The right analysis of your 23andme or other DNA profiles can give you valuable health insights.
Everybody seems to be doing a 23andme or other DNA test at the moment, and I’m as keen as the next person. But I’ve just found a DNA test I want even more. I went to an intro evening about it the other night, and I’m excited. I can see the potential for myself, my family and my clients – how to really fine-tune diet, lifestyle and exercise to match our genetic profile.
Fitgenes was developed by an Australian couple who initially wanted to avoid their own genetic pitfalls. As they looked into genetic testing, they could see that a lot of it was either “doom and gloom” info, or things that weren’t very useful.
So they developed a set of tests that only tested genes that had been thoroughly researched, and that had lifestyle modifications that had been proven to change the effect of that gene. They have been using this set of test for 8 years now, and have a bunch of miracle stories to tell.
Their aim was to increase life expectancy, but also diminish the gap between “life expectancy” and “health expectancy”. Life expectancy is how long we live; health expectancy is how much of that lifetime we are healthy for, and the gap between them is growing unacceptably large.
There are two tests you can have done. One is called CarbChoice and it tests one gene only – AMY1. This tells you how much amylase you are programmed to produce. So then you know how you process starches in the diet, and how good your blood glucose management is. If your score is 1-4, you have very little ability to digest starches. 5-8, you’re pretty average. 9 or more, and you have a very good ability to digest them.
One doctor in New Zealand tested a bunch of his Type 2 diabetic patients, and found that the ones with a low score had an average BMI of 31. The ones with a high AMY1 count, had an average BI of 37. Take a moment for the meaning of that to sink it. This means that if your score is low, you could develop T2 diabetes at a much lower body fat content than people with a high score. If you have that profile, it would be good to know early so you can prevent it.
This is revolutionary, for helping determine your optimum diet. We can usually tell after a bit of trial and error which seems to work best for each person, but to take the guesswork out will be amazing._See my previous article on the wide range of so-called healthy diets out there.
Their other test – the Health and Wellness profile - looks at genes that determine how you handle inflammation, what your cardiovascular risk is, your fat and cholesterol metabolism and more. Each group has a number of genes checked, and tabulated, so you can see at a glance what your risk in any area is. Or to use their terminology, how big is your playing field? Have you got a lot of room to move, or do you need to be more careful?
But remember, this is not about doom and gloom, this is about information you can use. If your “playing field” is smaller, you know you have to be more aware of how lifestyle affects you, which can be thought of as being limiting. Or you can think of it as being empowering. The Fitgenes database has info on what supplements or lifestyle modifications can help, and your practitioner can get that info for you.
Some of this might be diet and supplements, but you can also see what exercise might be helpful. One case study was about a woman who couldn’t lose weight no matter how much exercise she did or how good her diet was. It turned out she had very little ability to reduce inflammation. Once she stopped the heavy workouts that were creating inflammation, and just walked for half an hour a day, her health and weight improved dramatically.
Another bit of good news is that if you already have a 23andme profile, Fitgenes can produce a report for you based on your existing profile.
Check out the Fitgenes website at http://www.fitgenes.com/ - this stuff is the future of health and it looks to me like they have developed a very good model. A naturopath friend has been using another company for genetic testing for several years and says their reports are great but too detailed to be useful. These ones give her information her clients can use.
They currently have practitioners in Australia, New Zealand and some states of the US, and this will continue to grow.
Disclosure – I will be doing the training to administer the CarbChoice test for any clients here in Wellington, NZ, but I won’t be doing the full training.