Genetic Tests & What To Do With Your Gene Results
Unless you’ve been living on another plant, you have probably heard of the 23andme test. It’s a test that analyses your DNA and gives an idea if you have any so-called SNPs (or SNiPs). SNPs show where you might have likely gene issues amounting to certain enzymatic functions in the body over or under-performing. That could be things like methylation, breaking down alcohol or caffeine, oestrogen dominance, Vitamin D metabolism or a lot more besides.
To be honest, for a practitioner, I have been a deliberate late-adopter of genetic testing and using the results for treatment. I still think it is very much an evolving area of medicine and there is LOT we don’t yet know.
However, it is a fact that patients are asking us about it more and more so it is time to ‘un-bury’ my head and start guiding people in this area a bit more.
Why gene test?
The fact is whilst there is a lot we don’t know yet, there is now a lot we DO know and we can start using that information to help us in treatment for various conditions, choosing the right meds and supplements and giving us clues to what might help and what might not.
Just because you have a SNiP doesn’t mean you have the problem..
My biggest issue with genetic testing has been that it tends to start people worrying – and most often quite unnecessarily. The pattern tends to go: buy 23andme or other test, see lots of SNPs, panic, look them up, think: ‘ah I have got this or that issue’, panic some more, look up stuff on t’internet and start treating the issue.
Sounds OK, but many people don’t realise just because the SNP is present, doesn’t mean you have an issue related to it. We all have SNPs and they have to be triggered – by diet, environment, stress, parasites, stress or whatever – to ‘express’.
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.
I know I am ranting a bit here, but I have honestly seen many people go down completely wrong treatment pathways as a result of having the genetic testing done. That’s precisely why I am doing this genetic testing factsheet for you now so we can direct you a bit, avoid the panic and wrong treatment stages and use the info you have properly.
Ok, rant over.
Here’s how to do it usefully..!
I’ve finally found a really good gene test which gives you everything – no need to run the raw data through another website or to pay a Nutrigenomics practitioner to interpret it for you (although it may still be wise to show your results to your healthcare provider, so that they can guide you).
It comes with a fabulous 47 page report tailored to answers you give on a questionnaire so is relevant to you and it covers much of the main SNPs you might be interested in to do with methylation, nutrients, weight loss and much more.
First: order your test kit from 23and me here. Once your results are done, download your raw data from 23andme.
Next you need to run that data through a good analysis system. There are loads out there and more popping up every day. We would recommend you use Sterling’s App at mthfrsupport.com and do a Variant Report.
This is the industry standard for nutrigenomics practitioners – and you may need one of those practitioners later, so you might as well make sure you get something they can use and not have to spend more money and time doing it for them later!
You’ll effectively get back something that looks like this:
As you will see it is pretty complex, but it does contain everything you need to work with.
In short, green means no problem, yellow (heterozygous) means you have one mutation on the gene (from either parent) and that enzyme might be working at about 60% capacity possibly, and red (homozygous) means you have 2 gene mutations (one from each parent) and it might only have about 20% capacity.
BUT, it is usually only one step in a whole chain of steps so might be having no effect whatsoever!
Once you’ve got that report back, you have a couple of options:
Take it to a Nutrigenomics trained practitioner
The ideal is to take your results to a Nutrigenomics practitioner like Anne on our referral team. I specifically asked her to join us to provide this kind of help.
Genetic results are only as good as the interpretation of them and, trust me, it is just not worth trying to work this out yourself. It seems simple (ish), I know, but it is all in the interp. See Anne or someone like her. It’s important.
What you can do whilst you’re waiting..
You will probably have to wait for an appointment with a good practitioner as there’s not that many around yet, and I know you will be champing at the bit for more interp help by now!
Watch this video by Dr Jess Armine, widely-regarded as one of the most sensible and knowledgeable nutrigenomics experts around. It’s quite long but gives you a good idea of what that data means initially – he uses the Sterling report too so yours should match his on the video!
Once you have your results, more understanding of what they mean and, crucially, the correct interpretation of them, you can then start to really use that information to help you get well.
As I find more resources and list specific genetic tests like the thyroid D102 here, for example, I’ll add that info too for you in this section. You can read all about the gluten gene test and order it here.
The DD Methylation pathways gene test and the DetoxGen (if you need more on detoxification ability) can be found here
Hope that helps. Good luck with the minefield!