Author: Caroline Zanelli, Nutritionist at bounceREHAB
Co-Author: Matthew Craig, Physiotherapist at bounceREHAB
What is DNA?
DNA (full name – deoxyribonucleic acid) is a long two-stranded molecule that has a unique ‘double helix’ shape, like a twisted ladder that contains our unique genetic code! It’s like a recipe book that holds the instructions for making all the proteins in our bodies! Our DNA code is made up of four bases adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The bases always pair together in the same way, A with T, C with Gand in total the human body has about 3 billion bases!
Us humans are pretty unique but not as unique as you might think! About 99.9% of our DNA coding is the same as all other humans! That means what makes us humans different to each other is only 0.1% of our DNA coding. This 0.1% might not seem like much but it actually accounts for about 15 million pairs in our genetic coding!
Humans are 99.9% the same according to our DNA!
Okay so our human DNA is pretty similar but how much DNA do we share with other other animals?
Fruit Fly 60%
Now within that 0.1% difference, you’ll find variations in your genetic coding and these are know as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). SNPs determine our genetic differences – including our risk of particular illnesses and disease.
But it’s not just SNPs in our genetic it’s the environment too!
Things like body size, skin colour and predisposition to specific disease are all depended on how your genes interact with your environment. Your genes may suggest that you’ll grow to be somewhere between 170cm and 180cm. But your actual height is an interaction between genes and your environment. If you are malnourished during the vital stages of growth, you won’t reach 180cm. Or your genetic might suggest you are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease but if you eat right, exercise and stress less, you might not ever develop cardiovascular disease.
What we eat early in life (and also what our mums eat while they’re pregnant) can affect our genes and regulate our traits – including the development of diseases, even decades later!
Time to start eating and living for our DNA!
While we might not be able to control our genes, we might be able influencetheir expression through our environment. If we know more about our genetic variants (SNPs), we might be able to adjust our lifestyle or environment in order to prevent some disease or to become healthier
What DNA testing is available at bounceREHAB
DNA testing is a sophisticated, investigative tool, which helps to identify variations in your genes. It provides a more informed approach towards health and lifestyle decisions. Results are provided in an in-depth report from our nutritionist, outlining the potential effects of specific gene variations (SNPs). This understanding helps us to develop a more targeted and effective treatment protocols. Researchers have found that SNPs may help identify dietary, lifestyle and supplemental changes that can be made to optimise overall health outcomes
What genes are tested?
In total 60 genes are tested related to:
- Hormones and fertility
- Mood and cognition
- Nutrient influence on gene expression (nutrigenomics)
Genes and Detoxification
Our exposure to toxins is unavoidable and how we process and metabolise these toxins may determine overall health status. While the body’s innate ability to process toxins is usually very efficient, it can be overloaded, leading to increased toxic burden and impaired detoxification capacity. The result of this can contribute to chronic disease and compromised health.
Certain single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) can affect detoxification enzymes and the ability to effectively process and remove a wide range of compounds; this can lead to altered detoxification function.
The Detoxification Profile helps to identify the SNPs associated with specific detoxification enzymes and pathways including:
- Phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification
- Antioxidant status – detoxification produces intermediate metabolites that act as reactive oxygen species (ROS) causing oxidative damage and in inflammation
- Detoxification of certain pharmaceuticals medications.
Genes, hormones and fertility
Hormones are important for numerous functions in the body that look after endocrine health, mental health, reproductive health and fertility. Hormonal imbalances can contribute to several health concerns and conditions that affect men and women through all stages of life, fertility and pregnancy. It’s understood that genetics play a role in up to 10% of couples that have experienced infertility or recurrent miscarriages.
The Hormone and Fertility Profile will help clarify key areas of genetic concern for those looking to conceive or improve hormonal health, including:
- Hormone metabolism e.g. oestrogen, thyroid
- Essential fatty acid metabolism – important for healthy brain and eye development
- Methylation – DNA and RNA (gene expression), neural development, cell function and development
- Risk of hypertension
- Antioxidant status
- Nutritional status
- Thyroid function
- Vitamin D metabolism
- Neurotransmitter metabolism
Genes and Methylation
The methylation cycle is responsible for a plethora of important functions in the body from healthy gene expression and immune cell function, to energy production and weight management. The methylation cycle is also responsible for the regulation of homocysteine levels, which when raised and left untreated increases the risk of certain chronic diseases.
The Methylation Profile can be used to help identify modifiable risk factors for diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, reproductive issues, healthy cell production and cognitive dysfunction. Results from the methylation profile may help to determine predisposition to altered metabolism of folate, B12, B6, SAMe, methionine while reducing the risk for neural tube defects and developmental disorders
The Methylation Profile has implications in a wide variety of biological functions, including but not limited to:
- Healthy gene expression
- DNA synthesis and repair
- Hormone metabolism
- Immune cell function
- Energy production
- Cell membrane function
- Neurotransmitter production
- Metabolism and weight management
- Mental health and emotional wellbeing
Genes, mood and cognition
Our genetic makeup may play an important role in the way we think and feel. How genes are expressed determines how various processes in the body such as the methylation cycle, neurotransmitter production and nutrient metabolism systems function. Alterations or dysfunction in any of these processes may contribute to the causes of mood disorders and cognitive decline.
Understanding how an individual’s genetic makeup influences neurotransmitter production and metabolism may help to uncover key contributing factors to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, while highlighting key areas for improvement to reduce the risk and slow the progression of cognitive decline. The pro le will help highlight specific nutrient requirements based on genetic links associated with biochemical and metabolic pathways to assist dopamine, serotonin, histamine, GABA, biopterin, phosphatidyl choline and omega fatty acids production.
The Mood and Cognition Profile explores the proven genetic associations of mood and cognition through a greater understanding of:
- Neurotransmitter production and function
- Methylation as it relates to neurotransmitter function
- Nutrient metabolism required for normal brain function and development such as phosphatidyl choline, essential fatty acids
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) production associated with learning, memory, sleep, anxiety and depression
Nutrigenomics provides an understanding of how certain foods affect the expression of our genes. In other words, this pro le explores exactly how ‘we are what we eat’. Understanding nutrigenomics helps to identify the contributing factors to persistently low nutrient levels and the signs, symptoms and conditions associated with these deficiencies.
How nutrients are metabolised, absorbed and utilised and the impact this
has on our genes, is a core component of being able to treat the root cause
of a patient’s presenting condition. Understanding which nutrients are best matched to a person’s genetic pro le is quintessential to generating efficacious and therapeutic treatment plans. Understanding of the nutrigenomic profile
will help patients with a variety of issues from addressing an interest in general health and wellbeing, to supporting health maintenance and even fighting chronic fatigue or recurrent infections.
The Nutrigenomic Profile helps to identify key SNPs associated with:
- Important aspects of nutrient metabolism, enzyme and receptor function
- The metabolism and impact of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, E and B12 along with folate, glutathione and CoQ10
Reasons to test you DNA
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic disease states
- Digestive complaints
- Family history of heart disease
- Headaches and migraines
- Hormonal imbalances
- Detoxification impairment
- Thyroid issues
- Inflammatory disorders
- Immune dysfunction
- Low energy
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration and memory
- Gastrointestinal and digestive complaints
- General interest in health and wellbeing
- Health maintenance
- Poor nutritional status despite a healthy diet
- Poor wound healing
- Recurrent infections
How is the DNA test completed?
The test is completed in clinic as part of your initial consultation. It’s a simple saliva swab, which you brush the inside of your cheek with to get a sample.
Which company analysis the DNA?
BioCeuticals Clinical services
How does the DNA Test Kit ensure accuracy?
The swab used in the DNA testing kits is a TGA listed medical device, it’s created in a sterile environment utilising an active drying agent, and is contained in sealed packaging.
How is my privacy protected?
Network security controls as well as an encrypted patient database means that data is inaccessible and illegible to unauthorised individuals. SSL certificates, some of the strongest encryption technology available, are implemented over our website and web-based applications, ensuring an additional layer of security. Results will not be shared with insurance companies.