Navigating your genetics and understanding how it impacts your life can be a difficult task-but fear not, we are here to break it down for you. Maybe you have been curious about taking a DNA test, but you are just waiting for that little extra push before you take the plunge. What if we told you that taking a DNA test can tell you much more than just your family tree? Here are the top five greatest reasons you should consider taking a home DNA test today.
Let’s Talk About Chromosomes
Chromosomes are the thread-like structures that are housed in the nucleus of living cells. Every chromosome is composed of two primary components: deoxyribonucleic acid (known as DNA) and protein. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, one part of the pair from your mom and the other from your dad. When combined, these pairs make up a total of 46 chromosomes.
Where does the name “chromosome” come from?
The name “chromosome” comes from two similar Greek words. The first word being “chroma,” meaning color, and the second “soma,” meaning body. Scientists chose this name for these structures because they are cell “bodies” which are stained with colorful dyes during the research process.
Thanks to the chromosome’s unique shape, the DNA stays tightly rolled around special proteins known as histones. If it weren’t for this particular wrapping formation, the DNA molecules would be far too long to fit inside the cells. To illustrate, if you were to unravel the DNA molecules from a single cell and place them end to end, they would measure around 6 feet in length.
Simply put, for our bodies to remain healthy and function properly, we rely on chromosomes to keep our DNA intact. They allow our cells to divide and produce new cells to replace the old, worn-out ones. Our DNA must remain intact during cell division so that it can be accurately distributed among different cells.
So what can a DNA test tell us about our bodies? Here are the top 5 reasons to take a DNA test today.
1. A DNA Test Can Help You “Hack” Your Genes
Most people are aware that DNA tests can help us map out our family tree or find where our ancestors lived, but did you know a DNA test can also help you “hack” your genes? A DNA test can give you a roadmap to follow and remove all of the stress typically associated with healthy living.
A DNA report can gather all of your biological information into one easy to read health “dashboard.” It can give you tips on what to eat, what not to eat, when you should go to bed and even how to exercise best. You won’t have to question whether or not you are eating healthy because you can plan exactly what foods interact best with your unique genetic makeup.
Hack Your Health and Fitness
A DNA fitness test can tell you everything from what diet will work best for you to exercise most effectively. Should you be on a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet? Your genes can tell you the answer.
Have you ever tried a diet that simply didn’t work for you? The most likely reason it wasn’t effective is that each of us has a genetically unique body type, so a diet that works for some might not be right for you. A DNA test can show you the best kind of diet for optimal weight management, so you will be ready for swimsuit season in no time.
Additionally, a DNA test can tell you more about how to get the best possible workout when you hit the gym.
Having a personal trainer is great, but what if you had a trainer that knew you down to your very DNA and could optimize each workout to your specific needs? A DNA test can help to bring you closer to your fitness goals. It can help measure metrics such as your body’s ability to recover after exercise and how to decrease injury risk.
A genetic test can determine the maximum rate at which your body can use oxygen during physical activity. The test will look at genes such as the VEGF, PPARGC1A, CRP, and ADRB2, which control several health factors to determine your body’s aerobic ability.
Have you ever noticed that some people can seemingly work out nonstop, while others of us get winded just getting off the couch? Research shows that there are specific genetic variations that create a delayed recovery response from strenuous exercise. A DNA test can give you recommendations about your food intake that could help your body to recover better and faster when you hit the gym.
Risk of Injury
Are you prone to injury? Are you worried about the likelihood of you being injured while training? If this sounds like you, you might be interested in discovering the genetic risk of injury you may have. Training regularly and staying fit is essential for a healthy life. A DNA report can highlight your pre and post-workout nutritional needs.
2. A DNA Test Can Tell You What to Avoid
In addition to giving us guidelines about what we should do for our health, a DNA test helps point out certain things that we should avoid. You have probably heard that too much of a good thing can be harmful, but how do we know how much is too much? For that answer, we need to look no further than our own genes.
Most of us are well aware that too much alcohol can be harmful to our health. However, how do you know when it becomes too much? Some of us have a metabolic syndrome passed down from our parents, known as alcohol intolerance. According to Cleveland Clinic, alcohol intolerance happens when there is an issue with the specific enzyme that metabolizes alcohol.
For those with alcohol intolerance, even drinking a small amount of alcohol will trigger unpleasant symptoms such as a pink or red face (alcohol flush) and a feeling of warmness. A DNA test can determine whether or not you have the genetic factors that cause alcohol intolerance.
Are you a coffee lover? Caffeine is one of the most common stimulants, and many of us consume it daily. Of course, some of us are more than others. People enjoy caffeine because it keeps us awake and alert; however, it can also cause insomnia, anxiety, stomach irritation, or headaches for some. A DNA test will give you an in-depth look into your caffeine sensitivity.
Many of us have lactose intolerance and simply don’t know it. In fact, most of the world’s population only produces lactase when they are babies. This enzyme is made during the first few years of life to help digest our mother’s milk. The result being, most of the world is lactose intolerant. A DNA test can determine if you are in line with most of the population or can handle a second bowl of cereal.
3. A DNA Test Can Unlock Your Genetic Potential
Whether you are a fitness fanatic or only looking to stay healthy, a DNA test can allow you to discover your fitness potential. Most DNA tests look at the ACE gene, which is a gene that determines your endurance ability. Many sports scientists look for this gene since it is commonly found in athletes or endurance trainers. Analyzing the ACE gene location can help you understand how to best treat your body for optimal fitness results.
What is the ACE gene?
The ACE gene is unique because it can reveal a wide range of information regarding your proclivity towards endurance, as well as your sensitivity to carbohydrates and salt. The ACE gene is slightly different from other genes. It can be represented as either an Insertion (known as I) or a Deletion (known as D) allele. A DNA test will measure whether the variation portion of the DNA is present or deleted.
As mentioned previously, the ACE gene is one of the most studied gene variations in the sports science world. There is a good reason for this interest. Those who have the “I” version of the ACE gene typically see an increase in endurance while training. Those with the “D” allele are often more prone to higher intensity training abilities. Knowing if you have either of these gene variations can help you determine how to get the most out of your training.
ACE and Carbohydrate Sensitivity
In addition to fitness level, the ACE gene has also been linked to carbohydrate sensitivity in some people. Those who have the “DD” genotype often suffer from a lower insulin sensitivity. The DD genotype is found in around 30% of the general population. It can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
ACE and Salt Sensitivity
ACE is also one of the key players in controlling blood pressure. This gene has also shown some connection to the development of salt-sensitive hypertension and increasing blood pressure in those who have a high salt intake. Testing the ACE gene will allow you to see how sensitive your body is to salt intake and decide whether to cut back on the sodium.
4. A DNA Test Can Help You Live a Healthy Lifestyle
You can imagine a DNA test as a roadmap to your body, which helps you get to your desired health destination. Your nutrigenic roadmap can lead you to better health by pointing out important signs such as vitamin requirements, alcohol response, carbohydrate and fat sensitivity, lactose intolerance, detoxification ability, celiac predisposition, and antioxidant need. Your DNA report can help you understand your risk factors for individual diseases and improve your outlook by changing your lifestyle and environmental influences.
A DNA report can tell you about all of the following health factors:
How does your genetic makeup affect how your body recovers from inflammation? According to Harvard Health, Inflammation is one of the leading causes of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and even bowel disease. A DNA test will show you which “good” fats your body can use to fight chronic inflammation. This knowledge is especially beneficial if you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle.
Have you ever noticed that some people can always keep their cool in extremely stressful situations? One of the most entertaining parts of ordering a DNA analysis test is that it can provide insights into your ability to handle stress as well as your sleeping habits. You will see if you are prone to stress and anxiety or if you are one of those fortunate enough to handle high levels. You can also determine if you are genetically programmed to be a night owl or an early riser.
Vitamin B is a bit of a superstar when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. This vitamin gives your body the energy that it needs to maintain good health and wellbeing. It functions as part of the building blocks for a healthy body and directly impacts your body’s energy level. It can also affect your cell metabolism and brain function while preventing infections and promoting cell health.
B vitamins are needed in almost every process in the body. However, they are also water-soluble and susceptible to heat. That means that some bodies have a hard time absorbing them properly. Thanks to a DNA test, we can understand how to best absorb this vital nutrient.
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is essential for bone health. If you have a change in your VDR gene, known as polymorphism, it may impact how dense your bones are. A DNA test will give you a strategy to improve vitamin D absorption and improve your bone health.
5. A DNA Test Can Screen For Genetic Disease Risk
One of the most significant benefits of taking a DNA analysis test is the opportunity to screen for genetic risk factors for developing preventable diseases. These tests will analyze your DNA to find mutations in specific genes known to cause disease or illness.
When you are taking a genetic test, you should understand what the results mean. Just because you receive a positive result on a test does not mean that you will develop the disease.
Similarly, a negative result does not mean you won’t develop a particular disease in the future. Instead, this test is a preventative tool to help make necessary lifestyle changes to live a better and more healthy life.
Additionally, early detection is almost always more successful and less costly than treatment. Testing your genes for early warning signs can help you be vigilant about your everyday health and improve your chances of living a disease-free life.
DNA tests are no longer just novelty activities for discovering your heritage. In fact, they have become helpful tools for understanding our fitness levels and screening for disease risks. While a genetic test cannot tell you everything about your body, it can tell you enough to make better and more healthy choices in your everyday life.
If you would like to read more about how Genealogy Care handles DNA tests, see this post here.