All about Genetic Testing

Genetic testings uses a body fluid sample, usually saliva or blood, to identify changes in a persons DNA that explains a current disease or predicts a certain disease…

There are two types of genetic testing: MEDICAL and PREDICTIVE Genetic Testing, which is basically tests in people who are ill vs. tests in people who are well and want to know predictive factors that may predispose them to diseases or currently contrbuting to benign symptoms like fatigue or anxiety. 

 

Why test genetics?

Your skin color, body size, hair type, and predisposition to specific illnesses all depend on how your genes interact with your environment.

For instance, your genes may suggest that you’ll grow to somewhere between 5’5” and 5’8”. But your actual height is an interaction between genes and environment.  If you grow up malnourished, you won’t ever reach 5’8.”

What we eat early in life and what stress we are exposed to (and also what our moms eat while they’re pregnant and what stress the endured) can affect our genes and regulate our traits – including the development of diseases, even decades later. For example, mothers pregnant in the United States during 9/11 who experienced more stress have higher rates of children with ADD/ADHD and Anxiety.

Our genes can be influenced by all kinds of things, such as:

  1. nutrient deficiencies or excesses (especially at crucial developmental stages);
  2. dietary components (e.g., omega-3 fats, phytoestrogens, cruciferous vegetables, lycopene, folate, carotenoids, and so forth);
  3. sunlight and Vitamin D;
  4. toxins (such as industrial chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, etc.);
  5. bacteria and viruses;
  6. exercise and activity;
  7. alcohol and other drugs;
  8. circadian rhythms (such as sleep, shift work, and travel across time zones);

If that sounds a little scary, consider it from the opposite perspective: While we can’t control our genes themselves, we can affect their expression — whether they’re likely to get “switched on” or off.

Our genetic expression is strongly shaped by our environment… over which we do have some power. So, if we know more about our genetic variants, we might be able to adjust our lifestyle or environment in order to prevent some illnesses or become healthier.

For example, certain gene variants can tell us how food is metabolized.  Others can tell us whether or not carcinogens in cooked meats will influence the development of colon and prostate cancers. And others can predict inflammatory response and efficiency of DNA repair/replication.

If we know more about our own unique risk factors, we might be more likely to make healthier choices — choices that could improve our genetic expression.

Testing for genetic mutations

Testing for genetic mutations and then determining how they are affecting your health usually comes down to a three part process below. You will need a doctor to help interpret your results and to understand and put together a nutrient and diet protocol.

 

Limits of geneting testing

I recommend going through a clinician ordered testing  company only due to privacy issues. Because genetic testing is new, it hasn’t been socially and ethically explored in protecting that valuable information. A clinician ordering company will assign numbers instead of names to protect important information. if you do blood work through a clinician it is ALWAYS through a HIPAA or privacy health compliant labs with the number one priority being patient privacy

The other limits to genetic testing is in predictive qualities. If youre a helathy person with a positive results from genetic testing doesn’t always mean you will develop the disease

Some situations, a negative results doesn’t guarantee that you WON’T have a certain disease

What to Do Once You Have Your Results

I want to emphasize that while it is possible to explore your genetic mutations by yourself, and you may gain some useful information, I do encourage you to choose a practitioner to support you in the process. The reason I say this is that the processes in the body are highly responsive and dependent on each other. Say you find one genetic mutation—MTHFR for example—and begin to address it by taking methylfolate*. Well, if you also have SNPs on MTRR, COMT, CBS, and/or BHMT, then you may actually feel worse from taking 5MTHF. This is because you will have supported one step in the process, but not the other steps, and a ripple effect can result. A trained practitioner will be able to help you understand how your various SNPs are interrelated and how to address them in a way that hopefully avoids aggravations (and making you feel worse).

If you are curious, but not sure what you need, you could start by scheduling an initial consultation with me. That way we can review your case and I can help you get a sense of your next steps.


You can sign up for your DNA Program for all testing including food allergy testing, Custom Vitamins, and weekly visits for 1299!! Call us now to schedule!!

 

Author
Cynthia Preston, ND

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