic patients. It was really interesting to me. I’m like, “How come nobody’s getting … ” Well, some people would feel a bit … But really I got more negative side effects with this.
Dr Emily Hecker: 03:01 It made me dig deeper and say what’s up with this? I’m giving them a B vitamin and they’re reacting bad. They’re just not having good symptoms. Some symptoms would be they can’t sleep at night. Me, personally, when I have too much methylfolate and I’m not balanced, I feel like I’m looking out of two different eyes. I feel like they’re not connecting in the middle. Lot of anxiety, people will get, itchy feeling, just weird stuff that people have with that.
Dr Emily Hecker: 03:34 So that’s what dug me into finding Dr. Lynch, Dr. Benjamin Lynch, with MTHFR.net, I believe. And he also … we did his website, to drbenlynch.com, as he should because he’s a genius. He really has some awesome pathway planners that I use on a daily basis and just that’s where it started. That’s where it started rolling down.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 03:56 And his brand new book, Dirty Genes, is an amazing book, too, if you haven’t read it.
Dr Emily Hecker: 04:01 Yeah, I saw you were reading it on Instagram, I saw a picture of that on there.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 04:06 Yep. It’s a great book, great read. Super insightful and so much of that stuff, it’s like, wow. Like connecting dots. Just crazy that, oh, my gosh, it totally makes sense now.
Dr Emily Hecker: 04:19 Yeah, it is so neat. He highlights seven major genes and that’s the neat thing about all that he does. And I just think he’s so humble because he’s a brilliant man, he has his own supplement company, he has his own uploadable genetic decoder called StrateGene that you can upload the raw data into. But in that book did you hear any pitches at all for supplements or for that StrateGene? No. You gotta dig it under and you gotta do the epigenetics first, which I thought was really on task with that.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 04:52 We’ve got a lot to dive into. What you said there about how you gave some patients B9 folate and they got worse, just as a testament to you can’t isolate the body into different parts ’cause everything effects everything. And you talked about epigenetics, so we’ll get into that. Let’s talk about 20,000 foot view first and genetics and how they impact our health, ’cause I know that this Human Genome Project, which is no that old, they went through and decoded the whole human genome and found a lot of interesting things that they weren’t really expecting to find. And I know that we have less genes than a pinot grape, right? It’s just a lot of variations in our genes. So could you speak to maybe big picture how genetics really affect our health, ’cause some people think, “Oh, my gosh. My grandma had breast cancer, I’m gonna have breast cancer.” Or this and that.
Dr Emily Hecker: 05:46 Yeah, that’s so true. We, what, 99.99% the same really. All of us, as humans. But there’s just some little things that go on within our genes that can cause a polymorphism or a mutation and actually I was digging into that the other day ’cause I’m like, “Really?” I find myself saying mutation, but really it’s not the truth. This fancy word called polymorphism, meaning that if you break open a cell and you look at the DNA inside of it, how they’re matching up just aren’t matching up just right. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes us different. There’s variants in this. It’s okay to be a little different and actually there was an interesting study that I was reading about lactose intolerance in genetics and how some of us, we can’t tolerate dairy, but really what is supposed to happen is that gene is supposed to go away and we are not supposed to tolerate diary, but those of us who have been blessed with the gene that’s a polymorphism for lactose, it stays, and we can tolerate the dairy. I thought that was really interesting. [inaudible 00:06:58]
Dr Seth Gerlach: 06:57 If you can drink milk, you’re odd, right?
Dr Emily Hecker: 07:00 Yeah. You’re the odd one.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 07:04 You’re telling people they’re not mutants if they have mutations in their genetics, right?
Dr Emily Hecker: 07:09 Yeah, it’s okay to be different, but what the beauty of this is is playing in, like you mentioned, the epigenetics. Things that you can control can help those genes work better. So if you’re thinking of it like a factory, like you have these genes, that’s how I describe it.
Dr Emily Hecker: 07:25 When we’re looking at biochemical pathways and it gets kind of crazy and sciencey, I say, look at all these little circles that you have to follow. It’s like a connect the dots game. All those little circles have little factories inside of them and if those factories aren’t working and the gears aren’t working just great, what can we do as functional medicine practitioners or what can you do as the lay person just by choosing what food you’re gonna put in your mouth tonight for dinner? How can that impact how that factory moves along? And that’s what we can do.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 07:58 Yes, that’s big. Epigenetics. Why don’t we talk to that while we’re there, I guess. What are the big factors, I guess, you would say can affect our body, our genome, turn off or on our genes, ’cause that’s what we know, we learned is genes can be turned on or turned off depending on our lifestyle or epigenetics. So what are the big things you see that you deal with that are risk factors for these genes gong haywire, so to speak?
Dr Emily Hecker: 08:27 Yeah, that’s a great question because lots of people when you say, okay, I have a gene, what do I do? The first place I start with is digestion because if you don’t have a good absorbing gut, if you’re not getting all of those little ingredients that make those factories move along, you’re screwed. Seriously, you really can’t move things along very effectively. Optimizing digestion is absolutely huge. Making sure there’s no pathogens. So running specific tests to make sure there is no candida or there is no mold is a big one, too. Mold inhibits certain pathways in the methylation pathway. Digestion, hands down. We gotta start there. Gallbladder, liver support is huge because 80 to 90% of methylation occurs in the liver. So.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 09:16 I love starting with the gut, too, ’cause you could give someone all the greatest supplements in the world. If their gut is trashed, they’re not getting nutrients from their food and that’s how we survive, that’s how we repair, that’s how we detoxify. It’s from nutrients we absorb through our gut. I love what you talked about the pathogens and things like that, too. That’s usually where I start on everyone, too, so I’m glad we’re on the same page there. [crosstalk 00:09:41] parasites are huge, I see candida, really across the board bacterial imbalances, [inaudible 00:09:51], fungal overgrowth, all these different things.
Dr Emily Hecker: 09:53 Yeah, it’s amazing. I had a patient with worms and I used the GI map panel for the stool test and it’s really interesting when you start seeing this stuff as a practitioner. I’m sure you feel the same way when you’re looking at these tests that come back on a daily basis and you’re like, “Wow, that is one messed up gut.” And it’s like [inaudible 00:10:18] parasites, ’cause they are rampant in these worms and we gotta clean our food. We gotta watch where we’re stepping. It’s funny. I have two boys and my youngest, my five year old is a little more OCD than my older one, so I was telling him that you have to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom and everything. And now he’s paranoid that he’ll get a parasite because if he doesn’t put his shoes on outside because the transmission route. It’s funny, as a practitioner, when you see all the patients come in and it’s real. This stuff is real and it inspires me to be a better practitioner and make the better choices when you see that.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 10:59 That’s so true. One thing to note there, I will tell people … Some people come in and say, “Well, there’s no way I could have any gut infections, anything like that.” Where we see over 50% of parasites present, candida, whatever, they don’t have any gut symptom, so it’s very possible to have zero gut symptoms, but to have really big gut imbalances that can be causing really big health problems. You see that a lot?
Dr Emily Hecker: 11:25 Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of it with anxiety. I think that’s one of the biggest things that comes in the office is always on patients’ symptom list is anxiety. Having to suffer with anxiety or depression. You don’t necessarily think, “Oh, it’s my gut that’s causing it.”
Dr Seth Gerlach: 11:44 Yeah, that’s super interesting. We always look at the gut, too, just because most of your neurotransmitters are made in your gut. Inflammation in the gut equals inflammation in the brain, all things like that. Right on the same page there. So gut is really probably the biggest things that can affect our genes or exacerbate MTHFR issues. Any other exacerbations or things that can trigger problems in the body that you see.
Dr Emily Hecker: 12:12 Yeah, this is kind of a newer one for me getting into, but it is environment, toxicity, toxins that we breathe, the air. Make sure that we have good purified air. I did have a patient. I always learn through case studies, but this was an interesting one because she got exposed when she was in high school. She was exposed to mold and the inhalation of those mycotoxins started residing in her body, in her fat tissue. And I saw her as a patient many years later and she wanted to lose a little bit of weight. I helped her achieve that, but when that happened, it also, with the fat cells that relieved, the mycotoxins reestablish and reinoculated her. So she got sick again just with losing some fat. I’m like, “Wow.” That just opened my eyes that environmentally it really is important where you’re breathing, the water you’re drinking, if it’s infested. Just environmental pieces together I think is huge.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 13:17 That’s true. So she felt bad because most toxins are stored in fat, right? So it’s [inaudible 00:13:24] those, getting rid of the fat cells, she reabsorbed them. Is that what you’re saying?
Dr Emily Hecker: 13:27 Yeah. Isn’t that crazy?
Dr Seth Gerlach: 13:30 Crazy.
Dr Emily Hecker: 13:31 So now we make sure that, especially when people lose weight, ’cause that’s a huge goal with people many times when they’re working with this is to make sure binding up all those toxins that are coming out effectively and you gotta have a good working liver and gallbladder for that, too.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 13:44 Oh, my gosh. So big. A lot of people today, they don’t realize the assault, the bombardment that our bodies are under compared to even our great-great-grandparents or things like that. All the new chemicals that have been introduced to our world in the past 60, 70, 80 years, it’s astronomical. The average female puts on, what, 13 personal care products a day. Each of which can have hundreds of chemicals in them. All these things add up and really they’re toxic to our genes. They’re toxic to our cells.
Dr Emily Hecker: 14:16 Yeah, and you add in a gene called PON1, P-O-N-1. And this was interesting because I had ran this on my son, my older son, who is seven now. We struggled with some things with him and I did a toxicity panel on him from his urine and he was just off the charts with organophosphates, which are pesticides. And I’m like, “What?” It’s not like we do a whole lot of pesticides. I wash my stuff. But I’m like, “What’s going on?” Then I looked at his genes, he has a double mutation for PON1, which is clearing specifically organophosphates. Knowing from someone who’s that young right off the bat, they got some genetic mishaps for detoxification, he’s got a high amount of this. What do we do? Detoxification support is huge sauna. We have an infrared sauna, which I love. And that just goes into the picture of [inaudible 00:15:11] and health and he loves it.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 15:12 That’s great. I love saunas. I read a study one time and it said I think the average American consumes over a gallon of pesticides and herbicides each year from eating conventionally grown fruits and veggies. How disgusting is that?
Dr Emily Hecker: 15:25 Wow. That’s nasty. Crazy.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 15:28 That’s why it’s so important to eat organic. So important.
Dr Emily Hecker: 15:30 Yes, absolutely.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 15:33 All right, so those are the big … toxins, gut are the big ones. You could also go into stress, sleep, exercise, stuff like that. Diet is a huge one also. Any of those other ones really big on your list?
Dr Emily Hecker: 15:46 Yeah, stress is huge. Absolutely huge. I see people don’t get well because there’s just too much stress in their lives. So that’s huge. Absorption, getting all those nutrients, and I think that’s one of the biggest things. If you don’t have all those co-factors in is another big one. What about you? What big ones do you see?
Dr Seth Gerlach: 16:05 Stress is a huge one just because I feel like everyone today is stressed, but they don’t know they’re stressed. Lot of people don’t have the tools in order to consciously de-stress, to really calm down that sympathetic response. ‘Cause if you’re in that state, you’re not gonna be able to digest your food, like you said, and it all cascades from there. Your cortisol’s ramped up, your inflammation’s up, which makes everything go haywire, as you know, too. Stress is a big one. Diet, of course, is a huge one, but that’s a whole nother talk for a whole nother day probably.
Dr Emily Hecker: 16:38 Yeah.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 16:40 We kind of did the picture stuff, so I wanna dive in a little bit deeper to MTHFR and methylation. Do you wanna talk about methylation first and then go into MTHFR in particular?
Dr Emily Hecker: 16:54 Yeah, sure. I’m so color-based and picture-based. My brain thinks in pictures. I like that. What methylation, if we had to just say what is methylation? What is that? It’s basically your body’s ability to detoxify and make new cells. That’s as plain and simple as it can be. And we need new cells on a daily basis. We get a new gut every seven days. It just shreds. You know when you’re dusting your house, all those are dead cells. We gotta replace these cells. We need that process of methylation, that chemical, biochemical process to really replenish our tissue in our body.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 17:36 I love that. I’ve never heard it put quite that way, but I really like that analogy. I’ve heard also … and let me know what you think of this ’cause you probably know a little bit more than I do … that methylation can be like your body’s way of keeping other cells in control also from having rogue cells go crazy. So it’s almost like putting stickers, like shutting down … turning on or turning off cells also.
Dr Emily Hecker: 18:00 Yeah, especially if you go and you just look up methylation, there’s so many different things that it does and that’s why it’s so hard to lump it into one little easy, “Oh, this is what it does.” There’s so many components of that that you’ll find methylation helps with so many things. It’s a matter of getting those squeaky wheels cleaned and I bring in demos ’cause I like this one.
Dr Emily Hecker: 18:24 If you can see this, this is … I stole this from my kids. I saw this on the floor. This was a few years ago. Downstairs, ’cause I got it from something. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. This is such a visual of what goes on in a body when we’re trying to move things through,” and you gotta start … and this is the gears that you crank one and you gotta get the one at the bottom moving. And if you don’t have that missing piece, like, say, the green for folate. Foliage. B9 right here. Say you don’t have that, you’re cranking at one end. Or say you put in way too much of this right here ’cause you’re just gonna tank like 15 milligrams of [inaudible 00:18:59] or something like that and imagine this is twice the size. It’s gonna impact the flow. Ideally, when you’re working with methylation and the whole MTHFR thing, we want the flow to be nice and smooth. We want to get it cranking.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 19:17 That’s a great visual. I love that. Might have to steal that maybe from you.
Dr Emily Hecker: 19:21 Sure.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 19:24 What would people notice, let’s say, if they’re not methylating properly, if they’re under-methylating? Or, let’s say, if they’re methylating too quickly, if they’re over-methylating? What would be some of the symptoms maybe they could look out for?
Dr Emily Hecker: 19:36 Yeah, no, that’s good. I also, in this topic, I definitely think this is a great book to pick up. If people are interested in this, because they’re gonna go through some of those symptoms in that book. Just for example, anxiety. That’s one of them. Or if you’re laying in bed at night and you cannot sleep, your brain is just rolling and you can’t clear it. One of my other sons is like that, too.
Dr Emily Hecker: 20:03 It’s like what is going on biochemically where you can’t clear the norepi, the epinephrine, the adrenaline hormones? Or how do you handle coffee? Does it make you too revved up? Does it have digestive issues with you, too? Really some of the symptoms when you’re over-methylating, under-methylating is plain and simple as anxiety, depression. If you can’t clear those neurotransmitters. A little interesting fact with the COMT enzyme, this is another gene on genetics. It’s a gene that all of us have. It helps clear estrogen and it also helps clear epinephrine, all those hormones that are stimulating, like if you think of something stimulating. So those need magnesium and it needs [inaudible 00:20:50] to clear.
Dr Emily Hecker: 20:52 You make this thing called [inaudible 00:20:54] in your methionine cycle, in the part of your methylation. So you make it naturally, but if you’re not making it because you’re vegan and you’re not consuming B12, or maybe you are vegan, but you’re just not supplementing it. So you need to get those are you’re not digesting properly, so you can’t absorb that B12 into your tissue. That B12 is necessary. It is the key factor for moving things along, thinking of back to this, through your body.
Dr Emily Hecker: 21:23 I don’t know if I answered your question. I might have got off track.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 21:24 That was great. A lot of brain issues we talked about, which is great. I also have a slow COMT gene, so I’m really affected by things like green tea and even coffee. So I have to be careful with my intake on that ’cause I don’t break them down and get rid of them as quickly.
Dr Emily Hecker: 21:40 Right, right, right.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 21:44 Brain, you could talk about energy. You talked earlier in the show about pregnancy issues or complications or issues you pass onto your kids even. Or infertility is a big one, too.
Dr Emily Hecker: 22:01 That is huge and I see a lot of patients with infertility or miscarriages. They keep having recurrent miscarriages and what’s going on? I’m dabbling in some other really interesting stuff with histamine, related with miscarriages and infertility. But, yeah, if you don’t have enough of those nutrients that are making those wheels crank, man, you can feel the effects of it.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 22:28 And that’s very interesting because a lot of times women get pregnant, they go to their doctor, and they say, “Oh, take this prenatal,” which is full of crap synthetic vitamins, synthetic folic acid. I think this would be a good time to talk about folic acid maybe for a sec and kind of differentiate.
Dr Emily Hecker: 22:45 Yeah, absolutely. And that’s funny ’cause medical school, whether you’re a nurse or a doctor or whatnot, they train you that you need folic acid and they even have the textbooks in there and you see one of the end results of not having enough folic acid in pregnancy is this neural tube defect. Mid-line of the spine, there’s defects that goes on. So folic acid is synthetic. It’s totally man-made and it had its time and its day. It had its place in a prenatal because they weren’t aware, I guess.
Dr Emily Hecker: 23:17 Now the research is coming out that you want the bioactive form. You want the bioavailable form of folate. So what happens, if you think of it in a term of a step process, you need to get the leafy greens in, folks. We just gotta eat the vegetables. And if you can’t tolerate chewing them, get a greens drink, but we gotta get the folate. That’s where they come with the term foliage. You’re watering your plants, think of foliage. You got that. You gotta get the greens in and you gotta make them crank through that process and when they go through a certain process in your body, then it develops into the methyltetrahydrofolate, which is the active form of B9. If you’re looking at a difference between folic acid and the folate, the difference is one is synthetic, man-made, it can block these folate receptors. Especially if you have dairy sensitivities as well ’cause those can block those folate receptors. So if you have these receptors that are blocked, you can’t get the folate into them, that’s bad news. So you’ve gotta stop taking that folic acid and where can you find folic acid besides a prenatal? Especially all you men out there, right, is just all those bread products. Look on the breads and the cereals. They just totally put that in there and …
Dr Seth Gerlach: 24:43 Well, usually those, they’re products that are so devoid of nutrition they have to put fake vitamins and nutrients back in and they’re always man-made, total crap and just sabotage us. Just thinking of this off the top of my head, let’s say someone has taken a lot of synthetic folic acid and you said that kind of shuts down the receptors and jams everything up. Would that be like just putting … back to your visual there of all the different colors and the cog wheels … if you just put a block in the middle of everything and stopped it all?
Dr Emily Hecker: 25:15 Yeah, and one of the things that can happen, initially you can take so much folic acid and there’s a lot of people that do because it is a lot of medications that people are on like methotrexate. It really blocks that, so they’ll need to take high doses of folic acid. When people take really high doses of folic acid, it can shunt into another pathway called unmetabolized folic acid, or UMFA. And you can actually measure it. It’s a test that you can measure.
Dr Emily Hecker: 25:47 I’ve never done it specifically with a patient yet. I don’t think I have. But one of the signs with that is if you have too high of the UMFA, the unmetabolized folic acid, that puts you at a higher risk for cancer. So here we are thinking we’re doing ourselves a body good by taking all this folic acid, but are you? That’s why we gotta do things in moderation.
Dr Emily Hecker: 26:11 One of the reasons why I like Dr. Ben Lynch’s company with Seeking Health, which is his product company, is he doesn’t have any folate. He doesn’t put over, I think, three milligrams in there. Lot of products out there you can buy from other supplement companies will have five milligrams of folate or 15 even the prescription ones and that’s where a lot of psychiatrists will refer their patients to me because they are giving them the [inaudible 00:26:40], but they’re not getting the results that they want and it’s just way too much. I love just the clarity that his supplement company realizes you gotta take a step back and too much is not always better.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 26:53 Gotcha. I love that point ’cause we always think, “Oh, I’ve got this problem. I need to take 10 times the amount for everything to function 10 times better,” which is not always the case. To your point also, quality, when you’re looking at products, is probably the most important thing and then, two, getting it from food is probably the best choice. Would you agree?
Dr Emily Hecker: 27:15 Yeah, absolutely. If people come in with … Going back to where we were at the beginning, if they’re coming in with a pathogen or a gut that is more impermeable than we’d like to have, are they gonna absorb it from their food if they go shop at Whole Foods? No. So that’s when you need to bring in the supplementation until the tissue is healthy enough to regrow and you can get good absorption.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 27:39 I love that. If someone thinks they have some kind of these problems, maybe it’s MTHFR or maybe it’s another gene, how do they find out? Do you have people test? Do you just go by questionnaires or symptoms? How do you work with your patients?
Dr Emily Hecker: 27:55 Oh, that’s good because I used to start with doing lots of genetic testing and people would come in saying, “Hey, I have done this.” It’s not the first line that I start with people when they’re patients that are especially wanting to get more into MTHFR because this is an interesting concept here is that you can have really perfect MTHFR genes, but they can get dirty just with your environment.
Dr Emily Hecker: 28:26 Just because you have a beautiful green, green or minus minus on your lab report for MTHFR doesn’t mean your methylation is awesome. You could still really have crappy methylation, but it’s green because you have a parasite or you have candida overgrowth and you have a horrible diet and you’re stressed out and you have a horrible job you don’t like. You know what I mean? I don’t start it testing. I really don’t. That’s something that we can pull in as we start cleaning up the epigenetic aspect of it. That’s a hard time. Sometimes people have a hard time understanding that because they wanna come in, they wanna dive into the genetics, but I’m like, “Seriously, we’re gonna save some money first. We gotta prioritize your finances, but also let’s do what’s the best here.”
Dr Emily Hecker: 29:15 But if we were to do testing, what I like to do is I like Dr. Lynch’s StrateGene report. You can do that when you go through 23andMe.com and you don’t need the fancy one. You don’t need the $200 one. Sometimes it’s on sale for 69 bucks or 49 bucks or whatever it is. You can just get the basic one. You extract that data from there and you upload it into StrateGene. I think it’s like 45 bucks for that. What I do like about his … ’cause I’ve played around with a bunch of these gene decoders. He picks the clinically relevant ones.
Dr Emily Hecker: 29:50 Guys, we have a ton of genetics, genes, and just because you have one plus and one minus in a specific gene doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s just what it is. What his team has done is they researched all the best ones out there and they’ve narrowed it down to seven. I’m sure he probably will go into future ones as well. In his book, he narrowed it down to seven, but in the StrateGene there’s like 17 pages and it’s backed up with research. It’s not just … It’s what it says. They’ve done their research in it, so that’s the one I like to use if we bring it in.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 30:31 That’s cool. And I love your approach about we have to fix the epigenetics first. You have to fix the basics because those are all things that effect our genes and they make us healthy or make you sick. And I love your approach, Ben Lynch’s approach, I love the GI Map test looking at the gut, all that stuff. It’s just right up my alley. That’s great. I wanna end with if people think they’ve got some of these problems, maybe they’re anxious or depressed or maybe they’re infertile or maybe they’ve got some fatigue or something like that, what would be the big health takeaways for them to go home and say, “Hey, I can do this for my health.” Or whatever the start or what would be the process, I would say.
Dr Emily Hecker: 31:15 Yeah, the easiest, the best thing that people can do is make good food choices. It really gets down to making the best food choices. I recently did a workshop on methylation and digestion and giving people four key takeaways that they can start implementing and not necessarily take this supplement and this supplement and this supplement. Yeah, they’re healthy when it’s needed, but rest, relax. That’s gonna help your stomach acid production. You can bring in certain teas like ginger tea can really be helpful for stimulating different digestive enzymes. Cook with some more ginger in your diet.
Dr Emily Hecker: 31:56 But really paleo is a great place to start, especially if they’re wanting to get pregnant or whatnot. You gotta remove those inflammatory foods. And dairy. And that’s hard for a lot of people to do. Dairy’s hard, but you can do it and I would definitely say the diet piece is the first plan of action. And the other thing on that is that sugar ’cause that’s really what we wanna do. We wanna minimize sugar consumption.
Dr Emily Hecker: 32:22 If you wanna leave this today and take something away from it, I would say track what you’re eating, use a free app like MyFitnessPal, which is a food log. You can download it on your phone, if you don’t know what it is, or on your computer. Track what you’re eating just on a weekly basis and see what you’re doing. Most likely, there’s way too many carbs in the picture so you gotta cut those in half. That’s where I like to start with people who we’re not really working them up, but that’s a place where you can start and take it and run with it.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 32:51 Love it, Dr. Emily. All that’s spot on.
Dr Emily Hecker: 32:54 Thank you.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 32:55 How can people find you if they’re interested, they wanna learn more, or see what’s up? Where can we find you?
Dr Emily Hecker: 33:01 Yeah, pretty simple. I am social. I’m on Facebook here at Enlightened Functional Medicine. I’m also on Instagram at dremilystl, that’s D-R emilystl. And if you wanna learn more about me on the website, it’s enlightenedstl.com.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 33:17 Awesome. So what we’ll do, I’ll probably link to those below also. If you guys are interested, you can check that out, too. Dr. Emily, thanks so much. I learned a bunch today, too. I think people watching could learn a bunch from you today also. So thanks for all you do. Really appreciate it.
Dr Emily Hecker: 33:33 Thanks for having me on, doc. I appreciate it, too.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 33:35 You bet. You have a good day. Hope everyone else has a great day also, all right?
Dr Emily Hecker: 33:38 Sounds good. Buh-bye.
Dr Seth Gerlach: 33:38 Bye.