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Food-Gut-Gene Connections with Amanda Archibald

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Food-Gut-Gene Connections with Amanda Archibald

If all diseases begin in the gut, and every mouthful of food influences our genes, how do we connect the dots between the gut, our diet and genes?

We welcome back culinary genomics expert, Amanda Archibald who answers this very question. Amanda shares with us her "MISE Toolbox" and how it can be used to unravel confounding gut conditions, such as food intolerance and food sensitivity to guide patients back to optimal health.

Amanda will be back in Australia soon presenting at the 8th BioCeuticals Research Symposium in Melbourne in April 2020, tune in to find out what she has in store for attendees of this conference. 

Covered in this episode

[00:40] Welcoming back Amanda Archibald
[04:56] The MISE Toolbox
[07:31] The Enabler Ingredients and food sensitivities
[12:34] Avoiding toxin loading
[15:38] Getting started with nutrigenomics
[17:27] Genomic testing
[24:42] Prioritising treatment based on genomic patterns
[27:23] Delayed reactions to food intolerances and sensitivities
[32:10] The issue of histamine
[36:44] What Amanda will be discussing at the 2020 Bioceuticals Research Symposium

   


Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook. Joining us on the line again today is Amanda Archibald, who's the founder of the Genomic Kitchen, a system of choosing, preparing and understanding food based on culinary genomics, a term she coined to express this revolutionary merging of genomic science, nutrigenomics, and the culinary arts. Widely recognised for her trailblazing work as a culinary nutritionist and dietician. Amanda has a longstanding commitment to redefining the food, nutrition and cooking education footprint in ways that make them understandable, meaningful, and fundamentally achievable for all. Welcome back to FX Medicine, Amanda. So glad to speak to you. How are you?

Amanda: It's so good to be back with you. Thank you. Really good.

Andrew: I cannot wait to see you again at the Bioceuticals 2020 Research Symposium next year.

Amanda: No. I can't wait to come back to Australia. I had the best time in Sydney and this time, it was so great. It was just so great to be in Australia and so refreshing, and this time I get to come to Melbourne.

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: So, I really can't wait. Thank you.

Andrew: Awesome. Let's go a little bit back into history. You're passionate about not just the food health but the genes and how they interact. How did you first tap into nutrigenomics?

Amanda: Yeah. So, it was around 2012, 2013 and I was actually teaching a couple of workshops in South Africa, so in Johannesburg, and at one of those workshops/conferences I was introduced to nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics there from a researcher who had seen my work. And my first instinct was, let me get on board with the nutrition science and the biochemistry that is behind this field of nutrigenomics. And so, you know, we all know it takes a long time to get back on board with biochemistry, but I was always the geek and I always loved it. 


What is culinary genomics? by Corinne Wyper - Read Article


Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: So, once I was on board and up to speed was biochemistry, I then said, "Let me apply the lens of the culinary arts to nutrigenomics." And so, long story short, after a lot of months of learning and relearning, and understanding the union between nutrigenomics and the culinary the arts, I was set. I was locked and loaded and said, "We have got this amazing opportunity in the fields of medicine and health and nutrition science to unite genes with the kitchen and basically cook the language and flavour of our DNA."

Andrew: Right. And why are genes the game changer? And indeed, is it genes or SNPs?

Amanda: Yes. So, let's look at it from like the top down. So, I would say personally that really it's genomics, or this field of genomic science that's the game-changer because it revolves around genes and variance in our genes. So, we know that genes are instrumental to the production of proteins, which are both structural, like in terms of, like, bones and muscles, but also functional. So, it's the functional aspect of genes that's probably more what we're looking at because we're talking about producing proteins in the form of enzymes, and it's enzymes…

Andrew: Yes.

Amanda: …that are integral to our biochemistry…

Andrew: Yes.

Amanda: …it’s enzymes that drive our functionality or what I call our physiological circuitry.

Andrew: Absolutely. We don't talk enough about enzymes, but then we talk...or there's this automatic assumption of digestive enzymes rather than biochemical enzymes and how we can influence them. 

So, you're using genomics in clinical practice. Can you tell us a little bit about what I've heard about the MISE toolbox?

Amanda: Okay. The MISE, the M-I-S-E. 



Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: So, let's just go back to genomics and then I'll kind of take it out to MISE, which is what I call the principles of culinary genomics. So, bottomline, those enzymes or create workarounds for those enzymes. So, you're literally looking, as I say, at how we write biochemical equations. Remember those days, Andrew?

Andrew: Yeah. Yes.

Amanda: Biochemistry. The ooh, remember? So, what I've done is said, "Okay, let's look at biochemistry. Let's look at which nutrients support biochemistry and where there are inefficiencies we can literally write recipes that contain the nutrients that we need to shore up or support our biochemistry." So you then take those nutrients, as I said, into recipes, and bingo, you have a formula that you can use in the kitchen. So, that's assuming you have genomic information. Like, if you have a DNA test, we can look for those SNPs or those variants that are suggesting maybe there is some inefficiencies. So, that's one approach. That's a very clinical approach, which I also work in that arena obviously.

So, what if we had a more altruistic vision, which is, how do we change public health? How do we change the food conversation for the public? Assuming that they don't know anything about their DNA or they'll never have a genomic test. And that's why I created an ingredient toolbox at the Genomic Kitchen, and the ingredient toolbox is divided into four categories that you've mentioned as MISE. Mass ingredients, Influence ingredients, Superfoods, and Enabler ingredients. And each of those categories of ingredients are in the toolbox because they basically target a different biochemical goal in the body, or they shore up the integrity of the gut, so our digestion. So, what we've done is, we've created a course and created a toolbox where that now I've written the book because you know, that explains how these ingredients work in your body and what you do with them in the kitchen, and how you select them at the grocery store, etc., etc. So, that's the sort of, the short story behind MISE or M-I-S-E.

Andrew: Yeah. And can you talk a little bit about these particular ingredients? So, when you say enabler ingredients, what are we talking about here?

Amanda: Yeah, so the enabler ingredients. Here, we're looking very specifically at the gut because you are what you absorb, okay? 

Andrew: Yep.

Amanda: And you are nothing without the integrity of your gut because it's what links you to the outside world, right? So, in functional medicine, we talk about seeding and feeding. 

Andrew: Yup.

Amanda: So, we have to seed the gut with probiotic-rich bacteria, and then once we've seeded them with these beneficial bacteria, then we have to feed them to ensure they've got the food or the sort of ammunition and the information to do their work. So, enabler ingredients are both rich in probiotics, so there you're looking at fermented and cultured foods, which are naturally rich in probiotics, and also prebiote foods that are rich in prebiotic fibres, which are what our probiotic bacteria munch on. So there you might be looking at onions, garlic, artichoke, etc., etc. So, very specific ingredients.

Andrew: Yeah. Okay. So, you mentioned garlic there. And I have to ask, how do you use genomics when you've got somebody who, let's say, has a sensitivity to garlic? How do you do a workaround for that, or even things like salicylate sensitivities?

Amanda: Yeah. So, you mentioned garlic. So, it's interesting because the 2020 symposium, one is the session, so we actually have two sessions which are breakouts where we present case studies, and I'm actually going to be zeroing in again on food sensitivities. So, if somebody has a sensitivity, like you said, take a garlic, one of the first things we'll look at is people's tolerance to foods. 

Andrew: Right.

Amanda: So, you know, obviously, he's not going to recommend a food that somebody is intolerant to. But, what's interesting about nutrigenomics and when you pair it with biochemistry is, if you know specifically you're after a bioactive to do a certain job in the body that's nutrigenomics because bioactives can activate or deactivate genes depending on what we're targeting. Then we know...So, for example, allium is…excuse me, garlic is in the allium family. There are lots of different ingredients in the allium family, but nutrigenomically, we look at garlic often for the bioactive quercetin. So I need quercetin to perform a certain task in the body. Somebody can't tolerate garlic, then I'm going to say, "Okay, but quercetin is in radish…”

Andrew: Right.

Amanda: “…or in phenol or in apples or in elderberry." So, the beauty of culinary genomics is, we can dial in ingredients knowing what their information is, but also create a workaround for somebody who may be sensitive at the ingredient level, but switch tracks and say, "We can still perform the same biochemistry, but we'll just choose a different ingredient." It's marvellous, isn't it?

Andrew: Have you ever come to the stage where, you know, when you've done enough work on the gut, and you've given them enough background, let's say, you know, culinary ammunition that their sensitivities start to fade, that they start to become more balanced?

Amanda: Yes. But, you know, here's the reality, Andrew, and you and I know this, and also I'm going to be talking about this in one of my plenaries at the conference, that we in the 21st century are dealing with so many inputs, or onslaughts from the environment that we're dealing with people who are working with individuals who are sicker and sicker and sicker. So, it takes a long time to correct some of the damage done by food sensitivities, and it may actually not be the food sensitivity itself. It's that people become sensitive to foods as a result of the undermining of the gut by other issues such as toxins…

Andrew: Yep.

Amanda: …or medication. So, it's a lot of unravelling. What I love about genomics, particularly genomic information, is it tells us where to look first and where to shore up different elements of our biochemistry so the body can actually hone in on it in a wisdom and restore functionality. So, we do, of course, we see people get back on track towards wellness, but it can take a long time, and that's a reality that we have to lay down for people, particularly with complex health issues. It took a long time to get here, and sometimes it takes a while to dig out.

Andrew: Got you. And I guess that's got to be my next question, when we're dealing with toxins. You know, we know that the environment is handling so many more toxins, and toxins is such a broad topic, but we can go anywhere from petrochemicals to flame retardants, you know, dioxins. 

Amanda: Yep.

Andrew: There’s so many. How do you work that into, you know, like, the MISE toolbox for somebody who's not a practitioner, and indeed, what lessons do we need to teach practitioners about what foods to choose to make sure that you're not loading patients with more toxins?

Amanda: Well, yeah. I mean, that, you bring up some really good questions, and a very good point that a lot of what we have to do clinically now is help people understand what is contaminating them to start with.

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: And, you know, there's the obvious inputs that you point out, but they're not necessarily obvious to people. It could be anything from the cosmetics, or the personal care products they were using, to the fact that they just have a new floor or carpet installed in their house, to the water they're drinking. So, we have to do a lot of inventorying with individuals to help them rid themselves of the inputs before we can shore up their biochemistry because certainly, we can use food very strategically, and that's what the master ingredients are in the MISE toolbox. They help support biotransformation and detoxification, but there's no point in doing that if you don't rid the inputs to start with.

Andrew: Gotcha.

Amanda: So, we have to do a lot of rooting out. Yeah. But we can only do so much.

Andrew: Where can we find out more detailed information about these phytochemicals and their structures?

Amanda: Well, first of all, you know, if you want to get really technical, one of the ways to understand the concentration of these bioactives is, if you go to phenol-explorer.eu, it's a great way if you're interested in bioactives too. You can search by bioactives such as ellagic acid or ferulic acid and see what its concentration is in food. But it's the field of nutrigenomics that helps us understand, you know, so evidence-based science, what we know about how those specific phytonutrients or bioactives do, how they work in the body, which systems they work with, and not, you know, that is really a lot of the work I've done in culinary genomics. So, that's actually what I teach. So, for practitioners who are busy in clinical practice, it's a lot of work to figure all that out. And so I've done a lot of that work myself…

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: …you know, in assessing the science and saying, "These are the valid phytonutrients. Here's how they work. Here's the foods, and this is what we know in the science."

Andrew: And what are your recommendations for clinicians interested in nutrigenomics who want to just get started now? Like, I mean, you've amassed this great experience over years, but how…can you remember when you started? Like, what was it like and what was your first sort of interaction with patients and the results that you gained?

Amanda: Yeah, so, you know, my recommendations for clinicians listening in who are not familiar with nutrigenomics or who are like, "Oh my gosh, I need to get involved in this because it is the future of medicine and it's here now." It's just jump in, like, don't wait. Don't listen to naysayers, "Oh, there's not enough evidence." I mean, anyone, any clinician who's working with DNA testing or nutrigenomics will tell you, this is a game-changer because it basically eliminates looking for a needle in a haystack, and genomic information, DNA information is probably one of the best tools we've had as clinicians in decades. So, what I did and what I recommend clinicians do is basically jump into a foundational training in nutrigenomics, and, you know, I've been through a lot of training, is: jump in, know it's going to take time, give yourself time and know that once you come out the other end and you've gone through your training, you probably want to jump in on a group with mentoring so that you don't feel, "Oh my gosh, I got this genomic information. Now what do I do even though I've been trained?" Because you do need to be able to bounce ideas off of other clinicians. So, be patient. Jump in. Give yourself time, and once you come out the other end, you will never go back.

Andrew: I've got to ask, what do you see about the limitations right now in making genomic testing available to everybody really?

Amanda: Yeah, and I think that that varies by country. I mean, you have a different health structure in Australia than the one that's in New Zealand and definitely different in the United States. So, I could speak from the United States' perspective, and there's probably some overlap. And that is that, in a nutshell, genomic testing is not free in the United States. For the most part, it's not covered by insurance. I'm hearing that there is some movement that some is covered by insurance, but I can't give specific examples of that right now. So, some people, given that, they will therefore never invest in DNA testing so, because there's going to be some people who are early adopters and others will say, "Hey, if it's not covered by my insurance plan or blah, blah, blah, I don't see why I should do it. I'll go the conventional route." I think too, additionally, there's a degree of skepticism around the security of data. I think the other issue is that, and this to me is the biggest rate-limiting step, is that we simply do not have enough clinicians trained yet to interpret genomic information. 

Andrew: Right.

Amanda: So, I think there's demand on the consumer side, but for clinically relevant testing, particularly for individuals who have complex health issues, we do not have enough clinicians trained, and we need to get trained and fast. 

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: You know, there is the demand, and we need clinicians who understand this to get involved and step up to the plate because we don't want untrained individuals trying to help the public sort out genomic information and interpret it.

Andrew: Right. Do you focus, and when you're looking at genomic information, do you focus on various types of SNPs or groups of SNPs that are involved in certain things like, you know, methylation, SOD, detoxification, that sort of thing? Or do you go for a shotgun approach and try and get as much information as you can and then, you know, with your information, tease apart what you know?

Amanda: So, yeah, I mean, and that's the power of my training and training of clinicians in nutrigenomics is, I take a look at the entire test. What I'm actually doing is I am able to scan through and pull out and organise the gene information into influence areas, so, I don't necessarily say, "Oh, let's just go off to methylation or transsulfuration or a body part," if you will. I organise it into the amount of SNPs that are impacting different areas of biochemistry. So, I organise them basically into a storyboard, and from there, I can see, "Okay, something may have more SNP to gene variants that they are impacting cognitive health and gut health versus inflammation or oxidative stress. So, what I'm doing is looking for patterns, and I organise those patterns into their little pods if you will…

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: …and that tells me where to intervene first.

Andrew: Do you think that the future is going to tell us that it's not a SNP or a couple of SNPs, but we might have to deal with, you know, 20 SNPs that have a major influence on a, biochemical pathway is a little bit simplistic, but an area of deficit?

Amanda: Well, no, totally. And it really is. I wouldn't say biochemical pathways is simplistic at all. That really is the heart of what we're looking at. So, the most important thing is that we never look at one SNP. You'll never get a DNA report back where somebody has one SNP. You know, we work, as we say, polygenically just like that. 

Andrew: Yep.

Amanda: That works so many times. So which means that we're looking at multiple SNPs at the same time and then we're organising them based on how they influence different pathways or different systems in the body. So, I can say from my experience that, first of all, every single person has a different pattern. There is no one person that's the same, that's the beauty of this. But you do see on occasion a couple of individuals who have gene variants that are just beautiful. In other words...

So, for example, I had one client that I was doing a report. We did a report. I read a report, and I asked her a couple of questions, and I said, I'm looking at her SNPs and I said, "Can I ask you something? How old are your parents? Or how old were your parents when passed away?" And she said, "Oh, they were both in their 90s." I said, "I can see why. I'm looking at your SNPs, and they're almost perfect. You're going to live a long life." Most people don't have gene variants that add up to that where I can come back and say, "Oh, you are just beautiful." And I wanted them. It's not just beautiful, but some people do, you know. You can look and see the weighting and say, "Wow." You know, here's a couple of nips and tucks, but I can tell that you're a person that's probably going to live a long time and there is very few aberrations I can see in your biochemistry right now. It's nice to see that.

Andrew: Okay, but what about the vice versa? What about when you go “uh-oh?”

Amanda: Well, I never do uh-oh, because, you know, the thing is, genomics is so beautiful. It's like writing a sheet of music, you know, where you may have the wrong note in the wrong place, and you know how to move the notes around so we can get a beautiful choir or a beautiful symphony. And that's what's so powerful. And as I said earlier, you know, people can...I definitely see huge digressions or differences between people's genomic blueprints, but the beautiful thing is, it tells you where to dive in. It allows you to explain to an individual, "Look, you have a clustering of SNPs that might mean that you don't metabolise carbohydrates well, and so we may want to shift your proportion of macronutrients. You know, you may do well on a much lower carbohydrate, a higher fat program." I'm not saying saturated fat, but in other words, it's like we can move these pieces around on a board and help somebody retool how they're eating and what they're eating. So, once again, we're improving the efficiency of the biochemistry. So, yes, some people, I would never say they have lousy genes, they don't, but you can see how their genes are stacking up into these little piles that are creating some of the problems they may be experiencing, and the best thing is we know how to move things around and give them a direction using food, and exercise, and you know, stress management to get to a much better place. It's a beautiful thing.

Andrew: Yeah. And I guess that goes...You're mentioning microbes there, and we too often, I would say, fall into the trap of thinking that it's food that just feeds the microbes, but we now know that sleep feeds our microbes, exercise feeds our microbes, stress has a deleterious effect on your microbes. So, we then have to think about nature versus nurture, and we've got to weave all of this together with, as you say, you know, the culinary nutrigenomics. So, if we're going to stratify this, if we're going to prioritise things, like, how do you work with patients here?

Amanda: How do you sort out what they need to do first, basically…

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: …whether it's emotional stress, exercise? That, again, comes back to patterns we see in genomics. And again, I think the second case study I am going to present at the symposium will answer some of those questions, how do you figure out where to start first? And we see patterns in genes that can basically explain why somebody isn't sleeping well, why they feel antsy or anxious, why they have those ups and downs in the day, and a lot of times it's a gut-brain connection…

Andrew: Yep.

Amanda: …but it's not just as linear as that. You know, you've got cycles that are feeding nutrients into our neurotransmitters that maybe are not being moved efficiently into sort of that part of our biochemistry. You may have an issue with a specific gene in the gut that's changing the microbial makeup, which means you're not only not shuttling or absorbing and re-distributing specific nutrients, but also you got a change in the microbiota, that potentially pre-disposing somebody into dysbiosis. So, dysbiosis, the gut feeds the brain, right? And dysbiosis, a lot of times we're going to see a connection with anxiety, insomnia, etc., etc. 

Andrew: Yep.

Amanda: So, a lot of times, if I see that, I'm going to go right after the gut first and validate smooth biomarker testing, if the gene picture says a potential dysbiosis, we talk with the individual about some of their symptoms. Usually, it's validated, then of course we go to biomarker testing. And if that validates a dysbiosis, it's the gut first. 

Andrew: Gotcha.

Amanda: The gut oftentimes can help us connect that feeling of stress, anxiety. Not always, but very, very insightful from a genomic perspective.

Andrew: What about delayed reactions with foods? For instance, dairy foods. Can you tell us a few examples that you've seen with delayed reactions with foods and how you approach using that with the Genomic Kitchen?

Amanda: Yeah. And that, you know, it's like we have a pandemic epidemic, right? Of food intolerances and food sensitivities. And again, my first case study, I'm going to go right into that, what it is like to try and drill down and figure out whether it's an immediate or a latent sensitivity to food? And one of the areas that points me deeper and what you notice is so interesting is when you're working with migraines, and, you know, a lot of times migraines now are treated with medication, and then the patients are told, "Don't take too much medication because you'll get a rebound headache." And the issue is, if you have a migraine, then you can't tell a patient who's feeling like they're being stabbed in the eye not to take some kind of pain relief, right? So, a lot of times in migraines we find it's related to food. So, yeah, digging down through food sensitivity, testing, elimination, validation, re-introduction, we can pinpoint food or food families, but also you can correlate that through genomics, and that's where we see people who are histamine intolerant. We can actually see through gene SNPs that they're not degrading or breaking down histamine, which is going to induce not only autoimmune response but also going to induce headaches as well. So, it's a long, very patient process to figure out which food and if it's food. And fortunately, with genomics, we can also see if somebody is potentially predisposed to gluten intolerance or dairy intolerance these days. And a lot of times it's not necessarily that.

Andrew: Right. That's very interesting.

Amanda: Yeah.

Andrew: I got to say, I heard just before, though, when you started, I heard your history and data analysis coming out, and I loved it. The way that you challenge, you test, you want to make sure that what you are seeing is, or what you think you're seeing is really what's valid. 

Amanda: Yeah.

Andrew: So impressed.

Amanda: Yeah. That's science. Yeah. You have to have a very critical mind when you're doing this work. But genomics takes the guesswork out, right? It's not assume. It's assess, test, and then implement, and then retest. So, it's science, science, science, science. 

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: And what I love about genomics is, it tells you where to look, but it's not predictive.

Andrew: Yeah. Right. Great. So, do you ever challenge what you think is going on by restricting of food that you think might be good and just watch them? I know that's mean, and I don't even know how ethical it is, but...

Amanda: No, no. Yeah. And there are clinicians, their entire practice is working with food intolerances and food sensitivities. And it, as I said earlier, it takes a lot of patience, and there are...you know, I use one test here in the U.S. where we do, you know, it gives us a direction to start with…

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: …but it's not foolproof, you know. And again, with the case study I'll be presenting, you know, we stripped out this, we stripped out that, we stripped out the umberlliferae, we stripped out the nightshades, we added some back in, it just has been months, and months, and months. And interestingly enough, and you may have remembered from last year, there was a physician when I was presenting, he said, "Well, what about stripping out lectins?" And he was asking me to see it following a specific protocol, and I had to say to him, I didn't know. I don't know if you remember that, but I said, "I don't know enough about the science." And that was being honest. I was aware of that, but I couldn't really comment. Well, sure enough, in the case study I'll be presenting, that is exactly what we found out.

Andrew: Right.

Amanda: That we had to remove lectins. I mean, it didn't matter what the food sensitivity tests was. It gave us a start. But what we found out is it was lectins. I was blown away. And so, I wanted to really, you know, honour that position for saying, "This is how I worked through it. And this is I got, you know, a very high percent success rate." In this case study, that's exactly what we found along with histamine. So, it's a long journey. You can assume nothing.

Andrew: Very true. Histamine. Now, there's a buzzword. I was watching a presentation by Professor Theoharides who blew me away with his methodical analysis and challenge of what he was going through, what he was, well, hypothesising and seeing what was eventuating. I mean, this is of such interest to me. Why is it so prevalent? What's happening?

Amanda: Yeah. First of all, you know, we go back to the integrity of the gut, and so many of the patients, individuals we're seeing have dysbiosis. So, you pair dysbiosis with histamine-releasing foods or histamine-inducing foods, or histamine-containing foods and you're going to solicit an immune response, and a lot of that may have to do with the fact that the mucosal lining has been undermined, and as soon as you have holes in your gut, then you can fire anything through there, so it could be gluten, it could be any food, that can induce that response. 

But histamine, you know, it induces a mass cell response, an immune response. So, in some people, it won't, but in others, paired with dysbiosis, it's like a firing squad, and that's what I'm saying. Then when you add the genomics to it, people who have gene SNPs that basically prevent them from in the extracellular and intracellular space from breaking down histamine efficiently, then you have a toxicity. Just immune toxicity is no fun, it results in all kinds of symptoms such as migraines, hives, you name it.

Andrew: Yeah.

Amanda: And it's like a systemic aggravator is what I'm seeing. And once we can create a workaround, people feel an awful lot better, but it does so much come down to repairing and restoring the gut, which came first.

Andrew: Yeah. With regards to that histamine issue, do you sometimes find that there's a physical presentation as well as a, you know, neurological presentation? I.e., you spoke about hives?

Amanda: No. Sometimes it's a lot of digging to get to that.

Andrew: Right.

Amanda: And one of the things that...And that's the clinical perspective, and the other practitioners may say, "Oh, yeah, yeah, the individual always present with this, this, this, this, and this." I have not found that to be the case.

Andrew: Right.

Amanda: And now, sometimes when I'm looking at genomic information, and I see those SNPs that suggest that histamine is not being broken down efficiently, I'll ask the individual, you know, "Do you have any symptoms such as A, B, C, D, E?" And I'm looking, and I'm digging, and I'm asking, "When you eat fermented culture foods, do you have any kind of response?" And it's not always the case, you know. And that's why genomics is so interesting because it points you to ask questions just to check them off the list. But, of course, the client intake as well will indicate some of the questions you want to ask. 

Andrew: Yes.

Amanda: Genomics can be a validator in that sense. But, in my experience, it is not always, okay, something has a histamine intolerance, so it's overt. That's my experience.

Andrew: Yeah. I love your words. Nothing foregoes a good history taking.

Amanda: It doesn't. It doesn't. But here's what's interesting. In my practice, and I think I was talking about this with Mark recently, a lot of times, it depends if I'm consulting for a physician or I'm seeing a client myself. I will actually look at the genomics without a client intake, which is like, "Oh my gosh, you would do that, Amanda?" Yes. Because it allows me to look very objectively at what's in front of me and then ask questions. So, instead of being led by a client intake to, "Okay, this explains this and genomics explains that," I do it the other way around where I do the DNA and formulate questions and I'll then go back to the client and say, "Okay, do you ever experience this, do you experience that A, B, C, D, E?" And then I can connect the dots for them. So, it's a unique way of...It's a very different way of working with an individual. I don't do it all the times, but most of the time I'll go that route. And it's fascinating to do it that way.

Andrew: Now, you'll be speaking at the 2020 Bioceuticals Research Symposium in Melbourne. You've spoken before. What new things are you going to bring to practitioners to learn from in Australia?

Amanda: Well, I'm going to do two case studies, of course, you know, that's part of what we do at the symposium. And so the case studies are DNA-driven and the first one, since we were talking about it is, food sensitivities meet DNA, using genomics and clinical intuition to result food-induced health issues. So, that will speak directly to what we have been talking quite a little bit about today. And then I'm going to be doing another case study again, looking at how you use genomics and advanced laboratory testing to connect family history and health history to a care plan. I'll be, of course, talking about culinary biochemistry, how we as clinicians can use DNA to create a care plan. I call that applying DNA-directed thinking to care plans, how we apply information to care plans, how to organise that. And then, of course, one of my plenaries is going to be talking about the influence of 21st-century living. So stress, food, toxins on genes, environment, diet, and human functionality. What can we know? How does it collide? How do we get out of it?

Andrew: Amanda Archibald, thank you so much. I love speaking with you. I learn so much every single time that we chat, and I am so looking forward to learning again from you, in fact, more from you at the next Bioceuticals Research Symposium in Melbourne. So, I can't wait. It'll be great.

Amanda: Me neither. I'll see you down there.

Andrew: Thanks so much for joining us on FX Medicine today.

Amanda: Thank you.

Andrew: This is FX Medicine. I'm Andrew Whitfield-Cook.


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Amanda Archibald

Amanda Archibald is the founder of The Genomic Kitchen, a system of choosing, preparing and understanding food based culinary genomics, a term she coined to express this revolutionary merging of genomic science (nutrigenomics) and the culinary arts. Widely recognised for her trailblazing work as a culinary nutritionist and dietitian, Amanda has a longstanding commitment to redefining the food, nutrition and cooking education footprint in ways that make them understandable, meaningful and fundamentally achievable for all.