Pros and Cons of Genetic Testing

“Best test is to go on holidays and if you feel better it’s an environmental problem and if you don’t feel better it’s a genetic problem.”

Sachin Patel, Living Proof institute 

This quote brings us back to basics. Our environment – how we live, love, rest, move, sleep and eat our way through life tells us a lot about our health. But if you have tried many ways to improve your health and you are struggling with chronic illness that hasn’t been addressed with simple foundational diet and lifestyle changes, then a Genomic Wellness Test may be helpful. Read more about smartDNA testing here.

Half of our genes come from our mother and the other half from our father and the variations in our genome have been handed down by our ancestors over thousands of years. Our genes were coded for wellness and for a survival advantage. What we know is that genetic variations have strengths and weaknesses in a modern industrialised world. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you wholeheartedly embrace your healing journey.

Pros
1. Genetic Testing does not need a doctors referral. You own the information and it is in your hands to do with what you want. Test results can provide powerful choices about the way you live your life and who can support your health journey: your doctor or integrative medicine practitioner, local farmer/s market, a nutritionist, your exercise community, your book club….

2. Whatever your genome is, it wont change. The information you receive in the from of a smartDNA report is valid, reliable and lasts your lifetime. The 150 plus genes tested in the Genomic Wellness Plus test are clinically relevant which means a large body of evidence and research shows that the expression of these particular genes can be changed through diet and lifestyle.

3. Results can motivate you to take make lasting changes and may explain your current health issues. The report provides evidence based approaches that you can incorporate into your life. Now you have a unique biochemical roadmap to create a nutrition and lifestyle plan just for you.

4. Genomic Wellness Testing may be helpful, if you have a family history and want to understand other predisposing factors. It can help you to manage the fear around your family history of illness and empower you to make changes from a place of care and kindness.

5. The genetic space  – research, information and testing – is expanding rapidly. Cost is considerably less as technology improves and makes it affordable for many people.

Cons

1. Genetic variations as presented in the report are the raw data. Results do not tell you which genes may or may not be switched on and which you are currently expressing. For test results to make sense they needs to be placed in the context of you – your family and personal health history, current diet and lifestyle stressors, current health concerns, laboratory tests and other functional medicine workups. 

2. People can get obsessed by single genetic variations called SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and forget about focussing on the health of the whole body.  Genes work with each other and not in isolation.

3. Results of Genetic Testing have the potential to be disempowering and usefless in the absence of experienced interpretation.

4. Some life insurance companies ask you to disclose whether you have had genetic testing for known illnesses. This information may impact on you life insurance premiums. Check with your provider.

Read more about my experience with genetic testing here.

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