You Are Not the Result of Your Genes

1209-dnaThe first thing to realize when you are using genetic data is that you are not the result of your genes (most of the time anyway). You are the result of your gene expression and heritable changes in your gene expression. This is also known as epigenetics.

What does this mean? You can’t look at a piece of paper (or a website) and determine exactly what treatments or supplements you need based on your genetics. You also have to keep in mind, that there are a lot of SNPs that we don’t know much about. In fact, there are approximately 23.7 million SNPs identified. Out of these SNPs, only 14.5 million have been validated. The remaining 9.2 million SNPs are candidate SNPs.

I guess you can say that in terms of genetics, genomics, and SNPs, we still don’t know a whole lot. We’re understanding what all of this means a little more each and every day, but it will take many years until we really know what most of these SNPs truly mean in terms of human health.

A genetic methylation and detox panel only show you a very small number of SNPs that have been more or less well studied. We’re limited by what we know. And we are limited by what we don’t know. These small sets of SNPs may help give a picture of where to start with things like nutritional support of the methylation cycle, but these genes do not not define you. Through testing we can see all these genes, but we can’t see individual expression of these genes. Your environment and life experiences can change the expression of your genes at any moment in your life. For an example, the expression of the MAO-A gene on the methylation panel can change from serious trauma or violence.

For an example watch this video about the MAO-A gene and psychopathy. No, if you have this gene it does not mean you are going to become a psychopathic killer. This mutation is actually very common. About as common as having blue eyes. It is more present in males than females. In fact, I have it.

The reason I shared that video is to illustrate the point of gene expression. Just because you have a homozygous mutation of MAO-A does not mean you are ever going to kill anyone. Are you more prone to rage? Do you have more anxiety than the average person? Will you develop a mood disorder because of it? If you answer yes to any of these questions, maybe the MAO-A gene is contributing to your moods, but who knows. It’s really only one mutation out of many that can have an impact on these things.

To get back on subject: I am not a medical doctor, but I can say from my own experience that listening to your own body is probably more important than obeying what your methylation or detoxification analysis suggests. Again, the test does not measure gene expression, and there are potentially thousands of other mutations that may have an impact on your methylation or detoxification.

So while it might be a good idea to start with the suggestions of medical doctors that have studied this field, your gut feeling is there for a reason. If you start a methylation protocol and can’t seem to tolerate it, there is probably something you need to do differently. You are an individual, and your treatment may need to be individualized. Nobody – and no test – has all the answers.

By geneticgenie | January 23rd, 2013 | Posted in Uncategorized |

18 Responses to “You Are Not the Result of Your Genes”

  1. Leo Alexander Says:

    Great post, puts most of genetics in context for most people, but isn’t it an overgeneralisation? isn’t the point of focusing on the methylation pathway the fact that the degree to which one can methylate determines the degree to which one can NOT be a victim of one’s genes?

    Please put my speculation to rest here – my understanding is that epigenetics operates through methylation, therefore if methylation is impaired, epigenetic control will be impaired. Is this not correct? Those people who believe that they are victims of their genes might not be simply creating that reality through that belief, if they have a problem with the methylation pathway, then any amount of relaxation, biofeedback, MDMA therapy, whatever, isn’t going to work. Is this not so?

  2. geneticgenie Says:

    While you have a good point, I think the result can be different for different people. People can and do spontaneously recover from chronic illness. But if your methylation pathway is very impaired, micronutrient therapy may be the best answer to addressing it. In less severe cases, diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, and change of outlook, or even time may be all the person needs to change epigenetic expression and recover. The answer may be different for each individual, but regardless practicing relaxation tecnniques can only be beneficial for everyone in my opinion.

    Of course, there are genetic diseases that develop from the day you are born, but there are others that may or may not express themselves throughout your life. Hemochromatosis is an example. While many may have an HFE mutation, only about 10% go on to develop a clinically significant case of iron overload. Now could relaxation techniques help iron overload? I have no idea as there probably hasn’t been any studies, but I would imagine it could change things to some degree (even if that change is really small).

  3. Mary A. Dominguez Says:

    Can you tell me a little bit on SOD2, B12 and Glutathione or GSTM1 genes? I am interested in these because I was low on the first 2, and the 3rd was a null mutation and how does that affect me?

    This all sounds very interesting to me. WHat more can you tell me? Like diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, change of outlook, can you explain them a little more?

  4. geneticgenie Says:

    A deletion (null genotype) is a bit different. Unfortunately if you have a GSTT1 or GSTM1 homozygous deletion there is really nothing you can do to help this gene or enzyme. But you can do things like consciously avoid excess exposure to mercury and xenobiotics. And you do have other enzymes that may be able to somewhat compensate for these deletions.

    If you look at people who recover from a so-called chronic illness, you’ll often notice that they maintain a positive attitude. This most definitely causes changes in epigenetic expression. There has been some studies that suggest that relaxation techniques can change the expression of several thousand genes when compared to controls.

    If you have the time, I highly recommend watching the documentary “The Cure Is…”. It can say what I am trying to say in much more detail and it’s truly eye opening and inspiring. You used to be able to watch it free for 72 hours, but now you have to pay. But if you are feeling a bit down or powerless about your situation, it will definitely bring you up and make you realize just how much control you have control over your destiny.

  5. Sherry Lindeman Says:

    I just want to thank Genetic Genie for being so incredibly helpful and so magnanimously willing to share such important information!

  6. Rose Says:

    Thank you for being so generous as to provide a free service– I’ve made a donation, I hope the starving children don’t mind. ;-)

  7. Mary A. Dominguez Says:

    OK, Genetic Genie, you say “there is really nothing I can do to help this gene or enzyme”, and the other DNA company had all their supplements for me to take, but I do not understand, what is it that I am missing or lacking? You see, I never had it, so I do not know what I am missing. I only know that I had to work very hard in school for “Cs” and even the “Ds” I got. Everything I did I had to put much effort into it, nothing was easy. My gift was my smile, and an ability to gather people together.
    I have found out that stress and alcohol kill Glutathione.
    Can you tell me if GSTM1 is the actual Glutathione gene or is it the Glutathione transferace gene that puts the Glutathione into the cells?
    I’m trying to understand Glutathione. Would you say it is the Master Antioxidant, which works with Vitamins A,C,E and Selenium, and is an immune booster, and the Major Detoxifier in the body? Is the methylation and detoxification part of Glutathione?
    Also can you tell me more about your work as geneticgenie, how you started.

  8. Tracy Says:

    Hi Genetic Genie,

    Thanks for all your contribution and insight! I would love to know your thoughts on how children, specifically infants, fit into this equation. My 9 month old daughter apparently has a compromised ability to produce sulfate, though I don’t know exactly where in the metabolic chain things are going awry. Obviously variables are significantly reduced when dealing with her because her exposure to environmental toxins has been very limited as well as her stress/trauma.

    I’m toying with having her 23andme profile done, but I’m dubious about whether it will be helpful given the sheer volume of genetic anomalies which could be contributing to her condition.

    Incidentally, I suspect her issue may be one associated with a cysteine dioxygenase (CDO) enzyme deficiency/malfunction because she exhibits clinical symptoms of excess cysteine/homocysteine.

    Thanks again for all of your help!

  9. Donna Says:

    I uploaded my 23and me results to your web site, downloaded your results to my computer. A virus wiped out all files and they cannot be retrieved.
    What should I do?

  10. sarah Says:

    I found out I have the GSTT1 gene (present)…what does that mean? What is that gene? What am I predisposed to? Thanks

  11. Lynn Says:

    I have the same question as Sarah above on May 15, 2015 !

    My report says “GSTT1 Present”, and on Aug 27, 2013 you wrote the following:

    “Unfortunately if you have a GSTT1 or GSTM1 homozygous deletion there is really nothing you can do to help this gene or enzyme. But you can do things like consciously avoid excess exposure to mercury and xenobiotics. And you do have other enzymes that may be able to somewhat compensate for these deletions. ”

    Well, coincidentally, I have the results back from my Mercury Tri Test via Dr Chris Shade’s Lab-Quicksilver Scientific, and my total body mercury is practically off the chart (63yrs of accumulated mercury from eating fish and from dental amalgams !) A little late for me to avoid mercury, and plenty of damage done.

    Can you please refer me to where I can get additional info on what the implications are for this GSTT1 being present. I am not really understanding how it is affecting my Glutathione & detoxification pathways. Thanks !

  12. Cathy Says:

    Reply to Lynn,

    Lynn – you are lucky you have the GSTT1 present. If it said you had a GSTT1 “deletion”, then you would have a problem. I have a GSTT1 deletion – meaning I do not have that gene. That is why I have a problem with detoxification.

  13. Lori Says:

    I have my results from Ancestry.com instead of 23andme can I still order my Methylation results here?

  14. Cheryl Moore Says:

    I love what you have done for my 23andme accounts but I want to upload my raw DNA from all my ancestry accounts. Why don’t you allow Ancestry to be uploaded so that we can analyze my family members for my Ancestry account

  15. Caitlin Says:

    Hi,
    Gene GSTT1 – my report says it is present !!

    But directly underneath it there is the following :

    It is not possible to determine if GSTM1 is present/absent with 23andME

    What does this mean exactly please ?

  16. Deborah Wisham Says:

    I like the methylation information and pages that follow explaining it, however when I did the detox, there was no explanation that followed. help! Or is it not there. I donated for both, thinking that the info explaining said snps would not be there without it.

  17. Eileen Cabral Says:

    I uploaded my raw DNA zipped from Ancestry.com and it gave me results. Your results match promethease also. So Ancestry is good to upload on genetic genie

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