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Genes, Genetic Testing and Genomics, what’s it all about?

Ask most student Naturopaths what they want to focus on when the graduate and many of them will say ‘disease prevention’. In reality, at least until now, in clinic we more often see chronic disease and work to repair, rejuvenate and rewind the damage.
Genomics, Nutrigenomics and Genetic Testing gives us a real opportunity to prevent disease and not just as a general but in a really specific, personalised, science and evidence based manner.
It’s a pretty exciting time in medicine, we are learning more and more about how your body works and how we can best support you.
Since Genetic Testing and the terms Genomics and Nutrigenomics are still relatively new, let's go through some of the basics together.

What is a Gene?

A Gene is a defined region on a DNA strand.
The genetic code is a set of rules used by living cells to translate information encoded within DNA into proteins. These proteins then often function as an enzyme or a receptor.
A SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) is a change in the lettering or the coding and this may have an effect on the protein that is made by that Gene. 

So how do we use this in clinical practice?

In clinic we are looking at what is called Nutrigenomics

Nutrigenomics is where we are looking at your Genes and your environment (toxic burden, nutrition, stress, exercise etc) and what this means for health outcomes. 

So we identify the SNP’s (changes or variations in the coding) that may leave you more at risk of certain diseases. Then we discuss what we can do to compensate for this, knowing that certain nutrients can support enzyme function and Gene function and therefore reduce the risk.
Remember that DNA testing is not diagnostic. We won't be using this to confirm or rule out specific diseases. We use this testing to really piece together the interactions between your genes, your nutrition, your lifestyle and your health.

Is genetic testing the only test we need to do in order to understand your health?

NO! This needs to be done as part of a holistic approach.
Genetic testing allows us to understand your vulnerabilities and susceptibilities, however, purely because you have a genetic variation on a vitamin D receptor, this does not automatically mean you are Vitamin D deficient. From here we want to make sure your Vitamin D levels are adequate and this may mean more testing, or it may simply be a matter of pinpointing your symptoms and discussing those environmental factors that influence Vitamin D levels.

Who can benefit from DNA testing?

Anyone suffering from the following symptoms or conditions who has not been able to determine the underlying causes and prevent flare ups.

  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • IBS
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Unexplained Infertility
  • PCOS
  • PMS
  • Endometriosis
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Poor Concentration and Cognition
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Immune Dysfunction
  • Alcohol and Chemical Sensitivities
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Difficulty Losing Weight and Maintaining Weight Loss

As well as anyone looking to achieve optimal health, understand their body better and prevent disease.

So that’s the technical stuff, but what’s involved and what happens once we receive the results?

Sending off your sample is really simple. We take a cheek swab in the clinic and post it off to the Lab in Victoria. From here it takes us 3-4 weeks to get the results back and once we have your report, we will go through this with you step by step, what your results mean for you and what we can do to support your body.

If you’re ready to really understand your body and put yourself on the path to true wellness, book an appointment with principal Naturopath Karina Pike online now.

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