What I have learned about my genetics…& why it matters!
CATEGORIES: Healing & Herbs
When it comes to genetics and our health people tend to be in one of three camps:
1 – they are terrified because their relative had/has cancer/diabetes/heart disease and they are certain they will end up the same
2 – they are blissfully unaware of how their genetic inheritance could be impacted their day to day
3 – they use their genetics as an excuse to live an unhealthy life because ‘it’s inevitable’ right? Because whats the point?
Ideally, you don’t want to be in any of these camps.
Our genes are super important and play a large part in putting together our health puzzle.But they aren’t everything. Just because you maybe that that gene for diabetes or breast cancer doesn’t automatically mean you will end up with said disease. You have an increased risk, but you’re not by any means ‘doomed’. The best way of explaining genetics is this:
genetics load the gun, but our lifestyles pull the trigger.
So for me, I am pretty sure I have a gene that makes me more susceptible to Alzheimer’s as both sets of grandparents have had it. Does that mean it’s inevitable that I will succumb to this? No, not if I intentionally create a healthy lifestyle. But it is helpful at showing my where my innate weakness are, what areas so I need to intentionally support. The help to reveal your genetic (metaphoric) Achilles heel, in a way.
Buts lets take it back a step – whats a gene?
A gene is a particular section of the DNA that performs a specific function in the body. Genes play a prominent role in the structural and functional aspects of the body and the variations in the DNA sequence at particular locations are called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced “snips”), the following are genes and snips tested.
And there is a whole field of epigenetics, which is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Meaning we need to be more bothered about what genes are expressing in our body, more than the genes we have in general circumstances. Make sense?
So when iamYiam contacted me to ask if I wanted to get some of my genetics tested – I said yes! Getting your DNA tested in super easy, just required a swab from inside your mouth, but many companies out there that will test your DNA often give you incredibly confusing results that make zero sense. You just get a loooonng list of SNIPs that looks a bit like this:
Not overly helpful for the average person.
But I have been wanting to know more about my genetics for a while, as I suspected I have a few Achilles heels…..
The most common gene that gets talked about in the health world is one called MTHFR, one I suspected I had due to my long standing health issues but wanted to know for sure.
So I got a parcel in the post, swabbed my mouth and boom that was it. About 6 weeks later I then got an email with my results.
I loved using the iamYiam interface. As I have been learning more about epigenetics over the years, through reading and in my MSc but it can be SO confusing to be faced with a bunch of SNIPS, like above so you need someone to interpret them for you. So the iamYiam interface was so clear to use, gave simple explanations that you wouldn’t necessarily need a practitioner to guide you through it.
Orange – indicates that you may need more of that vitamin/mineral
So my suspicions were correct. I am heterozygous for MTHFR which means I struggle with a key bodily process called methylation. It’s not a disaster by any means but helpful to know as it means I need extra support with my B vitamins.
Also, you can see my body, in general, has some SNIPs that means it struggles with utilising vitamin C, protein, vitamin D, A, B6 B9, B2, and iron. Just a few then. Easy to see why my health hasn’t necessarily been easy breezy over the years.
Now again these SNIPs alone aren’t to blame, there has been stress, trauma, poor diet choices and other factors that have exacerbated them. But to be honest I was so relieved to see them on paper and know I am not crazy or a hypochondriac.
My body does struggle to utilise things that my ‘other’ normal friends don’t struggle with. Plus add in factors like my poor gut health, parasite infection, my thyroid issues (none of these are covered looked at this test) – you can see why I am a hot mess!
Plus it makes sense for why I love SUPER bitter foods like danelion coffee, coffee, 90% dark chocolate and other uber bitter foods.
So it is worth knowing and testing your genetics?
A whole hearted yes. I often suspect with my clients if they too have an MTHFR SNIP or the VDR one that means you don’t metabolism vitamin D well and if you are hitting your head against a brick wall then it can be very helpful.
Green – means everything is great. Orange means I need to be aware.
I have since changed my supplementation and to be honest, looked at myself with much more kindness. My body does slightly struggle with some general metabolic processed and needs more support than your average ‘Joe Blogs’. And that’s ok, I am not a wimp, it’s just the way I am. Phew.
Is this the first test I would get a client to invest in – no. I think gut health, thyroid health, and other test are often necessary BUT for me, this has really helped fill in the blanks and brought clarity onto to previously murky areas.
To get your own DNA tested and get a personalised report like mine then simply click here to find out more info.