By now you may have heard that DNA testing kits can be bought online to show you your ancestry genetics. Are you Irish, like your grandmother has always told you? Do you have any Native American ancestry? This information can be super interesting and really fun!
There are a few main players in the direct-to-consumer DNA game… 23andMe, AncestryDNA and Family Tree DNA. Did you know that Ancestry sold over 1.5 Million DNA test kits over Black Friday this year? DNA test kits were said to be the #1 gift underneath the Christmas tree this holiday season! And at less than $100 – I can see why!
Your DNA test kit takes your saliva sample and asks you to mail it off to the lab (after you’ve written down the barcode of your kit right?!) There, they use a chemical process to break apart and isolate skin cells from your saliva to sequence hundreds of thousands of base pairs within your genome. From this sequencing information many companies can tell you about your ancestry.
But did you know there is a lot more information contained within those genes that professionals like me can extract and then use to help you reach optimal health?
Are you genetically prone to mold allergies?
There are genetic variations identified with indoor and outdoor molds (the green and black ones) and plant fungi that cause hayfever and asthma. If you possess genetic variants that influence the way your body handles these allergens, this can pose terrible issues for your immune system, brain, gut and health. Knowing if you possess these variants can help you to be vigilant about assessing the mold in your home and office; wearing gloves or mask when gardening, or adding natural or tech filters in your living spaces.
Do your muscles need longer to repair post-exercise?
Prolonged strenuous exercise such as endurance training and strength training activate inflammatory responses that are enhanced in some people. If you possess genetic variants in the genes that affect this trait, you can be sure to apply longer recovery periods post training, consume increased anti-inflammatory foods such as monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and take steps to assure that your body’s vitamin and mineral status is optimal for recovery.
Are you able to efficiently absorb, transport and translate Folate (and other vitamins and minerals)?
Vitamin B9, or Folate, is essential for DNA synthesis, methylation, cell repair, protein metabolism and red blood cell formation. If you possess variants in these genes that inhibit the absorption, translation or transport of Vitamin B9, it can put you at risk for pregnancy complications, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, elevated homocysteine, and neuroimmune conditions. If you find that you possess these risk variants you can be sure to consume active forms of folate from dark green vegetables, fruits and legumes. You can check your lab values and if suboptimal, we can use targeted active folate supplementation to correct any existing imbalances and eliminate the risks associated. Not to mention make you feel much better!
Do you have increased collagen breakdown, leading to accelerated collagen loss and premature skin aging?
We all synthesize and break down collagen, but certain genetic variants can increase the levels of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases), which can increase normal aging and enhance the negative effects of UV damage or damage from environmental pollutants. If you find that you possess the genetic risk variants associated with collagen breakdown, you can be sure to use skin care products rich in antioxidants like polyphenols and carotenoids, or those that support increased collagen production, and increase your intake of collagen rich foods by drinking bone broth or supplementing with specific collagen supplements.
For weight loss, will you respond best to a Low-Fat diet, Low Carb diet or Mediterranean Style diet?
Weight loss is about much more than calories in and calories out. There are so many variables to consider such as quality of calories, distribution of macronutrients, style and frequency of exercise and of course making sure your overall health is ready to support a weight loss program. But what if you could at least skip some of the trial and error part of figuring all of this out? There are genes associated with the way we process fats, carbohydrates, proteins and of course the rate at which we burn calories. Learning which variants you possess can help us determine a precise meal plan to get you losing body fat, gaining lean muscle mass and getting you back to optimal health faster.
Do you possess the Alzheimer’s gene?
The strongest predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease is the genetic risk variant ApoE4. Some people have 0 copies, some people have 1 copy and some inherit 2 copies. These variants can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease significantly. However, if you find you do possess copies of these genes, even at a very young age, you can begin to put into place a protocol to prevent ever getting the disease. That’s right, prevent Alzheimer’s disease. I have 1 copy, and I know what it feels like to find out this information, and then how empowering it feels knowing that I am preventing it!
Do you possess the Heart Attack Gene?
9P21 is a gene that independently predicts risk even when family history, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are taken into account. Carriers of this genetic variant can immediately put into place a protocol to prevent heart attack, stroke and lower risk of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. You can support the entire cardiovascular system using diet, lifestyle and if needed, pharmaceutical or supplemental interventions.
I can tell you all of these things more, by looking at the raw data from your DNA test results! As registered dietitian nutritionists with additional advanced training in genetics, we can help you design a long-term diet and lifestyle to support your genes, and your goals.
Click here to purchase our DNA Analysis Package, setup your patient portal and upload your raw data for analysis. And don’t worry, if you don’t have a DNA kit or results already, we will mail one to you for free. Just let us know.
To download your raw data please see the instructions below!
Login to your 23andMe account from a laptop or desktop (not your phone). On your home page, press Tools, then press Browse Raw Data. Then press Download to the right of Browse. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Enter your password and press the green Download Raw Data button at the bottom.
Sign in to your Ancestry account from a laptop or desktop computer (not your phone). Click the DNA tab and select Your DNA Results Summary. Click SETTINGS on the right side of the page. Click DOWNLOAD RAW DNA DATA on the right side of the page. Enter your password and click CONFIRM. Then open the email and click Confirm Data Download. Click DOWNLOAD DNA RAW DATA.
From Family Tree DNA
Sign in to your myFTDNA account from a laptop or desktop computer (not your phone). On the menu bar, click myFTDNA > MyDNA > Family Finder > Download Raw Data. Click on the data and build you wish to download.