Interview on March 15, 2015 with Paul Beaver the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Fitgenes. Listen to the live interview
You may be wondering why I’m here in Australia and have traveled halfway around the world to meet Paul and take his certification course in Fitgenes. I believe what I have learned will change the way I practice medicine and the way I look at health and disease.
I have learned that genes are not your destiny. This company I have received training from is going to help you overcome your potential genetic weakness and maximize your genetic potential. It’s really exciting. I never again want to hear from a patient, “I have this genetic weakness. There’s not much I can do.”
There’s a lot you can do. In fact, we can pinpoint your deficiencies and recommend a nutritional and dietary program to help you maximize your potential. This is really exciting, and I think this will be a big part of looking at and treating many different disease states.
Paul, it’s great to have you on Healthy Vision.
Paul: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m always so happy to spend time with people such as you who are really focusing on personalized health.
I’m fascinated with your Healing the Eye podcast. You were talking about how some vitamins work for some people, and for others they can have a detrimental effect and increase the potential for disease up to 135 percent.
Dr. Kondrot: That’s one of the reasons I was brought to Fitgenes. It was a big shock for me when I found out that the very items I’m recommending and hoping will help people may be contributing to them losing vision. The first part of the Hippocratic Oath is to do no harm. This wasn’t just one out of 10,000. Thirteen percent of the people in the study group had this adverse effect from vitamins. This is something we really have to look at closely.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved? I think your background is very interesting. You’re an engineer. You’ve lived in many different places throughout the world. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with Fitgenes.
Paul: Back in 1978, I was finishing my PhD in engineering. We got one of those phone calls you don’t want to get. A family doctor said, “I’m sorry to tell you your dad has cancer. He has three months to live.” He was only 52. That was a real shock. He didn’t want to die in a hospital. He wanted to die at home with his loved ones. We had a very good family doctor. He actually lived 18 months, but it wasn’t a very pleasant time for us. I stopped my PhD, and I was with him when he died. It was a rude awakening to die so young.
Eight years later, my wife gave birth to our daughter. I cuddled my wife and daughter. I walked five minutes out of the delivery room, and the doctor said, “I’m sorry to drop another bombshell on you. At a hospital 15 minutes away, your mother has a cancerous growth the size of a rockmelon around her kidneys and pancreas, and she only has three months to live.”
It was five minutes of the most extreme of emotions. It made me realize that we are very good at keeping people alive, but we are not good at keeping people healthy. I believe we weren’t created to get sick. What are we doing wrong? I could see that the one-size-fits-all approach to medicine and health just wasn’t working.
In Australia right now, we had the good news that we are living longer, but there’s also the bad news that living longer is actually bad for your health. In Australia when they’re talking about health expectancy and not so much life expectancy, it’s about the quality of life, not longevity. Right now in Australia, men will spend the last 18.6 years of their life with a disability, and women will spend 20.7 years. A third of that will be severe.
I started researching night and day and talking to doctors such as you, nutritionists and naturopaths. I started researching, which was my background, and all roads led back to our genes.
Genetically, we have not changed over the last few thousand years. The problem now is our environment. It’s a thing called the gene environment, and I call it ethnic interaction. Our genes just don’t like the environment we’re putting on them, so all roads are leading back to our genes.
In 2006, I flew to America. I heard about this genetic testing, and that’s where I learned about this new science called nutrigenomics. It’s true that you can’t change the genes you got from your mom and dad, God love them, but you can now compensate for their influence by making the appropriate nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices.
It’s like your genes are your hardware, and they send out a message. The message they send out is determined by the food you eat, how you exercise and your lifestyle. By knowing what is appropriate to you, you can maximize your potential for healthy living and healthy aging. That ties in with vitamins and what you say is the hard truth. What is one person’s medicine is another person’s poison. It’s always leading back to our genes.
Dr. Kondrot: It’s really interesting because in taking the certification course, I learned one of the reasons for my weight gain. I’ve tried to live a very healthy lifestyle. I exercise every day, but I’ve been putting on the pounds. I discovered through my genetic testing that I have an extremely poor absorption of vitamin D. Also, some of my metabolic pathways are deficient. Simply by taking some key nutritional supplements, I’ll be able to correct that deficiency. It all would’ve been guesswork if I didn’t get this genetic profile.
Some of my patients come in with a disease state, and I can just assume that it may be just an oxidative or inflammatory problem. It’s so nice to have those genetic markers and then scientifically and confidently recommend a nutritional program that I believe is going to make a big difference. I think this will really revolutionize the way I practice. I think I’m going to be able to help so many more people by looking at this genetic profile.
I like what you said about this ethnic environment because now we’re being bombarded with so many toxins in the environment. Many of my patients have heavy metal poisoning. Many of them are doing what they think is best. Unfortunately, they might not be making the right choices. They need some guidelines. I think the work you have done is remarkable.
Folks, we’re talking about genetic testing. With me is the co-founder of Fitgenes, an amazing company here in Australia. I really feel that they’re leaders in this idea of genetic testing. It’s not only genetic testing but actually developing programs you can implement.
When we come back, we’re going to be talking more about the science behind genetic testing. There’s an interesting fact that there are over 100,000 articles a year being published on nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the science of looking at nutrition and the genes. We’re going to talk a little bit about this and more about the personalized genetic profile and what could be done with this.
It’s great to have Paul Beaver on the show. When we come back, we’re going to be continuing our conversation, so stay tuned. We’ll be right back after this break.
Welcome back to Healthy Vision. This is your host, Dr. Edward Kondrot. With me is Paul Beaver, and we’re talking about genetic testing. The company is called Fitgenes. You can visit their website at www.Fitgenes.com. Those of you who might be interested in genetic testing, give the office a call at (800) 430-9328.
If you’re a physician or practitioner listening, I’m trying to get Paul Beaver to come to the United States to give a certification workshop. That could be very exciting, so email me or give me a call so we can coordinate this activity.
Paul, one of the dilemmas we have with genetic testing is that there are 25,000-plus gene pairs and various combinations. It’s very confusing when you get a genetic blueprint. What are you going to do with it? One of the biggest tasks to understanding the science behind is putting all these things together. Fitgenes has done a masterful job in making it easier for the practitioner like me to understand the science. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the science behind Fitgenes.
Paul: First of all, the breakthrough for me was in 2006 when I found this science of nutrigenomics. Your genes are not your destiny. The focus on genetic testing prior to that had a disease focus telling you what genes could affect the disease. It put fear in a lot of people about genetic testing.
We actually use the term “genetic profiling” because 1 percent or 2 percent of the genes we’re born with are associated with diseases such as hemophilia and so forth. For approximately 98 percent, you can change the message the genes send out. Your genes are a little bit like a dimmer switch. You can dial them up or down depending on the food you eat, how you exercise and your lifestyle choices.
It was a breakthrough for me that I didn’t have to finish up like my father and mother and develop cancer. There are things we can do, so our focus is on how we help the patients maximize their potential for healthy living and healthy aging irrespective of what their health goal is. For a lot of the listeners today, it will be to keep the eyes healthy. For some it might be weight management.
We work with people like Olympic athletes, corporate executives with high blood pressure, and menopausal women who are worried about weight and other associated symptoms of menopause. We work with children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum with autism.
This is where the engineer in me really helped develop the program we have because, for me, the body is only as healthy as the basic building block, which is the cell.
I don’t know what it’s like in America, but in Australia, particularly the men are not proactive about going to see a doctor or healthcare practitioner. Invariably, it’s the wife or partner who says, “You have to go.” By the time he gets to the practitioner or doctor, he says, “You have high blood pressure. Your BMI is high.” They tell you a symptom.
When they identify the symptom, that means there’s an organ dysfunction. Prior to the organ dysfunction, there’s tissue dysfunction. Prior to tissue dysfunction, there’s cell dysfunction.
To me as an engineer, it’s logical. If we could keep the cell healthy and get the genes to send the right signal out, then healthy cell, healthy tissue, healthy organ, healthy body.
At Fitgenes, our philosophy is if we can get the cell’s functioning right and the gene expression correct, we can help you reach your healthy goal, whether it be running a marathon, reducing blood pressure, reducing weight, or maintaining or improving eyesight.
We have a different focus than most companies about telling you what sort of diseases you may get. We’re about getting the body to operate properly. That’s why we only look at genes that affect the physiological functioning of the body at the cellular level. They must be well-researched. I have spent my life researching it. We have some amazing professionals working with us.
They have to be more than 10 percent of any ethnic population. We work in Asia, and we’re seeing differences between Malaysians, Chinese, Europeans and Indians. More importantly, there have to be interventions in nutrition, exercise and lifestyle so that the person can make the best choice about what they should eat, how they should exercise and their lifestyle to help them reach their health goal.
That’s our philosophy on the approach, and it has worked.
Dr. Kondrot: I like that approach because it goes in alignment with my approach. I’m always looking for the underlying cause. As a homeopathic doctor, I prescribe homeopathic remedies and herbal products to help support the underlying problem.
Now we can look at the genetic makeup and know exactly where the problem is, and we can base a lot of our decisions on scientific articles which have studied this particular genetic issue and uncovered what nutrients may be needed and what vitamins and minerals are essential to make a difference.
As most of the listeners know, with traditional western medicine, let’s pick a disease. If you have hypertension, you take this pharmaceutical product to lower your blood pressure. They do very little to address the underlying problem. The underlying problem, as you mentioned, is usually on the cellular level. When we make healthy cells, we’re going to make a healthy body.
Maybe you could give us some examples or genetic snips. Maybe define what a snip is and some examples of how this genetic testing can be revealing for us.
Paul: A snip is a single nucleotide polymorphism. That may sound scientific, but basically, the DNA we have is made up of two strands, a bit like a ladder that’s been twisted. We get half a step from our mom and half a step from our dad. For whatever reason, we can get variations. There’s only 1 percent or 2 percent where half a step might be a little bit different, a change. That’s what a snip is.
For some people, the snip is harmless. For example, you might have a different hair or eye color. There are some that are harmful, such as hemophilia. As I said, our focus is not on the 1 percent or 2 percent single-gene disease. We’re looking at the 98 percent that you can change by what you eat and how you exercise.
For a lot of people who are struggling with weight issues, it is not a fat metabolism problem. Genetically, they have the ability to burn fat. The problem is that they’re inflamed.
Our focus is on five physiological groups. One is inflammation. Second, we looked at free radical damage from oxidative stress. We look at methylation, heart health, fat metabolism and cholesterol regulation, and vitamin D metabolism, as you mentioned previously.
What we’ve found is that inflammation and oxidative stress are the drivers behind most adverse health outcomes. For example, you mentioned macular degeneration. I think that’s what you saw on the weekend. If you have the genes, it means you can’t fight the free radicals. You are more predisposed for having problems with your eyes.
Dr. Kondrot: I agree with you 100 percent. The inflammation component and the oxidative component are things I have always looked at in patients with macular degeneration. Now with getting this genetic profile, I think it’s going to be really helpful because not only will I know the degree of the genetic manifestation but based on scientific studies, I’ll know what to do to treat it.
You’re listening to Healthy Vision. With me is Paul Beaver. We have a lot more to share with you, so we’ll be right back after this break.
Welcome back to Healthy Vision. Paul, I like what you said on break that it’s not really a genetic test. It’s a genetic profile. There really are no bad genes or good genes. Genes help guide us in making the right lifestyle decision. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about that and give us some examples of different diseases, like cardiovascular diabetes and obesity. How can the gene profile help?
Paul: One of the big areas when we started was with 35- to 55-year-old women and weight management. What we found was, genetically, the problem wasn’t so much fat metabolism as the heading gene variations, which meant they were more predisposed to being inflamed when estrogen levels were fluctuating and with the free radicals.
Maybe they had their genes with regard to how the arteries contract and expand. There’s a term, vasoconstriction, and we found that the women would have genes where the arteries would contract more than the average person.
That’s not a good thing or bad thing. It’s very beneficial if you are a power-based athlete such as a 100-yard sprinter. To have that gene gives you more power. It’s good. If you’re a corporate executive, having the gene that contracts more means you will have higher blood pressure. There’s no good or bad. It depends on the gene environment interaction.
When we started with those ladies in particular in the early days, they would go to the gym. Some ladies would lose weight. Others would actually put weight on. The harder they trained, the worse it got.
What we found was that the women who were highly inflamed that would go to the gym, by over-exercising, they were making matters worse. We helped the ladies lose weight with what we call the Fitgenes back-off approach. We get them to have saunas, spas and massages, or just have them go for a walk for 30 minutes to get that inflammation down. Once they got the inflammation down, then the genes which burn the fat could be more effective.
We found that inflammation and oxidative stress were the common parameters amongst a lot of health issues. We had women who would lose 0.5 to 1 kilogram of visceral fat by taking interventions and working with their genes, not working against them. This was a huge breakthrough in our approach.
With heart health, cardiologists were flown in from America, Malaysia and Hong Kong. We found that high blood pressure was not just that the arteries were contracting to force the blood pressure up. We found that they were getting too much inflammation. Too much free radical damage in the arterial walls was causing the arteries to go hard and causing the blood pressure to go up.
One of the international cardiologists is now no longer using statin drugs for his patients. He’s using the nutrition, lifestyle and exercise interventions based on the Fitgenes profile. He has totally changed what he’s doing, which is really exciting.
There’s also diabetes. Asia at the moment is the epicenter of diabetes for the world. Even though they’re not as big as many Australians or Americans, their diabetes is high. There are inflammation and vitamin D receptors. We look at all those drivers, which seem to be common drivers whether you want to be an elite athlete, reduce blood pressure, manage weight, or take care of your eye or even dental.
Dr. Kondrot: One of the reasons I came to Australia for the Fitgenes certification is that I’m really looking forward to using it for my eye patients. I wonder if you could give me some insight into a condition like diabetic maculopathy.
We talked about how we need to look at five or 10 patients with dry macular degeneration just to get some idea on what the genetic profile will show. We are both suspicious that there are going to be problems with inflammation and the oxidative pathways. I wonder if you could give me your insight into this.
Paul: All roads seem to be leading back to inflammation, oxidative stress, vitamin D and methylation. Genetically, our bodies haven’t changed from hunter/gatherers. When we were hunter/gatherers, the ratio of food we ate for pro-inflammation versus anti-inflammation was two to one. Now in our environment, we eat 40 times more food that produces inflammation than will fight it.
The gene variations we may have with inflammation and oxidative stress detox that weren’t important even 100 years ago are now becoming important, so we really have to look at this gene environment interaction.
With macular degeneration, I believe, and based on what you’ve found, that the underlying cause is that our bodies may not have the ability to fight free radicals. It produces more inflammation or we don’t have the genes for anti-inflammation. It means it isn’t fixing our eyesight.
I went through a period in building this business. All start-up businesses don’t have much money. The stress level came in, and I had a time of severe stress. I know that my eyesight deteriorated during that period. Genetically, I have the genes that are variations in the ability to fight the free radicals.
After you get past the age 28, the ability to fight free radicals decreases. If you have the gene variations, they can exacerbate. For me it was the gene environment. I had those genes. I was under that stress. I personally believe that was what helped bring on me having to get glasses.
I think inflammation, oxidative stress and our environment are huge, but by knowing your gene variations, there are interventions you can do to switch the gene up or down or compensate for its effects, so I’ve been looking at inflammation and oxidative stress. Vitamin D influences the inflammation pathway and oxidative stress pathway as well.
Dr. Kondrot: There was the article published by Dr. Awh where he shockingly revealed and discovered a subset of patients that actually will have an aggravation and do worse with antioxidants. He felt it’s not truly the antioxidants that are the problem but maybe a metabolic pathway is not being addressed properly. It may be essential for those people to take an additional nutritional supplement to help metabolism. What are your insights on that?
Paul: I saw a very interesting article that said the purpose of eating food is not only to get the macro nutrient content, protein and fats. They’ve now found it is probably as important, if not more important, that the nutrients talk to the genes and upregulate or downregulate the genes as required.
Sometimes people can be taking supplements or food and think they’re doing the right thing. Actually, they’re simply having the opposite effect. That’s even with lifestyle choices. For a lot of people trying to lose weight, they should not go on a calorie-restricted diet. It actually makes matters worse.
We’re now challenging a lot of the traditional thoughts on weight management and how to exercise. That’s the beauty about what we do. Every gene we look at has a nutrigenomics, nutritional or exercise intervention. It’s very empowering for the patient to help them reduce the risk of any family history or help them maximize their potential for healthy living and healthy aging.
We get very specific and personalized on what the interventions are, and we have termed the phrase, “We can help eliminate the guesswork.”
Dr. Kondrot: That’s going to be key. We can actually pinpoint a patient’s strengths and weaknesses, minimize their weaknesses and maximize their strengths. Then their body is able to heal, and they can redeem their health. I think it’s going to be a really phenomenal approach in treating patients with visual problems.
I have so many patients making dietary changes. They think they’re taking the right nutrients and they’re exercising, but they’re not getting any better. Once we get this genetic profile, we’ll be able to say, “You may be exercising too much. You’re actually contributing to the inflammation. These nutraceuticals you’re taking do not fit with your genetic profile. You have to make the changes.” This is really exciting for me, and I think this will make a really big difference.
We’re coming up to a break. When we come back, we’re going to be talking about the Fitgenes program. We evaluate your profile and help guide you on the steps you need to take. We’ll be right back.
Welcome back to Healthy Vision. This is your host, Dr. Edward Kondrot. Remember, genes are not your destiny. I hope that’s a message we’ve been able to deliver this evening.
Paul, could you tell us a little bit about the Fitgenes program? It’s certainly not just a test. It is a profile, and then we work with you so you can maximize the benefits after we know your genetic profile.
Paul: We’ve developed programs. The genetic profile is just one part of what we do. Many people have tried to reach their health goals, but the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. People can go on the same diet. Some people lose weight. Some people put weight on. Two people can go into the gym and do exactly the same exercise program. One person will lose weight. The other will put it on. One person will get injured. The other won’t.
We have personalized healthcare programs based on your own unique genetic profile. I love looking at my profile irrespective of whether I have variations or not because that is who I am. What I want to do is maximize my potential for healthy living and healthy aging.
What our programs are aimed at is to help you maximize your potential for healthy living and healthy aging, and to increase your health expectancy and quality of life for as long as possible. By having your profile done, we can then design the nutrition, exercise and lifestyle programs based on you as a unique person, not one size fits all.
Our programs are only delivered by Fitgenes certified practitioners. I have to complement you for traveling halfway around the world to be trained. We had a wonderful couple of days with you and your wife, Ly. I love being with people like you who are passionate about making a difference.
In the 12-week program, the first question we ask the patient or client is, “What is your health goal?” Maybe you want to run in a marathon, as you were telling me you did the other year, Edward. Maybe it’s to reduce blood pressure, lose weight, improve eyesight or maintain eyesight. It doesn’t matter what the health goal is. It’s the fact that you have a health goal.
Once we get the profile, it eliminates the guesswork, so the practitioners can then home in on what is relevant to you. We are changing everything, like for people wanting to lose weight. It’s a whole new approach.
The patient is with the practitioner. They identify their health goal. Then they get the genetic profile and start looking at the drivers, such as the ability to fight inflammation, the ability to fight free radical damage, and so forth.
The practitioner will work with the patient. This is a partnership and a journey. We talk about the discovery, the journey and the destination in our programs.
The discovery is why do I put on weight when I go on a calorie-restricted diet? Genetically, this is why. Once we discover the underlying drivers, the journey is to implement the interventions and nutrition. Edward, you were saying on the weekend that the interventions are not onerous or hard. Sometimes it seems too easy. Then the destination is helping you get to your goal. This is a lifelong journey. You reach one health destination, reset the goal and keep going.
The genetic profile is important so we can personalize it, but your practitioner, such as Edward, will help you implement the treatment plan specific to your goals and needs, and will monitor your results on this journey.
I love the concept of discovery, journey and destination. It’s a lifelong journey with your Fitgenes certified practitioner.
Dr. Kondrot: Not only do we do the genetic profile but we also do some conventional laboratory tests to follow your progression. This is important.
Paul: Absolutely. Your genes are like your hardware, and they send out messages. There’s a new science coming out called epigenetics that will be able to measure that signal, but we’re not there yet.
In the meantime, if someone has the gene variations for inflammation, you can do the standard blood test of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein to look at that. There are tests for the 8-OHdG where you can measure the amount of oxidative stress.
We not only do the genetic profile. We do a very comprehensive questionnaire which looks at family history, symptoms. We do anthropometric body measures such as percentage body fat.
The Fitgenes certified practitioner will look at the genetic profile and will then look at all the other data and decide what is the most appropriate intervention for the patient to reach their health goal.
If someone is highly inflamed, it’s either due to the food they’re eating, how they’re exercising, whether they’re over exercising or under exercising, lifestyle choices such as smoking, or stress, or there’s a genetic component.
We can identify what to do. We normally start with half a dozen simple interventions during the first 30 days. The practitioner will look at the pathology markers and then will check and correct.
It’s very important to keep monitoring, but we don’t have to do hundreds of tests. We do the ones specific for the gene, or what we call the focus group for that 30-day period.
Dr. Kondrot: Typically when a patient goes through this program, what kind of results do they expect to see in 12 weeks?
Paul: Depending on the health goal, we have seen Olympic athletes that were breaking down, tearing muscles, having a lack of energy and not sleeping improve their performance. We have one gentleman who was running 128 kilometers per week. That’s probably 100 miles per week. He found that he was breaking down. His performance was not good. Then he backed his training down to 50 percent, and his performance went through the roof. He didn’t get sick, and he was sleeping better.
We have women who were having trouble losing weight start a program and lose between 0.5 and 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week. They were losing it off their whole body and maintaining their shape during that process.
We’ve had people with hypertension with a blood pressure up to 200/120. They were failing to respond to drugs such as ACE inhibitors and were classified by the cardiologist as essential hypertension. They reduced it from 200/120 to 117/77 in 12 weeks.
I could go on. We see results such as that. They work with the practitioner.
Dr. Kondrot: We’re coming to a close on Healthy Vision. Paul, I want to thank you so much for your perseverance and dedication into establishing a company that I feel is going to unlock the secrets to help us with our genetic profile and to truly help us regain our health and, for many of my patients, vision. I want to thank you again for being on the show, and I hope I can talk you in to coming to the United States to give a workshop.
Paul: It would be a pleasure. I haven’t been back to America for quite a while. I was so pleased to meet you and your wife and to find that there are other people as committed to personalized health as my wife, Ly, and I are. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the program.
Dr. Kondrot: Folks, if you’re interested in the Fitgenes program, please give the office a call. We’re going to be starting this program, and you can reach us at (800) 430-9328. This is your host, Dr. Edward Kondrot, wishing everyone good health and clear vision.
Overcome your potential genetic weakness and maximize your genetic strength
12 Week Fitgenes Genetic Profile Program
Initial Consult to discuss goals.
Comprehensive health questionnaire
Comprehensive Genetic Profile
Review of Lifestyle, nutritional, dietary and vitamin recommendations provided based on genetic profile.
6 weeks consult
12 weeks consult
Repeat health questionnaire
Additional lab studies, nutritional products and vitamins are not covered by the program
Call the office for more information regarding this special program!