Environmental factors can also impact on genes and gene expression. In the last 100 years there has been a huge explosion in the amount of environmental pollutants, chemicals and toxins that have been introduced into our environment. In that time however, our genes have not changed. We have the capacity to deal with a certain amount of chemicals and toxins.
Our body breaks them down, and eliminates them. Some bodies are better at this than others, and we can determine this through genetic testing.
Certain genetic variations can make it harder to break down and eliminate certain chemicals or toxins. These people are more susceptible to a build up of toxins. This build up can lead to inflammation in the body and higher levels of oxidative stress. This links with autoimmune conditions, mental health conditions and fertility issues. So we really want to be aware of our exposure and our ability to detoxify. With genetic testing we can find out who is more susceptible to particular chemicals and toxins, why that is, and how to address it.
Some people think that because they have a particular SNP, they have to supplement. This is not always the case. Some people will need supplements, but not everyone. There’s more to it than just supplements. There may be an indication to supplement in some cases, but this is not necessarily a long term requirement. Sometimes, supplementation provides a ‘boost’ to get things functioning well again and then we maintain this with relevant diet and lifestyle adjustments.
SNP testing for diagnostics
SNP testing is different to testing for specific genetic diseases. We’re not testing for something like hemochromatosis, hemophilia or Huntington’s disease for example. These are genes that are associated with a disease, regardless of an individual’s environment. SNP and genetic testing is looking at genes that are associated with risk and strengths.
Lifelong benefits to genetic testing
The benefits of genetic testing is that we can educate you about your or your child’s genes. So rather than just treating symptoms, with genetic testing we can remove the guesswork involved in formulating the best treatment. Genetic testing can help develop personalised care specific to individual needs.
This test leads to positive outcomes. If we find the potential for disease development, we can give treatment options to help compensate for and optimise faulty gene function. We’re not testing for functional diseases, we’re looking for things that help us to personalise diet, nutrition supplementation and lifestyle factors to prevent illness from developing.
Where illnesses already exist, genetic testing helps us to dig deeper and find underlying causes or contributing factors. When there are unexplainable issues with behaviour, mood, fertility, or ongoing nutritional deficiencies there may be genetic abnormalities. Genetic testing is a tool to improve health. Once we know what the underlying causes are, we can do something about them.