by Jessica Barber,
Certified Health Coach
Genetics, epigenetics, MTHFR, SNPs, mutations, nutrigenomics… if you are at all into health and wellness, you have likely been watching this arena explode both online and off. It can be very difficult to decipher all the innumerable opinions and theories swirling around about these topics—much less figure out if any of it affects you, and how!
As you dig deeper into all the information available today, you may find yourself with more questions than answers:
- How well do you process your B vitamins?
- What about vitamin C, zinc, beta carotene, essential fatty acids, and more?
- Is your immune system likely to over-react to stimulus?
- How well are you able to breakdown food-borne histamine?
- Do you need probiotics every day?
- Do you have issues with glutathione production?
- Are you likely to benefit from a dairy-free or gluten-free diet?
- Are you potentially more sensitive or vulnerable to the toxic effects of mold?
These are just some of the many questions that are addressed when embarking on genetic investigation!
So where should you start?
As a Certified Health Coach, I work with clients to assess their current state of wellness, look at their future goals and priorities, and then help them to put together a custom-fit plan for action! One of the most exciting and enlightening tools for me in that work has been diving into genetic interpretation.
I use several different DNA testing options with clients, depending on age, timeline, and financial considerations. It is so exciting that there are so many options available out there now—and so much information that we can access through them.
Every practitioner has their own focus and methods of pursuing genetic investigation, but personally, I like to cast a nice wide net and look at multiple categories such as methylation (including but far exceeding MTHFR), mitochondria, neurotransmitters, detoxification, immune and inflammation markers, weight management and metabolism, food sensitivities, and certain health precautions as well. Currently, I review approximately 80–100 different genes with my clients.
It is important to recognize that genetics are not the ”be-all and end-all” for health assessment by any means, and most agree that it is helpful to think of the genes as “loading the gun,” while lifestyle, diet, environmental and other factors “pull the trigger.” But in most cases, there is a wealth of helpful information to be uncovered that can help you to support you in a very bio-individual way. It is also necessary, of course, to take in health history and current issues that may be relevant. It can also be quite helpful to gather current blood chemistry and sometimes other functional lab test results, such as urinary organic acids, IgG food allergy testing, mold testing, etc.
The more information we gather, the more tools in our tool belt to navigate diet, lifestyle, and supplementation strategies. I will offer a word of caution to those of you who are attempting to navigate this landscape: It can be overwhelming at first, but don’t lose heart. Find a practitioner that you are comfortable with and that you trust. There is an enormous amount of “lesser” information floating around on the web, and without a qualified practitioner to work with, you could get more bad advice than good. In particular, beware of practitioners touting “MTHFR expert,” or those only interested in looking at methylation. There is so much more to the picture and without a serious understanding of all of that, it is quite unlikely you will get the well-rounded help you were likely seeking.
I truly wish you all the best on your health journey wherever that happens to take you! If you have any questions or would like to see if I would be a good fit to work with you in this capacity; please feel free to email me at Jessica@thrivefamilywellness.com or visit my Genetic Consultation Information Page
Mention this blog post or the Austin Wellness Collaborative and receive a $15 discount on your genetic analysis!
To read more about Jessica and her health coaching practice, check out her website http://www.thrivefamilywellness.com/