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.

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Leo Alexander
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Leo Alexander

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,… Read more »

Mary A. Dominguez
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Mary A. Dominguez

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?

Sherry Lindeman
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Sherry Lindeman

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

Rose
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Rose

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. πŸ˜‰

Mary A. Dominguez
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Mary A. Dominguez

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… Read more »

Tracy
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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… Read more »

Donna
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Donna

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?

sarah
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sarah

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

Lynn
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Lynn

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… Read more »

Cathy
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Cathy

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.

Lori
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Lori

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

Cheryl Moore
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Cheryl Moore

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

Caitlin
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Caitlin

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 ?

Eileen Cabral
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Eileen Cabral

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

Robbi
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Can I upload my data from th free DNA testing I had done with https://genesforgood.sph.umich.edu/

Silvi
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Silvi

Hi,
since my childhood always when i take medicen i get a rash. I made some tests and they say: GSTM1 null-genotype GSTT1 wildtype and then i tested CYP 2C9 which shows homozygous wildtype for allele *2 and *3.

Can you please tell me what does it mean and can i do something about that.
Thanks

linda
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linda

The genes called GSTM1 and GSTT1, form enzymes that are part of the phase-II detoxification pathway – the way our body gets rids of various toxins, including medications and pesticides found in food. These genes are subject to something called an insertion/deletion polymorphism. Individuals with the inserted genotype have good function of these enzymes, and those with the deleted genotype have a reduced function, which could be problematic. It’s estimated that about 50% of people have the deleted form of GSTM1, and about 25% of people have the deleted form of GSTT1.

Delilah Pugsley
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Delilah Pugsley

Lot’s of the questions asked here are answered here: https://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/glutathione-the-mother-of-all-antioxidants/

Deloris Roth
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Deloris Roth

wanting to know what vitamins I really need

timing risk
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