Empowering YOU to Understand Your Genes

Genetic Lifehacks - Information on your genes that you can put into action today.
Genetic Lifehacks – Information on your genes that you can put into action today.

Welcome to Genetic LifeHacks!

The whole point of this blog is to share current research on genetics that you can actually use, breaking down the science into something that you can apply. 

Personalized medicine and health information based on your genes will be mainstream…  someday.  Why not make that ‘someday’ become today?  A lot of information is already out there. Instead of waiting for a doctor or the government to spoon feed me the information, I’m diving into the science to figure it out for myself — and freely sharing what I learn.

Understanding both the actual risk of a disease happening to you and the ways that are effective for you to minimize the risk is the heart of the matter.

What do I mean by this?

Here is an example: there are lots of research studies on how your genes can influence your risk of a rare disease. But a genetic variant that doubles your chance of getting a disease that occurs only in 1 in 100,000 people really isn’t something that requires you to take action today.

But what if you could know that – depending on your genes –  taking an aspirin a couple of times a week could cut your risk of colon cancer almost in half!  And the flip side is, if you find out that aspirin probably won’t reduce your risk, you could concentrate on other lifestyle factors instead. This type of information is available today and relevant to most older adults.

Where to start?  If you have your 23andMe results or Ancestry DNA results, begin your journey with whatever topic is of interest to you.   Here are some of my suggestions:

  • Check out your hemochromatosis genes.  Hemochromatosis (iron overload) is a fairly common genetic disease that can be protected against by giving blood.
  • Figure out if you are genetically even able to get celiac disease.
  • Or jump into the methylation cycle and figure out if you need specific B vitamin types.

Let me encourage you that you can dive in deep and learn about your genetics!  What seems like a foreign language in the beginning will soon seem familiar.

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, and nothing on this blog should be taken as medical advice.  

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8 Comments on “Empowering YOU to Understand Your Genes

  1. Beginning to browse your blog. I’m interested in these things. Question for now: late last year, 23andme changed their service and doubled the price. My son got his 23andme shortly before that change and I have the information, so I know what SNPs were included previously. I’m trying to find out which ones are included now, as I am considering getting my own results. But I don’t want to pay double and find that a lot of the information that they provided for my son is no longer included. Thanks in advance.

    • I believe they are still using the same version of chip for sequencing as they did last year. I was just looking at a friend’s data and putting it together in a spreadsheet for her, and it had approximately the same number of SNP’s (600,000 +) as mine from 2014.

  2. This posting is beautifully explained regards the topic and thanks to u for posting this information and the way it explain clearly is so nice. Hopefully it must be very necessay for people and help them……

  3. Great Info!
    Well written and well referenced!
    I’ll be following along ‘hoping’ to absorb all I can!

    Nice meeting you in cyber space!

    • Thanks for reading! Hope that you can find some information in the blog that you can apply.

  4. The information in your articles has given me possible root causes for my fragrance allergies (anaphylactic reactions to *anything* with chemically-created fragrances, floral essences, and many flower pollens). My allergies have been getting worse as I get older (just turned 60), and some doctors and hospitals don’t take my scent allergies seriously which naturally causes me health issues when I enter their “scent free” zones which are not actually scent free. So far I’ve discovered some histamine intolerance markers, thyroid markers (runs in the family and I had a 3/4 thyroidectomy but don’t need meds), adrenal/pituitary indicators that match up with recently-discovered adrenal adenomas (interesting loop going on there!), methylation issues, and some autoimmune markers. I’ve got both 23andMe and Ancestry DNA info, so combined it all into an Access database since Excel can’t handle the 1,149,000+ lines of data, and have been working my way through your website to gather data. I’ve sent some pieces to my new doctor and will be discussing it with him in a couple of weeks. To say that I am thrilled to have this information is an understatement. For the first time in over 20 years I have hope for getting my health back on track. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your research and for writing about what you find.
    Is there any possibility of DNA/tooth health research soon? I saw the one about gum disease and am very curious about cavities and ‘soft teeth’ as I seem to have problems that my father had, and my sister has none, which is more like my mother.
    Would you object if I post some of your articles on my Facebook page? I’d love to share some of what I’m learning.

    • Hi Barbara –
      First, let me say that I’m so glad that you are getting some real use out of my articles. And of course you are welcome to share them on Facebook as long as you link them back to the website :-) There is a little facebook icon at the bottom of each article to make it easy to share.
      I’m glad you figured out a way to combine your data using Access. I have my Ancestry and 23andMe files in separate sheets in Excel, and then use VLOOKUP to query everything from a third sheet.
      Have you also looked at your odor receptors? I found it fascinating that some people can’t smell things the same way that I do. https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/intriguing-genes-differences-in-how-we-smell-things/ It may not make a difference for your fragrance sensitivity, but for me it helped me to understand why I am so sensitive to floral smells — and that some people probably can’t tell that they are wearing way too much fragrance.
      I’ll put tooth health on my to-do list!

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