DNA testing provides information and tools for those who wish to learn about and explore their DNA. It’s a rapidly growing area of medicine with more and more people opting to get their genetics tested. The type of testing we are discussing here does not include testing for serious metabolic diseases or breast cancer genes. For these you need to consult with a registered geneticist referred to by your general practitioner.
Nutrigenomic DNA testing may provide insight into biochemical pathways and how hard or easy it is for them to perform their tasks to keep you healthy and living optimally.
But I already had my MTHFR gene tested
That’s great! But this is not enough. It is but one gene in the methylation cycle and doesn’t tell us anything about the genes around it that may further slow MTHFR function or compensate for it. We have more than 20,000 genes with about 10-15 snips per gene, some of these more relevant than others, so one gene doesn’t give us nearly enough information to effectively asses genetic susceptibility. Genes should never be interpreted in isolation. It doesn’t tell you anything useful and often result in unnecessary supplementation which may even cause aggravations and make you feel worse. To get a more complete picture more genes need to be tested for.
Who May Benefit
Those who are interested in preconception care
History of recurrent miscarriages
Chronic illness that has not resolved despite appropriate treatments
Those interested in adapting their lifestyles to suit their genetics
Those who want to understand their biochemistry better
It really is an exciting time to be working in this field of nutrigenomic medicine, but also requires practitioners to keep up-to-date with the overwhelming amount of information (and mis-information) out there. It is growing exponentially with new data being made available at a constant rate as more and more people get their genetics tested and research continues. The future of medicine is undoubtedly individualized medicine where genetics will be taken into account before you are prescribed medication and dosages may be adjusted to suit your metabolism of certain drugs.
Is Genetic Testing All I Should Rely On?
Absolutely not! We want to emphasize that genetic testing provides great insight into complicated cases and can often provide answers and tools where some don’t respond to seemingly appropriate treatments. It’s also a great source of information for those who want to change their lifestyles for health and longevity purposes, or preconception. But those with chronic illness should never just do a genetic test at the expense of other functional testing, and should never ‘treat’ themselves according to their genetics. This may backfire, and often does because genetic expression changes from minute to minute.
Genetic testing where used in illness should ALWAYS be interpreted with other test results, and most importantly with YOUR SYMPTOMS. It is important that in these cases you work with a healthcare professional who is trained in genetic interpretation and able to connect it with other relevant information. Also keep in mind that there is a lot of confusing and false information floating around on the web.
Possible Insights from Testing
Methylation functionality and its co-factors (folate and vitamin B12)
Brain Neurotransmitters with links to anxiety, depression and sleep disorders
Liver detoxification – phase I
Liver detoxification – phase II
Metabolism of caffeine, alcohol and other drugs
Inflammation and oxidative stress
Coeliac disease and other digestive insights
Blood sugar regulation
And many more…
Where Can I Get This Done?
This testing is done in the USA. You order a test kit, they send it out to you with instructions, you collect the saliva sample, send it back to them and wait approximately 6 weeks for the results. You are notified via email when your test results are ready. Now you can log into the account you created when you ordered the kit and obtain the zipfile. Unless you’re a geneticist this information is not going to mean much to you. Their website provides instructions on how to process the data through STERLING’s APP which will provide your 23andme practitioner with clear genetic information that can be interpreted.
Pro’s: They are currently the most affordable genetic test available and test for a large variety of genes.
Con’s: Test results will not have any meaning for the average person. You need someone to interpret it for you, or run it through various apps costing extra that may only provide explanations for some of the genes tested.
This is done through your SmartDNA practitioner. They will order the kit and organize the saliva sample. Here is an instructional video on how to collect a saliva sample. Test results are send back to your SmartDNA practitioner.
Con’s: They are a lot more expensive and don’t test for all the genes tested through 23andme.
Gut Genome Testing
You’ve heard of the ‘Human Genome Project’, but this is part of the ‘Gut Genome Project’ where genomic technology can now sequence specific or variable regions in the bacterial genome. We are a lot more dependent on our microbiome DNA than our own, so this is a very interesting and important field in genetic testing. To put it into perspective, our human genome (the DNA within our cells) only contains 17 different carbohydrate digesting enzymes, yet our gut bacteria produces over 16,000 different enzymes! Pretty amazing, yeah?
Two labs that perform this type of testing:
Contact us for more information or book an appointment with one of our practitioners. Please note that our practitioners may have different areas of interest and don’t necessarily use the same testing methods. If you have specific needs or expectations, and are not familiar with our practitioners, we suggest you contact us and we’ll direct your inquiry to the appropriate practitioner(s).