Podcast #1: Personalized gene profiles for optimal diet and health – with Dr. Paul Beaver, PhD of Fitgenes, creator of the Carbchoice AMY1 profile

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This was my flagship podcast. I was thrilled to have Dr. Paul Beaver of as my first guest who is the Chief Science Officer at Fitgenes, a functional genetics lab in Australia. It was a great first episode, and as expected there were a few hiccups along the way with some sound issues, but they smooth out about 1/4 of the way into it. Give me about 10 minutes to get over my initial nervousness of being on a live radio.

Bio of Dr. Paul Beaver, PhD:

Dr. Paul Beaver (PhD), spent the first 15 years of his working life involved in Research and Development both internationally and in Australia, and has since worked in a variety of areas from compliance risk management, OH&S, personal and professional development, to preventative health solutions.

For the past 20 years Paul has been developing personalised health solutions for maximising health potential, based on the latest scientific and medical research including the new disciplines of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics, which is the study of the interaction between our genes, exercise, nutrition, lifestyle choices and our health. During this time Paul has worked with many medical practitioners and healthcare professionals in Australia and internationally towards improving the health and wellness outcoms of their patients.

Paul is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Fitgenes (Australia) Ltd, an international provider of genome – based personalised healthcare and wellness services. His expertise and commitment to finding new and innovative solutions to the current global health crisis has contributed to the success, growth and development of Fitgenes as an organisation. As a result, Fitgenes has pioneered a personalised genome- based healthcare system, education program and a cloud-based IT platform to enable practitioners to harness the power of Nutrigenomics for improving the health and wellbeing of their patients.

In acknowledgment of Paul’s commitment to helping people maximize their potential for healthy living and health ageing using Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics, on the 1st of July 2016 he was appointed as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow, in the school of Applied Health, Dietetics and Nutrition, at La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia.


In this episode, we cover a lot of ground including:

  • The difference between monogenic disease testing vs. functional genetic profiling.
  • Why your genes are not your destiny (Dimmer switch analogy).
  • Why identifying more gene variations isn’t necessarily better, but better organised data of key genes is better.
  • Why it’s important to find the upstream genes that control and drive downstream processes rather than simply identify more and more genes.
  • The differences between a SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) vs. a Copy Variant.
  • The significance of the AMY1 gene on carbohydrate digestion, specifically the production of salivary amylase.
  • How AMY1 copy numbers track the difference between Paleo diet vs. high agricultural diets.
  • Genetic mismatching of the AMY1 copy numbers with current high carb environments.
  • The Link between low AMY1 copy numbers with increased risk of diabetes.
  • What foods suppress amylase production.
  • How to temporarily boost amylase production, e.g. if you need to go to a high carb event like a birthday party or social function.
  • Why men will listen to the results of a genetic profile more than other functional tests.
  • The mindset difference between get a ‘genetic profile’ vs. a ‘genetic test’.
  • Why genetic profiles are the future of personalised, proactive, and preventive healthcare.
  • How knowing your genetic profile will remove the confusion and can help end yo-yo dieting.
  • The trouble the health hysteria over a singular focus of one SNP (e.g. MTHFR) vs. looking at the groupings of SNPs in context of their entire influence.
  • Health Expectancy vs. Life Expectancy
  • Energy dense foods vs. Nutrient dense foods
  • Why health expectancy is going backwards
  • Why genetic profiling is bridge between western medicine science and natural medicine lifestyle expertise.
  • The key distinctions between Fitgenes and other genetic profile companies, namely:
    • Genetic profiles based on patient health and empowerment instead of disease-models and fear.
    • The focus on the key ‘upstream’ genes instead a lot of ‘downstream genes’.
    • Genes are grouped by key driving processes in the body (e.g. inflammation, free radicals, liver detoxification, methylation, etc), instead of single disease-based models.
    • Genes must have the ability to be changed beneficially through lifestyle changes that are proven in the scientific literature.
    • Science-based: Practitioners can see all the citations referenced for each recommendation.
    • Not attached to a any product or supplement company (Fitgenes is not a front for selling supplements of another company).
    • Focused on practitioner training and education to help practitioners properly guide patients with their genetic profiles.

Research articles and resources mentioned:

  • – Main website for Fitgenes and place to find your local Fitgenes practitioner.
    • Note: If you wish to work with me (Dr. Sam Shay) on your Fitgenes profiles, kits can be mailed anywhere in the world and consults would happen online via Skype or Facetime. It’s a simple cheek swab test that is then mailed back to Australia to the Fitgenes lab.
    • Use this link to schedule a no-obligation 15-min phone consult with Dr. Shay to see if a genetic profile is right for you.
  • The Fire Within – Time magazine article on inflammation (note: full article only available to Time subscribers)
  • Death by Food Pyramid (ebook) by Denise Minger
  • The Mediterranean Diet Cook book by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos (The author recommended by Dr. Paul Beaver that is based of Post-WWII Crete diet. He did not mention her name in this interview, yet has in Fitgenes conferences). 
  • Weighing it up: Obesity in Australia” – from House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing. Report from 2009.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016 report – This is a large report (8mb), which describes the difference between one’s life expectancy and “health expectancy”, which is called a “DALY” or “disability-adjusted life years”, meaning the years living with a disability before death.
    • From page 9: “In 2012, a newborn boy in Australia could expect to live 62.4 years without disability and another 17.5 years with some form of disability, and a newborn girl 64.5 years without disability and 19.8 years with some form of disability (see Glossary) (AIHW 2014b).”
  • The Association between Metabolic Syndrome Parameters and AMY1 Gene Copy Number in Europeans, Maoris and Pacific people. This is a collaborative project between the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, a leading NZ Medical Centre and Fitgenes. The results from this trial are now being prepared for submission for publication in a ‘peer reviewed’ scientific paper.
  • Nutrigenomic intervention for children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)- a collaborative research project between La Trobe University and Fitgenes. Fitgenes was awarded a $450k Australian Federal Government Commercialisation Australia (CA) grant to support this research. The results from this trial are now being prepared for submission for publication in a ‘peer reviewed’ scientific paper.
  • References on AMY1 Copy numbers and their links to obesity and diabetes

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should see a qualified health professional. Do not disregard, avoid, or delay obtaining medical or health-related advice from your health-care professional because of something you heard here. The use of any information provided here is solely at your own risk.

The views and opinions expressed by Dr. Sam Shay are based his education, personal experience, and clinical practice as a chiropractor, acupuncturist, Fitgenes practitioner, and functional neurologist. His views and opinions are not necessarily the official positions of any of these professions or their professional organizations. The views expressed by the guests on this show are solely their own.

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