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Genetic Testing: Take Your Health to the Next Level

In this article you will learn:

  • Why genes play a role in your health and why you should test them

  • Where to get the best information on health strategies for your genes

  • How to begin understanding the story of your genes

Lazy Reader's Section:

Everyone has countless variation in their genetic makeup that affects everything from how you absorb nutrients, to the level of inflammation you produce or which substances do you harm or good. The answer to a comprehensive and customized nutrition plan is knowing the story of your genes, and I use Self Decode for their amazing wealth of information and lifetime access.

Lazy Author Alert:

Everything in this article is based on extensive research, but it is a summary of basic principles more than a presentation of that research. If you want the full, glorious nerdy version - grab yourself a copy of my book Dance Your Way Through Life: A No Bullshit Guide to Hacking Your Body, Mind & Soul for Success and dive into over 1,500 scientific references along with dozens of key genes to look up for nutritional status (like the popular VDR for vitamin D or MTHFR for B9) and healthy living.

The Details:

Although we mapped the human genome several years ago, this was a baby step forward in the greater scheme of understanding our biological machinery. Genetics is so complex, and we are barely starting to evaluate the relationships of certain genes to certain conditions. Still, today you have more power than ever to shape your biology through investigation and experimentation, and genetic testing is an affordable luxury in this department that simply didn't exist a generation ago.

There are many reasons why understanding the story of your genes is a critical health step for everyone (in my opinion), and I will outline a few of them below:

1. Every nutrient has a genetic factor. Between how your body absorbs nutrients or transports them around, there are countless pathways, cell transporters, proteins, enzymes and other machinery that all work together to shuttle everything from vitamins and minerals to all the fancy antioxidants you're putting into your body. The performance of each one of these pieces is determined by genes, and the point to take home is that each one of these steps can break down or come with a faulty blueprint - in which case your personal demand for nutrition can be totally different than the next person's, not to mention the RDI which is often way off of what it takes to achieve optimal levels. A simple example is the VDR (vitamin D) gene. To get my levels up, I have to take 10,000 IU which is about 2500% of the RDI, but my VDR gene has several "SNPs" (single nucleotide polymorphisms) or basically kinks in the programming. Because every nutrient has multiple genes that regulate absorption and metabolism, this makes nutrition and supplementation a relatively subjective thing for everyone, hence why knowing the story of your genes is so important.

2. Genetic testing saves you time and money. Although there is an upfront cost (not that expensive if you consider a lifetime deal of information), genetic testing allows you to be smarter about everything from dietary choices to the supplements you put in your body. We are barely in the infancy of this exciting research, but even with the little we know you can still make a big difference in your life (and your wallet) with solid data. Think about all the elimination diets or supplements you take - how do you know what really works and what doesn't? The answer is you don't. I'm a big believer in learning to listen to your body, but actionable data is priceless. Knowing what foods inflame you (like in the