Since starting on this path of a healthier lifestyle almost ten years ago now, I have got to know my body really well. I’d like to think I know what works for it and what doesn’t both nutritionally and fitness related. So when I got the opportunity to have a deeper look at myself on a genetic level how could I say no?!
A company called ‘Dnalysis’ conducted various tests on a cheek swab sample I sent them. They sent me this DNA Test Kit and I sent it back with my cheek swab. With this small sample of my saliva – they could uncover fascinating information about me which was sitting in my genes.
There are various tests one could request they run – these include: DNA Diet; DNA Health; DNA Skin; DNA Sport; DNA Oestroegen.
I did the first three listed above and they revealed some interesting facts about me. Once you get your results, you have a meeting with a registered dietitian to explain your results to you and what changes to your lifestyle, eating habits and exercise you should make in order to avoid any illness and abnormalities that you may be inclined to get according to your genes.
For me, it was revealed that endurance exercise does not agree with my body, this was one of the big ‘ah-ha’ moments for me during this unpacking of my results as I did have an idea that long distance sports wasn’t for me – but it was more on an instinctive level. I have done two Cape Argus Cycle Tours, a 947 Cycle race, multiple half marathons and during all of them I never felt as good as I do doing HIIT training and more importantly afterwards – I felt horrible – sore, injured and weak.
The test confirmed all these feelings were not unfounded – in fact it found that endurance sports causes inflammation in my body which is not good. However, this may be the exact opposite for someone else – but you’ll only know if you do these tests.
On the nutrition side – I also found out various interesting information about myself that I didn’t know.
I interviewed Dr. Daniel Meyersfeld from Dnalysis to find out more about DNA Testing…
1. Briefly explain the science behind this type of testing?
The tests look at specific regions within specific genes or interest that have been shown, through extensive research, to affect the function of the gene. In the same way as a spelling change in the word Cat, creates the word Hat, so small spelling changes in our DNA (called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs (snips)) can affect the expression of a gene. Importantly, when we create these test panels, we concern ourselves primarily with those gene variations whose effect can be modified through the appropriate diet and lifestyle interventions. Whilst we cannot change the DNA, we can affect the gene expression. In this way, knowledge of one’s DNA can empower a person to make the most suitable lifestyle choices for them, and we move away from the one-size-fits all model of healthcare.
2. How accurate are the results and summations thereof?
Dnalysis has an ISO accredited laboratory with the necessary controls in place to minimize laboratory errors. We are confident in the accuracy and integrity of the lab analysis.
We are also confident that our interpretation of the prevailing scientific literature on which our tests are based is accurate. Whilst there will always be new variants within genes that are found to play a role in various areas that we cover, we believe that the tests represent an accurate assessment of our current knowledge in these areas.
3. How does the average person benefit from this type of information?
It is becoming increasingly difficult for the average, health conscious consumer, to know where to turn when seeking health advice. With a genetic test, advice is based not on the most recent fad or theory, but rather on your own genetic blue-print. The genes don’t lie…
The tests empower an individual to understand where their own health risks lie, and more importantly, what they themselves can do to try and reduce some of these risks.
4. DNA Analysis has never been used in this way before but rather to understand medical abnormalities or for further investigation. People don’t know that it can be used to just understand your body better. Why the “commercialization” of DNA analysis?
Commercialization came along with our increased understanding of the relationship between genes and environment, and the realisation that we can affect gene expression through the environment in which we place ourselves. Exercise, nutrient intake, exposure to chemicals and toxins; all have an effect on the expression of our genes and contribute to determining our health outcomes.
5. What are the benefits of Dnalysis?
- Across the different panels of tests, we provide information on:
- Health risks related to chronic disease
- Weight management
- Sports performance
- Cognitive health
- Aesthetics and skin aging
Identifying the most suitable prescription medication across pain, cardiovascular and psychiatric drugs; a test that doctors can use to minimize the risk of side effects that are associated with many of these medications.
In Conclusion – I am all for understanding my body better and providing it with the best possible nutrients and movement that it best responds to. I do think understanding one’s body on a genetic level is definitely helpful and insightful and something worth looking into.
If you are interested in having one of the tests done go to:
Happy Healthy Fabulous