A topic that has come up a lot in practice is the usefulness of Genetic Testing. There are even TV commercials talking about Genetic Testing Kits to see about your family Heritage.
Genetic Testing has really started to come out of its infancy and is becoming a true tool for testing an individual’s predisposition and risk factors to disease as well as indicating what steps to take in order to be proactive for your future health and vitality.
Years ago, if a client had asked me if they should have Genetic Testing done I probably would have said, no. But, things have changed and the human genome is starting to become understood, although we are a long way from true understanding.
Here are some reasons that you might like to have Genetic Testing.
- Get genetic insight for an existing condition.
- Get genetic insight into confusing, unexplained symptoms.
- Learn more about hereditary diseases and disorders.
- Identify possible health risks and be proactive in prevention and lifestyle changes.
The above are all great reasons for Genetic Testing. In fact the nice thing about testing genetics is that you only have to do it once! Your genes don’t change.
What has sparked the most interest regarding health and disease risks in regard to our genes, are the things known as SNPs or “Snips”. These SNPs are short for, ‘Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms’. These are differences in the coding of our individual genes and they can be quite natural.
The importance of the SNPs is that since genes are code for producing protein and proteins control many of our body functions through enzymes, the enzyme pathways for metabolism of our biochemicals can be different.
We are very unique in every way, even down to our ability to process biochemicals within the body.
So, what? Well, this can mean that someone is more sensitive to caffeine or a medication than someone else. Or, maybe it means that we have a greater risk of having heart disease or stroke because we don’t process a normal biochemical such as Homocysteine as well as others.
In fact, you can many times see hints of a SNP or ‘difference’ in our family health history. (Ie. a long history of Heart Attack and Stroke in a family tree)
In this regard, knowing a risk factor and then taking steps to compensate for it or avoid other risk factors that contribute to the difference can be extremely useful.
I have said many times in my live speaking engagements that nothing can eat away at your retirement savings like a chronic health condition. So, take steps now while they’re less expensive.
It is important to understand that our genes are not a sentence to an unavoidable disease. But, a SNP can cause some confusing symptoms and a family history that may never have been understood, until now.
The human body is very good at adapting and compensating for whatever gets in its way of survival. This means that the body will choose another metabolic ‘pathway’ if it works better than the one that is dysfunctional, because of a SNP.
Ultimately, knowing what to do for a risk factor can mean the difference between having a chronic health issue and not having one. Knowledge is power!
So yes! I would say it is a great idea to have your Genetic Testing done. It can assist you and your Functional Medicine doctor in developing a plan of action, as a superior health team, that is looking out for your best interest in having a long and vital life.