Knowledge is Power ~ Sr. Frances Bacon 1597
Yes, Knowledge is power ….and yet, I talk to people every day who seem afraid to know the powerful secrets lying in their own genetic code. Their resistance to knowing seems to boil down to one of four questions. Let’s talk about those myths and one more common misconception just for fun.
5 Common Myths About Genetic Testing
1. If I get a test that says I have a gene for <xyz> cancer, then I will definitely develop this condition someday. Why should I find out now and just spend my good days worrying?
- A genotyping test doesn’t tell you that you are GOING to get a disease. Even if you test positive for a genetic mutation that has been linked in research with higher chances of developing a condition – whether or not that condition develops depends on a lot of other “stars aligning” if you will. Diet, lifestyle, and environmental factors play a significant role. Which is exactly the point of testing if you ask me.
- Plus what we are looking for is at a much more foundational level. Rather than looking at diseases, people who look at nutrigenomics like I do, look at how well the most basic metabolic pathways in the body are functioning and if there are weak links genetically speaking that need to be accounted for. You might find that like me, you are part of the 60% of the population should avoid foods and supplements fortified with folic acid. That’s not that scary to find out is it? It is something concrete that you can take action on right away.
2. Consumer gene sequencing is just for finding out my long-lost relatives.
- Due to FDA regulations, companies like Ancestry.com and 23andme are not allowed to publish health reports based on the data that they collect for you. They can’t even advertise the fact that for less than the cost of a hotel room near the Space Needle, you can get life-changing insights into your health. Luckily there are enough people interested in long-lost relatives to keep them in business, but the industry secret is that the most valuable data from these simple screens can be unlocked by downloading the raw data and running it through a 3rd party website.
3. It is a waste of money since I can’t change my genetics and therefore can’t change my health.
- “Genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger” – a quote attributed to just about everyone on the internet apparently, but a good line never the less. If this is news to you, try googling “epigenetics“.
4. Taking a genetic test puts my privacy at risk – couldn’t I be denied insurance if the test shows that I am at high risk for some disease?
- First of all, this isn’t a doctor’s office or city hall. You can run the test with a fake name such as “Big Bird” or “Cookie Monster” and if you want to go the extra mile, you may already know how to go about making anonymous or private online payments.
5. Genetic testing tells me everything I need to know about my current health status.
- As fascinating as it is, genotyping is significantly more useful if compared against a test called an organic acids profile that takes a look at how your body is metabolizing nutrients today. So on one page you have your genetic potential and on the second one, you have a snapshot of how that potential is being realized. In combination, these two data points paint a picture the areas where your body could use additional support and most clearly direct a path forward.
So what is it like to have genetic testing done?
I will very often recommend a simple genotyping test such as 23andMe in conjunction with a metabolic analysis for clients going through my four-step Migraine Freedom plan. In the second phase of this program, DIVE, we dive into your functional health data looking for root causes and underlying imbalances. In the most complex cases, taking a look at the genetic weak links can provide straightforward answers about how your body needs to be supported right now and in the future to perform at its best.
I found this info to be pivotal in my own journey, because I learned that I have a number of genetic mutations that impact my ability to convert nutrients found in many foods and supplements into a useful form including b-vitamins and sulfur-compounds. This impacts my natural ability to clear toxins and likely contributed to the chronic GI issues, fatigue and migraines I was suffering with in my 20s.
Not only has knowing this piece of the puzzle helped me recover from “incurable” conditions but I feel like being forced to understand my biology at a relatively young age has set me up for a much healthier future. There are no guarantees, but it seems logical that by recognizing and supporting my genetic “weak links” from 30 – onward is going to make me less susceptible to the tragic diseases plaguing our modern society and that is a good feeling.
If you still have questions nagging you before you take the plunge and order one of these simple saliva kits that you can take in the comfort of your own home, please reach out. If you feel inspired to find out what looking at the foundations of your health could help you with, then I’d invite you to set up your initial Case Review and get started!
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