GeneticTestingandMe: Should you ask your doctor for genetic testing?
Ever since the initial human tribe first appeared in Africa roughly 80,000 to 100,000 years ago, our ancestry has gone through 8,000 generations of trial and error. If you consider the many risks our ancestors must have faced, then you know getting here was something of a miracle.
Huge numbers of people died in childhood. Millions of others died at young ages in war, before ever finding mates. Disease, famine and infection played tricks on us all – and still do – but we survivors are certainly the better for it. Without exception, not one of those who died before reproducing is listed among your ancestors! History, after all, whether recorded in textbooks or our genetics, is written only by the survivors.
That means 8,000 generations of successful breeding to make YOU. So, how did you make it here, to this point in time? Better still, how do you make it beyond the here and now?
People survived challenges in years past largely as they do today, through the body’s innate ability to adapt to change and call successfully (and in a timely manner) upon a multitude of compensatory mechanisms. As one road closes, your body takes an alternate route to success. Now with the recent FDA approval for genetic testing –testing that has prompted a multitude of companies to jump on the bandwagon – why should you not seek the information they provide? Wouldn’t you benefit from knowing your disease risk, or susceptibility?
Only you can make that decision. Personally, however, I find genetic testing more an excuse than a viable option for health answers.
What testing fails to say is perhaps more important than what it does. Findings place the focus too much on what’s wrong and not enough on what’s right. Finding out what’s right is the Designed2Win way of looking at your health. What’s right is the innate ability of your body to awaken a system of compensating mechanisms or alternate metabolic routes to handle any negativity in genetics.
Our challenge lies in how to access our winning strategies, and facing that head-on is why we learned to address health in accordance with a human health model. Designed2Win, you see, is not just a name. It’s the battle cry of the human body.
Assessing whether your body is up to the challenge requires balancing – through chemistry – seven of its most fundamental, homeostatic controls, allowing you to access a greater range of options for meeting and overcoming those challenges. Success, then – regardless of genetic testing outcomes – rests on your state of homeostasis. A return to homeostasis allows your body to make the best possible decisions for you in your recovery, and to make them in a time-sensitive manner (as it must while your cells adapt to a constantly changing and challenging environment). Once you fully grasp the extent of your body’s ability to adapt when given the full opportunity it deserves, you begin to see the value of tapping into a far-more-useful branch of genetic testing referred to as epigenetics.
Epigenetics has to do with the effect of diet and the environment on up-regulating and down-regulating various genes, and the voluminous number of compensating and trouble-solving mechanisms. Homeostasis is the key, imparting to your body the broadest potential for the flexibility you require in meeting and responding to – with success – any and all health challenges.
Today, the most practical use of genetic testing will be in helping doctors know who should or should not receive a particular drug, and how to adjust to the correct dosage. Yet the doctor could have solved the problem through epigenetics had he or she known how to read homeostatic-related chemistry. Knowing, for instance, how to correct the failure of glucuronidation (identified by a higher than normal serum total bilirubin) – and doing so – would negate the need for knowing the genetic print of CyP450. In addition, a patient would benefit further by thereafter being able to detox a drug and toxin better, making all dosages safer. Too, it would allow patients to naturally rid themselves of any future exposure to a fat-soluble environmental toxin.
The doctor willing to look beyond medicine and into what constitutes health will learn the many ways the body has of sidestepping challenges, allowing future exposures to drugs and toxins to be handled in a far more comprehensive manner. It all depends on taking time to learn how to support the human body in meeting all those challenges at any point in time. Adopting a health model approach to any medical situation results in the most satisfying outcome for both you and your doctor.
Yes, genetics plays a role in every outcome, good or bad. Yet – fortunately – it does not have the last word. Even when genetics is against us in a particular circumstance, our bodies are more than able to sidestep the outcome, often simply needing some help to reach a state of homeostasis where the immense potential of our mechanisms for compensation can be tapped.
The bottom line is this: Genetic testing, while of great academic interest, will not provide the answers you’re looking for toward ideal health. Knowing you have a tendency toward something is nowhere near as valuable as the knowledge that your body has the compensatory mechanisms to overcome that tendency. Homeostasis and healthful adaptation are the answers. They are why you became the successful outcome of 8,000 generations, and how you’ll overcome whatever challenge you may have next.