Genetic testing looks at genes to identify information about hereditary medical conditions (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) in your family and predisposition / risks for other health concerns, such as insomnia and low energy.
Modern medicine tells us that all disease is caused by two factors – environmental stressors and genetic predispositions – and that someday, we will know enough about the genetic side of the equation to make far greater contributions to a patient’s health and well-being. The genetic age has arrived. We explore both sides of the issue; environmental stressors AND genetics.
Genetic tests expose the vulnerabilities, but also provide what kind of preventive measures or treatment, such as dietary and lifestyle changes, which should be implemented for effective treatment and long-term health.
We offer many useful genetic test panels that help address the whole health picture of the patient.
WHAT GENETIC TESTS CAN TELL US
Genetic tests can identify changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. Genes called SNPs can create vulnerabilities to many kinds of allergic, immune, infectious, nutritional, psycho-emotional, and toxic stresses.
Some genetic tests, like the 23andMe ancestry testing, are inexpensive and can be used to address a wide array of the common, important, and modifiable quirky genes that influence most common health concerns, such as anxiety, chronic gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and insomnia. Other genetic test panels are designed to figure out your unique genes which predispose you to various medical issues, such as an inability to detox properly, which is a quirky MTHFR gene. Or more seriously, cancer or heart disease. Genetic tests can be specific to certain issues, such as pharmacogenetic testing (i.e., pharmaco drugs), which tests your unique response to medication. This test can tell you if certain drugs are likely to make you sick (or even die) because your body might not break them down properly, or if other drugs won’t work at all because your unique genetic makeup breaks them down too quickly.
Maybe you have struggled with digestive problems for years and can’t seem to find a solution. Or don’t understand your chronic insomnia or lack of energy. You may have genetic concerns due to a known family history of addiction, cancer, or heart disease.
If you know you are predisposed to certain risks, your diet, lifestyle, stress patterns, and supplement intake can be modified to make the expression of such genes less likely. Getting to the genetic root cause provides important data to help treat and possibly prevent chronic medical conditions and psychiatric disorders.
GENETIC TESTS OFFERED AT THE GROSSGOLD CLINIC
23ANDME – ANCESTRY GENEALOGY
23andMe is not offered at the Grossgold Clinic but recommended for every patient; it is a consumer test that you do on your own (we can’t order it for you). Go online to 23andMe.com and order the kit. It will arrive by mail. Follow instructions for saliva collection, registering the test online, and mailing. The 23andMe information will suggest that this test is only for ancestry genealogy, but for an additional $30, we can show you how to convert the raw data link into a few hundred genomic SNPs. The raw data will be important information on neurotransmitter-related genes for addictions, psychiatric vulnerabilities, and many other problems that can be revealed by this test.
ALPHA-1 – GENETIC TEST FOR ANTITRYPSIN (AAT)
This is a test for AAT deficiency, which can cause emphysema and liver disease, even when lifestyle risks are not occurring, such as alcohol or tobacco abuse. Your practitioner may consider this test if you have asthma, COPD (with or without a history of smoking), Emphysema, family member(s) with Alpha-1, or poor lung function. Those with other risk factors (smoking, occupational exposure, etc.) may wish to be tested. This test involves a finger-stick blood sample.
CANCER GENOMICS – CANCER RISK FOR COMMON CANCERS
Cancer genomic tests for SNPs, which create risks for eight common types of cancer by assessing 41 SNPs, and is often insurance covered. If you have a family history of cancer, this important test can assess risk and suggest that more frequent blood work and early detection radiology should be performed to catch cancer at its earliest development, when it is more easily treated. Also, by knowing the exact SNPs which put you at risk for cancer, certain nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes may alter genetic expression and decrease risk.
CARDIOGENOMICS – RISK FACTORS FOR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
These panels can assess for various kinds of heart disease and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension. The proper drug to reduce risk based on these genetic factors can be chosen, and lifestyle and nutritional interventions which match your genetic makeup can be adopted so that the risk of various kinds of heart disease can be negated.
MTHFR TEST – METHYLATION PATHWAYS & DETOXIFICATION ISSUES
The MTHFR enzyme (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) blood test is used to detect two relatively common mutations in the MTHFR gene that are associated with elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood. Those with the mutation may have trouble with eliminating toxins from the body and methylation. This simple blood test is done through LabCorp.
PHARMACOGENETIC TESTING (PGX) – FIND THE RIGHT MEDICATION FOR YOU
We highly recommend this genetic test for all patients that analyzes how your genetic makeup affects your unique response to medication. Medication mortality rates from adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are between the second to fourth leading cause of death, ahead of accidents, AIDS, automobile deaths, diabetes, pneumonia, and pulmonary disease.
This test is an important step toward personalized medicine. It will determine your medication sensitivity and reduce the chance of a possible adverse drug reaction.
In many patients, certain drugs / medications don’t work as well as expected, while in other patients they cause toxic effects, even at a lower dosage. The reason may be genetic. How well your body metabolizes medication is an important consideration in prescribing medication and the chances of a positive outcome. With PGx testing, you will know which ones you may have a sensitivity to, and the practitioner will be able to determine the right medication for you and the right dose. PGx is generally insurance covered.