Genetic testing is an important piece of the health puzzle because it can tell you key information for why you may be not be feeling well, even when you are taking all of the right steps. If you are someone who is relatively healthy, genetic tests  provides valuable information for prevention which otherwise you would not know.

Genetic tests look at everything from how much caffeine you should be consuming all the way to if you are predisposed for certain diseases. In functional medicine, one of the key pieces of information is a person’s ability to methylate. Methylation is important because its a process that happens every second and is involved in protecting your DNA, detoxing, inflammation and neurotransmitter production. What is crazy is 1 out of every 3 people have the genetic mutation causing them to be a poor methylator (MTHFR gene). What’s key to understand if you are a poor methlyator, your body has a tougher time detoxifying that those who can methylate properly. Additionally poor methylators have a hard time converting vitamins into a usable form in the liver. Ironically you need sufficient levels of vitamin B to keep methylation running smoothly.

To help with methylation, supplements can be taken that help the detoxification pathways including ALA (alpha lipoic acid) and NAC (N-acteyl cysteine). These are both anti oxidants which help remove neutralize free radicals (toxins that damage our bodies ie: chemicals etc). Also if you are a poor methylator, it’s important to take methylated supplements ie)  traditional vitamin B supplement are in the  chemical form cobalamine which your liver needs to convert to methylcobalamine to use so buy supplements that are already in the form methylcobalamine.

Currently, the follow genetics tests are available to consumers.

  1. 23 and Me: tests similar genes as Nutrigenomix, but shows more methlyation pathways than Nutrigenomix. 23 and Me also has ancestry and if you are a carrier for certain diseases. If you decide to get tested, you receive a report from 23 and Me, but you can request the raw data. If you do this you have access to a lot more of the information given in the report. Once you receive the raw data, you can put it through http://geneticgenie.org/ which will give you the detailed report on methylation and detox. FYI 23/me was recently bought by a pharmaceutical company and the panels have changed and some of the information is no longer available which is a bummer. I fear that other useful data will be taken out as well so something to consider before running the test. Also some clinicians have told me to use a pseudonym for your name so your genetic data can’t be used against you. There is a class action suit against 23/me where information was released to insurance companies and some claims were denied due to a pre-existing condition. Below you can find exerpts from a sample report. For more information check out https://www.23andme.com

Sample Report from 23 and Me

The real beneficial information lies in requesting the raw data from 23/Me and then running it through a system that interprets the raw data.

Sample Report from Genetic Genie2. Nutrigenomix: this test is great for optimizing your health as it looks at 7 areas including nutrient metabolism, cardiac health, weight management, food intolerances, eating habits and fitness all from your genetic code. Markers such as how much caffeine should you consume, are you a candidate for a high protein diet and do you have the risk variant for developing celiac disease. By understanding your specific genetic make up, you can tailor your diet to ensure it is optimal for your health.

Caffeine in relation to your risk for cardio vascular disease.