Nutritional and Genetic Testing at the Center
Genetic testing and you combine to give us the power to regain wellness — naturally.
There is a buzzword flying around the medical community these days: Personalized Medicine. What makes personalized medicine different from the traditional medical approach is that it is, well, personalized! That means practitioners are taking into account everything that makes you uniquely you.
Making personalized medicine work takes a team approach. To restore your health or prevent disease, the most powerful tool we have is YOU! By that, we mean your attitude and willingness to take control of your health.
Information about your nutrition is the second most powerful tool we have. This information comes from you, but also from the tests that we order. The data from genetic testing are invaluable in assessing your nutrient status, food sensitivities and epigenetics.
Working with your physician, we may recommend other diagnostic tests. These tests are used to help us determine how certain nutrients are working, or not working, in your body.
You may wonder what types of tests are commonly recommended, and why. Below is a brief summary of regularly recommended tests and their purposes. We are also including links so you can get more information about these tests, if you desire.
DNA Genetic Testing
We have had clients use genetic testing for years: this is a powerhouse of tests. DNA testing enables us to determine where your body can use extra support and what you might be ingesting that could be the cause of your symptoms. Even things that are “healthy” for some can be “poison” for others. This test can save you a lot of trial and error with an elimination diet!
Testing your DNA does more than unearth food sensitivities. Many diseases and health risks also have genetic bases. For example, we all know that people with diabetes have specific food challenges. But did you know that people who have diabetes AND a specific variation of the haptoglobin gene have FIVE TIMES the risk of having a heart attack or stroke as someone who “just” has diabetes? That’s a pretty compelling reason to have some genetic testing done, wouldn’t you say?
Genetic testing isn’t just about finding out you have a higher risk for such an event. Studies show that when a person who has the haptoglobin gene variation goes on a simple supplement, they actually reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke to the level of someone with diabetes but without the gene variation. So why not just go on the supplement without getting a genetic test? Because studies indicate that for a diabetic who does NOT have the variation, going on the supplement actually INCREASES their risk of cardiovascular disease. Whew!
That is just one example of why it is so critical to gather all available data and make informed decisions about our health!
There’s a New Sheriff in Town
We are very excited to let you know that the long-awaited genetic test is now available, and the name of
the new sheriff is “Your Genomic Resource.” There are several genetic tests available — you may have even seen an ad for tracing your family tree by using your saliva. While those are great for their intended purpose, this test was created by Nutrigenetic Research Institute for the purpose of health and research. And unlike those family tree tests, you can’t order this one yourself. It must be ordered by a trained practitioner.
This new test gives us so much more information than the test we used to recommend — almost double the data! This much data means we will have more ammunition to improve your health!
A Little Background About This Test
Our bodies have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Our chromosomes are made of DNA, so testing our chromosomes can give us a wide range of information. When we do this test, we are looking at your chromosomes to see the genetic variation that you have.
Why do these variations occur? Genes are passed from parent to child with each and every cell containing a set of genetic instructions. When an existing cell divides to make a new cell, it copies its set of genetic instructions. However, sometimes these instructions are copied incorrectly, like a typo, which leads to variations in the DNA sequence. This is called a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP (pronounced “snip”).
What does this mean to me and my health? Most SNPs do not cause any observable differences. But the location and total number of SNPs a person has may influence their susceptibility to health issues or impact how they react to certain drugs or even specific foods. By employing scientific studies, our research team is on the cutting edge of gene research. Our researchers have implicated the presence of free radicals and oxidative stress as the root cause of health challenges. Your body naturally produces all of these agents, but genetic variations can cause you to have too much of them. When out of balance, they can cause cellular damage, inflammation and the formation of toxins, leading to slower rebuilding and repair of cells and ultimately faster aging.
(from Nutrigenetic Research Institute, emphasis is mine.)
Testing your genetics provides you with a lot of raw data. This won’t mean much to you at first, but when we are finished with it, you will have the personalized knowledge to improve your health. We take the raw data and run it through an analytical program. This tells us more about you on a biochemical level, allowing us to tailor-make a nutritional program that fits you precisely.
Specifically, this test provides a great deal of information about critical metabolic pathways in the body. All of these pathways are fueled by micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
We are clear with you up front, this test is not cheap. But it will save you a lot of time and effort, and we fully believe it is worth it for some people. And if we don’t feel you would benefit from this test, we will not order it for you. The cost of the test including my interpretation of all that data is $450. Keep in mind that, unlike some tests such as those for cholesterol or blood sugar, this is one test you never need to repeat. That is because your genes never change.
The information provided by this test is absolutely critical to achieving optimal health. By utilizing the data from this test we can get you better results, faster, because we have a more complete picture of your unique makeup.
Want to know more about DNA and how your unique genetic makeup can affect your health? There is plenty of information available on the testing website. Just go to http://gettoknowyourdna.com/ and take a look around.
Vibrant America Micronutrient Test
The Vibrant America Micronutrient Test is your guide to customized optimal nutrition. Minerals: These are inorganic nutrients that also play a key role in ensuring health and well‐being. They include the trace elements copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc together with the macro elements calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.
The reason we want to measure the results inside the cells is because it is possible to have normal or even high levels of nutrients in red blood cells or in the serum, but those nutrients aren’t getting into the cells. It is also possible to see nutrients in the cells that are low in the serum.
Both scenarios tell us very specific things about your health. Long before disease is diagnosed, symptoms can start developing because the optimum level of nutrients are not being delivered to the appropriate cells.
These tests can help us identify deficiencies even before you develop symptoms. That allows us to boost your immune system now and head off chronic disease, rather than working to cure it later.
Dunwoody Labs is an innovator of testing solutions that assist in the diagnosis and management of conditions commonly addressed by integrative medicine. Their unique profiles are designed to help practitioners address comprehensive approaches to patient care. They also offer educational programs to empower practitioners and patients.
Other nutrient-oriented tests that may be recommended are methylmalonic acid, methyl folate, vitamin D, Organix and comprehensive digestive stool analysis from Genova Labs.
Additional tests may be recommended as needed to address your specific health challenges. These tests are run in association with your current medical provider. If your provider is unwilling to partner with you in gaining this information, we will make a recommendation to other providers who understand the value of testing.
Remember, information is power.
Frequently Asked Questions About Genomics and Genetic Testing
Q: Are the tests covered by my health insurance?
A: Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of these tests.
Q: Will this nutritional and genetic testing affect my ability to get insurance in the future, or cause my rates to go up?
A: The results of these tests are private. They are not provided to your insurance company or your employer, or to any medical database.
Q: Will having these tests done affect my ability to get a job or keep my current health plan through my employer?
A: Again, the results of these tests are private. Your employer will not know the results.
Keep in mind that these tests are about nutrition and how that affects your body. Armed with this information, we can work together to improve your health, reduce your pain and increase your energy level. All of these things will make your life better, both at home and on the job.
Living Well Nutrition
The Center for Epigenetic Counseling