Zija International’s AGX Technology Educational Series
Zija International recently released their new Améo Gene Expression (AGX) product line, which allows its users to employ essential oils that promote positive gene expression. The following is a complete four-part educational series about the AGX technology by Zija’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Joshua Plant.
Part I: What are genes and how do they impact our well-being?
Within most cells of the human body there is 3.5 billion bases of DNA, a base is the famous A, G, C, or T we see in many sci-fi movies. These 3.5 billion bases within each cell, if stretched out, would stretch 6 feet. Multiplying out those 6 feet by the roughly 40 trillion cells of the human body would yield a total of 45 billion miles of DNA in each human body. That is enough to travel FIVE round trips from the earth to Pluto.
So what do these strings of DNA mean for us?
Encoded in those 3.5 billion bases of DNA are approximately 24,000 genes. A gene is a collection of thousands of DNA bases that are the blue print for the cell to eventually make proteins, enzymes, hormones, and other structural molecules.
When we look at a cell we see that it is ultimately a result of how those 24,000 genes interact with each other. Interestingly, a gene isn't binary—meaning either just on or off—rather it is expressed at different levels.
I will use the gene Msx2 (a gene I studied on while at the National Institute of Health) as an example. If expressed at a certain level it will yield a healthy tooth, however if that expression is too high it is then involved in the changing of a cell from an epithelial cell (a stationary cell) to a mesenchymal cell (a cell that then can migrate throughout the body), which is the process thought to associate with cancer metastasis. So when one studies genes, a major function of those genes is the level in which they are expressed, because it is not necessarily if you have the gene, but also at what level that gene is working.
As you can imagine, with 24,000 genes all expressing at different levels, depending on the cell type, where the cell is located, and what the cell is exposed to, creates a giant Sudoku puzzle. Hence the reason great effort has been established into understanding the human genome, and a huge increase in bio-informatics (the statistical study of biological data).
The slightest change in a single gene's genetic expression can have a snowballing effect. For example, the change of the estrogen gene can have a huge impact on thousands of other genes. Mainly because that gene is responsible for the ramping up or ramping down of other genes throughout the body. Likewise we see hundreds of master upstream genetic regulators throughout the body.
The unfortunate problem is that our master upstream genetic regulators are largely out of whack, causing great havoc throughout the rest of our body, which is discussed in Part II of the series.
Part II: How does the environment affect our genetic health?
Just how much does our genetic expression change because of our environment? I will give a few easy-to-digest examples:
Temperature: The Himalayan rabbit, which generally lives in warmer climates, has white fur. However, if the temperature drops below 60° F, the fur actually turns black. The reason is that certain genes are turned on (or more on) in the cold than in the warmth, causing a change in fur color.
Light: A type of corn, when exposed to sunlight will yield red corn; however, when it is not exposed to sunlight will yield yellow corn.
Nutrition: It is a very interesting fact that dietary and nutritional supplement also plays an important role in gene expression. The deficient nutrient supplement alters the genetic expression. For example, what a pregnant woman eats determines the health of her offspring. This is largely done by properly promoting the genetic expression of her offspring. Similarly, for us this is also true. What we eat has a drastic impact on our genetic expression.
These are just a few of the examples of how our environment affects our genetic expression. Everything we are exposed to, from the air we breathe to the relationships we are in, ultimately have an impact on how our genes are turned on and off.
Sadly, today we are guinea pigs in the world’s largest ecological experiment. We are exposed to chemicals, extracts, and compounds that are unnatural to our bodies. Our food is manipulated, our air is polluted, our relationships are artificial, our activity level is sedentary, and even our remedies are artificial.
What is this doing to our genetic health? What is this doing to our genetic expression? What is this doing for our ultimate health and wellness?
We don't know, and that is what is scary. In Part III we discuss how we can use technology to better understand our genetic expression.
Part III: Understanding the technology used to understand our genetic expression
In Part I of this series I wrote about the influx of genetic data each of us hold. We literally have billions of miles of DNA in our body that is expressing genes. In Part II of this series I wrote about how sensitive our genetic expression is, or in other words how so many factors influence how our genes are up-regulated or down-regulated. These factors cause a constant state of dynamic gene expression.
Combining Part I and II you see the challenge scientists have in understanding how our genes are influenced, and the influence they have on our health.
Over many years the evolution of genetic expression has gone from looking at a single gene through a process called (quantitative RT-PCR), to looking across the whole gambit of genes through a process called micro-array.
However, in the last few years a revolutionary technology has come into play in the biotech industry. It is a technology called RNA-seq. RNA-seq gives one the ability to not only see how each gene is expressed, but also quantifies the splice variants (the different forms a single gene can express).
RNA-seq gives relative copy amounts of each gene and how they are increased or decreased compared to the control condition. This level of resolution allows scientists to see not only how the environment affects our gene expression, but also how it affects the types of genes that are being expressed.
A dynamic state of genetic expression across an absolute incredible amount of DNA would yield a huge amount of data; hence the greatness behind the Améo Gene Expression (AGX) products.
In the attached picture you can see how the data is ultimately visualized. On the left is just 338 of the common genes regulated by essential oils, on the bottom you see some of the oils tested, and in the middle you see a spectrum of colors between red and green.
What this shows is how each gene (at least the 338 in this picture) are either increased (red) or decreased (green) in their genetic expression when exposed to the different essential oils. It is important to note we actually looked across 20,000+ genes and how essential oils function on those genes.
This data allows us to see how essential oils are related with respect to their effect on the body, and also how they differ—what makes them unique.
This simple picture is actually a representation of literally billions of points of data that was amassed by RNA-seq through a collaboration with biotech institutions, analyzed by super computers from leading research universities, and culminating into simple graphs such as this one.
But this simple graph has revealed some incredible things, yielding some revolutionary products, namely the AGX products.
Part IV: How supplementation can affect our genetic expression
When we look at how so many components affect our genetic expression, very few, if any, have looked at how supplementation plays a role in our genetic expression.
Understanding the biomedical scientific void that has long existed in the essential oil space, Améo has undertaken the task of amassing a monumental genetic expression database.
This database has looked across tens of thousands of genes and how over 40 essential oils affect each one of those genes.
From this database an immense amount of knowledge has come into play of how essential oils work on our body, the biochemical pathways they use to heal, and how synergistically oils can be blended together to benefit the same pathway.
Using this database Améo formulated: AGX Men, AGX Women, and AGX Digest.
Each one of these products were assembled by looking at which genes are favorably expressed in the presence of essential oils that deal with the balancing of Men, Women, and are digestive system.
For example, from our database we see that Améo Rosemary had a profound impact on the expression of estrogen, progesterone and prolactin. This essential oil completed a trifecta of helping women achieve their balance across three very critical genes.
Additionally, we see the favorable expression of amylase, lipase, and many other digestive enzymes in the presence of Améo Orange. Ultimately giving people the confidence that these products are helping to bring our bodies into digestive balance.
As you see from this series, Améo has put together a plethora of scientific man-hours into the culmination of data before generating their AGX blends. This is absolutely revolutionary to the industry by delivering a product built upon a foundation of science.
About Zija International
Zija International, a privately held and privately funded business founded by Kenneth E. Brailsford, develops natural health, wellness, nutrition and fitness products. The company operates in more than 50 countries worldwide.
Zija has seen consistent growth every year since it was founded over 9 years ago and was recently named the “Fastest-Growing Company in Utah” by Utah Business Magazine. It has also been recognized on fastest-growing and top-revenue lists by Inc. Magazine, Direct Selling News, and Utah Valley Magazine, to name a few.
With corporate offices located in Lehi and more than 4 million sq. ft. of state-of-the-art warehouse, shipping and manufacturing facilities located in Utah, United States, Zija International employs more than 200 individuals and has the capacity to grow to more than two billion dollars in annual sales.