Understanding your body’s potential shortcomings/advantages could be key to regaining or maintaining your health. We’re so unique, and with today’s quickly advancing technology we’ve been allotted some pretty amazing information. Since the human genome was sequenced in 2003 our biological blueprint is now something we could start to utilize like never before. When you start to have a better understanding of who you are as an individual, then you can begin to fine tune (bio hack) your behaviors, hormones, neurotransmitters, muscle composition and so much more. I’ll use myself as an example.
Did you know that you can retrieve your entire genetic code from a DNA test like 23 & Me or Ancestry.com? This is called your genetic raw data and it’s literally 3 billion DNA base pairs, or simply put the sequence of amino acids that control everything about who you are. Cancer risk, Alzheimer’s risk, food allergies, mental health risk, diabetes risk, medication responses, and so so much more. This information is all so valuable, however, where it gets interesting is seeing your genetic mutations (SNP’s or single nucleotide polymorphisms) and these little buggers can influence the expression of your genes, with both good and bad outcomes. This allowed me the ability to have a starting point in regards to understanding my potential negative health outcomes like depression for example. I have the MTHFR gene mutations and this can often be the ole kick ya while you’re down kinda gene. Think it’s earned the nick name “Mother F-er Gene” (I didn’t start this).
Did you know that you can have your biological age tested? Our birthdate allows us to track our chorological age (mine is 41), but with the technological advances in the methylation (DNA methylation status), scientist have developed tests that can measure many different tissues methylation status, and this gives its biological age. The test I took was from DNAge and the outcome wasn’t surprising to me at all, I was at the biological age of 51. I was shocked at first, but once I started to look at some of my risk factors and how they were presented (depression, high inflammation), then I started to understand how these gene mutations have helped to created poor health in a number of ways. Things like stress, alcohol/drugs, sleep, activity (lack of) sun exposure, environmental toxins (most likely a combination of many), can effect your health. I had so many of these, but these tests opened my eyes to the potential sources, and also gave me some starting points to test against. This has allowed me to fine tune the foods I eat and the supplements I take (folate for MTHFR, Creatine/vitamin C for mental health). After some time I can retest my biological age and compare the outcome to the baseline test I originally took. You can see in real time how your health strategies are working.
Just remember this information genetic info isn’t facts regarding your health, but instead relative risk factors for such. It isn’t a yes or no, it’s probability, again, just a starting point.
How does this help you lose weight? Well, so much of who you are and what you do is based on your gene expression. Your personality (obsessions) may change and allow you to function in a way that’s more focused. You may stick to your diet long term, or a corresponding reduction in your depressive state may afford you more energy to take on a fitness routine and stick to it. This genetic information (epigenetics) is what most new medicines and treatments are being influenced by.
Educate your way to improved health and wellness! This topic is really cool and if you have questions then feel free to ask.