By Janice Carlin, PhD, CNHP, CHNP
Copyright ○ 2018 Janice Carlin
There are so many special diets that people use for various life and health conditions. Believe me, I know about them not only because of my degree and certifications in Holistic Nutrition, but because I’ve used so many of them for myself and my family over the years. In today’s world with our access to so much information through the Internet, there are certain ways of eating that have become trendy and more talked about. Some of these can be really helpful to many, many people, and I don’t need to repeat the information about them here. What I want you to know is that there is another approach toward eating that isn’t as trendy or talked about but is more targeted toward your own personal needs for healing and being healthy.

It is important to know about epigenetics and your and your children’s genetic polymorphisms. Based upon how your genes express themselves, there may be certain foods, vitamins, or minerals that you can’t effectively or efficiently process. And many of these won’t show up on a food allergy or sensitivity test. In order to provide yourself with the best way of eating, you have to know your own genes (see this post to know how).

I’m going to provide you with some of the gene polymorphisms to look for regarding addressing your and your family’s ways of eating. Keep in mind that the foods I list below are considered “healthy” foods, but if your body cannot process them correctly, ingesting them will cause problems for you.

ACO1 and HNMT genes are connected to histamines. If you have mutations in these genes, then your body may have trouble processing the histamines that are in foods you eat or that your mast cells release in response to ingesting certain foods. ACO1 makes an enzyme called DAO that’s necessary for breaking down the histamines from foods you eat. The issue with histamines is that the symptoms can vary for different people ranging from rashes, flushing, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, blood sugar fluctuations, etc.

If you have any mutations in these genes, I recommend following a Low Histamine Diet to see if you can stop any of the symptoms. When you add foods back in, you’ll know immediately if they’re causing problems for you when you feel the symptoms again. I also recommend supplements called HistaminX and GI Hist Support. Information about what constitutes a low histamine food varies depending on the source you read. However, most all agree that the following are high in histamines and must be avoided:          
​            Spinach
            All fermented foods and beverages
            Cured Meats
            Seafood that is older than about 30 minutes freshly caught
            Chocolate (I know, it’s so sad!!)
            Dried fruits
            Citrus fruits

Foods that are considered histamine liberators should also be avoided until you know that you can tolerated them by adding them in one at a time after a period of elimination. Some of these include (there can be more):
            Cow’s Milk
            Artificial Dyes, Flavors and Preservatives
If you have histamine intolerance, be very careful taking probiotic supplements. Some of the bacteria strains can make everything worse for you. Here is one that excludes the strains of bacteria that are known to increase histamine in the gut:

The CBS gene is connected to sulfur intolerance. Sulfur is important in the diet, however avoiding high sulfur containing foods can be very helpful if you have a mutation in the CBS gene. High sulfur containing foods include (there are more):

       Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.)
       Onion and Garlic
       Some dried fruits
       Egg Whites


The genes, HLA-DQA2 and HLA-DQA1, are related to gluten intolerance and sensitivity. You may not see gluten come up on an allergy test, but if you have variations in these genes, avoid eating gluten-containing foods. These include:

       Oats that are not certified gluten free
       Soy Sauce


Many people know about lactose intolerance. Casein is a protein found in dairy products, including milk, cheese, and butter. A casein free diet is indicated for people with lactose intolerance because their bodies do not make the enzyme, lactase, which is necessary for digesting the lactose in dairy products. This causes different forms of indigestion and discomfort when dairy is ingested. People who have a genetic mutation in the LCT gene often have lactose intolerance. Additionally, if you have a mutation in the MCM6 gene, it can affect the LCT gene and also cause problems digesting lactose. Also, polymorphisms in the ATG5 and ATG16 genes are connected to lactose intolerance.  Lactose is not the same as casein, so if you or your child is on a casein free diet, consuming lactose free milk will not avoid the problem-causing casein.  

***With any special diet you use, please always remember to eat the least chemically treated, fresh foods as possible. Look for organic, non-processed foods so that your body doesn’t have to expend energy to work to detoxify itself from chemicals and genetically modified ingredients. Some people have gene polymorphisms that make detoxification of chemicals very slow, if not impossible, while some cause chemicals sensitivity reactions Here are a few to look for in your and your children’s genes:


In this article, I’ve shared a few of the more well-known gene SNPs to get you started on your journey of empowered eating. Do your research and look beyond allergy and sensitivity tests. Your genes hold so many answers for you. When you give your body a break from working so hard to process foods that are problematic for it, you open the doors to allow it to heal and feel vibrant and healthy.

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