Earlier this year, the FDA gave the OK to home DNA tests that identify a person’s genetic risk for 10 diseases. Ideally, the results will help people make specific healthy choices to help lower their risk.
But that doesn’t always play out in the real world. One notable review in the BMJ found that
Expectations that communicating DNA based risk estimates changes behaviour is not supported by existing evidence.
Some of that may come from the fact that 23andMe – the company initially authorized to market the testing – can only deliver the basic results, not analysis or guidance. This had led to other concerns, from patient self-misdiagnosis to the impact of false results to overspending on unnecessary follow-up tests.
More, as a commentary in the Pharmaceutical Journal noted,
genetic testing is not a panacea for understanding individual health risks. Genetic variants do not inform you that you have a disease, but that you have a certain percentage likelihood of someday getting it. It remains unclear how useful this information really is.
Indeed, as we noted before, genes aren’t destiny. They’re potential – until they’re triggered. Environmental factors play a huge role – up to 90% in some cases of cancer, according to research published in Nature. The daily cocktail of chemicals we’re exposed to, the food we eat, the stress in our lives, our mental states, our daily physical activity (or lack of it) – all these and more affect how our genes express themselves.
This isn’t to say that genetic testing isn’t beneficial. It can be very useful under the guidance of a knowledgeable physician. Why? It can help us individualize treatment plans in ways never before imagined.
As a clinic specializing in holistic, preventive, longevity medicine, we’ve begun offering genetic analysis through PureGenomics. Using the 23andMe test kit, PureGenomics analyzes the raw data to identify metabolic blocks to health. The focus is on genetic variations that are relevant, validated by published research, and responsive to nutritional support.
Once we’ve identified those blocks, we can focus on overcoming them with nutrients. The end goal? Better health through better assimilation of the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
And this is just one of the possibilities of genetic testing – another way to provide the kind of personalized medicine that our patients seek.
For though we have many commonalities, each of us is biochemically and bioenergentically unique.
Each of us has our own particular history of injuries and illnesses and stressors. Each of us makes a unique set of lifestyle choices, some of which support good health, some of which undermine it. All these combine, too, to manifest the particulars of any illness.
This is why, for instance, two people can be exposed to the very same “germs” and only one will get sick. It’s why two people can smoke cigarettes for decades and only one will develop emphysema. It’s not luck. It’s not some mysterious force.
Only when you are seen, understood and treated as the unique individual you are can you find the path you need to optimal wellness and Radiant Health. That path is a little different for everyone. As it should be.
It starts with information – the very being of every gene in your body.
Image by Webridge, via Wikimedia Commons