DNA testing: what my genes are telling me, and how I’m listening

April 25, 2013

This is not a sponsored post, but the testing was done free of charge

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A few weeks ago I was invited to meet Dr Daniel Meyersfeld, the founder of DNAlysis, to chat about genetic testing (particularly for moms, exercisers and those wanting to lose weight), and also to have my genes tested. I had read a bit about genetic testing, but never wanted the kind of testing that would tell me I would get breast cancer or any other inherited disease – I’d rather try and live as healthily as possible, instead of the worry getting to me first.

But what Daniel does is target DNA evaluation to look into your genetic makeup, and any inherited strengths and weaknesses. But why would one want to know that?

Well, firstly, it can determine what diet (eg low fat, low fat or Mediterranean) is best for our makeup, what type and intensity of exercise we need to lose weight, and how we respond to stress and toxins, and how to manage that best, with supplements for example.

So basically, what it does is look at your genetic predisposition in order to see what you should be doing, eating or taking to best reach your weight loss, health and fitness potential, and avoid injury. It’s not a one-size-fits all programme, which is what I appreciate. No one is saying I should cut out carbs because that’s what works for “everyone else”, or that I should do fat-burning exercises because it works for others. This is more scientific, and more personalised.

You can either do your DNA tests via post – the swabs are mailed to you, and then you mail them back. Reports and personalised exercise and diet plans will then be sent to you. You can also contact a wide range of practitioners and experts in the network, such as physios, chiropractors, dietitians, coaches and personal trainers. I did my test with Daniel, and each test required a separate swab. If you’ve ever watched CSI, you’ll know that no blood is taken – you simply rub the swab on the inside of your cheek (it’s not painful or uncomfortable), and your DNA is checked from that.

I had four tests done, DNA Fit, DNA Health, DNA Diet, and DNA Oestrogen. I got detailed reports of each, and since they were quite hard to interpret on my own, I chatted to two practitioners who explained the terms, outcomes and recommendations. By the way, unless you’re a genetics expert, you won’t be expected to make head or tail of the reports on your own, which is why you’ll be referred to someone who can help.

Some of my results shocked me, while others were reassuring – they echoed what doctors or my dietitian had previously told me, based on symptoms. Here are some of the things I learnt or had confirmed:

– I have no resistance to carbs (woohoo!) – I could follow a low-carb, low fat or Mediterranean diet, and if I followed them properly, any would work – I can respond well to moderate exercise

– I must avoid foods high in saturated fat (good advice for everyone, but particularly for my genes and my predisposition to heart issues)

– My DNA shows low repair and replication. Therefore, I must decrease toxins (eg carcinogenic food), and increase detoxification foods (like broccoli, onion, cauliflower), and supplement with antioxidants, folate, probiotics and B vitamins.

– My liver is not great at detoxifying; I need to watch my diet and take the above supplements

– My bone health is good

– I have good power genes and endurance genes. This means I have great sporting genes, something I’ve never ever considered. Yes, I can run Comrades, but I’ve always considered myself “average”. My genes indicate that I could be running much faster, and with the correct training (eg sprint and speed work), I will reach my potential. For me, this was the most significant result out of everything, and will change the way I train, and think of myself.

It’s been wonderful to get scientific direction and advice, rather than hocus pocus blanket suggestions, and me guessing in the aisles of Dischem wondering what is good for me. I’d definitely recommend it to those wanting specifics about the health, and targeted insight and advice.

Note: Each report is very detailed, and contains much more info than what I’ve indicated.

Did you know? DNAlysis does prenatal gender determination tests. The Pink or Blue test uses a small blood sample, and you can find out your baby’s gender within the first eight weeks of pregnancy.

To contact DNAlysis, call 011 268 0268, email them here, or go to their website.

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  • Taniar2

    Tanya, there’s absolutely nothing “average” about bing able to finish a Comrades, much less 10 of them.  You put the rest of us to shame!

    April 25, 2013 at 7:02 am Reply
  • WilmaSummers

    I had the pink and blue test done at 9 weeks pregnant and yes it was a girl as the test predicted it would be 🙂

    April 25, 2013 at 7:14 am Reply
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