Nature vs. Nurture

For Valentine’s Day this year, my husband and I got DNA analysis!  We used a company called “23 and Me” though there are other companies that do this. (I should note that I have been very pleased with the service and information this company has provided.) They analyze your DNA using a mailed-in saliva sample.

From that sample, they can tell you all kinds of things about your health, and ancestry. Want to know your percentage of neanderthal DNA? You can find that out!  Want to know what your greatest disease risk factors are based on available genetic science? They will tell you. You can find out your likely reaction to certain drugs, whether you’re lactose intolerant (I’m not, which I knew), and whether you’re a carrier for a long list of diseases.  Fascinating!  And only slightly scary.

7+ weeks went by, and we finally received the first part of our results (the health results arrive about a week before the ancestry results).

Big surprise (not really) my most elevated risk for diseases & conditions are for obesity (been there) and type-II diabetes (almost did that).  The good news about both of these conditions is that the genetic component accounts for less than 30% of a person’s risk.  The rest of what happens depends in large part on things like exercise, lifestyle, and diet.   I know that very well, first-hand. I was, in fact, OBESE!  I was having all kinds of strange physical problems, and was very likely pre-diabetic.

I would recommend this testing.  Today, as a result of getting the results, my diet has been super clean, and it made me feel great.  Seeing the DNA results was a great reminder (a re-reminder) of why I live and eat this way, and a motivation to keep going, to get further away from the path of ill health (and to avoid triggering the auto-immune syndromes that I am also more likely to be susceptible to than the general population).  On the other hand, I am resistant to norovirus, wheee!

Yes, we’ve all got an expiration date, no matter what we do. And sometimes we develop illness regardless of what we do.  But while I am living, I’d prefer to live well, to the extent that I have a choice.  I feel very lucky to have found the thing that appears to work for me to influence the environmental factors of disease, to mitigate the genetic factors I inherited.

Viva la paleo!  Again, I am a broken record, but for good reason.  Now, what I really want know now are my neanderthal results…  😀

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