Updated: Sep 2
Many people are nervous at the thought of genetic testing. They may have heard about celebrities who have had surgeries based on genetic findings and worry that a doctor will pressure them into making life-changing decisions based on genetic results.
The popular view of genetics is, in many ways, outdated. About 20 years ago there was a belief that there would soon be a 'gene for every disease.'
Meaning that, for every disease we would be able to identify a single gene as the primary culprit.
The reality has proven to be more complicated.
Our genetic data operates collectively as a symphony, and the music can change as we change our behavior.
You should feel empowered by the knowledge that your lifestyle has a significant effect on the way your genes express themselves.
Functional Medicine and Genetics
The genes that a functional medicine doctor is primarily interested in are those that can indicate that you are at a higher risk for developing certain diseases - but it is the 'why' behind that risk factor that holds the most important information.
If this increased risk is primarily because you have a reduced ability to detoxify your blood, the functional medicine approach to this problem would be to support your body's detoxification pathways with the goal of optimizing liver function and mitigating your disease risk.
Genetic data is only useful if some meaningful, proactive change can be made in your life to increase longevity, lower your risk of disease or reduce current symptoms.
Knowing risk for the sake of it is not very useful - unfortunately, many doctors just relay the risk factors without the helpful information on how to reduce that risk.
Genetic Assessment Is Not Fortune Telling
A functional medicine doctor who evaluates your genetic data correctly will educate you about what processes in the body are potentially affected, and may run additional blood tests to confir