Do I Need A DNA Test?

Tyler Lafleur

do-i-need-a-dna-test

Most readers and health enthusiasts want to know if they actually need a genetics test in order to be healthy. The answer: it depends on your definition of healthy.

What we know about fat loss and weight loss hasn't really changed over the years. We know that exercise and eating whole foods are two great pillars of a healthy lifestyle.

But in the past few years, people have decided to walk away from the basics of health and wellness (habits and nutritional choices) and seek something a bit more sexy in nature:

Genetics! 

Because, in no way, shape, or form can it actually be your OWN fault that you can't lose weight, right?

Well, it turns out, aside from knowing that your great uncle was an Irish clog dancer or finding out if your pee will reek of asparagus, genetics aren't exactly the miracle we have been waiting for.

Because if you are genetically prone to have high blood sugar or Type II diabetes, but none of your lab markers show that, what really will you need to change given this new bit of information?

And there is also that little, tiny bit of science known as Epigenetics that shows how the environment and our stress play HUGE roles in changing our DNA genetic switches, literally turning on and off our propensity to acquire certain diseases.

And if that isn't enough to sway you off of your genetic high horse, there is always the little bit of research that shows just how powerful our minds are when it comes to mental vs. genes in the grand scheme of health.

Researchers at Stanford wanted to see just how powerful our minds were in comparison to the genetic hands the participants were dealt.

There is a gene called CREB1.

How to cure a hangover

What the CREB1?

People with a high-risk CREB1 genotype, rather than a protective CREB1 genotype, typically have poorer aerobic capacity and struggle to benefit from physical exercises. So the researchers split participants into groups according to these genotypes.

But the focus wasn't on the gene itself, it was on how the mindset of the participants would affect their performance if they told them that they indeed had one or the other variant.

Turns out, regardless of their true genetic profiles, people who were told they had high-risk genotypes believed they were more vulnerable to poor exercise capacity than people who were told they had protective genotypes. They also expressed more worry and less control over their physical health. 

Surprised? 

So, is genetic testing a total waste?

No, it isn't. But it surely is not a death sentence or a badge of immunity like some regard it to be.

It turns out, that a handful of genetic variants can be super helpful regarding your heart health as it pertains to how your body produces and metabolizes cholesterol and how well you methylate.

And while I could dive deep into this topic, I will only keep this brief.

Your-Hearty-Genes

When looking into your heart health, you want to pay particular attention to the following two genes:

1. MTHFR:

Super important indicator of methylation.

The main thing you want to view, along side your particular variant, is your Homocysteine level.

The higher your serum levels of homocysteine, usually the more damage you are doing to the inner lining of your arteries.

2. ApoE status:  

The APOE gene matters, basically, because of the disease risks involved. These can include:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
 
Regarding the ApoE gene, there are different types of the genotype, which are the:
2 alleles
3 alleles
4 alleles
Now, you can imagine the different combinations that we might have, such as: 2/2/, 2/4, etc. The most common are:
2/3
3/3
3/4
4/4
These are the most common ones for the vast majority of people. Of those, the 2/3 and the 3/3 are the most common that we see in average populations. While it might vary based upon ethnicity, this is what is most typical across the board.

What does this mean is regards to health? 

 
Well, in my opinion, a few things:
1. Avoid consuming high quantities of fats
If I had the Apo E4 variant, I probably wouldn't be pounding Keto Coffee Bombs and slathering my bread and veggies in butter.
2. Mitigate risk of Alzheimer's
I would also probably be doing everything I could to mitigate my risk of Alzheimer's since this variant sets folks up for the highest risk of it.
3. Follow a Nutritional Guide
If I had the ApoE 2/3 pr 3/3 variants, I would probably download this awesome nutritional cheatsheet from Apex Prevention since it lines out exactly the foods to eat and not eat:
APEX Heart-friendly nutrition guide

Looking for a more narrowed-down solution?

If you are looking for more cheat-sheet type answers to your health and wellness woes, as opposed to navigating Google's WildWest of answers, click below and join our Highlite Tribe.

Our members get only the answers they seek and can upgrade to coaching or working with a Functional Medicine doctor only when necessary. 

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