Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Appendix A

Dr. Andrew July 18, 2023

DNA and Methylation Gene Testing[EN1]

This appendix covers my advice for genetic testing. Many of you might already know about the recent advances in genetic testing, while others reading this may need some more information. In general, you test your genetics through saliva testing. For the cost of a single genetic blood test, you can obtain a report covering thousands upon thousands of important genes. It is a no-brainer!

The two companies I recommend are 23 and Me and Ancestry DNA. Although there are new companies popping up all the time, I can vouch for the accuracy and usefulness of these two companies. My advice would be to compare prices (AncestryDNA is usually significantly less expensive) and choose the one you like best. Consider using a fake name when submitting your DNA data. It is your right to privacy, and in our ultra-connected world, you should place at least some barriers between your sensitive personal data and those who want to exploit it. Fake names will keep your DNA data somewhat anonymous, protecting your privacy.

Both 23andMe and AncestryDNA analyze your saliva sample and provide insights into your family, health, and other genetic information. Though that info can be interesting, it isn’t what you really need to understand your genetics. To learn about your COMT, MTHFR, MAO, SULT, SNPs, etc., you need what is called the “Raw Data” file, which is used to generate an easy-to-read report. It will be available to you once your saliva sample has been processed and your DNA results are ready to view. Each company will allow you to download this Raw Data file to your desktop, and from there you have to perform one more step.

Once your Raw Data file has been downloaded, go to the website MTHFR Support.com and order the Variant Report, a handy tool that organizes the complicated genotype data into an easy-to-read format. The colorful Variant Report you can download from MTHFR Support offers the best chance of understanding your genetics. Sterling Hill, owner of MTHFR Support, is constantly updating her report, making it the most state-of-the-art product available.

This report lists whether or not you inherited the “good, bad, or ugly” version of a gene. It categorizes genes and assigns them colors such as green, yellow, and red for easy identification and learning. Sterling’s Variant Report saves time and simplifies things, which comes in handy for obvious reasons. Figure A.1 shows an MTHFRSupport Variant Report, showing green, yellow, and red SNPs. This is the best tool available for deciphering the complexities of your genetic information.

Figure A.1 – This is the easiest way to read your genotype. It is a sample taken from a variant report produced by Sterling Hill’s MTHFRSupport application.

Once you have this report in hand, you can start to work to unravel your genetic imbalances. I suggest working with a practitioner who has experience in this area, to avoid confusion and poor results. You may have a trusted doctor to work with, or you can search for a doctor near you on Sterling Hill’s website under the “Find a Practitioner” tab. Or you may want to be one of the thousands of patients who work with our Boise office directly. You can contact my office directly via email at care@redmountainclinic.com or via phone at 208-322-7755 to begin the process of getting care through our clinic.

One final note for those of you who are apprehensive about looking at your own genetic report: Learning about your own genotype and family history is very exciting, but a word of caution is necessary. Several companies provide genotype reports based on your genes that estimate your likelihood of disease. This tends to ignore the scientific fact that the environment, the epigenetics around the cell, actually controls our genes—not the genes themselves. Philosophically and scientifically, I take issue with reports that tell people they have a “X percent” risk of cancer, or heart disease, or depression. It turns people into victims and isn’t accurate.

Consider that research published by the Mayo Clinic in 2016 shows that only 3 percent of the US adult population has a healthy lifestyle.1 So how can we blame a gene for causing disease, when 97 percent of the population has a lifestyle that makes them sick? That is muddying the water and blaming our ancestors instead of our choices. According to Bruce Lipton, PhD, and other leaders in the field, only 5 percent of diseases can be blamed on genetics. Do yourself a favor and pay small attention to the disease risk in your genetic genotype report. Scientifically, the only real risk we know about is our lifestyle, and that is something you have 100 percent control over!

1 Loprinzi, P.D., A. Branscum, J. Hanks, et al. Healthy lifestyle characteristics and their joint association with cardiovascular disease biomarkers in US adults. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 91(4). Elsevier (2016): 432–42.