Happy Healthy Homestead

Book Review: Dirty Genes

This month I read: “Dirty Genes” by Dr. Ben Lynch

Favorite Quote:

“With the right tools, we can transcend our inherited tendencies to disease – including anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), birth defects, cancer, dementia, depression, heart disease, insomnia, and obesity – to create new and healthy lives.”

Main Takeaways:

There are 2 types of genes: ‘Born dirty’ and ‘Act dirty’. Regardless of what dirty genes you were born with, you can help to keep them from acting dirty by making specific lifestyle changes. This is called epigenetics and its the ability to turn genes on and off dependent upon lifestyle factors. Dr. Ben Lynch does a great job of showing the latest science on epigenetics in a fun and easy to read kind of way. He has a ton of great information and resources in his book. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in genes and improving overall wellness.

Summary of Notes:


  1. MTHFR- initiated your ability to methylate, which affects inflammation, immune response, brain chemistry, cell repair etc.
    • Strengths: intensity, alertness, productivity, focus, decrease for colon cancer, improved DNA repair
    • Weaknesses: depression, anxiety, autoimmunity, migraines, birth defects, pregnancy complications, stomach cancer, autism, and cardiovascular
    • Lots of Italians have this gene but don’t have problems because they are keeping it clean.
  2. COMT, the SNPs help determine whether your focused and buoyant, or laid-back and calm
    • Strengths: focus, tons of energy, good spirits, glowing skin
    • Weaknesses: irritability, insomnia, anxiety, fibroids, estrogen cancers, neurological, PMS, impatience, vulnerability to addictions.
  3. DAO, whose SNPs can make you super sensitive to certain foods and chemicals
    • Strengths: immediate awareness of allergens and trigger foods before they cause serious problems
    • Weaknesses: food sensitivities, pregnancy complications, leaky gut, allergic reactions, autoimmunity
    • Leftovers are problematic if you have a dirty DAO. Fermented foods are also.
  4. MAOA, affects mood swings and carb cravings
    • Strengths: energy, self confidence, focus, highs of productivity, joy
    • Weaknesses: mood swings, carb cravings, irritability, headaches, insomnia, addictions
  5. GST/GPX, detox dilemmas
    • Strengths: immediate awareness of harmful chemicals, improved response to chemotherapy
    • Weaknesses: super sensitive to chemicals, increased DNA damage
    • To do: reduce exposure to chemicals, detox through sweating (hot yoga, saunas, etc twice/week), hydrating, eating more fiber (list of foods on pg 163), good sleep, manage stress.
  6. NOS3, creates heart issues
    • Strengths: decreased blood vessel formation during cancer, which reduces cancer
    • Weaknesses: high blood pressure, headaches, heart disease, heart attach, Dementia
    • Important to keep NOS3 clean during pregnancy
    • What makes NOS3 dirty:
      • Breathing issues
      • Sleeping issues
      • High insulin
      • Microbiome imbalance
      • And more
    • NOS3 is particularly affected by other dirty genes. If you have a dirty MTHFR, GST/GPX, PEMT, or MAOA then you most likely also have a dirty NOS3.
    • To do: dont overeat, exercise, deep breathing exercises (breathe from belly), consume foods rich in natural arginine, consume some foods with natural nitrates (arugula, bacon, beets, celery, spinach)
  7. PEMT, supports cell membranes and liver
    • Strengths: more support for methylation, better response to chemotherapy
    • Weaknesses: gallbladder disorders, SIBO, pregnancy complications, cell membrane, weakness, muscle pain
    • Your cell membranes depend upon phosphatidylcholine. And these membranes are everywhere. Each day in an adult over 220 million red blood cells die and need to be replaced. PEMT is constantly helping to repair and replace. phosphatidylcholine keeps cell membranes fluid and healthy.
    • Imagine cell membranes is your home. It’s good to have windows and doors to keep house warm, to let in fresh air but keep our bugs and critters. Now imagine you remove all doors abs windows with no screens. Strangers and critters are coming in and you can’t keep the home warm.
    • Your external cell walls protect your nucleus, which contains your DNA. Your internal walls protect your mitochondria, the powerhouses that produce your body’s energy source. A cracked or leaky cell membrane cannot protect your DNA.
    • Need extra phosphatidylcholine during pregnancy. You can get this by eating choline which is found in: liver, eggs, fish, chicken, red meat. He recommends 900 milligrams/day of choline whole pregnant and breastfeeding.
    • Children also need a lot of choline.
    • To do:
      • eat high-choline Foods
      • eat in moderation
      • control stress
      • eat leafy greens
      • absorb and digest protein: chewing thoroughly, don’t drink more than small glass liquid with meals, don’t take antacids, don’t eat while driving
      • reduce refined carbs
      • wash hands often but not with antibacterial
      • cool with avocado or sunflower oil. Avoid coconut and olive oil as they have low smoke points. Turn fan on while cooking.
      • limit alcohol and detox liver
      • if gullbladder is sluggish get visceral manipulation


  • Methylation controls your genetic expression. It determines whether a particular gene will be turned on or off. Evert gene in every cell is regulated by methylation.
  • 85% of methylation takes place in liver. Support liver by:
    • alcohol moderation or avoidance
    • avoid harsh chemicals in air, food, water
    • avoid unnecessary medications and recreational drugs
    • help body to detox with clean genes protocol
  • It’s even more important to be clean during pregnancy as your methylation for two
  • No exercise or too much exercise is bad for methylation
  • Poor sleep and too much stress is bad for methylation
  • Check and make sure vitamins (and other things you are consuming) do NOT have folic acid in them! Taking B12 L-metholfolate can be great for you, but taking the synthetic version which is ‘folic acid’ will cause problems, especially if you have MTHFR.
  • Folic acid is not good for methylation:
    • Natural form of B9 is called folate
    • find folate in leafy greens
    • the artificial form of B9 is folic acid, found in vitamin pills, packaged foods
    • because folic acid resembles folate, it gets into your folate receptors, where it blocks natural folate from getting inside your cells. As a result it’s harder for real folate from leafy greens to get into cells.
    • take vitamins with folic but not folic acid!

The protocol:

  • Food:
    • Eat meats, eggs, veggies, fruit, wild rice, quinoa, nuts & seeds
    • Avoid: sugar, processed foods, gluten, soy, dairy, juice, unfiltered water
    • Individualize meals based on your dirty genes
    • eat fresh foods, avoid leftovers (especially if dirty DAO)
    • digest food (take time to smell, chew, etc)
    • use exhaust fan when cooking (oil smoke is toxic)
    • use olive oil, coconut, flaxseed, and walnut for salads
    • use ghee, avocado oil, sunflower and safflower for cooking or baking
  • Supplements:
    • From easiest to absorb to hardest:
    • Liposomal (liquid), lozenge, powder, chewable, capsule, tablet
    • Pulse method helps when to stop taking a supplement.
    • Multi-Vitamin
      • Take multi vitamin without folic acid
      • one with methylfolate and folinic acid
      • without iron (iron can be inflammatory, unless your iron-deficient)
      • he suggests taking half at breakfast and half at lunch
      • dont take within 5 hours of bedtime as it can be stimulating
    • Electrolytes
      • take supplement that contains:potassium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and taurine. With no sugar, food coloring, or anything artificial.
      • take before exercise or when waking
      • if your not exercising, using sauna, or have any of the following symptoms then stop taking them (muscle contraction, irregular heartbeat, mental or physical fatigue, brain fog, frequent urination, feeling dizzy when standing, and not sweating well.)
    • adaptogens (herbal compounds)
      • common adaptogens: ashwagandha, rhodiola, Siberian ginseng, passionflower, and wild oats.
      • take daily while under normal life stress but skip when on vacation
      • take with breakfast or if very stressed then breakfast and lunch


  • Avoid plastic use (cooking, storing, eating, drinking)
  • use stainless steel, glass, or clay
  • avoid non stick cookware/pans
  • avoid air fresheners/scented products
  • avoid pesticides etc
  • look for possible sources of mold and address. Damp areas or water spots
  • check out most common chemicals in my environment and avoid (scorecard.org)
  • sweat! (Exercise, sauna, hot yoga, Epsom salt baths)


  • Go to bed before 10:30.
  • stop eating 3 hrs before bed, unless you have a fast MAOA
  • don’t ever drink caffeine after 2pm (but better to cut out completely)
  • stop all electronic activity 1 hr before sleep
  • put devices on airplane mode
  • install blue light filters on all devices
  • turn off all night lights
  • crack open window for fresh air, if cold get warmer blanket
  • no artificial lights
  • if you mouth breath or snore see a dentist because they make poor sleep
  • track sleep to recognize trends (sleep cycle app or oura ring)

Stress relief:

  • go outside and get itleast 15 of sun with no sunscreen (for long periods of time use sunscreen)
  • do a stretching routine or yoga 5 min Everyday
  • breathe deeply from belly and slowly

Daily routine recommendations:

  • wake up naturally with sun or set sleep cycle alarm
  • drink 4oz water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • do the sun salutation
  • eat breakfast if hungry
  • at work bring bottle of filtered water augmented with electrolytes (use sea salt or items in resources section)
  • 10 min walk to get air and motion
  • focus on top 3 things to get done for the day. Say no to everything else.
  • stand up every hour and move around a little (or get fresh air outside, go up/down stairs, or do a few pushups)
  • lunch: biggest meal of day, don’t eat lunch at computer, converse with others, chew food well
  • after work, plan a non electronic activity (hike, exercise, hobby, errand, laundry, etc)
  • dinner: consult gene meal guide ch 13, don’t eat within 3 hrs of bedtime
  • blue light filters or night shift on phones
  • write down what you are thankful for each day
  • meditate 5 min
  • get between 7-8 hrs sleep, before of by 10:30 for bedtime
  • drink glass filtered water
  • put phone on airplane mode and set sleep cycle app, turn off WiFi in house.


  • sleep/wake up times same as weekly
  • don’t work unless absolutely necessary
  • organize food/house/chores for upcoming week with entire family pitching in
  • plan activities with family and friends that is fulfilling


  • plan a vacation
  • have a spontaneous hooky day, have a family picnic or fun city day, etc.


  • natural household cleaners
  • water filter that’s not plastic
  • shower filter for chlorine
  • get HEPA filter vacuum
  • clean/replace furnace air filters
  • clean air ducts
  • clean sink traps and drain pipes under every counter.
  • rise with sun or get sunrise alarm clock
  • meditation: drbenlynch.com
  • limit amount of negative news your listening to and hearing. Just stay connected enough to know what’s going on.
  • reduce time on social media to twice daily
  • see foods to eat for certain genes (in his book, not included in my notes)
  • see more specifics to his protocol (in his book, not included in my notes)
  • see all his recipes (pgs 236-266 in his book, not included in my notes)
  • see specifics on testing recommendations (in his book, not included in my notes)
  • After you have done a genetic test (like 23andme), do a company who will evaluate test results. Author of this book owns strategene.org.

Mold & air quality:

  • Get at home mold test from hardware store or have professionals inspect house, if found must be removed professionally
  • DIY mold test, sold on amazon
  • Lung.org (problems with indoor air)
  • Iaqa.org/find-a-pro (indoor air quality organization)
  • Namri.org/index.php (mold inspectors)

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