What I learnt from my DNA decoding test

The results where fascinating! There is so much information out there about how to lose weight or get fit. To actually get the results you want, I really recommend you start looking at what actually works for you. It sounds pretty good right? I thought so too, which is why I was so excited to dig into my results.

We all know that we inherit genetic material from both of mother and father and we are the offspring from that, which becomes a unique chemical blueprint called DNA. This DNA is made up of more than 20 000 genes, they all carry instructions for a single protein, together they determine how we look and how our bodies function.

What I learnt

At first it might seem a little overwhelming, but I honestly believe I am now equipped with a passport for my body for life!

I found out I have a high obesity risk. I learnt that I gain weight more easily than losing weight as quickly as others. This is because I have a gene impact on my FTO gene which has been shown to have an effect on how well we tolerate fat in our diet, especially saturated fat.

To improve my weight loss and prevent weight regain, I need to avoid saturated fats, which increases my risk for a higher waist circumference.

However my body does have a slight tolerance for good carbs such as brown rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. The best diet for me based on my genetic make- up is a Mediterranean diet, focused at eating low fat with olive oil being my main fat source as well as some nuts, seeds, olives and fatty fish, some allowance of complex carbs and more plant based meals.

Exercise plays a very important part of my weight loss, some individuals may need slightly higher amounts of physical activity to help achieve and maintain weight loss. According to my particular genetic makeup, diet is more effective than exercise to achieve weight loss, however exercise is still imperative for optimal health, mood and energy levels.

I love exercise, I do find it works wonders for my mood and helps to boost my energy levels. Plus I found out that my DNA responds best to exercise later in the day. Yaaay to snoozing in a bit more in the mornings!  

I also found I have a ‘sweet tooth’ which further increases my risk for obesity. My genotype shows I am a bitter taster, which has an effect on my ability to taste sweet foods and may strongly contribute toward me having a ‘sweet tooth’. I try and avoid high sugar foods for better weight management as much as possible. To assist me, the test suggests I include protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables at most meals to help improve satiety and reduce cravings. I also try to increase my fibre intake and opt for low glycemic index foods.

Taster status has been found to affect the intake of certain foods such as vegetables, fats, sugar, alcohol and tobacco. It has also be linked to BMI, certain eating behaviours and risk for colon cancers and gut health.

I do find myself having the need to snack a lot. I have been consciously working on finding ways to improve those behaviours.

Portion control is a very important underlying issue for me. I have started a food journal, which helps me to become more aware of what I eat and when, but most importantly helped me to identify triggers to avoid such as not eating enough throughout the day and overeating at night.

It helps to me to make better food choices and avoid eating whilst doing something, like watching TV or working in front of my computer. I have to just work extra hard at increasing my consciousness around meals.

I found out I have a COMT gene variation.

The variation is associated with greater levels of Cortisol and HPA axis dysfunction (helping the body to calm and de-stress). Because of the effects that COMT has on hormones, it directly affects stress reactivity, health and well -being.

True detoxification by the body is a process that occurs in the liver in two phases.

The process of detoxification unfortunately doesn’t always occur smoothly and at the right rate in all phases for everyone. If phase 1 enzymes are too fast or too slow as well as phase 2 enzymes being too slow there will be an increase in tissue damage and an increase risks for cancers.

These results where a little bit scary, I am now making certain changes in my diet, to support the detoxification process in my body, as I know if there is not the correct nutritional support to the liver, it becomes overwhelmed leading to inflammation and disease. When I discovered I had issues with Cytochrome P450 genes, GST genes and COMT, I chose not to be scared, it gave me hope. I have been struggling with strange health issues my entire life, I now finally have a path forward.

Interventions to improve my COMT enzyme

Healing my body with a food as medicine approach;

I enjoy more phytoestrogen rich foods such as; flax seeds, gluten free oats, lentils, organic tofu and turmeric, all of which is encouraging me to eat more plant based food options. Organic soy bean products contain all the essential amino acids to human nutrition. I love the fact that soy bean proteins are virtually fat free, whereas most animal based foods contain fat especially saturated fat.

I am also doing my best at maintaining my ideal body weight and exercising regularly.

I started drinking more raw cold pressed juice, these are great for improving phytonutrients and antioxidants.  I love celery, cucumber and fresh ginger juice.

I am eating a lot more cruciferous and allium vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, leeks and garlic which are all wonderful at increasing the activity of your detoxification system, which aids the removal of harmful substances from your body.

I love bowl food and now that I know what my bodies’ genetic makeup consists of I know exactly what to add into my bowl foods. Insert pic here.

I don’t want to become a pill popper, but I felt overwhelmed and wanted to give my body a boost in the right direction.

I started supplementing with B vitamins to ensure I get in an adequate amount of B2, B6, B9 and B12, as well as Magnesium which helps to support COMT. I mostly follow a food as medicine approach as I do believe eating the right foods does provide your body with all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs.

However, my DNA results showed that I need a higher intake of B vitamins as my body struggles to store them. There are a lot of risks associated with B vitamins so I didn’t want to take a chance here.

I also learnt that I have a decreased ability to metabolise caffeine. I think I kind of knew that before but never really wanted to believe it. Caffeine increases my risk of cardiovascular disease!

I have been reducing my intake of caffeine, I easily made the transition. The only time I felt a little eeeuk was on a cold rainy day and I walked past a coffee roastery. Mmmh, freshly ground coffee!

I also had a DNA analysis of my skin —

The DNA skin test analyses 18 genes involved in important areas related to skin health. It looks at key factors linked to ageing, such as how well the body forms new collagen, how sensitive the skin is to the sun’s UV rays, and how prone the skin is to inflammation and environmental factors.

From my DNA skin test, nutrition and lifestyle changes improve my skincare and skin health and decrease the visible signs of ageing. Thankfully I had no high priority areas of concern with my skin. However my results showed a moderate concern with sun damage protection and repair and inflammation. I supplement with collagen daily and started eating more foods high in vitamin C, D and iron to support healthy skin. I am also stricter with sunscreen- I ensure I wear a good sunblock daily.

If you’re looking at improving your lifestyle and diet, I would highly recommend getting your genes tested. It provides you with a passport for your body for life!

The risk of DNA information – overload

The results revealed that I carry a number of genetic mutations that are associated with a number of risk factors. If you find yourself with a few genetic mutations like me with a lot of risk factors at high risk, you might find yourself Googling stuff. Don’t go down that rabbit hole that is why the DNAnysis does things in a very specific way and you can’t just go around ordering all the available tests.

That is why it is highly advised to work through your reports with a trained healthcare practitioner. I am now equipped with the knowledge of knowing what foods help to improve my genes and wellbeing.

Learn more about the DNAlysis and what they offer –https://dnalysis.co.za/

For more information please contact [email protected] I will love to help you decode your tests.

Dot you later! X

About the author

Qualified chef, Health Coach and Nutritionist based in Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa

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