23andMe: Health Risk Action Plan

G-23andMeActionPlan

In our last post we introduced the idea of genetic testing for preppers. What could you do with the knowledge of your genetic traits? In this post, I will use my own test results as an example of what you could possibly gain from genetic testing.

Health Risks

Alzheimer’s disease: 1.98x average

This was a locked result due to the potential consequences of aging expectations and those of family members. However forewarned is forearmed and I was not afraid to find out. It turns out I have one copy of the allele that is responsible for increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This puts me at a 14.2% chance of getting the disease between 50-79.

I have researched the symptoms of Alzheimer’s as recommended. Early detection is important to slowing the effects of the disease, which are irreversible. But I’m also looking into changing my diet in accordance with recent research that the disease might be related to insulin sensitivity of brain cells.

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease: 1.59x and 1.28x

These are both lumped together under the umbrella of inflammatory bowel diseases and unfortunately I am at a higher risk for both. While the recommendation on the site was to look into genetic counselling and seek out associations, I know from my research in nutrition that inflammatory foods are probably a good thing to avoid.

If there wasn’t enough reason to avoid these foods, I now have serious bowel disease to worry about. Gives me a much better excuse to pass the rolls.

Inherited Conditions

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency: Carrier

AAT is a protein that protects cells from an enzyme that is released from white blood cells. This comes up particularly in lung and liver cells where environmental toxins can accumulate. People with AAT deficiency are more susceptible to emphysema and liver disease, and lose lung capacity more when smoking. As a carrier, I have one copy of the gene which still can affect AAT although it may or may not be noticeable in my lifetime.

Thankfully I quit smoking a few years ago but I am known to enjoy more than a few beverages on occasion. My mother’s side of the family is French and enjoys wine with every meal, seemingly without consequence. I’m not sure where this gene comes from but now I know to curtail my alcohol consumption if avoidable, sticking to social situations

Hematochromatosis: Carrier 

Hematochromatosis is a condition in which the blood has difficulty removing iron. Eating food rich in iron like red meat and spinach can lead to elevated iron levels, which can lead to problems with the heart, liver and pancreas.

I eat a LOT of red meat, spinach and iron containing foods. This could be a very big problem for me. One of the theories surrounding hematochromatosis is that it was once an evolutionary advantage,   allowing women to survive menstruation and childbirth and men to survive wounds from battle or hunting. Red blood cells contain iron in the hemoglobin and production of them is one of the greatest demands on dietary sources.

Since my modern life doesn’t involve either I’m going to make amends to let blood. I’m scheduled to donate in the next few months and will see how often I can donate without affecting my training.

Wrap up

This is just an example of how you can avoid conditions you are predisposed to in order to optimize your health. In my next post, I’ll go over my action plan for the different traits I found.

WILL YOU PLAN OR PERISH?

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by JP Martin