What’s Happening to My Skin?

Q & A with Dr. Sonal Thacker

Are you tired of your skin freaking out during the colder months? Don’t fret! We have some expert advice from our own Curation Content Scientist, Dr. Sonal Thacker. She has a doctorate in neuroscience from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and completed her postdoc at The University of California, San Diego. So be sure to listen up and take her expert tips to help with your skincare this Winter.

 

1 . Why is my skin changing right now?

Weather greatly influences your skin condition. The winter weather can be especially harsh bringing cold winds and low humidity that reduce your skin’s natural moisture and barrier function resulting in irritated, dry skin and, in more severe cases, dermatitis1,2. Your face and hands are the most vulnerable since they are often exposed and have thin, delicate skin. Further aggravating the condition is the heater system inside the work and home that can add to drying out the skin.

 

2 .  What can I do to help my skin calm down?

While you cannot control the weather, you can combat the negative impact it has on your skin with a few easy steps3,4:

  • Moisturize with oil-based products that contain non-clogging ingredients to block water evaporation such as mineral oil, avocado oil, almond oil and lanolin
  • Avoid hot showers that may further dry skin
  • Use a humidifier when possible inside
  • Cover sensitive skin when outside with gloves, scarfs, hats, etc.

 

Drink more water

3 . Can I change my diet to help with my skin?

Supplementing your diet with the following few key items will support maintaining healthy skin and retaining moisture5-7:

  • Drink more water
  • Increase intake of fatty acids (fish oil, avocado, olive oil)
  • Eat fruits and vegetables rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, and phytochemicals (citrus fruits, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach)

 

 

4 . Will taking supplements help?

Supplements can potentially help especially if you are unable to consume the daily recommended dose of vitamins and fatty acids or if you have a genetic predisposition towards decreased levels of vitamins and fatty acids.

 

5 . Does everyone’s skin change each season: Fall, Winter, Spring?

Yes, each season is associated with its own environmental factors that differ between regions. So how your skin reacts to your environment and local weather varies.

As we all know, everyone’s skin type and concerns vary, and your DNA plays a large role in that. At Pathway OME, we focus on DNA insights that you can turn into powerful lifestyle changes and a personalized plan for how to care for your skin. You have the option of SKiN iQ with 13 traits, or upgrade to SkinFit to get procedure options and 23 traits.

References

  1. Engebretsen, K.A., Johansen, J.D., Kezic, S., Linneberg, A. & Thyssen, J.P. The effect of environmental humidity and temperature on skin barrier function and dermatitis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 30, 223-49 (2016).
  2. Engebretsen, K.A. et al. Changes in filaggrin degradation products and corneocyte surface texture by season. Br J Dermatol 178, 1143-1150 (2018).
  3. Top 5 fixes for itchy winter skin. A humidifier, moisturizer, and lukewarm water can help. Harv Health Lett 39, 4 (2014).
  4. Davis, S. 10 Winter Skin Care Tips. (ed. WebMD) (2007).
  5. Reese, I. & Werfel, T. Do long-chain omega-3 fatty acids protect from atopic dermatitis? J Dtsch Dermatol Ges 13, 879-85 (2015).
  6. National Institutes of Health, O.o.D.S. Dietary Supplement Facts Sheets. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services).
  7. Myers, C.G. How to Cure Dry Skin With Diet. (LIVESTRONG).

Cold & Flu Season is Upon Us – Be Proactive with Pathway OME

Q & A with CIO and Dr. Michael Nova

Written by Paris Wilson

Whether you have gotten sick already or not, this interview with Dr. Michael Nova will be very helpful in recovering or avoiding the cold and flu this season.

Q: By only taking Vitamin C, am I safe from getting sick?

Some studies show that vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold by as much as 24 to 36 hours. However, there is no evidence that taking Vit C can prevent you from getting sick.

Q: What are the best vitamins to take to avoid getting sick?

  1. Echinacea – Although some studies do not show that echinacea works as a treatment, others show it can reduce the length and severity of colds by 10% to 30%. Despite the confusion, many experts are fairly sure that echinacea can help treat colds.
  2. Zinc – Taking zinc, either as a syrup or lozenge, through the first few days of a cold may shorten the misery of an upper respiratory infection, the latest research shows. The research — a review of 15 past studies on the subject — also found that zinc appeared to prevent colds in people who used it over the course of about five months.
  3. Elderberry – There’s some promising evidence that elderberry might help treat the flu, Elderberry appears to boost the production of some immune cells and may also help block a virus’s ability to spread. One study shows that taking 4 tablespoons a day for three days of a specific formulation of elderberry extract — Sambucol — appears to shorten the symptoms of flu by 56%. 
  4. Garlic – Garlic may also help fight viruses. Also, there is some preliminary evidence that garlic may lower the risk of catching a cold.
  5. Andrographis – “Andrographis is called ‘Indian echinacea, studies of andrographis show that it appears to improve cold symptoms significantly, at least when started within three days of the onset. There’s also some early evidence that it may reduce the chances of catching a cold, at least when taken for several months beforehand. Most studies have used a specific product called Kan Jang, which combines andrographis with Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus).

Q: Do I have to get the flu shot if I take vitamins daily?

Yes. Nowadays, an annual flu vaccine is recommended for most children and adults. It’s highly effective and contrary to what you may have heard, the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. It can save you and your family a lot of misery.

Q: If I eat properly, do I still need to take vitamins daily?

All the studies around vitamins that have shown effects on flu/colds have been done with supplements. So, while eating a good diet is important, it’s probably not a bad idea to take certain supplements as well.

Every body is different and DNA will play a large role in what nutrients and vitamins your body will run best on. If you aren’t sure, we offer a great tool to keep your body and immune system in top gear for cold and flu season- our Nutrition iQ DNA kits. This kit will test over 65 genetic markers to discover Eating Behaviors, Food Reactions, Nutritional needs, and even the type of diet that is best for you.

Why all the Buzz around Pumpkins and Spice every Fall?

Q & A with registered dietitian, Chandler Ray

Are you one of the first in line to get your pumpkin spice latte every year when they roll out for Fall? Yes, they may be delicious, but will your body thank you after drinking it? Most likely not. You may hate to hear it, but there is zero amount of real pumpkin in your lattes. This isn’t just true with the lattes you’re drinking either. Most other seasonal pumpkin flavored treats we like to indulge in during this time of year, don’t either. The reality is that it is mostly all sugar, so there’s very little nutritional benefits. On average, a medium pumpkin latte has 50g of sugar… dear gourd! However, adding pumpkin into your diet isn’t a bad thing at all, if it is actually real pumpkin puree.

We interviewed registered dietitian, Chandler Ray from our team on the benefits of pumpkin and how we can add it in our daily meal plans. She may have even told us her favorite pumpkin recipe too!

What are the nutritional benefits of adding pumpkin into your diet?

Pumpkins are nutrient-dense and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are particularly high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid and antioxidant that helps protect our cells from free radical damage. Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body, which plays a key role in skin, vision, immune system, and bone health. They are also a great source of dietary fiber, which helps you feel fuller for longer, promotes healthy digestion, and can help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

What are some easy ways of adding pumpkin into your daily meal plan that we can all do?

You can stir pumpkin into plain yogurt or mix it into oatmeal. You can even roast pumpkin in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg, great for a sweet tooth too! It is also so easy to simply add it to a smoothie and blend.

What is your favorite way to add pumpkin into your diet?

I love adding pumpkin to overnight oats when I’m taking breakfast on the go! To make 1 serving combine ½ cup rolled oats, ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or other plant-based milk), ½ cup pure pumpkin puree, a dash of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix all the ingredients together in a mason jar or sealable container and store in the refrigerator overnight covered. In the morning, I’ll usually top it with a drizzle of almond butter and some fresh fruit.

If you can’t let go of that PSL, check out this delicious and healthy alternative from POPSUGAR fitness. What are some of your favorite healthy alternatives to add pumpkin into a meal? We would love to hear- comment below!

Newsmax TV: Interview with Dr.Nova, CIO of Pathway OME

ABOUT DR.NOVA: Dr. Nova is currently the chief innovation officer of Pathway Genomics, and was a founding team member of the company. He is the inventor of the Pathway/IBM Watson big data/deep learning mobile application (OME), and also the entire wellness (PathwayFit®, SkinFit® and Healthy Weight DNA Insight®), cardiac, and mental health line of genetic testing products. For Pathway, Dr. Nova has also executed major corporate alliances with Fortune 500 companies.

Can Your DNA Determine What Diet Is Best For You?

The foods we eat, more importantly the way we metabolize these foods, play a big role in our weight management. Many times people start a diet in hopes of being able to control their weight, however more times than not, they are unsuccessful in their efforts. So why is this? Although, there are many “healthy” ways to eat, a good diet isn’t always the right one. This is because everyone is different and what might work for one, may not work for another. People are unique and the traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach simply doesn’t work. That’s where DNA testing comes in to help navigate your way down the right path.

Alcohol Flush: A Healthy Glow or Health Concern

Drinking alcoholic beverages is a way to relax, let loose and have fun! However, for some it is exceedingly unpleasant due to their body’s adverse reaction to alcohol. One such reaction is called alcohol flush; in which drinking even small amounts causes a person’s face or skin to flush and in some cases feel warm and itchy.

Skin Aging: What’s Causing Those Wrinkles?

Wrinkles are a tell-tale sign of aging, and something that we all must face (no pun intended). As we age our skin loses moisture and elasticity, making it prone to developing fine lines and wrinkles. We also lose our ability to produce collagen and elastin, causing the skin to become less firm and lose its flexibility. While developing wrinkles is an unavoidable part of the aging process, it can be slowed down or prevented to some degree. However, to fully understand how to protect and preserve our skin, we first must learn about the two primary culprits of skin aging- extrinsic aging and intrinsic aging.

Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month, so it’s the perfect time to make sure the man in your life is staying on top of his health needs and taking care of himself. That’s not limited to his physical well-being, though—it’s important for men to take care of their mental health, too.

VO2 Max: Genetics Or Training?

The Tour de France, known to be one of the most rigorous displays of physical endurance on earth is currently well into its final stages of competition. As I sat watching the cyclists trek up the hills of Mont Ventoux with what looks like little to no effort, I sat in amazement at how these athletes can withstand these conditions for so long. This got me thinking; what makes these athletes perform the way that they do? One factor that may help determine an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise is known as VO2 Max.

The Genetics Behind Your Caffeine Consumption


Caffeine is undoubtedly one of the world’s most widely used stimulant due to its stimulating effects on the central nervous system. According to the US Department of Agriculture, world coffee production for 2018/19 is forecast 11.4 million bags higher than the previous year at a record 171.2 million (1). Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in the leaves and seeds of many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa nuts. It is also produced artificially and added to some food and beverages for flavor.