For starters, I totally recommend it. The industrial design of the kit alone makes it worthwhile! (OK, joking, but just sort of.) The information I've received is substantive, but I will say that you should plan to invest in the additional (@$175 CDN) post-report consultation* unless, like me, you enjoy doing research. The way results are positioned in the reports is very neutral, for many good reasons. But I want to know what my specific polymorphic variations mean for me, especially when considering how propensity, indicated by one allele combo (from one gene), influences another. So much of predisposition is about how the moving pieces intersect.
I don't need to tell you that I'm no scientist. (Sorry, Scientists, if I'm butchering the concepts!) But I've done as much extra research as one can (in 2 days, with a new job) and I'm amazed by what I've learned independently, now that I have the raw data to work from. Furthermore, my naturopath is also reviewing this info in conjunction with my latest blood tests, hormonal panels and spinal radiology report. Between this and my new yoga rope wall, I've got some tricks up my sleeve!
I'm well aware that this post is the very definition of first-world solipsism but, as I like to say, it's my blog so I'm going there. Furthermore, as the DNAFit people like to say, like on every freakin' page, your genes won't change but your lifestyle can. Genetic propensity is merely an indicator.
The Good Things I Learned
It's always nice to lead on a strong foot so here are some rather meaningful "pros" I discovered:
- I don't have the gene variation associated with celiac disease. What I mean is that I can happily digest gluten.
- I do have the gene variation associated with being able to digest lactose. Which I could have told you. Cuz I love me the dairy and it doesn't give me any issues.
- Middle-agedness aside, I have low "fat sensitivity", which means I'm not genetically predisposed to obesity or to the metabolic syndrome that often accompanies it, particularly if I keep the carbs complex and the saturated fat in check.
- I strongly skew, fitness-wise, towards endurance (volume) - not power (intensity). Maybe that's why I can walk around for 12 hours a day, covering miles and miles, while I'm on vacation.
- My profile predicts a tendency towards intermediate VO2 max (aerobic) capacity. Alas, I'm never going to make any use of this one - running ain't happening! - but it's nice to know.
- I have a genetic predisposition to recover from exercise rather quickly with minimal inflammation. In fact, there's nothing in my profile that shows an increased likelihood of inflammation related to immune response.
- I have sodium sensitivity which could lead to hypertension (though I believe, from my own research, that I have other gene variations that protect me from this). Nonetheless, as per the advice from every medical association in the land, I should limit my salt intake to 5.5g a day (whatever this means). This is a real issue because a) I love salt and b) I especially love it when I'm stressed and c) I seem to be stressed much of the time. I don't have a solution for this one yet.
- I also have alcohol and caffeine sensitivity: I metabolize the booze fast (which can lead to hangovers) and the caffeine slowly (which can be detrimental to bone health - what you'll see, below, is likely my biggest issue). Happily, I very rarely imbibe enough to bring about nausea or nasty post-drinking effects (um, that's just unpleasant) and I only have one double-espresso in the morning. I've known for years that drinking more than one will leave me with shakes for an hour. So my body's got me covered on these accounts. Note: These are examples of how my lifestyle is a protective factor against my genetic predisposition.
- Apparently, I also have the gene variation which detrimentally affects bone structure and calcium absorption, which is why the caffeine thing is that much more relevant than it would be otherwise. This bone thing comes up in my report, again and again, vis a vis various gene variations and I have to say I'm really surprised by this. Mind you, it predicts arthritis. Apparently, for me, high intake of vitamin D is key (because that's how my calcium absorption will be improved).
- Alas, and this ain't great either, I show a moderately reduced capacity to neutralize free radicals because I have a deleted version of one of the genes that's instrumental in this process. Given my immediate family history of breast cancer, that's not encouraging. What is encouraging - and this goes back to lifestyle protective factors - is that I can pretty much make up for this by eating extra-high volumes of cruciferous vegetables, like daily. Alas, I HATE a good 90% of cruciferous vegetables because the texture torments me. But, seems my cold-pressed, green juice (with no fruit) habit might be just the thing for this. Furthermore, I'm going to buck up and start eating the tree-like vegetables I loathe. In soup. FYI - I didn't know that arugula is a cruciferous veg. Happily, I eat this in salad all the time because it's one of the few green vegetables that doesn't have the texture of trees!
- Somewhat to my dismay, but hardly a deal-breaker, I'm one of those peeps who shouldn't eat much grilled or smoked meat because I have a version of the gene that rapidly activates the toxic substances present in meat grilled at high temps. You know, I have until now, eaten bacon multiple times a week. And I'm no stranger to a good steak or chop on the BBQ. That's how my husband cooks. But I've been using lifestyle, yet again, to counteract this for the past few months - just by accident. For whatever reason, I've been off the meat and into the seafood. Or eating the meat raw!
- I can't say this one is a surprise (given my Latina origins), but I have moderately high carbohydrate sensitivity. This test tells me that I should limit refined carbs to 8% of my daily calories and to get the rest of the carbs I eat from complex, healthful sources. I don't know where the fuck this leaves my standards (potato chips or fries or rice) but I sense it's in the grocery store.** Of course, carb sensitivity isn't a bad thing - half of the ladies in the world live their lives as if they have it - but I feel like such a statistic.
- Finally, and this is closely entwined with my bone health situation, I have a high propensity towards soft-tissue injury. Between these two things, my pain condition isn't exactly beyond the realm of prediction.
I would LOVE to be able to take a genetic test that predicts things like predisposition to anxiety, phobia and OC response. I'm sure I'd be off the charts but, you know, maybe I'm wrong?! I didn't exactly predict bone health issues and there they are. If anyone knows of a good test that does this, please let me know in the comments. I've become so robot in my 40s :-)
So, did you make it this far?? If yes, I'd love to know if you have done any genetic testing for diet, fitness or other info? What was the most interesting or life-changing thing you learned from the experience. Let's talk!
*FWIW, I have no idea if that consultation is worth it because I haven't undertaken it. I'm just saying that the positioning of information in the reports was too facile for my liking. Then again, I'm one of those in the weeds people. For someone else, the report might check off the boxes.
** The Low Carb diet, according to DNAFit, is:
40% Carbohydrate (15% starchy, 25% fibrous)
Gotta say, that's entirely feasible - and hardly low carb (though it is light on refined carbs). It's more or less what I do now, except the ratio of my startchy and/or refined carbs to fibrous carbs is skewed in the wrong direction.