Genetic testing can give you a window into your health – all it takes is a drop of your saliva. With the process becoming increasingly more popular, we round up the benefits of discovering your DNA from the comfort of your own home.
In the past, genetic testing was primarily reserved for medical providers and conventionally conducted by a physician or nurse. However, with the rising trend of direct-to-consumer DNA tests becoming more readily available on the market, the genetic testing industry is booming. In fact, about 26 million people in the US already have received a DNA test…
Additionally, researchers have determined that receiving personal genomic information can have a major, long-term effect on one’s lifestyle – including weight loss and smoking cessation (to name but a few).
Dozens of companies currently offer direct-to-consumer genetic tests for a variety of purposes. The most popular ones use genetic variations to make predictions about health and provide information about common traits – including physical and behavioural – as well as offering clues into one’s ancestry.
As public interest into DNA testing grows, so does the range of health conditions covered by these tests – including an individual’s risk for specific types of cancer and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. However, with so many options available on the market, it’s hard to decipher which one may be best for you..
If you’re still on the fence about taking a genetic test available on a consumer level, weigh up the reasons below that may sway you:
1. Some home DNA tests can tell you whether you’re likely to have certain traits like lactose intolerance, higher vitamin needs, or your likelihood of premature grey hair
Not all DNA tests are reserved solely for serious genetic disorders. In fact, some can detect certain variations in a person’s genome associated with specific traits. Learning that you may be more predisposed towards having a certain trait could inspire you to make positive lifestyle changes that could improve your overall health.
For example, some tests can tell you whether or not you have a genetic predisposition towards being lactose intolerant, if you have a higher sensitivity towards certain foods like carbohydrates or alcohol, as well as certain vitamin and skin needs, your unique fitness profile, and even your stress tolerance. In fact, the most comprehensive DNA tests on the market can even let you know how likely you are to stay loyal to your partner.
2. You can discover your genetic risk of developing a (hereditary) disease or cancer you don’t actually have yet
When a healthy person with no symptoms has a documented family history of a disease – such as diabetes or cardiovascular issues – genetic tests can help analyse specific markers that are related to that disease.
Some genetic tests are able to offer information about whether certain individuals inherited mutations associated with several types of hereditary cancer – including breast, colon, melanoma, and prostate. Once well-known cancer-related mutation that specific DNA tests check for is the BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutations – the same one that Angelina Jolie had which prompted her to opt for a preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy.
For some, receiving genetic test results that come back positive for a mutation can be life-changing. It not only makes them eligible for early screening, but it also influences them to speak to their family members about potentially getting tested for a genetic variation, too.
Also, based on other risk factors they may have like their weight, lifestyle, and other health conditions, it may encourage them to take further action to help prevent diseases and cancer from manifesting before they begin.
3. You can find out whether your DNA contains a mutation for a genetic disorder that might affect your unborn child
Sometimes, even healthy individuals can have genetic variants that are associated with different diseases – even though the condition doesn’t affect that person or their health. This is known as being a carrier, where they inherited a single copy of a gene mutation.
For example, if you’re a carrier for a disease mutation linked to deafness, it does not necessarily mean you suffer from the condition. However, there is a 50% chance you may pass on the copy of the mutation to your offspring meaning that they, too, will become a carrier. But if two parents are carriers for the same genetic disorder, their child has a 25% chance of inheriting two bad copies of that gene, and potentially developing the disease.
Carrier status screening allows healthy individuals who are wanting to start a family the chance to estimate their genetic reproductive risks. Knowing this information allows parents to make well-informed decisions about family planning, as well as gives them the chance to weigh up their various options before and during pregnancy.
Find the best DNA test for you…
The Circle Exome Series has been designed for those who take health and wellness seriously. Understand everything your genes can tell you about your cancer and disease risk, optimal diet and nutrition, family planning, and much more. Discover actionable insights that help you take control of your well-being so that you can live a happier, healthier life. Unlock 500+ insights into you with the world’s most comprehensive DNA test. Find out more: www.circleDNA.com