Over the past decade or so the world has witnessed an explosion in DNA testing, which is now being offered by numerous companies – some of which are specializing in very niche areas. Many people want to know where they come from. They want to know their story. Where their ancestors migrated from, and what ethnic groups they belong to. Others are interested in discovering very specific results such as whether or not they qualify for the Mayflower Society, a group of people whose ancestors can be directly traced to the so-called pilgrims who first arrived in the ‘New World’ to found settlements back in 1620. Genealogy services are incredible and can provide so much detailed and customized research info. It’s now very easy to find more information on the many high-quality companies providing services at relatively cheap prices. But it’s only been more recently that increasing numbers of people have turned to DNA testing for health information. DNA health tests can tell you quite a bit. You can search for nutritional or dietary intolerances, you can check if you carry certain genes and what those mean for any genetic health risks, you can discover any wellness or health traits, find information that may help you tailor a fitness program to your personal needs… and the list continues.
Should your genetic DNA test show that you have a certain health risk or attribute, it provides you with the weapon of information to be able to craft a strategy. If you find you are lactose intolerant or allergic to alcohol, then, armed with that information, you’re able to decide to quit dairy products or alcohol. An epigenetics and DNA test provides information about your genome and epigenome – which is pretty much just a fancy term to describe the various chemicals that affect your genetic expression… which are shaped by your lifestyle. You may discover how well you are aging, for example. The information you receive from the tests allows you to improve your well-being by taking positive actions that can change the course of your health… even at the cellular level! Just because something is ‘indicated’ does not mean you are sentenced to it. Your choices have power.
It will take a bit of research on your end to decide which one of the DNA testing companies is best for you – if you are trying to determine health information – just as you would need to weigh up the pros and cons of which DNA testing site is best for you if you’re interested mainly in your ancestry or genealogy. Some firms sequence 100% of your genetic code, and that means maximum data. But there are price considerations and other issues such as privacy that some are concerned about. Overall, however, pricing with discounts for even the most ‘ultimate’ type health test involving DNA hover somewhere around US$400 and can be as low as roughly US$200.
A very popular option for many is nutrition testing. Instead of just giving you stats and info, you’ll get recommendations of actions that could give you a happier, healthier, and longer life. Your metabolism, nutrient absorption rate, muscle tissue type, and genetic traits are factored in to give you information that can lead to choices. For example, you might discover that the test recommendations point to a plant-based diet being better for you, which may just agree with the feeling you’ve been having recently about considering a new vegan diet. Having the confirmation of science is affirming. You do want to take any recommendations with a proverbial “grain of salt” as one’s lifestyle and environmental factors are huge determiners in outcomes. Just as two identical twins can end up with very different qualities of life, your genes and how they express themselves are very complex… and even the best test can only give you what is possible, probable, or recommended for you.
If you choose one of the health checks that include a blood and DNA test, and provide the company with your personal info such as ethnicity, gender, height, and weight – and are honest in the lifestyle checklist about how much you exercise, how much alcohol you consume, if you smoke, etc., you will be able to receive very detailed nutritional information. Let’s say the screening shows that you are not getting enough calcium based on your age and other factors, you will get suggestions of specific foods to eat such as lentils, papayas, or cod. This is much more helpful than simply getting a report that says your calcium levels are low.
Information is power, and for very affordable rates, you can now get a whole lot of information about yourself, your past, and your health. Consider using DNA testing to help you make the best choices for your health in 2022.