How social distancing can reduce the spread of COVID-19?

There is simple math behind the power of social distancing.

Generally, each COVID-19 patient can infect ~2.5 others. There are ~5 days between one infection and next, so each infected person can infect 244 others in a month.

If by practicing social distancing, we reduce the transmission by half, so each person infects 1.25 others, we’d expect only 4 more cases.

Do vitamins and supplements help in reducing COVID-19 symptomes?

While vitamins and supplements might not help in reducing the chance of getting COVID-19, according to Dr. Walter Willett, a professor at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, there is some reason to hypothesize that some vitamins and supplements could reduce the risk and severity of COVID-19 because of benefits seen for other viral or respiratory disease.

Source:  told USA TODAY.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/03/24/coronavirus-fact-check-could-vitamin-c-cure-covid-19/2904303001/

 

Silverberry Genomix Joins Google Cloud for Startups

Silverberry Genomix Joins Google Cloud for Startups

The new program allows startup health companies to build the next generation of healthcare apps on Google Cloud and shorten go-to-market journey dramatically.  

San Francisco, June 13, 2019 - Silverberry Genomix, a pioneer in building precision health platform, announces its program to leverage Google Cloud for Startups to allow healthcare application for a rapid development and fast track go-to-market activities.

Due to the need for rapid development of the health application, being agile and put the new ideas in the hand of  customers as soon as possible, Silverberry helps startups to accelerate the end-to-end process of integrating, launching, and working with healthcare consumers. The platform utilizes Google Cloud suite of applications, from authentication to high-response storage, AI and Machine Learning  capacities offered out-of-box by Google Cloud infrastructure. Startups at MVP stage can contact startup@silverberrygenomix.com for more information.

About Silverberry Genomix

Silverberry Genomix, a pioneer in DNA Wellness and Health Services, uses machine learning (AI) and genetic assessments to help people optimize their fitness plans and daily wellness decisions. By analyzing thousands of genetic variations, Silverberry provides more than 100 DNA Health and Wellness Reports that include an assessment, recommendations, and additional resources to learn about their genetic traits. Silverberry also offers genetic testing to those who haven’t yet had a genetic test. The DNA Test Kit can be ordered directly from the Silverberry website and is also available for purchase on Amazon. Users who have taken their DNA test with other services can upload their file and receive 10 Free DNA Test Health Reports. For more information visit silverberrygenomix.com

 

 

Choline: The Skinny

Did you know?

A whopping 90% of Americans are not meeting their daily choline needs!

What's worse, the estimated daily requirement could be an underestimate because many common genetic variants increase choline needs.1

Why do I care about choline?

3 BIG reasons:

It is used for [1] building cells, [2] sending nerve signals, [3] and turning genes on and off.

Life without choline:

Organ failure and mental degeneration.

Life with choline:

Faster thinking, improved coordination and memory.

Choline is used to make two of the four main components in cell membranes — phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin. Without choline and without cells, you would suffer the tragic fate of Senator Kelly in X-Men — and end up as a jellyfish-like puddle on the floor. Plus, sphingomyelin is used in the insulation around your nerve cells [AKA the myelin sheath] and without it your nerve signals don't move quickly and efficiently.

Don't end up like Senator Kelly, get your daily dose of choline!

Choline is quite the workaholic — it is also involved in turning genes on and off. Choline is the main contributor of methyl groups for methylation reactions.2  Methylation is an important regulatory mechanism/process, in which methyl groups are used as biological tags — or sticky notes — and attached to various cellular components. The methylation of DNA, for example, is used to turn specific genes on and off, in a process called epigenetic modification.

Honorable mentions:

The production and recycling of methyl groups also relies upon vitamins B9 (folate), B6, & B12. In fact, a reduction in any of these nutrients can have an effect on the others. In other words, if you skimp on those, choline will pick up some of the slack... at least for a little while.
Who has a higher risk of deficiency?

Bodybuilders, pregnant women, vegans, vegetarians, and people with certain genes.

  • Bodybuilders and athletes who have really high cellular turnover, i.e. are building a lot of new cells, have higher requirements for choline. As do pregnant women — for the same reason!
  • Vegetarians and vegans who forego choline-rich animal foods — like eggs, salmon, and dairy — are at a greater risk of deficiency.
  • Certain genetic variants can increase choline needs.
How does genetics play a role?

Remember those B vitamins that received honorable mentions?

While members of this Brat Pack often act together to provide methyl groups, they also take on solo roles. Just like choline is called upon to build cells, folate is used to build DNA. A genetic variant in the MTHFD1 gene shifts folate into its other roles, leaving choline to pick up the slack. That can increase your choline needs.3

 

Remember choline's role in creating one of the major components of cell membranes — phosphatidylcholine?

There are two ways to make it. The first and primary method is much more efficient than the second, but just like the federal government, the human body loves redundancies. The second production method is more resource intensive, but useful in a pinch. [For any science nerds out there, this is a battle between the CDP and the PEMT pathways.4] Different genetic variants push production down one pathway or the other. If your genetics favor the less efficient pathway, your body is going to need more raw materials to get the job done. Time to feed the machine!

Where do I get it?

Choline-rich foods include eggs, salmon, and dairy. Vegetarian sources include soybeans, peanuts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Unfortunately, these vegetarian sources include only a half or one-third as much choline as the animal sources, so be sure to load up on that broccoli!

Check your Silverberry Market if you need some extra help getting the recommended dose of choline.


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This gene codes for a protein that plays a role in normal pigmentation. It is found on the surface of melanocytes, which are cells responsible for the production of melanin — the pigment giving skin, hair, and eyes their colour. There are 2 types of melanin produced: eumelanin and pheomelanin. People with more eumelanin tend to have brown or black hair and skin that tans easily. On the other hand, people with more pheomelanin production tend to have blonde or red hair, freckles, and less protection from UV rays and photoaging. One gene responsible for the synthesis of pheomelanin is the ASIP gene. Having variants of this gene could lead to an increased risk of facial pigmented spots with sun exposure, as it would lead to the clumping of melanin to form areas of hyperpigmentation. [NIH]

If you are worried about photoaging, protect yourself! By having a diet with sufficient vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for your genetic makeup, you can reduce your the risk of photoaging and have plenty of fun outside this summer. ??

Product Spotlight

The Silverberry Product Collection currently includes 8 supplements that contain choline. They are:

  • Adult B-Centered™
  • Baby and Me 2
  • Multi for Women, Multi For Women 40+, and Multi for Women 55+
  • Multi for Men, Multi for Men 40+, and Multi for Men 55+

Adult B-Centered™ by MegaFood

This week we shine the spotlight on Adult B-Centered™.

This supplement is a good option for covering your bases with the methyl donors. For example, if your choline needs are high because of altered folate metabolism — you kill two birds with one stone.

The supplement includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 (folate), B12, choline, and zinc. Additionally, the B9 (folate) and B12 come in their methylated forms. These are the active forms more easily utilized by the body.

View your Product Collection to find out if this product is suggested for you.

Caffeine: The Genetics Behind Your Love/Hate Relationship — Part 2

Caffeine: The Genetics Behind Your Love/Hate Relationship

This four-part series takes a deep-dive into the genetics behind caffeine consumption, taste, metabolism, and side effects.

 

Part 2: Caffeine’s Tasty Side

Some like it black, while others need a little cream and sugar. These coffee preferences may be the result of genetics. In fact, numerous genetic variants have been linked to taste perception. In some individuals, the taste receptors for bitter-tasting compounds, like caffeine, are less sensitive than the general population.

Bitter Taste Perception

As a survival mechanism, humans developed an adaptation to taste toxic compounds as bitter. Plants produce many toxic bitter-tasting compounds, developed as pesticides, to disincentivize consumption. In response, herbivores developed more potent liver enzymes to neutralize these toxins, while omnivores (like humans) developed enhanced detection and screening mechanisms. It is estimated that 75% of humans have a relatively robust detection system, but some individuals have a diminished ability to sense bitter compounds. These individuals are less sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine.

The type 2 taste receptors, or TAS2Rs, are responsible for tasting bitter compounds and one member in particular is responsible for tasting caffeine — Taste 2 Receptor Member 46 (TAS2R46). Genetic variants of this gene have been linked to reduced taste sensitivity. Since taste is one of the key drivers of food preferences and dietary habits, genetic variants that make individuals less sensitive to caffeine could drive dietary behavior. Individuals who are less sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine may need less cream and sugar to mask the bitterness in their morning cup of joe. However, they may also be more likely to consume greater quantities — putting them at greater risk of sleep disturbances or anxiety if this trait is paired with other genetic variants.

Caffeine Sources

Caffeine comes in two varieties — natural and synthetic.

The primary sources of natural caffeine are coffee, tea, and dark chocolate. These are derived from coffee beans, tea leaves, and cocoa beans.

The synthetic version of caffeine is produced in the lab with petroleum-based chemicals. It is often referred to as "anhydrous caffeine" on food labels and it is the version most often found in soft drinks and energy drinks.

Frequent consumers of natural caffeine sources, like coffee and tea, are noted to have better health than regular consumers of synthetic caffeine sources, like sodas (diet or regular) and energy drinks. It is unclear if this is a response to the type of caffeine or if it is a result of the phytonutrients (healthy plant compounds) that accompany natural sources of caffeine, but this distinction is important to note. Therefore, it is advisable to choose natural sources of caffeine. Caffeine content can vary dramatically by coffee bean or tea leaf variety, as well as by preparation method, so it is wise to check the caffeine content of a beverage before you drink it.

Daily Recommended Intake

According to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines, moderate coffee consumption can be part of a healthy diet. Moderate coffee consumption means 3-5 cups per day, providing approximately 200-400 mg of caffeine. For reference, one cup (8 oz) of brewed coffee contains 95 mg on average. A Starbucks Grande [16 oz] is a two-cup serving that provides 310 mg of caffeine. An identical serving of black tea will provide about 35 mg of caffeine, while green tea will give you 25 mg.

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Caffeine: The Genetics Behind Your Love/Hate Relationship — Part 1

Caffeine: The Genetics Behind Your Love/Hate Relationship

This two-part series takes a deep-dive into the genetics behind caffeine consumption, taste, metabolism, and side effects.

 

Part 1: Caffeine’s Unpleasant Side

Caffeine is prized the world over for its ability to increase alertness and reduce fatigue. On the other hand, it has also been known to produce side effects of increased heart rate, jitters, anxiety, and insomnia. The major method by which caffeine produces its effects is by influencing the adenosine signaling pathway. Understanding this pathway is essential for understanding the side effects that can result from excessive caffeine consumption and the role genes play in side effects such as insomnia and anxiety.

Adenosine: Your Battery Meter

Adenosine is used as an indicator of current energy stores, and when energy stores are depleted it signals to slow everything down so that energy stores can be replenished. Adenosine is made when you burn ATP, the body's main energy currency. High levels of adenosine indicate that ATP is being burned faster than it is being made, sending a signal that an ongoing activity must be slowed. Adenosine acts as a sort of battery manager, as your cell phone's battery is depleted, background apps are shut off in order to conserve battery power for only essential operations. High levels of adenosine are why you feel fatigue after an intense workout and they are also why you feel tired or sleepy as your bedtime nears.

While very high levels of adenosine produce potent feelings of fatigue, a baseline or basal level of adenosine in your cells allows for wakefulness. When adenosine levels drop below this baseline, you experience feelings of alertness. Just as high levels of adenosine signal a lack of fuel, low levels of adenosine signal an abundance of fuel. Fuel demanding to be used! This is how caffeine works its magic.

Caffeine Hacks Your Battery Meter

Caffeine, and the byproducts of its metabolism, bind to adenosine receptors, block adenosine from binding, and in so doing, trick the cell into thinking that adenosine levels are low. This is the signal that there is fuel to burn, so energy and activity are increased. There are several different adenosine receptors, but caffeine and its metabolites target two in particular — the A1 and A2A receptors. These receptors are just the first step in a long signaling chain, so their triggering produces a series of effects.

Caffeine-Induced Insomnia

Genetic variants in the adenosine A1 and A2A receptors have also been associated with poor sleep in response to caffeine. Poor sleep can mean either a reduction in sleep quality, lots of tossing and turning, or reduction in sleep duration due to trouble staying asleep. The disruption of sleep produced by caffeine is not related to a person's ability to metabolize caffeine; instead, it is a function of the brain's initiation and control of sleep. In studies of individuals with nearly identical caffeine metabolism, and identical amounts of caffeine in their blood, people with caffeine-sensitive adenosine receptors suffered from worse sleep.

Caffeine-Induced Anxiety

One of the downstream effects of caffeine binding involves the neurotransmitter dopamine and may play a role in producing feelings of anxiety. While dopamine has often been described as "the pleasure chemical,” the neurotransmitter is involved in both reward-seeking behaviors and pain-avoidance behaviors. Reward-seeking behaviors are encouraged by triggering feelings of pleasure when a task is accomplished or an item is obtained. On the other hand, pain-avoidance behavior can be promoted by triggering feelings of fear and anxiety.

For example, when a child commits to a lengthy search for the cookie jar and they find it, they enjoy pleasure sensations along with their cookie. Tenacity and commitment are encouraged. On the other hand, if a child were to accidentally come into contact with a hot stove during their cookie search, feelings of pain and fear would wash over them. By promoting anxiety when near the stove, the child would be protected from further injury.

Genetic variants in both the adenosine A2A receptor [ADORA2A] and the dopamine D2 receptor [DRD2] have been associated with feelings of anxiety and stress in response to caffeine.

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Silverberry Announces Wellness Ambassador Program

Silverberry Genomix designed the Wellness Ambassador Program to offer an opportunity for proactive wellness enthusiasts and friends to participate in the growing genomics market, and receive compensation for introducing DNA assessments to anyone with wellness goals.

San Francisco, August 24, 2018 - Silverberry Genomix, a pioneer in the use of DNA assessment for health and wellness, announces its new program, Wellness Ambassador. The Wellness Ambassador program enables individuals interested in health and wellness to play an active role in the genomics industry and earn revenue advocating health.

“As we witness a rapid growth in the use of genetic assessment for wellness, the need for educating consumers, fitness professionals, industry managers, and healthcare providers is imminent,” said Shayan Mashatian, CEO of Silverberry Genomix. “Many of us wellness and health enthusiasts always share useful tips and resources with each other. This program enables everyone with a proactive wellbeing mindset to inform the population about DNA services and monetize on their efforts”, he continued.

Those with existing relationships can benefit quickly, like personal trainers, registered dietitians, physicians, nutritionists, insurance brokers for health plans, wellness coaches, HR and employee benefit managers, and social influencers can leverage their existing platforms to become a Silverberry Wellness Ambassador.

The Structure of the Wellness ambassador Program is simple: Anyone can register, then introduce DNA assessments for health and wellness to individuals and entities. Once a provider or partner join and start using the services, the ambassador receives a percentage of the entire account, while managing it. Depending on account size or total revenue, program has made it possible for the residual income to exceed that of a full time job.

All active members of communities, wellness forums, websites, gyms, fitness centers, spas, and rehabilitation centers are well positioned to lead their networks forward in the genomics innovation. Especially those with existing relationships can benefit quickly, like personal trainers, registered dietitians, physicians, nutritionists, insurance brokers for health plans, wellness coaches, HR and employee benefit managers, and social influencers can leverage their existing platforms to become a Silverberry Wellness Ambassador.

For more information and sign up visit Silverberry Wellness Ambassador page.

About Silverberry Genomix
Silverberry Genomix, is a pioneer in DNA Wellness and Health Services. We use Machine Learning (AI) and genetic assessments to help people optimize their fitness plans and daily wellness decisions. By analyzing thousands of genetic variations, Silverberry provides more than 100 DNA Health and Wellness Reports that include: an assessment, recommendations, and additional resources to learn about their genetic traits. Silverberry also offers genetic testing to those who haven’t yet had a genetic test. The DNA Test Kit can be ordered directly from the Silverberry website and is also available for purchase on Amazon. Users who have taken their DNA test with other services can upload their file and receive 10 Free DNA Test Health Reports. For more information visit silverberrygenomix.com

Silverberry Genomix Joins Blockchain

Silverberry Genomix Joins Blockchain

As the first step in the use of blockchain technology, Silverberry announces the acceptance of cryptocurrencies in its store for DNA Testing Kit and Health Reports.

San Francisco, August 16, 2018 - Silverberry Genomix, a pioneer in the use of DNA assessment for health and wellness, announces its first use of blockchain technology.

Due to the rapid development of the genomics market and the use of DNA assessment by a wide range of consumers, Silverberry announced its use of blockchain for the next generation of the Silverberry platform.

“As our services in the DNA market continues to grow, we are focused on developing innovative approaches to advance the technology underlying the service” said Shayan Mashatian, CEO of Silverberry Genomix”. At almost every turn, we find alignment and very useful applications of blockchain technology, from hosting the DNA files on a decentralized network to offer greater control, ownership, and privacy to users, to the use of smart contracts in engaging with our users”, he continued.

As the first step on its road-map to adopt blockchain, Silverberry has added acceptance of popular cryptocurrencies to its online store, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

“Understanding exchanges and cryptocurrencies is the first step in our ability to develop tools to test various blockchain-based usecases. These technologies lay the foundation for full implementation and adoption of blockchain end-to-end. The next phase will include hosting the DNA data on blockchain, implementing smart contracts to engage with the platform, and pilots to scale the technology, including the development of customized algorithms to process and analyze large scale DNA files to produce recommendations based on DNA assessment." announcement concluded.

About Silverberry Genomix

Silverberry Genomix, a pioneer in DNA Wellness and Health Services, uses machine learning (AI) and genetic assessments to help people optimize their fitness plans and daily wellness decisions. By analyzing thousands of genetic variations, Silverberry provides more than 100 DNA Health and Wellness Reports that include an assessment, recommendations, and additional resources to learn about their genetic traits. Silverberry also offers genetic testing to those who haven’t yet had a genetic test. The DNA Test Kit can be ordered directly from the Silverberry website and is also available for purchase on Amazon. Users who have taken their DNA test with other services can upload their file and receive 10 Free DNA Test Health Reports. For more information visit silverberrygenomix.com

 

 

Lactose Intolerance

 

 

Whipped cream, milk, and ice cream: delicious dairy products that up to 65% of the world’s population cannot easily digest. Is your body sensitive to lactose? Learn about the science and genetics behind lactose intolerance and check your genes for this common trait!

A (brief) summary of lactose intolerance

The sugar found in dairy products like milk is called lactose. In order for it to be used as an energy source, it must be broken down into two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. The enzyme that accomplishes this is called lactase. Without the production of lactase in the small intestines, an individual cannot digest lactose and it passes undigested to the large intestines (or colon). Here an individual's bacterial colonies, or gut microbiota, make use of the energy source, but their metabolism of lactose produces gas and other byproducts. The diminished ability to produce lactase and the symptoms of bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea are referred to as lactose intolerance.

The influence of genes

DNA contains regions that code for enzymes, as well as regions that regulate genes. The lactase enzyme is produced from the LCT gene and has at least one regulator — MCM6. The MCM6 gene that is upstream from, or ahead of, the LCT gene plays a role in regulating the gene. Several genetic variants (or SNPs) in the MCM6 gene have been linked to lactose intolerance.

Check your genetic variants for the “Lactose Intolerance

 

Global genetic varaiations

Interestingly, the SNPs related to lactose intolerance vary widely by ethnicity.

 

In people of European descent, two genetic variants in the MCM6 gene that have been linked to lactose intolerance. [R1]

In people of African descent, research has identified three different SNPs in the MCM6 gene. [R1R2]

In people of Asian descent, studies have identified three additional SNPs in the MCM6 gene. [R1R3]

 

These variations suggest that the mutations developed separately, but for similar reasons — a process called convergent evolution. In other words, the ability to digest milk was incredibly valuable for populations that relied on domesticated animals for food. In times of famine and reduced food availability, those in pastoralist communities who could digest milk were more likely to survive and produce offspring. These strong evolutionary pressures existed primarily in the pastoralist populations in Africa and Europe.

For more, watch this video: “Got Lactase? The Co-Evolution of Genes and Culture”

 

Two types of lactose intolerance - Genetic vs acquired

While pastoralist populations developed the ability to digest lactose throughout the lifespan, all infants have the ability to digest the lactose in human breastmilk.

Primary lactose intolerance is the most common type, and is determined by genes. Normally, an infant’s body produces a substantial amount of lactase to break down all the milk being consumed. As other food begins replacing milk in a child’s diet, the production of lactase decreases. This sharp decrease results in too little lactase for the amount of dairy consumed by a typical adult.

Secondary lactose intolerance on the other hand occurs when the body decreases lactase production following an injury, illness, or surgery related to the small intestine.

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