Creating a Genome-based Personal Health Plan

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Earlier this year, I had my DNA genotyped by 23andMe. My hope was to get a better understanding of my ancestory and how genetics play a role in my overall health. Upon receiving my results from 23andMe, I was happy to discover they had a number of health reports. The health reports were great, but I knew they were just the tip of the iceburg; there was more valuable health information in my genome. Fortunatley, 23andMe offers a genome export and there are third party services out there that will run analysis on genomes to try and tease out more health information.

I used a couple of these third party services and created a personal health plan based on the results. The two services I found most useful are:

The following is my genome-based health plan.

Avoid Dairy (Lactose)

Gene: MCM6 gene

SNP: rs4988235(C;C) SNP

The (C;C) genotype was completely correlated with biochemically verified lactose intolerance in this study.

Supplement with Vitamin D

Gene: vitamin D binding protein

SNP: rs7041(G;T)

The (G;T) genotype may increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency according to this study.

It’s important to optimize serum Vitamin D levels because it has been associated with increased mortality.

I put a a drop or two of Optimal Vitamin D3 Liquid in my morning smoothy. I still have to do blood tests to ensure my serum Vitamin D levels are in the 40-60 ng/L range.

Perform Intense Exercise Regularly

Gene: BDNF

SNP: rs6265(A;G)

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a neurotrophin that is involved in both the growth of new neurons, proliferation (or expansion) of existing neurons, and in the maintenance of synapses. ~ Rhonda Patrick

The A allele is linked to lower levels of BDNF. Individuals with A allele can increase BDNF through physical activity according to this study.

I personally try to get in two four-mile, hilly runs a week (hills make it more like high-intensity interval training). I do hot yoga three times a week and strength train two or three times per week.

Perform High-load, Low-Repetition Strength and HIIT Training

Gene: ACTN3

SNP: rs1815739(C;T)

Individuals with this SNP are recommended to choose HIIT based on this study.

Supplement with Fish Oil

Gene: FADS2

SNP: rs1535(A;G)

This genotype has been associated with a 27% decrease in the efficiency in conversion of ALA (alpha-​linolenic acid– found in plant sources like flax seeds, etc.) to omega-3 EPA. Optimal omega-3 EPA levels are required for optimal brain health and also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Fish oil is high in omega-3 EPA so this conversion process is not necessary. I take 1 tsp of Carlson Fish Oil in my morning smoothie.

Eat More Eggs and Organ Meets, Supplement with B-Complex

Gene: MTRR

SNP: rs1801394(A;G)

I have the polymorphism in the MTHR gene that is associated with an altered choline metabolism. Choline is an important nutrient for brain and nervous system health. The best sources of choline are eggs and organ meets like liver.

This polymorphism also has been associated with high homocysteine. This can be mitigated by having a proper levels of Vitamin B12 (which liver is a also a great source of). In addition, Betaine has also been shown to lower homocysteine levels.

Practice Time-restricted Eating; Stop Eating after 5PM

Gene: NPAS2

SNP: rs2305160(C;C)

This SNP has been associated with an increased risk of certain kinds of cancers. The risk is influenced by fasting insulin levels.

Decrease Saturated Fat and Refined Sugar

Gene: FABP2

SNP: i6010053(A;A)

This genotype has been associated with increase levels of certain negative biomarkers related to insulin resistence and cholesterol levels when on a higher saturated fat/refined carb diet.

My goal is to avoid all refined carbohydrates, e.g. added sugars, the best I can and to keep saturated fat intake under 20g/day.

Avoid Alcohol and Optimize Sleep

Gene: APOE

SNP: rs4420638(A;G)

I am APOE4-positive, meaning I have higher risks for developing Alzheimer’s Disease. The risks can be mitigated however by lifestyle factors like optimizing sleep, being physically active and avoiding drugs like alcohol.

I optimize sleep by getting early light exposure (I usually take my dog for an early morning walk), keeping my sleeping quarters dark and cool at night, and not consuming caffeine after 12pm.

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