Genetic testing has become very popular of late, with lots of direct-to-consumer tests like 23 and Me popping up. These tests sequence a portion of your genome, and then give you information about a variety of things you might be more likely to experience as a result of your genes. These tests are sort of a “genetics lite” version of the type of in-depth testing medical professionals do to look for disease risk.
The biggest issue around any sort of genetic testing has to do with one giant question: Just because I have this gene, does it mean I definitely have or will develop disease X? This fear leads many people to avoid genetic testing, as they’re afraid the results will condemn their future. Basically, they wonder, are my genes my destiny?
The answer here is a resounding NO. Genes and genetic expression are complicated, but the easiest way to think about genes is like a light switch, that can be turned on or off. Genes are constantly turning on and off, or “expressing,” and just because you have a specific genetic presentation does not in any way mean that you are going to definitively develop the disease or effect that gene can cause when it is switched on.
There’s a fabulous saying about this: Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.
The field of genetics research is advancing by leaps and bounds daily, and there’s much we still don’t know. But there are a couple of hundred genes that we know enough about now to be able to say what environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to turning those genes on and off. Essentially, we can now tell you what you need to do to keep your potentially harmful genes in check; that is, how to not pull the trigger.
I’m now using a genetic test in my practice called 3 x 4, and I’m finding the information it gives incredibly valuable for my clients. This simple cheek swab test is able to give us insight into what you as an individual need to do to live longer, healthier, and better. Who doesn’t want that?!
Have you ever wanted to know…
How do I live a healthier and longer life?
How do I improve my physical and mental performance?
What is the most effective way for me to lose weight?
Why do I keep getting sick?
3×4 analyzes your genes across functional pathways, providing information about your genetic tendencies in 25 core areas, including cellular health, diet and energy, cardiovascular health, nutrients, and overall body health. It allows us to more easily explain your body’s health story, and guides us to making lifestyle and dietary choices to help ensure lifelong health. Rather than dealing with downstream symptoms, we can look a deep cellular level and feel empowered to prevent or delay disease. Importantly, 3 x 4 only reports on the genes that research has shown we actually have the power to affect with our lifestyle choices.
Some of the fascinating things I learned about my own genetic story:
- I have a significant genetic potential for blood sugar dysregulation, as my glucose and insulin handling genes are somewhat compromised. This makes sense, as there is a lot of adult onset diabetes in my family. Luckily, my annual bloodwork shows my glucose handling is excellent, and my diet and lifestyle support this.
- I’m genetically prone to elevated cholesterol, making a diet rich in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats key. Check!
- Genetically, my bone turnover might be impacted, which means lots of minerals, vitamins D and K, and weight-bearing exercise are important. These are all part of my daily life.
- My genes influence my appetite and satiety in such a way that I may need a higher amount of food than other people, in order to feel full. This may explain why I can throw down heaping plates of food easily!
- I’m genetically likely to have trouble absorbing and using vitamin B12, making a focus on that vitamin important in food and supplements.
If you’re interested in learning what your genes can tell us, and how you can live your healthiest life for the long haul, reach out and let’s chat about running this test for you!