Astrology and Crystals: The Best Stones for Each of the 12 Zodiac Signsphoto: gabby conde

Power Stones and Healing Crystals for the Zodiac

Crystals can help serve as spiritual power tools to teach us how to bring the mind to a greater sense of peace, the body into a more stable, grounded state, and the spirit into connection with the infinite from which springs all creation. Our power gemstones can remind us of a higher truth and keep us centered in that light. When we become aware of the qualities of beauty, frequency, and color and their possible uses, stone “medicine” may help us explore what our current needs are and how we may transform certain situations by using a stone as a meditative focus and an inspirational power source. Gems and minerals have patterns and pictures on their surfaces that can transport you to another world, igniting your imagination. They are very tactile and soothing to touch and hold.

How are the zodiac signs and crystals related? The idea of healing with crystals was first popularized in the 1930s when the famous American trance psychic Edgar Cayce claimed that his visions revealed that, in the time of Atlantis, crystals were used as a source of energy. He even described a crystal capstone on a centrally located pyramid that could power airships. He also mentioned various specific stones when prescribing healing protocols for the people he read for.

When it comes to astrology and crystals, each stone becomes a meditative amplifier that can help you to transform your situation. Stones can keep you centered and reminded of a higher truth. By looking to the mineral kingdom for assistance in the healing process, we are connecting to tools that enable us to look deeper within so as to obtain an understanding of the cause of the distress that is creating disease. Distress can be caused by negative beliefs, by environmental factors, or by interactions with people, which can sometimes create havoc in our energy field. When we consume alcohol or drugs, we can also affect our energy fields and cause a disruption in our vibrations.

Always remember that crystal healing should be used in conjunction with—and not as a substitute for—conventional medicine. There are many factors that make up our well-being. Illnesses need to be tended to by a trusted physician, with yourself as your best advocate. As we all know, however, stress and distress can also have a profound effect on our health. All thoughts and actions have consequences, creating harmony or disharmony. Disharmony can cause illness. Working with ritual and with healing rocks and crystals help you to create harmony, handle your stress, and feel better.

The following healing stones for the zodiac signs offer a beautiful stability and can help you focus on your strengths so that you can use them to compensate for your weaknesses. When we use crystals or stones as healing tools, they have the ability to rebalance a disruptive vibration so that we can be aware of the reason behind the distress.


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Below we describe the nature and special healing message of crystals for each sign of the zodiac. We have gathered the information for these astrological associations through working with them for many years, and below we suggest the perfect power stone for each sign.


The garnet takes its name from the resemblance of its deep red color to that of the pomegranate. It can help bring success in things you passionately believe in and, if appropriate, the sparks of sexual energy. This zodiac crystal may also be useful when wisdom and balance in this most important exchange of energies are needed. If this is so, look within to see if true love, tenderness, and genuine respect and caring are part of your romantic passion.

Garnet can help bring balance and self-awareness and destroy flightiness, leaving in its place love, romance, and sometimes lustiness, for those who need it. Because of its rich color and association with the root chakra, the garnet suggests a powerful influence for sensuality and sexuality. It may help put you in touch with your animal instincts, enabling you to act and react with their pure body wisdom. Therapists who believe in the power of gemstones use the garnet in counseling couples whose sexual chemistry has begun to wane.

For meditation and ritual purposes, the garnet is used primarily as a power stone, to enhance self-confidence and help to manifest personal and career goals. Garnet has properties useful for giving inspiration during times of confusion. The red garnet is a stone of profound love and helps to ensure fidelity in relationships. This astrology crystal is also known as a stone of patience and persistence and is emblematic of spiritual awareness and compassion.

Garnet is highly versatile—it encourages the wearer to search for answers—and the answers that come as a result of this search will be helpful and important ones. Worn on a regular basis, the stone is believed to boost energy and stimulate romantic love.

Garnet’s message: Because it has a bold energy, the garnet makes a perfect amulet for someone whose confidence or self-esteem needs bolstering. Because of its warm vibrations, it makes a good meditation stone for security and intimacy.

Other good gemstones for Aries are: bloodstone, red jasper and pyrite.


Rose quartz is the stone that can help heal the heart, as it works on an emotional level. It can help you to become more aware of the love that is all around you and can assist you in getting in touch with your emotions. Rose quartz teaches us to love ourselves more, thus opening us up to a greater universal love. When we don’t love ourselves fully, we are wounded inside, and a wound will always cry out to be healed. Rose quartz heals emotional wounds by giving compassion and comfort. It can be used to help us to overcome grief.

Like other healing crystals for zodiac signs, rose quartz’s properties include inner peace, tranquility, and all matters dealing with giving and receiving affection.

Unlike the hard-edged, pointed crystals of clear quartz, the lovely rose quartz is found in great veins running through Mother Earth like her life’s blood. Use it when compassion and generosity need to be shown, or when healing and forgiveness are needed. Rose quartz may help those who have suffered through trauma and the pain of an unhappy childhood. If this is true for you, start by forgiving yourself and others. Be gentle with yourself and others; we have all suffered wounds. From forgiveness can come a path to true healing.

You can also sleep with rose quartz beneath your pillow. The pain of a difficult past problem may come up in dreams, but you can better handle this if you affirm before you go to sleep that you are ready to release the pain.

Rose quartz’s message: Self-fulfillment and inner peace require you to love and nurture yourself and those you care about. Work on how to give love as well as how to receive it. Remember to forgive.

Other good gemstones for Taurus are: emerald, malachite and selenite.


Agate is a general protector of the entire body and the entire auric field. Agate can help us to focus on growth and healing. It attracts strength and vitality, and it has the ability to help bring your body into balance. A special property of agate is the blending and balancing of energies for power, protection, and organizational qualities, causing a stabilizing effect. Agate also can help reinforce the body’s connection to the Earth. It can give courage and dispel fears, all of which increase self-confidence. It gives you the strength to carry on, even when you feel weak or tired.

This zodiac crystal offers protection from bad dreams and also protects one from stress and worry. Agates with banded colors were placed at the head of a sleeper to give rich and varied dreams.

Since our earliest civilizations, agates have been prized gems. They were used in jewelry and as power tools in Babylonia. Conjurers in Persia used the crystal to try to affect the weather. In ancient Asia, agates were used to see the future. Studying the circular patterns helped open the pathway to receive guidance and messages by connecting the pathways between the conscious and subconscious minds.

Agate can also be enlisted for emotional healing, especially to resolve bitterness and resentments. It is believed to be a stone of harmony and therefore can help soften feelings of envy by grounding agitation. By bringing the elements of one’s being into harmony, it can improve relationships. Agate also enhances creativity and stimulates the intellect. Carry an agate when you have to make an important decision.

Agate’s message: Placing an agate under your pillow may aid with insomnia and can stimulate pleasant dreams. If you have to deal with numbers, an agate placed on your desk will help you be more precise. You’ll also be more analytical as well as creative in your approach to situations.

Other good gemstones for Gemini are: clear quartz, tiger’s eye and bi-colored tourmaline.


Carnelian grounds energy and helps us to pay attention to the present moment, thus teaching us to focus and manifest our personal power. Use it to encourage strength and the courage to prevail. Carnelian helps to ease stress and anxiety and to improve memory.

Use this astrology crystal when barriers of time and space or discouraging news threaten to stop you on your path. If this is true for you now, it is necessary for you to look below the surface of things in order for you to know what is really going on, for things are not what they seem. There is no reason to give up unless and until you know exactly how things stand. Once you do, carnelian can help you regain your courage.

Carry carnelian with you to guard against those who try to use their power over you. This zodiac crystal can also help you regain the drive you need to pursue your goals or help to give birth to a new project or flesh out an existing one. Believed to prevent depression, carnelian helps to build courage by providing self-esteem and an optimistic outlook.

Carnelian stimulates energy, physical power, and courage, and helps to ground you on the physical plane.

Early Egyptians used carnelian for amulets, as it was thought to protect the wearer from evil, and to prevent anger and envy. Renaissance sages kept a carnelian amulet in the home to protect themselves from curses.

Carnelian’s message: It offers patience while counteracting doubt and negative thoughts. It also assists in decision making by helping us ground ourselves in the present, and make decisions based not on our past, but on our present reality.

Other good gemstones for Cancer are: pearl, ammonite and moonstone.


The citrine’s sunny color helps restore the mind in much the same way that basking in the life-giving light of Father Sun does. Citrine helps one to maintain a positive outlook on life. It removes blocks and fears on all levels and helps one to better communicate with others. Citrine helps create a sense of stability, adds energy and emotional balance, and provides a rational approach to things, grounding us in the here and now.

Citrine’s energy means that a positive, optimistic attitude will produce a positive outcome. Use it when great self-confidence and self-esteem are needed. Stress and fatigue, either emotional or physical, can make life seem bleak and can make you unable to cope with challenges. Make sure to get enough rest and have some fun. Citrine can help you regain your emotional balance. We all stray from our path. How long it takes us to recover is what determines our successes and failures.

Citrine is one of the best crystals for all zodiac signs when it comes to manifesting power on both a practical and a magical level. Because it encourages a healthy ego, self-esteem, and feelings of worth, it empowers its wearer both emotionally and spiritually. New Age healers believe that the stone can increase the significance of dreams and open the mind to new and more positive thought forms. Due to its color, it is believed to strengthen the urinary and endocrine systems.

Citrine is known to clean toxic impurities out of the air and aura. On a supernatural level, it boosts willpower, happiness, and confidence, while reducing self-destructive tendencies. As a result of this, it can also bring good fortune, often in surprising and very unexpected ways.

Citrine’s message: Some therapists believe that people who are have lost a sense of identity because of an unhappy or abusive relationship can reclaim much of their personal power by meditating with citrine on a regular basis.

Other good gemstones for Leo are: amber, topaz and jasper.


This stone acts in a protective way, on both the physical and spiritual levels. Jade has long been believed to facilitate and fortify a long life. The Chinese have traditionally held jade in very high esteem, and it has a lovely history as a protective talisman.

Amulets of animals were carved to promote a healthier, longer life and would attract the protection of the spirits when needed. Jade was also used in rituals to attract wealth and fortune. Statues of this stone for abundance and protection were common. Dishes were often carved from jade. The gem was also believed to symbolize longevity, and therefore food or drink contained in jade vessels would absorb that energy.

Jade energy bestows peace, calmness, harmony, tranquility, and mental clarity, and encourages one to safely express one’s true feelings and emotions. It strongly influences the matters of the heart and can help to improve relationships. Jade is wonderful for repairing relationship connections and ties that have been lost or broken.

This stone also promotes a more unified environment so you may accomplish compromise with partners, family members, or co-workers. Jade inspires and promotes creative thought as a zodiac crystal.

For business matters, you can use jade to unite diverse individuals and get them working toward common goals. It aids in creating a harmonious atmosphere and a desire for success and abundance without materialism or greed.

Jade is also favorable for strengthening clear reasoning and in so doing stimulates excellent decision making. Because it has a balancing effect, jade motivates the wearer to believe that his or her plans and ambitions are worthy of success.

Jade’s message: This is a helpful stone for those who have a nervous temperament or who are easily overwhelmed. The loving energies of this stone will assist you in recovering from emotional trauma because it provides grounding energy and a sense of security.

Other good gemstones for Virgo are: Amazonite, sapphire and zircon.


One of the most ancient protection stones, turquoise is a sacred stone associated with sky energy because of its color. It also brings sky energy to Earth. Prized in Asian as well as Native American culture, it is known as a multipurpose stone, excellent for promoting a sense of self-awareness and the ability to communicate honestly and from the heart. The stone encourages creative thinking, as many do, but turquoise has the power to help channel that creative energy in a productive and useful way.

Turquoise is considered a lucky stone; it facilitates the attraction of abundance and prosperity. Turquoise has a balancing and grounding influence. Its properties include mental relaxation, stress reduction, confidence, attunement, and physical well-being., making it one of the most popular healing stones for the 12 zodiac signs in astrology.

The blue-green turquoise is a stone sacred to many tribes around the world. Use it when you feel the need to call on your spirit guides because you have reached an important time in your life or a crossroads. Turquoise is helpful when you need to restore communication with your Higher Self, and it stimulates your development on the spiritual level. If this is true for you now, it is time to take action to restore your faith. Life often appears meaningless when our faith in the unseen forces that surround and sustain us is weak.

Turquoise can help us not to be distracted by our sorrows. It can help restore our sense of humor so we can enjoy life’s gifts as well as its challenges, for we cannot have one without the other. Miracles can be seen every day. Turquoise is a favorite stone among New Age healers, who believe that it has the power to energize the body and spirit, as well as to balance right brain–left brain disparity.

Turquoise’s message: True communication is about more than words, and turquoise can help achieve this. Carrying a piece of turquoise will help keep you centered, and wearing it improves all the senses, including the sixth sense.

Other good gemstones for Libra are: diamond, chrysoprase and lepidolite.


Obsidian is a stone of protection that prevents one from becoming emotionally drained by others. It can work as a shield against unwanted vibrations and help protect you from physical or emotional harm. Native Americans keep this stone on them to protect them from negative energies or psychic attack.

Obsidian tends to give emotional stability in times of high stress, in part by preventing the draining of energy from the body. The energy to help with grounding is the strongest attribute available in this stone. Keeping obsidian with you helps prevent negative thought patterns and can also be used for space clearing by removing the vibrations of unhelpful or distracting entities.

Obsidian is an excellent crystal-gazing tool. Some practitioners have better luck peering into obsidian’s black depths to reach their subconscious messages than into a traditional clear quartz crystal ball.

The black, glasslike obsidian is forged in the fires of volcanoes, Mother Earth’s way of clearing away the old to make way for the new. It helps with transitions, so use it when you realize that the old must be completely released before the new can enter your life. It may also be useful when obsessions and negative thoughts and actions are blocking you. If this is happening to you, try to let every negative thought and action you encounter in yourself or in others remind you to think and act positively.

This gemstone may help you recover forgotten abilities within yourself. Obsidian can help you to become more aware of your true place in the universe by sharpening your inner vision. It will also help you become more aware of your imperfections and at the same time provide constructive solutions and insights.

Obsidian’s message: Do not give in to the desire to think and act negatively, even if others do. This is a difficult but most powerful teaching. Our negativity comes back to us in unpleasant ways. Obsidian may help you cope with negativity and keep centered in unstable times. Do not resist change.

Other good zodiac crystals for Scorpio are: onyx, ruby and black opal.


The amethyst’s purple color, the color of pure spirit and the seemingly magical things connected with it, is rare in nature. Use it when you need approval from the universe, or when peace and calm are needed. If this is so, try this basic meditation: Take a few moments to breathe calmly and focus your attention on your breathing. Let all thoughts drift away like clouds. After a while you may sense the small voice of your Higher Self. Be aware of the natural fear of not being in control or not knowing exactly what to do next on your path. Amethyst can help you trust in yourself and “let go and let God/Goddess.” Holding an amethyst may help ease the pain and sorrow of a loss or defeat.

Easily recognizable for its beautiful color, this stone is known to promote personal serenity and feelings of peace. This specific astrology crystal derives its reputation for being a healing stone from ancient and medieval times when it was used as an amulet against drunkenness. The amethyst is a power stone on many levels; holds the intention to heal the body as well as the spirit. The amethyst has long been used to open one’s psychic centers.

In folklore, this stone is believed to have a soothing and relaxing effect. Holistic healers sometimes use amethyst to ease toothache and bruising. It calms an overactive mind and brings a sense of tranquility to those who are frazzled by overwork. It is used as a dream stone and to help insomnia. For those who are psychically sensitive, it can improve the ability of second sight. As an amulet, it can be worn as a protective talisman against jealousy, envy, and deception.

Amethyst’s message: Amethyst is believed to be helpful in the treatment of insomnia. By putting an amethyst under the pillow, the troubled sleeper should experience better REM sleep, with less chance of fitful slumber.

Other good gemstones for Sagittarius are: sodalite, sugilite and tanzanite.


Amber is the oldest geological specimen to be used in jewelry. Archeologists digging primitive sites near the Baltic Sea have found evidence of amber jewelry that is approximately forty thousand years old.

This good-luck zodiac crystal brings the purifying, revitalizing force of the Sun and the absorptive, transmuting energy of the Earth together to create a powerful tool. In mythology, Apollo cried amber tears after being banished from Olympus. Medieval housewives would burn amber to bring good energy into their homes. Native American tribal healers used it in fire ceremonies.

Ancient Greeks discovered that if they rubbed a piece of amber vigorously, it became electrically charged. The early name for amber was electron, which is the root word for today’s electricity. Amber’s use as a power tool reaches back to man’s earliest history.

Amber absorbs negative energy, helps to ground one to the Earth plane, and protects the sensitive person. It helps to distribute vitality to our aura, and it centers a person during meditation. Amber can be worn or carried to help calm the nerves. Amber allows a person to receive from the universe, yet assists one in remaining physically alert.

Amber is not technically a crystal but is an organic compound. Some 360 million years ago, extinct pine trees oozed thick sticky resins. As these resins flowed, a variety of living and decomposing matter became trapped inside. Then the resin was made to fossilize under the great pressure from the Earth’s changes. Many ancient traditions associate amber with the universal life force because, essentially, actual life has been trapped inside.

Amber’s message: Amber is excellent at removing self-imposed obstacles on any projects you are attempting to create. It enhances a constructive way of behaving, fueled by self-confidence. It can attract new friendships and aid in focusing your intentions for manifestation, helping you to reach your goals.

Other good gemstones for Capricorn are: jet, smoky quartz and chrysoprase.


Mother Nature seems to have used the deep blue lapis to capture the sky in solid form. The glittering pyrite inclusions against the deep blue backdrop of this splendid stone create a striking likeness of a galaxy. Lapis is an excellent stone to help with peaceful sleep and psychic dreaming. It can bring matters more clearly to the mind. The stone will allow for cosmic communication with other dimensions of reality. Sleeping with this gemstone can help you see the meaning in your dreams more clearly by allowing you to interpret and understand the messages or information that your subconscious is providing.

Use lapis to help with success in business and other worldly pursuits. It is good to use for humanitarian quests and interests, as it has far-reaching effects, just like a galaxy. Early cultures valued lapis lazuli more highly than gold. In Egypt it was customary to bury a lapis lazuli scarab with the dead, as it was believed to offer protection. It is also believed to enhance higher love, powers of intelligence, and concentrated intention.

This zodiac crystal can help you focus on universal brotherhood and sisterhood cooperation to produce abundance. Some other properties of lapis are illumination, wisdom, mental insight, and clarity of thought. It may also help when systems of information exchange, transportation, and communication are blocked. Lapis can help you to communicate your deeply felt beliefs and put them into practice in the outer world. It can help shy, introverted people express themselves. Expressing your true self can free energies you would otherwise waste repressing. Lapis helps to release old, buried emotions, thereby helping to dispel depression.

Lapis lazuli’s message: Meditate with lapis when you need all methods for moving people, services, and facts to be as direct and simple as possible. Use it when you need a higher perspective on your situation. When blocked channels are cleared by lapis, expect energies to be a bit chaotic initially, before they calm down.

Other good gemstones for Aquarius are: fluorite, azurite and labradorite.


The opal owes its fiery beauty to the refractions of tiny imperfections and water trapped within its crystalline cells. The dance of color in opal is the result of light being radiated by microscopic silica spheres. Watching the colors flash when luminous sparkles flicker within an opal gemstone leaves you with little doubt that this is a beautiful and powerful crystal.

This astrology crystal may bring you enlightenment, integrity, or even the fires of romance. It enhances the emotions and amplifies personal traits. Opal can assist you with almost any aspect of your life, such as joy, love, or success. Let your opal fire up your heart’s desire and make your wishes come true. Opal helps magnetize opportunities for things to happen in exciting new ways. Use opal to call in good luck and good fortune, to initiate prosperity consciousness, and to encourage new ideas.

Opal acts as a magnet by helping to illuminate your interests and ability to see great possibilities. It encourages you to dance your life by amplifying your emotions and heightening your experiences.

There are two main opal categories, common and precious. Precious opals are those with the famous rainbow sparkles. Common opals are stones without fire.

If you are bored or in a rut, either type of opal can spark a flame of passion and ignite your imagination, helping you see solutions to mundane problems. It turns up the power in everything.

Adding this gemstone to any prayer, ritual, or creative work will strengthen your intention and affirmation. Shamans used opals in important ceremonies such as vision quests. For divination and oracle use, you may want to wear or hold an opal. It will enhance your attunement to the messages of the Tarot or other psychic readings.

Opal’s message: It magnifies your thoughts and feelings and promotes all intuitive abilities. In ancient times the opal was thought to be a very powerful healing stone and was believed to open up the senses of the third eye. The opal can be a doorway to your spiritual awareness.

Other good gemstones for Pisces are: aquamarine, coral and pearl

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Astrology for Wellness: Star Sign Guides for Body, Mind & Spirit Vitality by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner.

About The Authors

Monte Farber was born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied comparative religion and became interested in astrology in 1974 when he met his future wife and artistic collaborator, Amy Zerner. “Amy was studying astrology and I was studying Amy, so I learned astrology! It became our language of love.” Farber’s desire to make astrology understood and accessible to a broad audience led him to devise “Karma Cards: A Guide to Your Future through Astrology,” having sold over 250,000 copies in twelve languages. Farber and Zerner went on to create books, book/card sets, and unique kits that also made other esoteric systems accessible, such as the tarot, alchemy, The Goddess, talking boards, meditation, shamanism, psychic development, and relationships. Farber is now the world’s foremost creator of interactive personal guidance systems. Learn more at

Amy Zerner is one of the leading collage artists in the world. She uses an appliqued palette of found materials, vintage textiles and amulets to make her worlds of wonder rich with layers of meaning and imagination. For forty years she has used her prodigious talent to create thousands of works of art which embody and convey the inspiration and healing power she has experienced through her study and personal application of ancient sacred teachings. Learn more at and

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 Dirty Genes: How to Use Diet and Lifestyle to Treat Methylation Disorders photo: aaron ledesma

The Power of Epigenetics

I’ve always been fascinated by the ways our bodies want to be healthy, and I’ve spent most of my life learning how to help them get there. As an undergraduate, I studied cell and molecular biology. I then became a naturopathic physician—a science-based practitioner who relies on natural methods to restore balance and optimize health. As I worked with patients, I realized that I also needed to become a specialist in environmental medicine, discovering both how the chemicals in our environment undermine our health and what we can do to detoxify our bodies.

What made all my diverse studies come together was the field of epigenetics: the many, many factors that can influence how our genes are expressed. I had always understood how powerful genes can be. But wow, was I thrilled to discover that we don’t have to bow down and submit to our DNA. Instead, we can work with our genes to create optimal health and, in a way, not exacerbate genetic mutations inside our bodies—if only we know how.

One of the most important pieces of the genetic puzzle is a type of variation known as a SNP (pronounced “snip”), which is short for single-nucleotide polymorphism. So far, roughly ten million SNPs have been identified in the human genome, with each of us having over a million. Most of those SNPs don’t seem to affect us very much. Yes, they represent a slight variation or abnormality in various genes, but so far as we know, those variations don’t seem to make much difference in the way our bodies function.

Some SNPs, however, can make a huge difference in our health—and in our personality, as well. For example, SNPs in the MTHFR gene can create a whole host of health problems—everything from irritability and obsessiveness to birth defects and cancer can be a result of an MTHFR gene mutation. (Note that I said can. They don’t have to—that’s what this is all about!) SNPs in the COMT gene can lead to workaholism, sleep issues, PMS, problems with menopause, and again, cancer, along with boundless energy, enthusiasm, and good spirits. (Yes, many SNPs have an upside as well as a downside!)

Health issues that had puzzled my clients for years suddenly made sense when they discovered through our work together that their SNPs had at least partly created those issues. Problems that had seemed overwhelming—even dooming—became manageable as clients learned that they could use diet and lifestyle to reshape their genes’ behavior.

I experienced that kind of aha moment myself when I discovered that I have at least three significant SNPs. I finally understood something about why I’m so focused and determined—some might say obsessive! Remember the MTHFR symptoms I mentioned earlier? I also saw why I can suddenly become irritable at a moment’s notice, and why I react so intensely to certain chemicals and fumes. It was a relief to have this new understanding: things made sense to me in a way they never had before, plus I had some new solutions I could rely on. As you read this, you’ll have the chance to make the same kind of exciting discoveries about yourself.

Most important, learning about my SNPs helped me understand some of the misconceptions about methylation disorders better and empowered me to take charge of my health. Finally, I could support my body and brain with the diet and lifestyle that they needed. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was working at the top of my potential.

I wanted my patients to have the same experience—heck, I wanted everybody to hit that high. So I began to develop a program for cleaning up our “dirty genes”: what we should eat, which supplements could help, and how to create a “clean genes” lifestyle. I wanted us to be like that epigenetically supported mouse, glowing and healthy, no matter which genes life has dealt us. I knew that if I could just delve deeply enough, I’d find the answers.


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And now, ten years later, I’m proud to say that I have. Oh, there’s still a ton more I have to learn—the whole field of epigenetics is just getting started, and we’re making new discoveries every day. I spend a big portion of every week doing my own research, and another big chunk of time reading the studies that my colleagues turn out. It’s more than one person could ever keep up with—and that’s the good news. In another ten years, I’m fully confident, we’re going to have the power to take charge of our health in ways we can’t even imagine.

Are Your Dirty Genes Making You Sick?

You’ve probably heard that your genes affect how healthy you can be. Almost certainly, your doctor has told you that because of the conditions that run in your family, you may be vulnerable to heart disease, depression, anxiety, and/or other disorders.

Most of the time, this news makes people feel discouraged. “I’m scared,” they tell me. “My genes are a mess. I’ve just gotta make the best of it.”

No way!

After years of research in the new science of gene abnormalities and methylation disorders, and having successfully treated thousands of clients, including my family and myself, I’m offering you an exciting new approach: a proven method to clean up your genetic limitations and create a healthier, more vibrant you.

So let me say it loud and clear: Your genes are not your destiny! But perhaps you’ve been taught that they are. Perhaps, like most people, you’ve been told that you inherited a “master plan”—characteristics that are written in stone from the moment of your conception until the day you die. In this view, your genes are a stern committee of judges handing down a life sentence.

“Hmm,” your genes seem to say. “Let’s give this woman depression, which she gets from her mother. And let’s throw in some heart disease, which runs on her father’s side. How about adding in a shy, anxious personality, which she gets from her grandmother? We’re almost done, but let’s throw in one more ingredient—a mild case of ADHD, nothing clinical. But, like two of her uncles, she’s always going to have a hard time focusing. There—all done! Good luck, lady! Enjoy the destiny that we’ve written for you, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it!”

Pretty bleak, right? Luckily, it’s wrong. Far from being written in stone, your genetic destiny is more like a document written in the Cloud—you get to edit and revise it every moment of your life. Every time you drink a soda, barrel through on four hours of sleep, use a shampoo loaded with industrial chemicals, or hit a stress bomb at your job, you’re putting the negative part of the document in giant type. And every time you eat some organic leafy greens, get a good night’s sleep, use a chemical-free shampoo, laugh with friends, or do some yoga, you’re enlarging the positive part of the document while reducing the negative part—genetic mutations, specifically—to a font so small, it might as well not be there at all.

Your genes don’t lay down the law; they negotiate with you. They don’t even speak with a single voice. They’re a committee, and sometimes they disagree with each other.

Some of the folks on that committee are harsh. They’re constantly shouting, “Heart disease!” or “Depression!” or “Crippling lack of confidence!” And if you don’t know the right way to work with them, those loud, harsh voices might rule the day.

But—and here’s how this is going to change your life—if you do know how to work with your “gene committee,” you can produce a much better outcome. You can get those loud negative voices to tone it down or even shut up completely. At the same time, you can turn up the volume on the voices that are saying, “Balanced mood!” “Healthy heart!” and “Self-confidence!”

So get ready to clean your dirty genes, folks, because that’s exactly what you’re going to do. In the pages to come and in my book Dirty Genes, you’ll find out how to change your genes and make the most of your genetic inheritance, now and for the rest of your life.

Are Your Genes Dirty? Some Common Symptoms

+ Aching joints and/or muscles
+ Acid reflux/heartburn
+ Acne
+ Allergic reactions
+ Anger and aggression
+ Anxiety
+ Attention issues
+ Blood sugar spikes and crashes
+ Brain fog
+ Cold hands and feet
+ Constipation
+ Cravings, especially for carbs and sugar
+ Depression
+ Diarrhea
+ Edginess
+ Fatigue
+ Fibromyalgia
+ Food intolerance
+ Gallstones
+ Gas and bloating
+ Headache/migraine
+ Heart racing
+ Indigestion
+ Insomnia
+ Irritability
+ Itchy skin
+ Menopause/perimenopause symptoms
+ Mood swings
+ Nosebleeds
+ Obesity/weight gain
+ Obsessiveness
+ Overreactive startle reflex
+ PMS / difficult periods
+ Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
+ Rosacea
+ Runny nose / congestion
+ Sweating
+ Unexplained symptoms—just “not feeling right”
+ Workaholism

What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You—But I Will

If you’ve had trouble with any of the symptoms I’ve just listed, your doctor might have told you that you’re not really sick. Or maybe you’ve been offered drugs to medicate the symptoms—antibiotics, painkillers, antacids, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications—without much attention to the underlying issues that produce those symptoms of methylation disorders.

Or perhaps you’ve been one of the lucky ones. Perhaps you’ve found a naturopathic physician, functional/integrative MD, osteopath, nurse practitioner, nutritionist, chiropractor, or other health professional who has helped you restore health and wellness through diet, lifestyle, and other natural means. Even so, your treatment is incomplete if you haven’t learned about dirty genes, the root cause of many of the conditions you’re struggling with.

That’s because epigenetics—modifying genetic expression to improve your life and health—is a cutting-edge aspect of medicine that most practitioners don’t understand. I’m one of the few people who have figured out how to translate genetic research into concrete actions that will improve your health, which is why so many leading health-care specialists come to me for training and advice. That’s why I spend so much of my time lecturing and consulting with physicians and providers—conventional, natural, and otherwise—as well as reading other people’s studies, doing my own research, and helping others regain their health. As a result, the suggestions here are based on the very latest scientific material. Most health-care providers simply aren’t aware of this information, though I’d be willing to bet that in a few years, programs like the one in my book, including answers on how to change your genes, will be widespread, even standard.

Meanwhile, once you understand what makes your genes dirty and how to clean them up, you’ll feel better than you ever thought you could.

Your Dynamic Genes

Remember, every moment of every day, your genes are working on that document about your health. They can write it in a way you like or a way you don’t like—but they’re always writing. And whether you know it or not, so are you.

For example, your genes keep telling your body, “Rebuild your skin!” As you know if you exfoliate, your skin is constantly dying and being replaced. So every moment of every day, your genes are adding to the document, telling your body to get on with the repair.

What kind of document do you think they write if you eat a high-sugar diet, skimp on sleep, or stress yourself out for days on end? Hmm, maybe something like: “Please give this woman dull, lackluster skin with plenty of acne and maybe a touch of rosacea.” On the other hand, provide your genes with healthy fats, plenty of sleep, and time to chill, and you’re going to see a different document: “This one gets healthy, glowing skin that makes her look ten years younger!” Your genes won’t stop writing until the day you die. But what they write is up to you.

Likewise, your genes are constantly producing documents about your gut lining, which is repaired and rebuilt every seven days. If you eat right and live right, you’re going to get away from genetic mutations and have a great document: “Keep that guy’s gut strong and healthy!” If you mess up your genes with poor diet and lifestyle, your document probably says something like: “Since this man is giving me so much extra work to do, I can’t focus on repairing his gut lining. He’s also not providing me the tools I need. So give this man a weak gut lining—the kind that lets food leak through.” Watch out for all the weight gain, immune issues, and other problems that are likely to follow!

Now here’s my personal favorite: the memo about your mind. Those instructions involve neurotransmitters—biochemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that govern your thoughts, moods, and emotions. Your brain runs on thousands of biochemical reactions, and there are countless ways the process can go wrong. Your goal is to give your genes whatever they need to produce an uplifting memo: “Keep this person sharp, focused, calm, and full of energy during the day, and relaxed, calm, and ready to sleep at night.” The memo you don’t want mentions forgetfulness, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, addictions, and brain fog.

So yes, your genes write your life memo. But what they write is largely up to you. Sound good? Then let’s get started.

How Gene Mutations Mess with Your Health

Most likely, neither you nor your doctor is used to thinking about your genes as an active, dynamic factor affecting your present-day health. Instead, your genes seem like an unchangeable, unavoidable set of hard-wired instructions passed on from your parents at the moment of conception.

I want you to shift that mindset. Instead of seeing your genetic inheritance as a fixed set of instructions from the past—instructions written on a stone tablet handed down from the ancestors—I want you to see your genes as active participants in your daily health. Right now, while you’re reading this, thousands of genes throughout your body are giving instructions—to your brain, digestive tract, skin, heart, liver, and many other aspects of your anatomy. Those genetic instructions shape every facet of your experience and your health, and your genes are handing them out every single second. With every breath you take, every object you touch, every thought you have, you give your genes instructions—and they respond, leading to epigenetic changes.

Let’s say you eat a big lunch—too big, more than your body can handle. Oops! Your genes are overloaded. They stagger under the burden of all that food. They tell your metabolism to slow way down. They have trouble methylating—a key process that facilitates at least two hundred functions in your body, from skin repair, digestion, and detoxification to mood balance and clear thought. Because of the challenge posed by that overly large meal, hundreds of instructions are being given differently—and badly. You might promise yourself to eat light that night to make up for it, and maybe you even will. But that won’t prevent the damage you inflicted at lunchtime, when you didn’t give your genes the conditions they needed to do their job.

Or let’s say you stayed up late last night, playing a video game or answering email or binge-watching your favorite show. Now the alarm is going off and you can barely drag yourself out of bed. “I’ll make up for it this weekend,” you promise yourself—and maybe you will. Meanwhile, though, your genes are living in the present, and they aren’t happy about the lack of sleep. They give instructions that alter your digestion, your mood, your metabolism, and your brain, so that right now—not when you were first born, but now—your health shifts and slips and declines a little bit.

Of course, if most of the time you’re eating well and sleeping deeply and limiting your toxic exposure and managing your stress, an occasional big meal or late night doesn’t make all that much difference. Sure, your genes alter their responses for a little while, but your body is strong and resilient, and it can handle the extra challenge. If one gene staggers, a second one steps up. If that second gene stumbles, a third one takes over. Your body has lots of built-in backups, which is terrific.

However, if you consistently give your genes poor working conditions, they’re going to consistently hand out poor instructions and may result in methylation disorders in the process. Why? Because each backup gene is going to push on the next backup gene, one after the other after the other, and before you know it, too many of your genes are struggling. Your health will suffer, and in way too many cases your doctor won’t be able to do much more than prescribe a few drugs to medicate your symptoms.

I want something better for you—a lot better. I want you to give your genes exactly what they need to hand out the instructions for perfect health. I want your first-line genes working optimally as often as possible, putting the least possible strain on your backups. I want all your genes cooperating smoothly to give you glowing skin and a healthy weight and tons of energy and a clear, sharp mind. I want you feeling calm and enthusiastic and ready to go, and I want you sleeping so deeply at night that you wake up each morning feeling terrific. If you want that for yourself, listen up: The way to get optimal health is by supporting your genes.

Two Types of Dirty Genes

You have two types of dirty genes—both of which can give you a host of symptoms and disorders.

Some Genes Are “Born Dirty”

The scientific name for a born-dirty gene is genetic polymorphism, which is a fancy way of saying “genetic variation” or “genetic mutations” in some cases. As we saw in the introduction, these genes are also called single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs—pronounced “snips.” These dirty genes—and each of us has several—can do a full-scale number on your body and your brain. They help determine whether you’re heavy or slim, sluggish or energized, depressed or optimistic, anxious or calm.

We have about twenty thousand genes in our body. There are more than 10 million known genetic polymorphisms (SNPs), and one person can have as many as 1.2 million of them. However, only about 40,000 are known to potentially alter your genetic function. We’re going to zero in on the key SNPs in the seven genes most likely to have the biggest impact on your health. I chose these Super Seven because each of them influences hundreds of other genes. If any of these seven genes are dirty, you can be sure they’re making your other genes dirty, too.

When my clients first discover that they were born with SNPs, many of them are upset. As Taylor said, “I feel like a mutant.” But in fact, we’re all mutants—that is, every one of us is loaded with SNPs. It’s just part of the magnificent variety of the human race—what enables each of us to be unique.

The good news is that once you know which SNPs you have, your health issues start to make a lot more sense—and your emotional issues do, too. If you suffer from migraines, can’t seem to fall asleep at night, or struggle with a hair-trigger temper, SNPs may be at the root of your problem and hasten the development of methylation disorders. SNPs also contribute to anxiety, depression, irritability, workaholism, obsessiveness, difficulty paying attention, trouble winding down, and a whole bunch of other things that you might never have realized had a genetic and biochemical basis. SNPs also contribute to various strengths, such as boundless energy, good spirits, enthusiasm, dedication, determination, and laser-sharp focus.

The really good news is that you get to work with your SNPs, turning up the volume on your strengths and turning down the volume on your weak points. Through the Clean Genes Protocol, you can alter your lifestyle, diet, and environment to maximize the positives and mute the negatives, so that what you once thought was “normal” for you may be nothing of the kind. How awesome is that?

Some Genes Just “Act Dirty”

Sometimes a gene without a SNP creates problems for you anyway. That might be because your genes aren’t getting the nutrients, lifestyle, or environment that they need to function at their best—too few vitamins, too little sleep, too many chemicals, too much stress. A better diet and lifestyle might inspire your genes to behave differently.

The scientific name for this is genetic expression: the way your genes express themselves in response to your environment, diet, lifestyle, and mindset. Depending on which of your genes are expressed, and how, you can be healthy, energized, and glowing. Alternatively, you might be loaded down with a whole slew of symptoms: obesity, anxiety, depression, acne, headaches, fatigue, achy joints, poor digestion. If your genes act dirty enough, you might even face such serious conditions as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other forms of genetic mutations. Once again, your Clean Genes Protocol comes to the rescue. If you give your genes the diet and lifestyle that they need, they’ll act clean instead of dirty, and you can optimize your health, your mental outlook, and your life.

Meet Your Dirty Genes

Here are the seven genes—I call them the Super Seven—that we target with the Clean Genes Protocol. I chose them because they’re extremely common, have been well researched, and have the most far-reaching effects on your body. If these guys are dirty—whether born dirty or just acting dirty—the rest of your genes will be gunked up, too. Some genetic mutations are hard to scrub. Not these seven. They are easily cleaned up through diet and lifestyle changes. Being born with dirty genes has an upside as well as a downside.

Born-dirty genes might put you at risk for some nasty health challenges— but they also help to shape your personality, activating strengths as well as weaknesses. Your goal is to work with diet, chemical exposure, and lifestyle to maximize the benefits while minimizing the drawbacks.

1. MTHFR, the methylation master gene

This gene initiates your ability to methylate, a key process that affects your stress response, inflammation, brain chemistry, energy production, immune response, detoxification, antioxidant production, cell repair, and genetic expression, which, if not taken care properly, could lead to methylation disorders.

When MTHFR is born dirty:

+ Strengths: intensity, alertness, productivity, focus, improved DNA repair, decreased risk of colon cancer

+ Weaknesses: depression, anxiety, autoimmunity, migraines, increased risk of stomach cancer, autism, pregnancy complications, Down syndrome, birth defects, and cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and thrombosis

2. COMT, the gene whose SNPs help determine whether you’re focused and buoyant, or laid-back and calm

COMT and its SNPs have powerful effects on mood, focus, and how your body handles estrogen, a key factor in the menstrual cycle, in fibroids, in some estrogen-sensitive cancers and other genetic mutations.

When COMT is born dirty:

+ Strengths: focus, tons of energy and alertness, good spirits, glowing skin

+ Weaknesses: irritability, insomnia, anxiety, fibroids, increased risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers, test anxiety, neurological disorders, migraines, PMS, impatience, vulnerability to addictions

3. DAO, the gene whose SNPs can make you super sensitive to certain foods and chemicals

When this gene is dirty, aside from the development of methylation disorders, it affects your response to the histamine that lurks in various foods and beverages and that’s also produced by some gut bacteria, affecting your likelihood of food sensitivities and allergic reactions.

When DAO is born dirty:

+ Strengths: immediate awareness of allergens and trigger foods (so you can get them out of your diet before they cause serious long-term problems)

+ Weaknesses: food sensitivities, pregnancy complications, leaky gut syndrome, allergic reactions, the risk of more serious conditions such as autoimmunity

4. MAOA, the gene that affects mood swings and carb cravings

This gene helps govern your levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin: key brain chemicals that affect mood, alertness, energy, vulnerability to addictions, self-confidence, and sleep.

When MAOA is born dirty:

+ Strengths: energy, self-confidence, focus, “highs” of productivity and joy

+ Weaknesses: mood swings, carb cravings, irritability, headaches, insomnia, addictions

5. GST/GPX, the gene(s) that can create detox dilemmas

A dirty GST or GPX affects your body’s ability to rid itself of chemicals.

When GST/GPX is born dirty:

+ Strengths: immediate awareness of potentially harmful chemicals (before they have the chance to make you really sick), improved response to chemotherapy

+ Weaknesses: supersensitivity to potentially harmful chemicals (with responses ranging from mild symptoms to serious autoimmune disorders and cancers), increased DNA damage (which increases the risk of cancer)

6. NOS3, the gene that can create heart issues

NOS3 affects your production of nitric oxide, which is a major factor in heart health, affecting such processes as blood flow and blood vessel formation.

When NOS3 is born dirty:

+ Strengths: decreased blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) during cancer, which reduces the growth of cancer

+ Weaknesses: headaches, high blood pressure, vulnerability to heart disease and heart attack, dementia

7. PEMT, the gene that supports your cell membranes and liver

This gene affects your body’s ability to produce phosphatidylcholine, an essential compound that you need to maintain cell membranes, bile flow, muscle health, and brain development.

When PEMT is born dirty:

+ Strengths: more support for methylation, better response to chemotherapy

+ Weaknesses: gallbladder disorders, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), pregnancy complications, cell membrane weakness, muscle pain

What Makes Your Genes Act Dirty?

Even if you don’t have a SNP in any of your seven key genes, you might still be gunking up those genes with the wrong diet and lifestyle, which are two of the main factors that fuel genetic mutations. As a result, they can’t do the jobs you desperately need them to do—metabolize nutrients, balance your brain chemistry, repair damaged cells, and a hundred and one other tasks. What happens? You gain weight, feel sluggish, get depressed, become anxious, lose your ability to focus, develop acne, get headaches… the dirty list goes on and on.

If you’re taking antacids, for example, you’re messing with many major genes, including MTHFR, MAOA, and DAO. If you’re taking metformin, a common medication for diabetes, you’re disrupting the function of your MAOA and DAO. Birth-control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and even bioidentical hormones can strain your MTHFR and COMT.

Even if you’re not taking medications, your genetic expression can be disrupted by poor diet, lack of exercise, too much exercise, not enough sleep, environmental toxins, and plain old everyday stress—and those are just the most common problems. Long story short, there’s a whole laundry list of factors that might be dirtying up your genes—and your doctor probably has no idea.

To make matters worse, every additional factor that makes your genes dirty changes the whole picture and may even cause you severe forms of methylation disorders. So if you’re only eating too much sugar, that’s one problem. But if you’re also eating too many carbs, now you have two problems—and a much wider and more complex effect. If, in addition, you’re not getting good sleep, you’ve just created more damage. That plus stress—even more! Pretty soon, you’ve generated a cumulative effect that makes the whole problem even worse. Instead of 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4, you get 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 50.

Why? Because all your genes interact with one another. When one gene gets dirty, it doesn’t work properly, so several more genes step up to help—and now suddenly they get dirty, too. Your body isn’t a set of discrete compartments that each work separately. It’s one amazing interactive system in which problems spread and multiply with amazing speed. The good news is that health can also spread and multiply in amazing ways. When you clean up your dirty DNA mutations, you start feeling terrific in ways you never even imagined. Your mood improves—and that chronic muscle pain you’ve been working through stops aching. Your brain fog clears—and you’ve got tons more energy. Your allergy symptoms disappear—and you begin to lose some weight.

This is why I’m so eager for you to clean up your genes so you can avoid genetic mutations. If your dirty genes were born clean but became dirty, cleaning them up gives you a tremendous boost. And if some of your genes were born dirty, giving them the support they need can make a world of difference.

What Dirties Up Your Genes?


+ Too many carbs

+ Too much sugar

+ Too much protein

+ Not enough protein

+ Not enough healthy fat

+ A shortage of nutrients that your genes need to work properly, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, copper, and zinc


+ Sedentary lifestyle

+ Overtraining

+ Electrolyte deficiency

+ Dehydration


+ Not enough deep, restorative sleep

+ Going to bed late, getting up late

+ Irregular sleep patterns

Environmental Toxins

+ “Dirty” food

+ “Dirty” water

+ “Dirty” air—including indoor air

+ “Dirty” products: sprays, cleaners, cosmetics, paints, pesticides, herbicides


+ Physical stress: long-term illness, chronic infections, food intolerance/allergies, insufficient sleep

+ Psychological stress: issues at work, at home, with your loved ones, with life

The Clean Genes Protocol: How to Change Your DNA

Following is your Clean Genes Protocol—a lifelong program to keep your genes clean and avoid bad genetic change as you optimize your health.

Although you may periodically add in Spot Cleaning from the second step of the program, which is outlined in my book, this is the approach to diet and lifestyle that will best support your genes for the rest of your life. Here the Clean Genes Protocol is outlined in broad brush strokes, as an introduction. Fear not, though: my book Dirty Genes addresses all the components—diet, exercise, and so on—in greater detail.


+ Eat appropriate amounts of protein and healthy fat.

+ Make sure to get all the nutrients that your genes need to work properly, such as B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, and zinc.

+ Cut out cow’s milk dairy, gluten, excess carbs, and white sugar.

+ Avoid foods high in pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, and/or artificial ingredients.

+ Avoid fermented foods, leftovers, or food that’s likely to contain excess bacteria if you find they trigger symptoms.

+ Avoid foods that are high in histamines: wine, some types of cheese, and smoked and/or preserved meat and fish, if you’re particularly susceptible.

+ Eat in moderation: stop eating when you’re 80 percent full.

+ Avoid snacks and late-night meals.


+ Get the right amount of exercise for your body—not too much and not too little.

+ Exercise when you’re rested and only until you’re pleasantly tired. Don’t exhaust yourself, and don’t force it.

+ Exercise when it doesn’t negatively impact your sleep. Don’t skimp on sleep to exercise; don’t exercise later in the evening if it keeps you from falling asleep.


+ Make trying for deep, restful sleep a priority.

+ Consistently match your sleep schedule to nature’s circadian rhythms: asleep by 10:30 p.m., awake seven to eight hours later.

+ Avoid electronic screens in the hour before bed.

+ Block out or turn off artificial lights. Natural moonlight is great.

Environmental Toxins

+ Eat organic food or at least avoid the “dirtiest” conventional foods.

+ Filter the water you use for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

+ Avoid the use of household and garden chemicals.

+ Avoid all plastic containers for your food and water, especially BPA plastic and especially in the microwave. Ideally, store and cook foods only in glass or stainless steel.

+ Follow guidelines to keep indoor air clean, bearing in mind that indoor air is often more toxic than the air outdoors.


+ Attend to sources of physical stress: long-term illness, chronic infections, food intolerances/allergies, insufficient sleep.

+ Reduce and relieve psychological stress: issues at work, at home, with your loved ones, with life.

Profiles and Personalities

Any one gene is just a single factor in your genetic profile—let alone in your entire personality. But to give you some idea of how your genetic profile might help shape your temperament, here are some quick personality sketches that I’ve observed in conjunction with the seven key genes when they’re dirty:


Among the many MTHFR symptoms are the changes in one’s mood. Some days you’re blue and depressed, while other days you’re anxious. On good days, your focus is great and you get stuff done. On bad days, you have performance anxiety, a hair-trigger temper, and/or headaches—or maybe you just feel grumpy. After eating a salad you tend to feel great, but you’ve never paid attention to that because, after all, it’s just a salad.

COMT (Slow)

Man, you’re on fire! ADHD?—not in this house. You’re cranking away on several projects and already eager for the next one or five. As you lie down to sleep, you’re still cranking away. After tossing and turning, you finally doze off, dreaming of tomorrow’s tasks. Tomorrow arrives. Coffee is needed. Once again, you’re off and running. You put pressure on yourself, and if you’re not accomplishing what you need to, anxiety sets in, so you focus harder to get everything done. And you do get it done. Your colleague makes fun of you for working overtime on a particular project, and you snap at her. As usual, you’re quick to be irritated. In addition, sometimes you have an extreme sensitivity to pain and can be plagued with headaches.

COMT (Fast)

Look at that blinking light! Did you see that dog over there? Man, I wish I could read a book, but I just can’t focus. You’re always jumping from one task to another, and it’s hard to get much done. Friends have suggested that you might have ADHD. You also love shopping and buying new things! The problem is, you feel great buying them, but the next day the “shopping high” wears off, and you find that you need to buy something else or you start feeling blue. It’s getting expensive and time-consuming. Oh—and hugs! They’re awesome! The more hugs you get, the better you feel.


You are so tired of not knowing what you can and can’t eat. One meal you’re good, and the next you feel awful: throbbing head, irritable mood, sweaty body, racing heart, itchy skin, bleeding nose. Perhaps you’ve even spent a ton of money on food allergy testing—and found nothing! So frustrating. You keep limiting your foods one by one in hopes of identifying the culprit, but it’s a never-ending battle.


Ever since you figured out that chemicals and smells make you feel sick, you’ve been on a mission to get rid of such stuff from your home. That neighbor of yours is using scented dryer sheets—again! Those give you a headache within seconds. Your friends wonder why you’re such a clean freak. But you know that you’re tuned in and sensitive to these things because you have to be.

MAOA (Fast)

Carbs. CARBS! Pleeease, get me some of those! Your grocery cart looks like you work for the grain and chocolate industry! You feel so great eating carb-laden foods. You know you shouldn’t, but when you don’t, you feel blue. The problem is, eating carbs picks you up only for a moment or two; then you crash. So what do you do then? You eat more carbs. You try diet after diet, but they just make you feel depressed. You’re sick of gaining weight, but you feel stuck in that pattern. You don’t want to be on antidepressants, but you feel like you can’t keep going this way.

MAOA (Slow)

You’re easily startled and quick to become anxious or irritated. You can become aggressive and later feel bad for overreacting. You just can’t seem to help it. You always have to watch out for headaches, especially when you eat cheese or chocolate and drink wine. Falling asleep at night is always tough, but once you do, at least you sleep soundly through the night.


You’re freaking out. Your dad, uncle, grandma, and grandpa all had significant heart problems when they were around fifty years old, and now you’re getting there. Your doctors check your heart and say it looks okay—but are they checking everything they need to, or are they missing something? Your hands and feet are constantly cold, but your doctors say that’s nothing to worry about. You need answers, because this family history is weighing on you.


Ever since you switched to a vegan or vegetarian diet, you’ve felt just a bit off. Your mind isn’t as sharp, you’re forgetting things, and you’ve got aches and pains all over your body. As an omnivore, you felt good overall, though you did have some aches and pains. Your liver felt heavy then, and it still does—just under your right-side ribcage. Fatty foods just don’t sit right with you either. Now your doctor has said that you have gallstones and need to have your gallbladder taken out. No! There must be a way to save it.

What’s Your Genetic Profile?

If you want to know your own genetic profile, there are a few ways to go about it. The most expensive route is to get yourself tested by a company like 23andMe or Genos Research. At that point, you’ll know exactly where all your SNPs are—but you won’t necessarily know what those results mean.

Another route is to invest four weeks in my book’s Clean Genes Protocol. Most people I know, including health professionals, get genetic testing results back and focus only on the genes. The problem is, that genetic report is a piece of paper showing your genetic susceptibility—not your genetic destiny! In other words, your genetic profile is not you.

Most of the folks who send away for genetic testing are unaware that a gene born clean can easily become dirty. When they read that their MTHFR is normal, they celebrate instead of realizing that—due to diet and lifestyle—it might in fact be super dirty.

Even if your MTHFR was born dirty or you are showing no symptoms of an MTHFR gene mutation, you don’t want to make the common mistake of thinking that you can target it with a magical methylfolate supplement or nutrition vitamin B12 supplement and all will be well. Many of the people who send away for their genetic profile end up following simplistic instructions for MTHFR treatment, thereby creating significant side effects and making themselves worse off than they were before.

Here’s the bottom line: the only way to truly help your dirty genes is by remaining on the Clean Genes Protocol, a lifelong approach to diet and lifestyle, including a specific MTHFR diet. That’s how I do it. That’s how my family does it. That’s how the doctors I’ve trained around the world encourage their patients to do it. The result? Healthier, happier lives. I’ll tell you what I tell all of them: there are no shortcuts. The tortoise always wins the race.

Because your genes can give you problems whether they’re born dirty or simply acting dirty, I want you to know how to keep all seven of these important genes clean and healthy, giving them all the support they need. Out of the roughly twenty thousand genes in your body, these seven are critical to optimal health, every day of your life.

When I say you’re going to scrub your dirty genes clean, I’m not saying that you’re going to change your basic personality or remove all medical risk. I’m saying that you’ll learn to work with your genes, giving them all the support they need. That way, you can celebrate your unique temperament—and safeguard your health from genetic mutations.

Every vehicle drives differently. By understanding your genetics, you gain the opportunity and ability to make choices that will give you a smooth and enjoyable ride throughout your life.

Excerpted with permission from Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health by Dr. Ben Lynch. Available online at

About The Authors

Dr. Benjamin Lynch, N.D., received his Cell and Molecular Biology B.S. from the University of Washington and his doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University. His passion for identifying the cause of disease directed him toward nutrigenomics and methylation dysfunction. Currently, he researches, writes, and presents worldwide on the topic of MTHFR gene mutations, methylation defects, and genetic control. Dr. Lynch is the President of, a supplement company oriented toward disease prevention and health promotion. Learn more at

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5 Ayurvedic Self-Care Rituals for Relaxation and Rejuvenationphoto: roberto nickson

Ayurvedic medicine has a rich history, which was originally passed on through the oral tradition, then later recorded in Sanskrit in the four sacred texts called the Vedas. This ancient practice of Ayurveda is all about connecting to ourselves and staying in harmony and balance with the natural world. Ayurvedic rituals aren’t just about preventing diseases rather than simply curing them; they’re also about how to live in a state of vigor and energy. In India, more than 90 percent of the population uses some form of Ayurvedic medicine. While it’s becoming much more popular here in the West, it’s still considered an alternative medical treatment.

The theory behind this medicine is that all areas of life impact one’s health. Here in the Western world, we believe in using targeted tactics—generally, prescription medications—to cure specific ailments. Ayurveda views the body as a whole. Like traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda is about the mind, body, and spirit connection.

The aim of Ayurvedic daily rituals is to return the body to its original healthy state; true luminous beauty must be supported by health. At the heart of Ayurveda are ojas, our life force, the very essence of our health and well-being. They are our honey, the sap in the tree that is our body. Ojas give us the ability to thrive. When our ojas are strong, our bodies are firm and flexible, our skin is clear and glowing, and our hair is shiny and healthy. Ojas also allow us to overflow with love and compassion.

However, the modern world takes its toll on ojas. Constant stress, processed food, technology, overextension, and too much information deplete ojas and dry them out. When we restore them—with meditation, healthy food, and being in tune with the universe—we become radiant.

Ridding your body of waste and toxins helps ojas to flourish, as detoxing allows the system to be nourished. The aim of daily Ayurvedic practices is to improve your health. When your body is clear of toxins, it is able to receive the healthy benefits of nutritious food, face masks, and body oils. Rather than promote a harsh, all-at-once approach to detoxing, Ayurveda employs several small daily or weekly practices to help ensure that your body is always detoxing and efficiently processing waste.

Ayurvedic Self-Care Practices

Slowly incorporate these practices into your day. You can begin with something as small as integrating fresh produce into your diet, massaging your feet before bed, or dry brushing your skin in the morning. These Ayurvedic additions to your daily routine will help you to continuously keep your body in a rhythm and in balance. Once you know your body, you can adjust certain practices.


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1. Tongue Scraping

Scraping your tongue every morning can give you clues as to how efficiently your digestive system is functioning. If your tongue is very coated, it usually means there is a lot of ama, or toxicity, in your system. With this Ayurvedic morning routine, you can gauge how well your system is flushing out toxins.

To scrape the tongue:

+ Use a stainless-steel tongue scraper (which you can find online or in most health food stores) or a spoon. Gently scrape from the back or base of the tongue forward until you have scraped the whole surface, which is typically accomplished with anywhere between seven and fourteen strokes. This clears away any bacteria. Scraping stimulates the gastric and digestive enzymes to wake up and start working.

+ Rinse out your mouth, and proceed with oil pulling as your next Ayurvedic morning ritual.

2. Oil Pulling

During the night, as you sleep, your body builds up toxins while it is in the resting, cleansing state. Oil pulling allows these toxins to be released. As an Ayurvedic ritual, oil pulling should be done first thing in the morning, before you have anything to drink or eat. Coconut, sunflower, and sesame oil all work well, but coconut oil has the added benefit of whitening your teeth.

To practice oil pulling:

+ Take a spoonful of oil and swish it in your mouth for fifteen to twenty minutes (this is the recommended period of time, but sometimes I do it for just a few minutes to feel the freshening and teeth-whitening effects of the coconut oil).

+ It is important to keep the oil in your mouth and not to swallow it. It also is wise to spit it out in either the toilet or the trash can, as it can clog the sink.

+ After you finish oil pulling, brush your teeth or rinse out your mouth very well.

3. Dry Brushing

The skin is our largest organ and is responsible for 25% of the body’s ability to detox, yet we tend to focus our beauty and self-care routines on the face and hands when the whole body deserves reverence and respect. In addition to being an Ayurvedic ritual practice, skin brushing for the whole body has been used for ages in Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, and Greece and by the Cherokee tribe (using dried corncobs), to name just a few examples. Skin brushing helps rid the body of dead skin and also stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems, which assist the kidneys and liver in releasing excess hormones that have built up in the organs.

Over time, dry brushing can prevent cellulite and help regenerate collagen, and in the short term, it invigorates and energizes you. As you are shedding dead skin, you are also asking to release what no longer serves you. Dry brushing is an Ayurvedic ritual that should be done before bathing or showering; your skin should be dry.

To practice dry brushing:

+ Using a body brush with natural bristles (I like ones that have copper in them to help balance electromagnetic fields), start at the feet and move up toward the torso.

+ Using long strokes in the direction of your heart, brush each part of the body six times.

+ Brush so it feels slightly painful but good—like when you get a really deep stretch.

+ To increase the detoxifying effects, follow with a cold shower.

4. Self-Massage

In the West, we consider a massage to be a special treat, but for many in India, massages are a regular part of life and Ayurvedic self-care. Babies and toddlers are massaged daily, and when they are a little bit older, they are taught to massage their family members. Women get daily massages for forty days after giving birth. Once you become accustomed to the health and beauty benefits of massages, you won’t be able to do without them. Fortunately for our wallets, Ayurveda considers self-massage, or abhyanga, to be just as beneficial as a massage given by another.

Set aside some time once a week, or daily if you can, to practice abhyanga, and you will soon see the benefits of this common Ayurvedic ritual, including toned, glowing skin; improved circulation; the relief of stiffness in the joints; and the flushing out of toxins in the body. It’s also a wonderful way to get to know your own body better. Use sesame, sunflower, or almond oil for massage; it feels extra luxurious if you warm it beforehand in a pan of hot water.

To practice self-massage:

+ Apply warm oil generously to your body, beginning with your limbs. Use long strokes on your arms and legs and circular motions on your joints. Massage clockwise to release tension, and include areas like your neck and under your arms to target lymph nodes.

+ Massage your abdomen and chest in broad clockwise, circular motions. Follow the path of the intestine on your stomach, moving up on the right side, then down on the left.

+ Apply oil to your crown chakra, working outward in circular motions.

+ Dip your fingertips in the oil and massage your ears.

+ Massage your feet (but make sure to wipe off the oil before you walk).

+ Throughout the massage, send loving intentions to your organs and show gratitude to your body for everything it does for you.

+ Allow yourself enough time so that the oil soaks into your skin before you dress.

If you don’t have time for a full massage, you can always take a small scoop of shea butter and give yourself a foot massage before bed. This serves as a form of acupressure, and the shea butter helps moisturize dry skin. At the same time, you’re honoring your feet—which are your foundation—and how much they do for you throughout the day.

5. Bathing

In ancient times, bathing was regarded as a gift of health from the gods themselves. Making baths one of your regular Ayurvedic rituals can be a therapeutic activity. Almost every evening, after I have taken care of my work, my daughter, and my animals, I will indulge in a bath. Taking a bath is the perfect way to have nourishing alone time and create a bit of sanctuary for yourself. Baths are cleansing and can enhance physical and mental energy, remove negativity, and relax your body and mind. They’re also a wonderful way to soak up the deeply therapeutic medicine of essential oils and other good-for-the-skin ingredients.


Relaxing Mineral Bath

One of my favorite relaxing baths for all doshas is a magnesium bath. Most of us are lacking magnesium due to depleted foods that are the result of overtaxed soil beds. Magnesium is essential for healthy skin and hair, aids in sleep, and can promote a profound sense of calm and well-being.

To make the bath:

+ 1 cup magnesium flakes

+ 10 drops of a relaxing essential oil (I like chamomile or lavender)

+ Fill the tub with water that is the ideal temperature for you. Add the magnesium and essential oil before you step in. Soak for 20 minutes or more.

Excerpted with permission from Whole Beauty by Shiva Rose (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018.

About The Authors

Shiva Rose is the author of Whole Beauty: Daily Rituals and Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty and Wellness. Through growing her own organic herbs and flowers; mixing creams, lotions, and tonics; and following Ayurvedic practices and creating mindful rituals, Shiva not only healed her life from a life-threatening autoimmune condition but has also become a leader and entrepreneur in the world of all-natural beauty and lifestyle. Shiva created the holistic lifestyle website the Local Rose and developed her own non-toxic, all-natural skin-care line that nourishes the body, skin to soul, leaving the skin with a luminous glow. Learn more at

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