Functional DNA testing is a pathway to personalising your diet and supplement choices
The Human Genome Project completed in 2003 allowed us to map our genes in their entirety. This breakthrough in medical science has unlocked the door to a galaxy of knowledge around how our genes affect different functions within our body.
Options to test your DNA are numerous and varied but should have some key characteristics. The first and most important is that each gene reported should be aligned with a function before an illness.
This form of reporting aligns with the first mantra of clinical DNA testing – “Genes are a tendency, not a destiny.” This mantra expresses a critical point. Your genes can only influence a particular function. If your genes have a naturally occurring alteration inherited from generations before you, the function they interact with may be less effective by anywhere from 20-60%. If left unmitigated for decades, this deficit in function can lead the body down a path towards illness. Hence the mantra, tendency not a destiny.
With DNA mapping, we can now investigate what those alterations in function are and mitigate them. Let’s look at Vitamin D, for example. Five central genes influence receptors that dictate how the sun you get or the supplement you take is absorbed and used. The more alterations in these genes, the higher the dose of Vitamin D you may need to take to either correct a deficiency, extremely common in Hong Kong or maintain healthy levels. For some, this means the difference between taking 2,000IU or 10,000IU a day to get the right balance, a clear example of how personalisation can benefit you from a practical standpoint immediately.
The second characteristic is a functional DNA report that looks at practical solutions to take action, whether adjusting dietary habits, such as lactose or gluten genes or adding, changing or removing supplements to match the demand of some of the deficits of function. These practical recommendations align with the second mantra of gene interpretation – “Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”
This mantra suggests that whilst your genes dictate function, they can also be turned on and off by your internal, your microbiome, for example, or your external environment, your dietary choices, for example.
Your DNA test will also cover genes in the following areas:
- Fat and Cholesterol metabolism
- Weight loss and critical markers for body composition
- Detoxification genes
- Nutrient and Vitamin Absorption
- Bone Health
- Insulin and blood sugar
- Gluten and lactose sensitivity
- Brain and mental health
- Methylation genes.