You might have heard about MTHFR its significance. The gene is important in several pathways dealing with detox and energy. Labs are finally getting on board and are proud of themselves for offering an MTHFR screen and to let you know if you are homozygous (both alleles of the gene are affected) or heterozygous (ony one of the gene’s alleles is affected).
Some months ago, we began to explore this and closely related genes and made an attempt to problem-solve some health issues armed with this new information. I hate to admit that it didn’t go well. Finding a heterozygous gene and adding methylfolate and/or methylcobalamine (a type of Vitamin B12) was just as likely to make things worse as better. I was looking for something more promising than a coin toss to help me move a person’s health toward something more positive.
So I kept looking, and ran across some important information that is worthy of sharing here. This approach is cheap, important and useful, making it the trifecta of health care testing. This approach to health is fairly new, but the information we have is backed up by peer-reviewed literature. Not too far off in your future, you will begin solving problems using genetic information in this way. You won’t even want to take an over-the-counter medication before knowing the genetic probability of that medication being a help or a detriment. You will know which type of diet will give you the best results, or which supplements are likely to be helpful and which ones to avoid. You will discover who should not have an opiate medication for risk of rapid addiction.
Today, the best place to start learning about your genes is a $99 23andMe genetic screen. 23andMe has the largest genetic database in the world with over a million samples. The information they are permitted to give you is not that complete as they are still working things out with the FDA. What you will get from them is some fun ancestry information that you will most likely find surprising. This information is interesting but not particularly helpful.
Once you have that genetic analysis, you can use that data to get even more information from other sources. That brings us to NutraHacker. They will connect to your 23andMe account and analyze raw data that you yourself can’t directly access, providing several different analyses starting at $23. In our experience, these reports usually provide 8-10 pages of important data, including Category (such as detox, methylation etc), RSID (specific gene variation), Gene Name, Expected genotype, Genotype found with risk, Frequency of this gene in the population, Gene function, Description of problems with this gene, Things to Increase (diet and supplements such as more broccoli and NAC), and Things to avoid (like nicotine or methyl B12). These reports only show genes that are heterozygous or homozygous with risk factors. If you have two good genes with no identified risk, those won’t show up on the report. You will be busy learning how to manage the homozygous genes and won’t give much attention to the heterozygous presentations.
Right now, the genes scanned and presented are only those that have been adequately researched (about 200). As time goes on, this type of analysis will become increasingly robust, useful and commonplace.
You and/or your doctor will have to take your clinical picture into consideration to decide where to start and which genes are most important to address.
If you’d like us to consult with you on your genetic screening results, give us a call and then forward the report you were emailed to us to take a look at.The results will come to you in an email. This will help both of us as the more of these we see, the more they mean to us. We will then be able to give you some insight as to where you might begin making changes to improve your health. We have found this testing to be very helpful in understanding our own health pictures, and you will too!