Ask the Doc: Evaluating Genetic Testing, Benefits of Tart Cherry, Food Sensitivity Tests, and More

March 21, 2016


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On this show:

Dr. Tommy Wood is back for Ask the Doc! Tommy is a medical doctor, with degrees from Oxford University and Cambridge University. He’s currently working toward a Ph.D. in neonatal brain metabolism at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is also an athlete, specializes in working with endurance athletes, and he takes the functional approach to practicing medicine for optimal health, wellness and performance. Tommy consults with athletes via Nourish Balance Thrive. You can also submit a question to Tommy for future ATD episodes at

Genetic/DNA testing

  • Are these tests worthwhile, and what things they can help us discover? Or, can we be intuitive, find our unique needs, and generally work to be healthy to do what’s best for our body?
  • Uses for 1) predicting and 2) general battery.
  • Genotype does not equal phenotype.
  • Methylation issues, MTHFR mutation, ApoE genotype, alzheimer’s risk, disease risk, and other things a DNA test can highlight.
  • Comparing DNA tests to other types of functional health tests (ie blood chemistry, hormone tests, organic acids tests, and more).
  • Are tests like a blood chemistry just a snapshot, whereas DNA testing is better for the big picture, unchanging and static? Or not?
  • We’re constantly changing, so test phenotype.
  • The philosophy of genetic/DNA testing: do we really need to know?
  • If we have a better understanding of epigenetics can we then control our lifestyle to optimize self and prevent potential diseases or avoid triggers that can negatively influence health?
  • how can these tests help athletes find out more about athletic potential, food needs (i.e. how well you tolerate fat vs carbs), etc.

Testosterone talk

  • Understanding a drop in testosterone in a young male endurance athlete
  • After completing two extreme ultra cycling events, a 30-year-old male sees drop in total testosterone and symptoms of fatigue. Dr. Wood explains why this can happen.
  • How to assess (for free) if you have normal T levels putting aside your numbers on a test.
  • If you see a drop, is that necessarily a bad thing?
  • When low or low-normal test results are an ok thing. For example, hypothyroid for longenviety.
  • Mention of Ray Cronise on Rich Roll’s show and and a case for having lower levels of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, etc., for longevity and health.

Tart Cherry

  • Potential benefits of tart cherry: help muscle soreness and DOMS, can help with sleep and aids in insomnia relief, a powerful antioxidant, etc.
  • Tart cherry’s naturally occurring melatonin
  • Shown to decrease ROS in marathon runners
    • Why sometimes you want ROS to better adapt to exercise
  • Loading with tart cherry for best results vs. chronic daily use
  • When you would want to load with tart cherry (eg after a race to ease acute damage, during travel to help with sleep, etc)
  • Comparing with NAC — good in certain situations but not necessarily for chronic use by athletes
  • Examining the product: Cherry Flex

Case study: Low blood protein,Perfect Amino, stomach/GI issues, hiatal hernia, GERD, and food intolerances

  • What does low blood protein mean, what are possible reasons for low blood protein and the underlying cause?
  • How low blood protein relates to albumin, globulin, Hematocrit, Hemoglobin, WBC and RBCs.
  • GI issues and absorption of nutrients/protein
  • A case for being on PPIs in the presence of a hiatal hernia and GERD, and explaining the mechanism of of a burning my esophagus and huge reflux
  • Why we WANT stomach acid in decent levels for digestion, preventing infections, and more.
  • Supplementing with Betaine HCl, and the appropriate candidate for this.
  • Increasing protein to 1.8g/kg of bodyweight per day if signs of low protein/malabsorption
  • Adding in amino acid supplements like Perfect Amino to help with low protein

Food sensitivity tests

  • Food allergies most often point to an issue in the gut!
  • Mucin lining
  • MRT vs. Cyrex, pros and cons
  • Why an elimination diet is often a better way to go to really dial in individual issues and save money.
  • Possible negatives to high dose fish oil, e.g. 6g of fish oil a day, on gut permeability, food intolerance, etc.

More resources:

One Comment

  • brockdorf says:

    Is there a way to easily know if has a doctor near you that uses your insurance? The other tests I have done you just call up and they send you to Quest Labs. This one will only use a Dr signed up under their program. None of the doctors I have called are signed up and I am a little tired of just randomly calling people. Also, I assume you are saying Array 10 – Multiple Food Immune Reactivity Screen is the test to take. Not a negative of this podcast–which is one of my favorites–but a general complaint with most podcasts is that it is often hard to have an interview and also put in enough information for the listener to take action on what is being discussed.

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