DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is what makes us unique individuals. The only person who could share your DNA is your identical twin, which is why each and every one of our bodies and personalities is different. DNA is the genetic code which creates and determines all of our characteristics and physical make up, from the food we should eat to how we exercise, our body shape to our propensity to certain diseases.
So I asked DNA expert Dr Nasim Ashraf, a US Board certified internal and functional medicine specialist with over 35 years experience in medicine, and head of Dubai’s DNA Health clinic to tell us five things DNA testing can tell us and how it can help improve our health and our lives.
Why You’re Struggling To Lose Weight
DNA testing can be very helpful in telling us the type of food which works for us. Two people can eat the same plate and react totally differently. Genes dominate our responses, for example, some people will get the signal to stop eating, while others will not. If you are leptin resistant, ie the hormone leptin, known as the satiety hormone, is not doing its job properly, you will simply not know when to stop. These hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which increases appetite, are controlled by genes. If you can figure out the weaknesses through DNA testing, you can get to the root of the hormonal problems.
Risk Factors For Disease
Someone may be prone to diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, even without symptoms, even those leading a healthy and active life. If you have a long history of this in the family, you may want to get tested and even have your children tested to help build their eating habits from there.
Risk Of Disease In Unborn Children
Carrier screening can give parents an idea of the likelihood of their children developing diseases, especially in the likes of consanguine marriages. Pre-pregnancy screening can tell parents of the chances of their children developing things such as cerebral palsy, thalassemia, mental retardation and heart disease.
How Should You Be Exercising?
The DNA panel tells us what your body responds to better, for example shorter sprints, high intensity interval training, power bursts, or endurance exercise. This can help you create a fitness plan or even choose activities and sports more suited to you based on your DNA.
Anti-Aging: What’s Your DNA Age vs Your Biological Age?
Even your skin type is determined by your genetic make up. Telomere testing will show how quickly you’re aging on a cellular level which allows you to see how quickly your skin will begin to age, ie will you age prematurely? There is a lot of lifestyle influence in this but at the base level, it’s dictated by your DNA, much like your body shape; why some people will have those six pack abs and others simply cannot develop them, however much weight they lose. Some people have a fast skin turnover which means it’ll always be youthful and fresh. For some people their skin starts to go to sleep at a certain age so with DNA paneling, we can work on preventive measures for this.