Basics of Genetics and How Your SNPs Affect Your Health

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In this SelfDecode community webinar by our geneticist, Dr. Brendan Swan, PhD, we covered topics such as the definitions of genes, SNPs, gene expression, and phenotypes; and whether the SNPs really increase or decrease gene function. Further, we discussed how all of this connects with health problems that you are trying to resolve.

The webinar was followed by a live Q&A.

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SelfHacked Acronyms

9:48 COMT = Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT; EC is one of several enzymes that degrade catecholamines (such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), catecholestrogens, and various drugs and substances having a catechol structure.

13:11 VIP levels = vasoactive intestinal peptide levels. “VIP stimulates contractility in the heart, causes vasodilation, increases glycogenolysis, lowers arterial blood pressure and relaxes the smooth muscle of trachea, stomach and gall bladder.” Wikipedia

15:27 HMNT = Histamine N-methyltransferase “Histamine N-methyltransferase is one of two enzymes involved in the metabolism of histamine” Wikipedia

15:30 SNPs ‘snips’ = single nucleotide polymorphisms “a variation in a single nucleotide that occurs at a specific position in the genome, where each variation is present to some appreciable degree within a population (e.g. > 1%)” wikipedia

19:12 ALCAT = antigen leukocyte cellular antibody test, is a food sensitivity test that was developed many years ago.

21:30 HLA = Human leukocyte antigen “The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system or complex is a gene complex encoding the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins in humans” Wikipedia

22:50 TNF = Tumor necrosis factor “Tumor necrosis factor is a cell signaling protein (cytokine) involved in systemic inflammation and is one of the cytokines that make up the acute phase reaction.” Wikipedia

29:32 THC = Tetrahydrocannabinol “the principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of cannabis.” Wikipedia

30:30 CBD = Cannabidiol “is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis…is considered to have a wide scope of potential medical applications ” wikipedia

32:01 CYP450 = Cytochrome P450 “proteins of the superfamily containing heme as a cofactor and, therefore, are hemoproteins. CYPs use a variety of small and large molecules as substrates in enzymatic reactions. They are, in general, the terminal oxidase enzymes in electron transfer chains, broadly categorized as P450-containing systems.” wikipedia

34:10 NAC = N-acetyl-L-cysteine “a pharmacological agent, inhibitor of reactive oxygen species, used mainly as a mucolytic”

35:14 TH1/TH2 = T helper 1/T helper 2 “a type of T cell that play an important role in the immune system, particularly in the adaptive immune system. They help the activity of other immune cells by releasing T cell cytokines. These cells help suppress or regulate immune responses.” wikipedia

39:20 LDN = Low-Dose Naltrexone “Naltrexone is typically prescribed for opioid dependence or alcohol dependence, as it is a strong opioid antagonist.”

42:35 DHA = Docosahexaenoic acid “an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina.”

42:40 ACTH = Adrenocorticotropic hormone “a polypeptide tropic hormone produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland.[1] It is also used as a medication and diagnostic agent.” wikipedia

42:42 TSH = Thyroid-stimulating hormone “ a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine (T4), and then triiodothyronine (T3) which stimulates the metabolism of almost every tissue in the body.”

42:43 T4/T3 = triiodothyronine (T3) and its prohormone, thyroxine (T4)

46:14 ADH = antidiuretic hormone, also known as vasopressin “a neurohypophysial hormone found in most mammals.”

46:50 APOE = Apolipoprotein E “a class of apolipoprotein found in the chylomicron and Intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDLs) that is essential for the normal catabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein constituents.”

51:47 HPA = Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis “ a complex set of direct influences and feedback interactions among three endocrine glands: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal”

57:25 CIRS = Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

57:45 NK cells = natural killer cells “a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte critical to the innate immune system.”

57:50 CD57 = Galactosylgalactosylxylosylprotein 3-beta-glucuronosyltransferase 1, also known as B3GAT1

1:05:05 α-MSH = alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone “an endogenous peptide hormone and neuropeptide of the melanocortin family, … the most important of the melanocyte-stimulating hormones (MSHs) (also known as melanotropins) in stimulating melanogenesis, a process that in mammals (including humans) is responsible for pigmentation primarily of the hair and skin. It also plays a role in feeding behavior, energy homeostasis, sexual activity, and protection against ischemia and reperfusion injury”

1:07:22 MMP9 = Matrix metallopeptidase 9 “a matrixin, a class of enzymes that belong to the zinc-metalloproteinases family involved in the degradation of the extracellular matrix.”

All About Iron Part 1 – Metabolism, Lab Tests, Iron Deficiency Anemias and Iron Overload


Iron is an essential mineral that plays many important roles in the body. One of its main roles is to transport oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells to tissues for energy production. While low amounts of iron can lead to poor health, too much can cause severe health problems.

This post covers:

  • Iron Metabolism and Homeostasis
  • Iron Lab Tests
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia – Stages, Different Types, and Genetic Causes
  • Iron Overload

Download SelfHacked lab test guide with optimal ranges here.

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Top 9 Ways to Counteract The Negative Effects of Cannabis/Marijuana


This is the stack that I use to quickly recover from cannabis.  All of the methods have been vetted by me and they work (on me at least).  I experimented with these because of the underlying mechanisms made sense and they worked quite effectively.

Every one of these recommendations uniquely counteract an area of physiology that is negatively changed by cannabis and can quicken your recovery.

I initially figured these out by simply paying attention to the changes in my brain and thinking what chemicals would counteract it.  It’s kind of like when a cook imagines what added ingredients would go well with a recipe.

Once I noticed they were helpful, I started looking into why they were helpful.

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