Genomic Testing: The Crystal Ball You’ve Always Waited For?

Your father had Type II Diabetes in his mid 40’s.
Your grandmother died of lung cancer (and she never smoked).
And your sister just completed testing for an autoimmune scare.

She’s fine.

But all this has you wondering. . . what lies ahead for me?

Sometimes you wish you had a crystal ball that could give you a glimpse into your own genetic future so you could do something about it.

You think you follow your mother’s health patterns and she’s still healthy at 83. But how can you be sure? What exactly should you be doing to improve your health?

When I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 33, it hit me out of the blue. I had just given birth to my third child and had no way of knowing what was coming – or what I might have done differently to prepare.

But, as I began exploring ways of taking charge of my own health, I began to wonder . . . how we can begin to stave off diseases we might get based upon our genetic predisposition by using what we know to impact other factors – environmental, lifestyle, nutrition, movement, and stress.

Over the years I’ve worked in the field of nutrition and functional medicine, and have tried to stay ahead of the curve – looking at how our nutrition combined with other factors impact our overall health. I believe that looking at the whole person makes a big difference in how we feel and what we can do about our overall health.

A few years ago, I began to explore the idea of using genomic testing to improve my clients’ health and overall nutritional plans.

Sometimes confused with genetic testing, genomic testing is a type of test that looks at more than just your genes but the ways in which your genes interact and what those interactions mean to your health.

Unlike genetic tests that are designed to detect a single gene mutation (such as those often looked at in ovarian or breast cancer), genomic tests look at all genes and paint a picture of what could be a part of our overall health landscape.

The test looks to see how your genes are sequenced and how they influence each other – it can analyze what’s happening on a molecular and biochemical level and what that means in terms of disease risk, progression, or recurrence.

Genomic testing has been utilized quite a bit on the cancer frontier, but more and more health experts are looking to genomic testing to help optimize health and give their patients better options – an area called nutrigenomics.

And while it may not be the ultimate crystal ball – because it can’t predict how your genes will interact with environmental and lifestyle factors – genomic testing gives us another tool to help you reach your health goals.

When I first did genomic testing on myself, it confirmed things I already suspected.
I have always believed that I metabolize food at a slower rate than most – which means that in order to maintain my body weight and function optimally – I need less food.

Now, while that can be bad news for some, what the information provided me with was a clear picture of what’s happening in my body so I can make better choices for what works for me.

When it comes to symptoms and health challenges that you’re facing, genomic testing can go beyond the diagnosis and give you detailed information that matter to you!

For example, if your health has been suffering and doctors can’t seem to tell you why, genomic testing can point to the answers. Perhaps because of a genetic variation, you don’t absorb nutrients in the same way that others due – well, that might be impacting your overall health and now we can take action.

A patient’s teenage son had been diagnosed with ADHD and was struggling with his medications. They made him feel foggy and left him with no appetite so he resisted taking his medications – and couldn’t focus.

Instead of simply providing him with a standard nutritional plan, we decided that genomic testing might give us a better overall picture of what was happening for him.

When we did testing, we noticed that he was deficient in many of his B Vitamins and other co factors that support brain health and function. He was also predisposed to certain inflammatory conditions. By looking at his overall genomic landscape, we were better able to create a nutritional plan and offer supplements that allowed him to get off his medication and feel focused!

The key point to genomic testing is that it provides clear, complete and actionable findings to improve health.

Instead of guessing or having to see “what’s working” over the course of time, genomic testing allows us to hone in on the exact nutrition and lifestyle “prescription” that will make the biggest impact for your overall health.

But, I must warn: not all testing is alike.

With the popularity of genomic testing on the rise, it feels like everyone is getting in on the game.

Recently, ancestry.com announced that it will be offering genetic testing kits that offer information to improve your health. And while I applaud them for making the idea of genetic or genomic testing more accessible, the testing may not be as complete as the one provided by a nutrition expert.

What you want to look for is a comprehensive test that will provide gender-specific, gene and gene variant interpretations – a complete panel that provides a blueprint for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases and issues.

Most often these tests need to be administered by a health professional – not because they are difficult or painful (it takes only a cheek swab) – but because the way these tests are interpreted requires expertise and analysis – resulting in recommendations for nutrition, lifestyle, movement and beyond.

So why am I telling you all this?

The truth is that I’m on a bit of a mission. Having had cancer myself, I have wanted to give my children better options when it comes to mapping out their own health (yes, each of my kids have undergone genomic testing).

I am also passionate about finding better answers to chronic conditions and overall health.

Like any normal child growing up in the United States, I was always enchanted by the idea of having a crystal ball – something that could tell me about my future and help me prepare for what comes next.

When it comes to health – genomic testing is the closest thing. Because while we can’t change our genes, we can change the environment they’re exposed to once we understand our own genetic blueprint.

In good health,

Meryl

Want to explore genomic testing? We are offering new packages that include testing, analysis and a full nutritional plan to help you move forward. Begin by scheduling an initial consultation with me and learn how genomic testing can give you a clear blueprint to your future.

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