DNA Testing

DNA Testing

DNA testing identifies variations in chromosomes and genes. These variations are known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A gene is a particular defined region of DNA that codes for a specific function in the body. A SNP is a change within that gene, which may or may not have a noticeable effect on the body.

Everybody is different, so it’s important to be able to address individual health needs. This process is simplified when we know someone’s unique genetic profile. Genetic testing tells us how a person’s genes may influence their health as well as identify more suitable treatment protocols to help optimise overall wellbeing.

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How can genetic testing help?

Genomics is an exciting field of research that we can utilise in clinical practice to enhance health outcomes. We can now identify variations in genes and then look into ways to optimise that faulty gene function to compensate for the abnormality, so it can work properly. This reduces the likelihood of the SNP having a negative impact on health.

We’re still learning a lot about gene-nutrient and gene-environment interactions. There is still ongoing research, but what we do know is that so many different factors can impact on our genes. Genetic SNPs can show that an individual is more at risk of developing certain health complications.

What happens when we find a genetic SNP?

Looking at one gene honestly doesn’t give us a lot of information. We want to look at the whole body holistically. Having one genetic SNP, such as MTHFR, does not necessarily mean that you need one particular supplement on an ongoing basis to prevent a particular disease. We want to look at multiple genes and relate this to a person’s symptoms, nutrient levels, gut health, and potential toxin exposure. 

Genetic testing will tell us if you’re at risk of vitamin D deficiency for example, but it will not tell us what your current Vitamin D levels actually are. With genetic testing, we learn about individual genetic susceptibilities. If we identify a SNP that increases your risk of vitamin D deficiency, we also need to investigate your current vitamin D levels, talk about treatment options, then plan to test again in the future to monitor.

Nutrients affecting gene expression

Genetic testing helps us to determine the best form of nutrients that someone might need. For example, we may find that an individual has variations with MTHFR, in that case they may not be converting folic acid to usable forms of folate. In this case, they may benefit from taking folate, as opposed to folic acid supplements. 

Understanding an individual’s vulnerabilities or susceptibilities, why they may be responding a certain way to particular chemicals or nutrients.

The power of correct nutrition on health. With genetic testing we can tailor this for the individual, and then provide a personalised treatment option which can offer even greater health outcomes.

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    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. 

    Nutritional supplements

    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.

    Environmental factors that impact genes

    Free Consultation

    Book Your Free Discovery Call

    If you’re unsure if a naturopath is a good fit for your family, book in a 15min chat.

    Book your free discovery call