Chicago mom: Why I am glad I did the 23andMe genetic testMonday, December 09, 2013
I didn't realize when I became a mother I would also become a food scientist, food allergy detective, investigative reporter on hidden ingredients in our foods and now, a geneticist.
Some of you may have heard about the FDA putting a halt on the popular at-home genome saliva test from 23andMme. The test intrigued me. I debated doing it, but after checking out a couple of private forums on Facebook, I decided this was something I needed to do for myself and my kids. The information I have learned has been eye opening and for the first time in a really long time, I know what the heck is going on with my son's salicylate allergy.
Why the FDA doesn't want us to have access to our genetic info is beyond me.
You see, we all have genes for diseases and obviously some things can "run in the family." The thing that some of us may not realize is that we have the ability to turn on and off our genes based on our diet, supplementation, exercise, environmental toxins (pollution, personal care products, etc.), stress and sleep. According to my report, I have a 70 percent chance of being obese and having heart disease because those run in my family, but I defied those genes because of the way I eat and care for myself.
I was surprised to learn I have risks for certain diseases not even on my radar, including macular eye degeneration and breast cancer. What I was looking for was a genetic mutation called the MTHFR gene, specifically the C677T and the A1298C genes. These two big genes tell us a lot about how our bodies are going to create disease or how we can better our health and our health outcomes. I am a compound heterozygous, I'm in the "yellow" (meaning I have one mutated gene from each parent) and how that is passed down.
These mutated genes or heterozygous genes, are the big genes found in ADHD, sensory processing disorder, hypothyroid, depression, seasonal affective disorder, cardiovascular disease, allergies, fibromyalsia, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Alzhemier's, infertility and in kids on the autism spectrum. The list goes on and on. Wouldn't you like to know if doing so could help your body function better at the cellular level, allowing you to live healthy and age gracefully? How about your kids?
I am new to this and do not claim to be an expert. In fact I am working with an expert to help my family understand the results. For the FDA to put the halt on something that can be so valuable is ridiculous. This is the stuff that is being looked at in other countries, but it can take 17 years before our doctors to use information like this.
You see, the FDA is about the meds and having access to info like this would boost the nutraceuticals industry.
If you struggled with infertility and used fertility treatments, wouldn't you have liked to know the right supplements to get your cells working efficiently? But you see, this would put the fertility clinics out of business; they are not in the business to fix you, they are in the business to get you pregnant. If you struggle with mental health issues and suffer from the side effects of using prescription drugs, wouldn't you like an option to help treat yourself at the cellular level? I can now understand and begin to heal my son's gut issues so he can eat more than just 10 foods, but we can also improve other things to balance out his cells.
23andMe was funded $59 million by the National Institutes of Health to lower the price so folks like you and me can afford to get this test done. Or you can go to a special clinic where it can cost thousands. Now the FDA has put a halt on any new sales at 23andMe.
For those of us who have taken the test, we are genetic pioneers and are more empowered to take action to better our health and well-being on a level that is beyond the medical community's understanding. Why should we wait 17 years for them to play catch up?