If you read my previous post on this topic you’d have (I hope) at least ordered your DNA kit.
The next step in your search for personalised health approach comes shortly after you get your 23andme results.
Purists in the DNA sequencing space will throw rocks at 23andme. They’ll say they don’t interpret enough genes. They don’t sequence all important genes and so on.
They’d be right – there’s a lot they don’t do.
But you’re not vying for a doctorate in Nutrigenomics and genetics interpretation (if you are – good on you genius – and good luck :o) – this is probably not the material you want to be reading…)
23andme is affordable and they give you your raw data files. So you can take the interpretations they give and then run your raw data through some great free (and not so free) services that will give you a lot of the missing pieces (we’ll talk about those in a mo).
However! This is a biggie, and you’ll see this warning on every piece of content worth listening to (here’s a hint of how to decide whom to listen to :o):
at no point is your genetic map your destiny.
The most important cards in this ‘game’ are your Epigenetics. They’ve shaped you from the moment you were a cell in your mommy’s belly. They shape you every time you breathe, think, smile, cry. And so on until you die.
You can read what I said about Epigenetics in my previous post – I don’t want to repeat.
The other part to keep in mind is this field of medicine is fairly new. Especially when it comes to a branch called Nutrigenomics. We only know how to interpret a minute amount of our genes. And even some of the ones we know – we don’t have a sure-fire indication of how it will affect every individual body.
Now – Nutrigenomics is a the study of the effects of foods and food constituents on gene expression. In other words, how does the food and drink you you put in your body change your genetic expression.
Genes are protein building blocks. So depending on what you feed your system, your body makes good or poor building blocks.
The genetic set you’ve been dealt, could enhance or slow down some of the processes through which proteins and other essentials are created, used up, and disposed of by your body.
Obviously I’m severely dubbing the process down. I’m trying to make something super complex easier to assimilate so that you understand how critically important what I am telling you is.
The bottom line is that what you put in your body matters.
BUT – what you put in your mind and what generally circulates in your environment also matters – back to Epigenetics.
Point is – your genome is not cast in stone. The environment you create for yourself on a daily basis matters the most.
You should be most concerned with your symptoms and familial history.
A genetic mutations report should simply serve you as information which will make whatever treatment you decide on, work optimally for you, AND minimise any potential side effects.
There’s a very valuable lesson in all of this: you can’t look at any one piece of data in isolation. And then when you decide on course of action, you can’t just mindlessly follow. You have to pay attention every step of the way – what I call giving a sh1t :o)
Last word of warning, then I get to the fun bits…
This thing is BIG. I mean B – I – G monster… even experts in the field will admit they don’t have solid answers. They have some info, a hypothesis for course of action, a desired results, and in-the-trenches-experience. Then they make sure they do their background homework on their patient. Start VERY slowly. And monitor progress closely.
Then they add what they learned from your experience to their bag of knowledge and keep on going.
So if you’re going to go down this rabbit hole online and read, watch, devour every bit of info out there – keep in mind that there’s a lot of info (good), and just as many “experts” (not so good).
Always question the data. Always verify from more than one source. And if the person you choose to listen to doesn’t give you the warnings of my penultimate paragraph above, then don’t listen to them.
Do your due diligence – your life depends on it.
Getting The Essential (and some fun) Interpretations
Cool – so today I’ll show you how to get your most important data from your raw results. We’ll get the basic set for you – because trust me it’s the only way to keep your sanity.
After the basics – go ahead and do what you please (mind you – you’ll do what you please anyway – I’m just here to make you aware of this sh1t).
1. Pull out your raw data file from 23andme
Take that and run it through the following places (links below). Follow the instructions each site gives you – they’re well explained. Then save all your reports in the same folder on your computer.
I’d suggest you name them well – it will help keep things neat for later :o)
I name mine YourName-NameofSite-ReportName (for e.g. AnitaChaperon-GeneticGenie-MethylationReport)
So at 23andme you already have some data in the interface. Here you can browse through some really cool info on your:
- ancestral composition
- health overview – condition specific interpretations
- other cool stuff like DNA Relatives, Ancestry Overview, and how much of a Neanderthal you have in you (I’ll let you read why you should care in your profile).
But the place you need to go to is Browse Raw Data > Download (top right corner). Follow the instructions and read what they give you there – it’s valid.
Click download and then wait. Then rename your file to suit.
Now you have your full raw data (worth noting this is not your entire genome, not every gene you need will be in there).
2. Get your GeneticGenie methylation & detox profiles
This service is free to use as you can see. But feel free to donate whatever you feel is fair to their cause.
Follow the instructions again and save your analysis for later. The info that comes with your report is actually pretty straight forward to understand – so feel free to read it. Just bear in mind none of this is a sentence – it’s your epigenetics that hold the keys…
3. Where to next?
Now – the next step of this process is up to you. If you choose to, you can stop right here. That’s option 1 – the basics – which is actually plenty to act on.
Option 2 is to also get your athletic profile report. This will tell you interesting things like – if you’re naturally meant to be a sprinter or a distance runner. If you’re susceptible to injuries. If you recover fast or slow from exercise and so on.
This is really a cool report to get if you like your sports, or if you’re training for an event and you want some extra unfair advantage.
Knowing this data can give you many training clues that can enhance your performance. As all data – you have to understand what to do with it. This is a conversation for another day.
The site I like to run things through is Athletigen.
There are plenty of others, but they charge. And IMHO (I could be proven wrong, and I’m generalising) the data most of the paid guys give you isn’t much better than the Athletigen data. In fact one of the services (again IMHO) can do a bit of damage by peddling generic diet and supplements advice.
Recommendations like: your optimal amount of vit C according to your genes is 231mg a day!!! – scream mass market automated data spit…
Anywhoo – you’re your own person – you pick.
My pick is Athletigen – for a bit of fun run your data through there too.
Then option 3 (which I wouldn’t suggest you take unless you plan on going down the rabbit hole) is to also run your info through the following services. This will give you so much info you’d be wondering how you got yourself in this mess :o)
But heh – it’s awesome for satisfying the inner geek.
- Promethease is a literature retrieval system that builds a personal DNA report based on connecting a file of DNA genotypes to the scientific findings cited in SNPedia.
- Very comprehensive analysis of your raw data, with full search flexibility and well laid out, with multiple ways of looking at data: by SNP, Gene, Condition, Supplement etc. You can entertain your inner geek (or scare yourself sh1tless) for days…
- possibly a little advanced for normal use
- example report – http://files.snpedia.com/reports/promethease_data/genome_Lilly_Mendel_v4_ui2.html
LiveWello‘s gene variance reporting software generates results for an unlimited number of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). This basically means that it allows you:
- to interpret a lot more gene codes
- to create Gene libraries
- to combine multiple profiles – wife/child/mother etc.
This is a service provided by one of the experts in the field of Nutrigenomics. In fact hers is one of the more approachable books available on the topic that I’d thoroughly recommend. Amy Yasko offers a Methylation Profile for free.
- in very basic terms it’s useful to get your VDR fok mutations, that don’t come with the GeneticGenie reports, and some extra methylation and detox variants.
- Note: Amy Yasko is one of the thought leaders/experts in this field and very much worth listening to. If you want to and can afford to work with an expert, consider her paid report and analysis. It’s $495 but it comes with truly bespoke interpretation and a proposed action plan.
- she does only recommend her own line of supplements, but they seem good quality so if you can afford it – it’s a very easy way to get started.
- plus you can get Amy to work with down the line.
- see a sample report here.
Right – this is plenty for now.
Next time we can chat about how to approach all of this in terms of actually using the info to enhance your wellbeing.
Note I said wellbeing not health. That’s because some of the things I’ll show you will help you not just to feel better physically, but they’ll make you perform better and get more out of your interaction with life.
Big bold claim – I know… Excited?
Let me know how you get on with the different results you decide to run.
Until next time:
Be happy. Be you.
personal change catalyst
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