Genetic Lifehacks Member Stories

Genetic Lifehacks members have generously shared their stories of how they have applied what they learned about their genes. Our hope is that this will inspire you on your own health journey!

What have you learned from your genes?

I cannot stress enough how helpful this site has been in terms of addressing some “messy” genes that I have inherited from my lovely family. Thanks to this site I have saved loads of frustration fumbling around in the dark trying to find which foods, supplements and meds that may work best (or not!) with my body. Since becoming a member 2 years ago, I have been able to stablize myself from having massive migraines, hormonal imbalances, weight troubles, and rashes. I went from having a drawer full of supplements to having a handful of really great-for-me ones. I was eating all the wrong healthy foods for MY body. I discovered a poor CYP enzyme that negated the effects of a medication and my neurologist agreed its a good thing it was brought to her attention so she could find the right med and dosage for me. Quite literally a lifesaver!
I was even able to get my husband’s information showing celiac genes to his doctor to get his celiac diagnosis expedited, which was the end of a decades’ worth of copays ,frustration, diet changes, and misery.
I feel so empowered being able to cross reference a new health recommendation with how my body could potentially respond rather than blindly using myself as a guinea pig and suffering after. Coming from a “psuedo-allergic/hypersensitive” family not only have I been able to use this information to help my parents, but hopefully my children will benefit from the knowledge I have acquired from geneticlifehacks.com as well.
I am on this site at the very least weekly if not daily thanks to their privacy policy and wealth of easily accessible knowledge. I recommend it to anyone and everyone I can.
Thank you so much, Debbie!

Shared by: TS


 
What have you learned from your genes?

Hi Folks!
Awhile back I read an article about selenium on Genetic Lifehacks. I had been considering taking it for a chronic health condition that is said to be improved by taking selenium. So when I saw an article here on Selenium of course it caught my eye! I happened to notice Debbie’s warning to get tested prior to selenium supplementation as it can cause selenosis, which is very very bad! In all the articles I saw around the net advocating selenium supplements, not one that I read suggested getting tested due to the selenosis danger. So before plunking money on the counter for selenium, I asked my primary care if she would order a selenium test for me. I think she thought me a bit cray cray as she said no one had Ever asked for one of those tests in 15 years & she’d never seen anyone with either low or high levels of selenium. Nonetheless, she kindly ran one. Good thing too, turns out, I had Elevated levels not Low levels! So I Definitely didn’t need to supplement! Thanks for helping me potentially avoid selenosis! :)

Shared by: E.D.


 
What have you learned from your genes?

I carry the mthfr variant and now know I need to avoid synthetic folate – it had been making me ill. I also take sunflower lecithin because I lack the ability to make much choline in the body. Also my oestrogen doesn’t boost it. Since taking it my muscles function better and I have alleviated most of my chronic pain. I also take a b complex. mg and zn to boost these pathways.

Shared by: RF


 
What have you learned from your genes?

My physical symptoms seem to be a series of unexplainable inconveniences. Chronic symptoms appear and doctors look at me and shrug. I’m not obese, just average weight. No matter what pills they gave me, my cholesterol and triglycerides never became normal, seemed to have no effect on me. I wonder about my heart health, because high triglycerides and cholesterol, bad HDL – these raise the risk of a future heart attack.
I have weird blood work: low HDL, incredibly high triglycerides (average 600, sometimes in the thousands), somewhat low platelets. When I turned 30, my protruding abdomen caused a doctor to diagnose me with fatty liver disease, though I don’t drink or smoke. I also developed a very weird calf twitch in both legs that has never stopped. About the time I turned 50, I developed a sudden and disturbing case of neuropathy. I am not diabetic, which is a common cause of neuropathy. Over a few years the neuropathy decreased on its own, from my hips down to my toes and then from my knees down, etc. but it never went away. Neuropathy left me with nerve damage in my legs that has a weird effect – if I eat sugary or carb heavy foods, I feel it in my lower legs. Tingling, stiffness, almost instantly. If I eat something diuretic (garlic, turmeric, ginger), the odd sensations decrease. I call it inflammation, but “feeling the effects of food” is my neuropathy superpower. People don’t even believe it’s true, but it is.
At 55, I noticed that there was no hair growing on an area near my ankles and Googled it to learn it could be a circulation issue. I visited a cardiologist who gave me the treadmill test. I always pass the treadmill tests. Not knowing what else to do, he sent me to a vascular surgeon’s office.
The vascular surgeon tested my leg circulation and discovered bilateral popliteal artery aneurysms – one behind each knee. Clots, and future clots could form there. That’s weird. He also said my veins were oversized (probably genetics and due to elevated blood pressure over time). He told me that I needed surgery, and arterial stents right away and vein ablation. After the surgery, my leg twitches became more severe – now cramps – that woke me up so often I barely slept.
I knew that some diet decisions made my leg twitches and cramps increase. I began a 30 day elimination diet to see how food affects me. Most of my symptoms were affected by a change in diet. I had a very exciting time learning how my diet affected my symptoms. To be honest, my “typical American diet” probably caused a lot of damage. I wished that I had learned more about the effects of food much earlier in life.
A few years ago, when neuropathy started, I began tinkering with supplements that were supposed to relieve neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid, B vitamins, magnesium, and others.
In 2019 (during my elimination diet), I was adding supplements (and testing ideas) to make up better nutrition. I was now fighting my symptoms with diet and supplements.
I found Debbie’s website (GeneticLifehacks.com) and wondered if my genetics could provide any insight into tailoring my supplements.
When I received the GeneticLifehacks report, it took me by surprise. The report results reflected many of my symptoms. I don’t process B12 – and that can cause neuropathy and anemia. I learned that I have a genetic variation for Factor V Leiden – a clotting disorder. I learned that I don’t process Choline – which can cause fatty liver disease. The genetic report essentially told most of the chronic conditions that developed and became true for me. Some of my problems were partly my fault – I could have been eating healthier my entire life. However, some of the problems were genetic. “You have variations in your methylation cycle that affect how much B12 and Choline are available to your body.” I learned that not enough Choline can cause triglycerides to increase. My high triglyceride history simply explained in a genetic flaw. Although doctors have frequently looked at my lack of response to triglyceride lowering prescriptions – none of them has ever suggested a dietary or supplemental Choline approach.
By supplementing choline and changing my diet (eliminating most carbs and fruit), my triglycerides became normal for the first time in my life. I have the “before and after” blood work that proves diet made it normal. I take supplements because I don’t want to exacerbate my neuropathy by starving my body of B12. Unfortunately, I read about my genetic clotting disorder a few months after I already had surgery and stents for my clots. I ordered Genetic Lifehack reports for my children and confirmed they also have the Factor V Leiden clotting disorder. My daughter told her OBGYN about her clotting disorder gene when she became pregnant. Using our Genetic Lifehacks report, we have more facts and make better decisions about prevention and treatment.
What blows my mind is how many of the simple genetic variations became genuine problems for me. Prior to receiving my genetic report, I had many chronic symptoms but didn’t know why I had all those symptoms. I wish I had known at 20 years old what I learned 35 years later from my Genetic Lifehacks report. Of course, that technology wasn’t available back then. And, why didn’t one of my many medical doctors consider researching my genetics to explain early symptoms? Instead, they simply said, “We don’t know why you have neuropathy – maybe genetic.” My point is – there are enough personalized genetic resources to take that diagnosis to a higher level. There are enough genetic resources to learn what your genetic variations and future risk are. Now I eat liver more often, liver is high in choline. I don’t eat any fruit. These two dietary changes made a huge impact on lowering my triglycerides. No medical doctor ever told me to do this. I also supplement Choline.
The key to managing your body’s weaknesses is information. In the case of chronic diseases, my doctors were not able to provide me with much actionable information. Not much nutritional advice tailored to my body. The clues existed – genetically – the entire time. I can tell you that if I had known my body had those weaknesses, I would have modified my diet much sooner to reduce my risk and maximize my ability to avoid chronic conditions. I would have tailored my focus, diet and supplements to understand my genetic vulnerabilities. I jokingly tell my co-workers, “they should give these genetic reports to every kid in kindergarten so they can make better decisions as they grow up.”

Shared by: TJ


 
What have you learned from your genes?

The biggest thing that I’ve learned from my genetic data is that I carry a hemochromatosis mutation. This explained a lot of my family’s health history. Knowing this, I’ve become a regular blood donor, which has resulted in decreased joint pain and generally just feeling better after giving blood. Best of all, my kids now know to donate blood starting at a younger age. This is priceless knowledge that will prevent so many of the chronic diseases that ran in the family.

Shared by: AR