“Your genetics load the gun, your lifestyle pulls the trigger.” These were pretty impactful words said to me by dietician Monique Piderit after receiving my DNA results from DNAlysis. Thankfully, my results didn’t flag anything too serious (although being told you need to lay off the cookies is a bit of a shock), but learning about one’s own DNA and how you can wiggle your lifestyle to overcome ‘bad’ genes from activating was an admittedly captivating process. But, how does it all work?
How do you do a DNA test?
DNAlysis, which is based in Sandton, Johannesburg, is one of the leading genetic companies in the country, providing South Africans the chance to get a comprehensive breakdown of their genetic makeup from nothing more than a simple swab of the cheek.
Offering personalised gene-based health care that takes into account scientific evidence when treating health, fitness, and nutrition concerns, this unique healthcare centre is all about results-driven health. What makes DNAlysis so unique is its upstream approach to health care — rather than treating symptoms downstream with things like medicine or other, more extreme, symptomatic treatments, DNAlysis is more interested in the cause of the symptoms. By treating the ‘why’, DNAlysis can help patients treat the root of the problem and even prevent similar or new conditions from cropping up in future. Instead of scratching your head as to why you feel a certain way, struggle sleeping, concerned about hereditary diseases, or simply have bad reactions to certain food, this swab test is a single test solution with a multitude of insights for health optimisation and disease prevention.
How Does it Work?
After contacting DNAnlysis through their website, you’ll be able to visit a medical practitioner close to you in order to do your test. After sending off your swab, you’ll get your results in a few weeks. Broken down into Sport, Health, and Diet, the reports provide a detailed layout of what genes are most prominently featured in your genetic makeup (with them labelled from ‘no impact’ to ‘high impact’). From there, you can look at what each of those pronounced genes mean, how they’re affected, and the result they have on your body, nutritional absorption, fat production, ligament strength, and a wealth of other metrics and factors.
While it can be a little overwhelming, DNAlysis does a great job at making it relevant and pragmatic for anyone to understand. After getting your results back, you’ll schedule a consultation with one of the lab’s approved nutritionists, which is great, as there’s a nutritional element to all the genes which are prevalent in your report. I spoke with Monique Piderit, a qualified dietician for over ten years, who gave me a breakdown of what the gene codes mean, what I should be embracing/avoiding in terms of food, and what activity is more suited to me based on my DNA.
So, What Did I Do About the Results?
As mentioned, the great thing about using DNAlysis is that there are practical recommendations post-test, rather than just burdening you with a ton of information. I was given some pragmatic ideas to re-align or optimise my diet to suit my DNA. Supplements, avoiding certain foods, and even given inexpensive alternative that you’d find in most cupboards made me realise that there are other ways to nourish or treat yourself without relying on the easy options. For example, instead of snacking on a cookie, a knife in the peanut butter jar will do the job when that sugar craving hits; or having wholewheat pasta (which actually costs the same) instead of normal pasta would reduce the intake of refined carbohydrates substantially without really changing much in the diet.
That means (in my case, that is) less sugar, less headaches, less cravings, and a maintained blood-sugar level – and this is all done without costing more or depriving myself of the good things in life: i.e. daily snacks and hearty meals.
While conventional, pharmaceutical-based medicine is very much about waiting until something is wrong and then treating it, this type of integrative medicine is prevention orientated and is more about lifestyle, what you can do in terms of your diet, exercise, sleep and managing stress. All of these factors not only have a big impact on preventing disease but even if you have a problem, can be carried out in conjunction with pharmaceuticals to really get to the core of your issues while treating the symptoms.
You can find out more about DNAlysis and their products on their official website.