Lately, our office has been flooded with calls and emails about genetic testing. Ever since Joe Rogan’s interview with Gary Brecka (you can catch it here), genetic testing has entered the spotlight. In that episode, Gary reveals how genetic testing can help you biohack your way to better health.
The main focus of the interview? Methylation – and how certain genes can hinder this process and lead to nutritional deficiencies. Brecka says correcting these deficiencies can transform your physical and mental health.
At Anchored in Health, we wholeheartedly agree. But what exactly is genetic methylation testing? And how do you know if it’s right for you?
In this article, we’ll answer these questions and whether genetic testing is worth all the hype. But first, let’s cover some basics.
What is Methylation?
Methylation is a biochemical process where a methyl group is added to DNA or another type of molecule. Each methyl group is made up of three hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom.
When these methyl groups attach to DNA, it affects gene expression — meaning it helps turn genes ‘on’ and ‘off.’
Clearly, this is a big deal! Especially if you have genes that increase the risk of disease, such as the BRAC breast cancer genes.
Methylation affects a multitude of bodily processes, including:
- DNA production
- Neurotransmitter production
- Amino acid production
- Liver health
- Cellular energy
- Hormone metabolism
- Cardiovascular health
- Cell membrane repair
- Immune responses
As you can see the list is long. That’s why when methylation is impaired, it can have negative effects on your physical and mental health.
What is a Genetic Methylation Test for?
Methylation tests give insights into how well your methylation pathway is working. They measure methylation metabolites and identify single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs. SNPS (pronounced “snips”) are genetic variations that influence your health and risk of chronic illness.
For methylation to occur, your body needs certain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. And some SNPs can cause deficiencies in these nutrients. This can muck your methylation, which can affect your metabolism, detoxification, hormones, energy, mood, and the list goes on…
Methylation testing can tell you if you have one of these methylation defects. It can also help you get the right nutritional support to get your methylation pathway working more optimally.
Who Can Benefit From a Genetic Methylation Test?
Since methylation is involved in so many bodily processes, when this pathway is impaired, symptoms can run the gamut.
Methylation tests can offer valuable insights to people with:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Psychiatric and mood disorders including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism
- Impaired detox whether due to toxin exposure, hormone therapy, or alcohol consumption
- Chronic fatigue
- Cognitive decline
- Cancer risk
What Can You Learn From Genetic Methylation Testing?
A genetic methylation test can identify whether you have certain SNPs that impair methylation. That way, you can get the right nutritional support to improve methylation. This can, in turn, reduce your risk of chronic illness.
Here are a few of the SNPs a genetic methylation test may include:
MTHFR is short for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (quite the mouthful, I know!). This gene gives your body instructions on how to make the MTHFR enzyme. This enzyme helps your body convert folate (vitamin B9) into its active form, 5-MTHF. If this conversion is thrown off, it can lead to folate deficiency, which can affect your mood, energy, digestion, and more.
The MTHFR enzyme also helps your body metabolize the amino acid homocysteine. When homocysteine levels get too high, it can damage the lining of the arteries.
The MTR gene gives your body instructions on how to make the enzyme methionine synthase (MS). This enzyme helps your body convert homocysteine into methionine. MS can’t do this conversion without methylated B12.
Having a variant in this gene affects your ability to metabolize homocysteine. This can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, digestive disorders, and cancer.
This gene tells your body how to make the enzyme methionine synthase reductase (MSR). MSR is needed for the MS enzyme (see above) to work properly. These enzymes work together to convert homocysteine into methionine.
For this reason, MTRR genetic variants can also lead to high levels of homocysteine. Elevated homocysteine levels are linked with depression, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
The COMT gene gives your body instructions to make another enzyme, called catechol-O-methyltransferase, or COMT for short. COMT helps your body metabolize neurotransmitters, like dopamine and epinephrine.
COMT is especially important in the prefrontal cortex. This area of your brain, dubbed the “personality center,” is involved with emotion, planning, and self-control. For this reason, variants in this gene are linked with an increased risk of behavior problems and psychiatric disorders.
Where to Get Genetic Methylation Testing
Nowadays, getting genetic testing is easier than ever. Many home kits are available, which are mighty convenient. The trouble is, home kits won’t do you much good unless you know what to do with the results.
That’s why it’s best to get genetic testing done with a functional medicine doctor. That way, you can get a customized treatment plan based on your unique results.
At Anchored in Health, we offer genetic testing to people living in the greater Chicago area. To learn more, click here.
How Much Does a Genetic Methylation Test Cost?
Genetic testing can range anywhere from $100 to upwards of $1,000. Home kits like 23andMe are convenient and affordable. But they don’t cover methylation.
The methylation test Gary Brecka recommends on the Joe Rogan podcast, 10X genetic testing, has a $599 price tag. It includes the 4 SNPs we covered above, along with the AHCY gene. But those are the only genes tested.
At Anchored in Health, we use 3×4 Genetics Testing. Our genetic testing packing costs $395 and tests 157 SNPs, including methylation genes.
The genes measured in 3×4 testing influence numerous bodily processes, including:
- How you respond to nutritional supplements
And here’s the good news… genetic testing results never change. Meaning one test can provide a lifetime of benefits.
Is Methylation Genetic Testing Worth It?
It depends. If you take the test and don’t do anything with the data, then no. But if that information is used to create a customized roadmap for your health, YES!
That’s why it’s best to work with a functional medicine practitioner who can interpret your results. They can help identify any nutritional deficiencies based on your SNPs. But they can also make dietary and supplement recommendations to correct them.
Also, while genetic testing can be invaluable, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. For treatment to be successful, other factors need to be considered. This includes hidden infections, toxicity, hormone imbalances, and food intolerances.
Improve Your Health with Genetic Testing in Orland Park, IL
Struggling with chronic health issues and tired of searching for answers? Or simply want to use your genes to live your healthiest, best life? Genetic testing can help.
If you live in the Chicago area and are ready to get genetic testing to improve your health and happiness, follow these steps:
- Contact us to speak with our functional medicine doctor.
- Schedule your genetic testing screening at Anchored in Health.
- Discover how unlocking your genes can help you live your healthiest, happiest life!
Other Wellness Services Offered at Anchored in Health in Orland Park, IL
Genetic testing isn’t all we do at Anchored in Health. We offer a variety of holistic health services to support your health and well-being. This includes chiropractic care, acupuncture, and functional medicine. We also offer massage therapy, the Shape Reclaimed program, and thermography.
Contact us to find out how we can help you live a thriving life!