Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Wisdom Wednesday: 23ANDME
For the first time genetic testing is available directly to the consumer (you) at an FDA approved lab for $199. Just google “23ANDME” to reach the web site for genetic testing.
They will mail you a home kit. You return it with a saliva sample and they will analyze your DNA for genetic variants.
Variants are genetic snippets that are associated with a variety of health conditions. You actually have two snippets for every genetic trait – one from your mother and one from your father. As long as your parents are not too closely related, you chances of having defects in both gene snippets are relatively rare. For example, having a pair of defective snippets for the conversion of folic acid to its biologically active form (5-MTHF) only occurs in 8% of the population. However, we know very little about why your body chooses a particular snippet of DNA to reproduce a RNA copy. Each snippet is used about 50% of the time. It does appear that under stress, the body tends to use the defective snippet more frequently.
While having a pair of defective snippets for folic acid is rare, 25% of the population in the U.S. has one defective snippet for conversion. The same is true for vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. That means I see patients with one or more genetic defects every day.
Until recently, genetic testing was very expensive, upward of $500 dollars for one genetic snippet. Now advances in genotyping chips has allowed multiple panels of testing for a reasonable price.
The ACE gene codes for the Angiotensin-1 converting enzyme. This enzyme has a pivotal role in regulating blood pressure. A defective snippet can reduce exercise performance, cardiovascular fitness, glucose balance and salt sensitivity.
The ADH gene codes for Alcohol Dehydrogenase, primarily found in the liver. The breakdown of alcohol and cardiovascular fitness are affected by this snippet.
The IL-6 gene is associated with cytokines that can be both pro- and anti-inflammatory. Inflammatory response and recovery, bone integrity, glucose balance and vascular flow are all influenced by this gene.
The MTHFR, MTR, and MTRR are all gene codes for B vitamin metabolism. The B vitamins are involved in thousands of chemical reactions in the body.
Currently, 28 of these gene snippets are evaluated. In addition, 23andme looks at ancestry genes as well. You can trace your genetic origins back to Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon gene pools.
The Bottom Line:
For several years I have used the QA (Quintessential Applications) protocol to check for potential genetic defects in metabolism. Now we have an inexpensive laboratory test that can verify these defects. Proper nutritional support of any of these snippets can be life changing. Please consider having your gene code sequenced.