Many people have completed genetic home tests out of curiosity about their ancestry, for the entertainment value of learning obscure facts about themselves, or because they were trying to get to the root of complex health issues that nothing else could explain.
At GLOW Natural Wellness, our focus is on health optimization and a holistic approach to wellness, so this article will focus on the health building value that an at-home genetic tests can offer. There are several key reasons why you might want to get your genetic information tested.
1. Get to the root of complex health issues
While genetic tests are not diagnostic, certain combinations of genes can lead to known issues. By discovering what your genetic variations are, you may be able to understand some risk factors and rule others out.
For example, the MTHFR C677T polymorphism has been associated with depression, particularly in those with the CC genotype. This does not mean that everyone who has this SNP will automatically have depression, but rather, that research has noted an association between people who are already depressed and the presence of this genetic variant. (1)
If you have this variant but have never struggled with depression, it does not mean that you will become depressed at the drop of a hat. Instead, if you have this variant and have frequently struggled with depressive episodes, you and your healthcare provider may now have a new angle with which to address your ongoing mental health needs.
The C677T polymorphism has also been associated with autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, chronic disorders like diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as coronary artery disease and clotting disorders. The susceptibility to each of these conditions tends to be related to elevated homocysteine levels and/or inadequate folate available to the methylation cycle (2,3). So, understanding your DNA and your epigenetic expression can help to guide your lifestyle and nutritional choices.
2. Helps healthcare providers direct your care
Genetic information can help your healthcare providers give you more targeted instruction and information. While they’re certainly capable of working to address needs based on your symptoms alone, in the age of health information, the more data they have to work with, the better (and quicker) your results will be.
Genetic home tests can provide helpful information in many areas. For example: methylation status, blood clotting risk factors, thyroid health, or even various food allergies like gluten intolerance.
Even though you may feel rushed during your doctor’s visits, most healthcare professionals will welcome additional data points (such as your DNA) that can help uncover the causes of your symptoms. Many of our DNA Made Simple members have used their genetic results to advocate for additional testing and expanded treatment options which lead to better health outcomes.
3. Optimize supplementation
Have you ever tried a supplement that didn’t give you the expected results? Your methylation status can have a significant impact on how you feel when you take certain nutrients like B vitamins.
Some genetic variations can cause methylated forms of folate or B12, for example, to promote feelings of good health and mental clarity. But for others with slightly different variations, they could be left feeling anxious, overstimulated, or manic.
The need for various forms of nutrients are directly impacted by your genetic variations. Providing this information to your healthcare provider could lead them to a more informed recommendation. For example, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and can be helpful in some people for controlling inflammation, but for those with a variation in their GSTP and CYP genes, vitamin E supplementation can actually increase inflammation and lead to detrimental health outcomes.
4. Save valuable time and fast track your way to healing
A DNA test can help you save time by showing you exactly what you need to do in order to improve your health. For example, Janet Beemer avoided serious health complications because she knew exactly which steps to take toward the prevention of Type 2 diabetes after learning about her DNA results.
You can feel better about your nutrition and diet because you know you are getting your body precisely what it wants and needs (and nothing it doesn’t) . You will learn about the vitamins that your body is naturally producing and which vitamins you may be deficient in. (7)
You can take great preventative measures to prevent hereditary disease by taking expert-guided action with your DNA test results. Countless individuals have had life-changing experiences, reverse chronic conditions, and avoided surgery thanks to the priceless data provided by genetic testing. (6)
There are so many ways to gain control of your health. But how do you know which one is right for you? The answers are in your DNA. And the truth is, while there are so many healing strategies, there is only ONE best strategy for YOU.
5. Feel empowered to take control of your health journey
Some people avoid getting home genetic tests done, or medical testing otherwise, because they fear the results. But when it comes to learning what genetic variations you carry, the good news is that it is not a diagnosis or guarantee of any specific outcome. It is merely a presentation of the blank canvas that your body has to work with.
Your genes are not your destiny.
Even if you discover that you have a homozygous (or two-copy) variation for a certain gene, it does not mean that you are guaranteed to experience a negative outcome as a result. Genes are influenced heavily by your external environment, your diet and lifestyle, your stress levels, and even your digestive health. This information can be incredibly empowering because you are the one that makes the influencing choices over how your health plays out.
By understanding what genetic variations you have, you will feel more clued-in as to what’s going on in your body. Understanding your genetic landscape is both empowering and extremely helpful when making decisions about your health and lifestyle, whether that be choosing which type of fat to include in your lunch, deciding whether or not to purchase a supplement, or making an important decision about whether to take a pharmaceutical drug.
The bottom line:
Everyone has the same set of genes, but they exist in various forms or mutations. You get this inherited information from your parents, which combines into your own unique set of genetic data. This is a map of numerous possibilities. Your genes don’t present a diagnosis or a guaranteed outcome. They simply show you the raw materials that your body has to work with.
From there, lifestyle, dietary, and environmental factors control how your genes work. Genetic variations can be turned off or turned on, much like a light switch. You always have electricity available, but several factors influence whether the lights are on or off.
Ultimately, finding out what your genetic landscape looks like is the most useful knowledge you can have for your own wellbeing.
Understanding DNA CAN be simple!
If the idea of understanding genetics and epigenetics makes your head start to spin, don’t worry, you are not alone. You don’t have to be a science nerd to understand this information and use it for yourself and your family.
I break it all down in plain, simple english in DNA Made Simple. To learn more about how your genes can make a difference in your life, CLICK HERE to learn more about how to leverage your own genetics.