Episode: Episode 3: Rhonda Patrick discusses why your genes influence what you should eat


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Episode 3: Rhonda Patrick discusses why your genes influence what you should eat
Before Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick “stumbled into research”—at the renowned Salk Institute—the Southern California native was a biochemistry major and a passionate surfer. She’s still an avid surfer, but of her college major, Patrick said, “I wasn’t feeling connected to synthesizing peptides in the lab, so I decided that I wanted to try out biology.” After earning her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego, Patrick worked at the Salk Institute’s aging laboratory, where she became fascinated with watching how much the lifespan of nematode worms could fluctuate depending on the experiments done on them. Hooked on aging research, she pursued that thread all the way to the laboratory of renowned scientist Dr. Bruce Ames, who developed the Triage Theory of Aging, which focuses on the long-term damage of micro-nutrient deficiencies. Patrick is currently working with Ames as a post-doc at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Hospital. Together, they are looking at strategies to reverse the aging process. She also received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Tennessee, where she worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Patrick lectured at IHMC in Ocala in December. https://youtu.be/wQZz5PklDB0. She also has her own podcast show, called “Found My Fitness,” at:  http://www.foundmyfitness.com STEM-Talk host Dawn Kernagis and co-host Ken Ford talked with Patrick about her research and development as a young scientist who is now at the forefront of the longevity field. :35: Dawn introduces Rhonda Patrick as “an American biochemist, cell biologist, science communicator and podcaster.” Patrick is currently studying the effects of micro-nutrient inadequacies on metabolism, inflammation, DNA damage and aging. 4:23: Patrick discusses her appreciation for her graduate school mentor. “I got a lot of micro-management,” she said, adding that she acquired the tools she would need to answer interesting biological questions regarding cancer metabolism, apoptosis, and nutrition. 6:00: Nutrigenomics, Patrick said, is a “complex interaction between the nutrients, micro-nutrients, macro-nutrients (fat) and certain genes that we have.” 6:43: As humans, Patrick said, “We all have the same genes, but alternative forms of these genes for unknown reasons. A single nucleotide change in the DNA sequence of a gene can alter the gene function.” 7:13: Certain polymorphisms, or genetic variants, probably emerged because of environmentally-induced genetic stressors, Patrick said. For example, soil high in selenium may have caused people to develop a polymorphism that inhibits the absorption of selenium because they get so much of it naturally. 8:11: Even if the polymorphism changes the gene in a negative way, you can often find a benefit, Patrick said. “That’s probably why it’s survived.” 8:42: Commercial break: STEM-Talk is an educational service of the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit research lab pioneering ground-breaking technologies aimed at leveraging human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience. 9:25: Hundreds of genes interact with micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients that we take in. For example, half the population has a polymorphism that changes the way your body metabolizes folate and folic acid, the oxidized form of folate. 11:05: Folate helps us make methyl groups, which are used for various biological functions. The MTHFR gene helps with that process, so people with a genetic polymorphism need to take a methyl folate 5 supplement. 12:00: The TRPM6 gene is a transporter of magnesium, an essential micronutrient required in over 300 enzymes in body. Some of its functions include making/using ATP; repairing DNA damage; establishing new neuronal connections in the brain. 12:27: People with a genetic polymorphism cannot transport magnesium in/out of cells,

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