4 Steps to ‘Proper’ Genetic Testing

23andMe DNA Test KitOver the last year or so, I have studiously buried my head in the sand and avoided genetic testing like 23andme like the plague!

If anyone asked me for help, I sent them straight over to Anne Pemberton, the UK’s foremost Nutrigenomics practitioner (more on her joining our team below, oh yes..) and left them to it!

I did introduce proper gluten gene testing to the UK in 2011, I thank you, and do some thyroid, methylation and detox gene testing, but in general I have stayed clear of the kind of ‘overview tests’ like 23andme which gives such a lot of info I don’t have the expertise to pick through for you. Hence the need for Anne!

And, to be quite honest, I always wait and see what will happen with something when a ‘trend’ calms down. I am not an early-adopter of such things as I’ve seen too many ‘wonder’ tests, supplements, meds etc etc prove not to be so wonderful at all in the end.

I’ve learned to let things settle before I jump on the bandwagon! It loses me money as I could make a fortune servicing people’s requests, but I hope you know by now Purehealth is here for the long haul (17 years so far..) and I don’t jump on any bandwagons – unless I am creating or driving them like TrulyGlutenFree and now ACE Disorders!

Conflicting and confusing information

Anyway, as it stands today, I get asked about gene test results very often still. There is a lot of expertise about, but much of it is confusing and leading people down wrong treatment paths or causing unnecessary worry to my mind – so I feel the time is right to give a bit more guidance.

Genetic testing, it seems, is here to stay, so Christine, Victoria and I have pooled our knowledge and come up with the best way forward for people wanting to test properly.

To clarify: when I say ‘properly’ I mean knowing if the SNiPs that turn up are actually having any impact on a functional level (ie. on your actual health) and need to be considered in treatment or not. Most often, it is not or, more accurately, not maybe in the ways you might have thought from the obvious headlines in your results. Ooh controversial..!

Between us, we actually have quite a bit of knowledge on the team – well, Christine and Victoria do anyway 😉 – so I am really pleased about that.

Welcome Anne Pemberton

That said, I’m pleased to say that our knowledge will be backed up by the much stronger expertise of Anne, who has agreed to join us on our clinical team. She couldn’t really not after I wailed , moaned and stamped my feet until she agreed…:)

OK, to start: here’s my 4 steps to proper gene testing for you then. I just made that up as I realised there are in fact 4 key steps in my new Purehealth Gene Tests factsheet:

Genetic Tests & What To Do With Your Gene Results

As you’ll see that guides you through

  • how to do a 23andme test
  • which online software service to run the results through
  • points you to good resources to start learning what they may mean and
  • recommends you talk to Anne on the team, or someone like her (she’s training people up as fast as she can, bless her!).

Here is Anne’s page on the shop, where you can book a free initial chat with her and take it forward if you need to.

Anne Pemberton, Functional Medicine and Genetics Anne Pemberton

My biggest piece of advice on gene testing, which comes from the zillions of ‘panicked’ or simply confused callers asking me what this or that genetic problem means and what to do about it – is that it is all in the interpretation.

The golden rule is:

If a gene is ‘expressing’, you have the problem but just seeing SNPs on a list does not mean you have an issue and should go off and treat it.

OK, I hope that all helps get you through the maze of SNP testing! And welcome to Anne from all of us. Maybe I’ll test my own now then and see what mine say, eek!


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