Genetic Testing: 23andMe Results

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A while back in Vancouver, I ordered 23andMe‚s genetic testing kit for $99. I just received my results and want to discuss some of the findings here. Let’s start with the bad news first:

 

Health Risks

Elevated Risks

These are some interesting insights that I didn’t exactly predict. I am not so worried about the Type 2 Diabetes. I have a basic knowledge on nutrition and I am quite confident I will be able to stave it off by keeping my blood sugar stable and timing my carb intake more precisely.

The odds that I will develop „Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)“ are 4 times higher than in an average population. AMD leads to an irreversible loss of vision in the western world among people above 60. No surprise here actually – AMD runs in my father’s family. My great grandmother used huge glasses to read until  she died at the tender age of 96 and my grandmother also glasses. However, similar to Diabetes I am not so worried about AMD either. Current eye laser treatment is pretty decent already and I can safely expect that by 2050 (I will be 60 then) we will have bionic eyes with the sharp vision of an eagle.

Lung cancer is attributable to smoking in 90% of cases. That leaves me in the 10% group that may affect me because my other grandmother died of lung cancer 2 years ago, even though she never touched a cigarette in her life.

 

Decreased Risk

Good news, my risk for „Celiac Disease“ is very low. I am not intolerant to gluten (which I never suspected) and can go back to eating noodles and bread – just kidding. Bread and pastries still make me fart like crazy so I’d rather opt out and choose more nutrient-dense foods.

 

Typical Risk

It’s funny that my risk for „Coronary Heart Disease“ (CHD) is lower than average. I have Familial Hypercholesterolemia (which by the way wasn’t detected by the 23andMe test) and my grandfather died of a heart attack early in life and my father survived a heart attack at 47. Given this family history I would have expected my risk for CHD to be higher.

Interestingly, I have an AA genotype which is associated with lower C-reactive protein (CRP). Lower CRP means less inflammation, means decreased risk for heart disease. Who knows, maybe heart disease in my father’s family stops with me?

CRP

 

Longevity

The length of your telomeres is associated with your longevity. From 23andMe:

„Telomeres are DNA sequences that protect the ends of chromosomes and get shorter with each new copy. When a cell’s telomeres become too short, it can’t make any more copies of itself and eventually dies. For these reasons, telomere length is sometimes used as an indicator of „biological aging“, meaning that it can be used to understand how old a person’s cells appear.“

 

Telomere

If you want to learn more about what causes aging (and how at this point we can’t do anyhthing about yet), listen to THIS interview with world-renown anti-aging researcher, Aubrey de Grey.

 

Muscle Genetics

Apparently, I have the genetics found in many world-class sprinters. This probably translates to a mesomorph phenotype.Whatever, your muscle-building genetics I still think anybody who trains hard, eats a surplus, and sleeps a ton for multiple years will still look impressive despite their genetics.

Muscle

 

 

Trivia Findings

The genetic test also definitely confirmed that I can tolerate lactose with no problem. I had experimentally confirmed that for myself when I excluded dairy for 5 weeks and reintroduced it back again with no stomach upset. Good reason to go on the „GOMAD“ diet (gallon of milk per day).

Something else I learned is that if you have the right genotype and your mom breastfed you, your IQ is raised by 6-7 points on average. Let’s hope that the future mother of my kids also has the CC genes and produces enough breastmilk to make the smarter. :)

IQ  Breastfeeding

Another interesting finding was to learn about my drug response to statin medication. I take a low-dose statin to keep my extremely high LDL cholesterol in check. However, taking statins has been associated with muscle soreness (myopathy). I will probably be taking statins for years to come so knowing that my odds of myopathy while on statin therapy are normal is helpful.

 

Go Test Yourself

A test that was inaccessible and cost thousands of dollars just 1o years ago is available for only $99. Get tested, learn about your genome, and make the right precautions to live a long and healthy life.

If you want to read about somebody else’s 23andMe test results head over to THIS site.

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  • zotium

    Hi Stefan,

    How were you able to find out that you have familial hypercholesterolemia? Did you get tested for it?

    • Stephan R

      I have been treating my FH for more than 10 years – using a low-dose statin.

      23andMe didnt diagnose my FH which baffled me a bit and had me question their expertise a bit. I had a Apo-B Type test done in a German hospital which diagnosed that my LDL receptors were genetically damaged to properly bind to LDL-carrying proteins in the blood stream. That’s why my serum LDL levels are really high with no pharmaceutical intervention (around 260 mg/dl). This is a problem because the longer the LDL floats around in your bloodstream, the more oxidised it becomes thereby adding to the inflammation of the innermost layer of arteries and slowly building up plaque.

      • jo

        Dear Stephan,
        My familial hypercholesterolemia also is not diagnosed by 23andme genotyping (as well as my severe GERD for which 23andme shows „lower risk“).
        Since my results shows that my haplogroup is very, very rare for this part of Europe I doubt the accuracy of the whole results.
        Since you are biohacker can you explain how it is posible for 23andme to make such a big mistakes about FH and Gerd? Is it possible that they gave me someone else’s results?

        • http://www.biohacks.net/ Stephan R

          It’s curious your FH also didn’t show up in 23andme’s testing. I like what 23andme is doing, but with my FH, the genetic testing I have had done at a German hospital appears more sophisticated and trustworthy to me than a simple saliva test from a tube.

          Have you written to 23andme about your GERD and FH issues? I would be interested to know what they have to respond.

          • jo

            Dear Stephan,

            23andme do not provide health interpretations of their results
            since November 2013 (FDA don’t allow them to do that anymore). I got my results
            15 days ago, so they probably will not respond to my questions concerning health
            issues.

            I wrote the post on their web site, at Community section,
            but still without any response neither from stuff or any other community
            member.

            It would be nice if you could join my post (https://www.23andme.com/you/community/thread/29740/)
            and present your case, maybe 23andme will pay attention to questions of
            validity of their genetic results concerning FH if there is more than one
            customer with same question. It is in theirs as well as wider public interest.

          • jo

            I found this among threads, written by 23andme staff:

            Familial hypercholesterolemia can be caused by mutations in several different genes. This particular report on FH Type B is caused by mutations in the APOB gene and is actually a fairly rare type of FH. The most common form is caused by mutations in the LDLR (LDL receptor) gene. If your family has a history of high cholesterol, it is possible that it is caused by this or other forms of FH. It is also possible that other shared genetic or environmental factors are at work.

            We hope to be able to provide a report based on these other types of FH in the future, depending on available scientific literature and the technical capabilities of our genotyping platform.

          • Sharon Wetton

            Have you considered doing a DNA diet & fitness test? http://www.dnafit.com/23andMe/ offer such a service . I did it and was very impressed!

          • http://www.biohacks.net/ Stephan R

            Thanks for pointing me toward the link. Looks really interesting and will it give it a try in the next few months.