Common Nutrigenomics Testing Questions

Genomics is changing the future of health and medicine. Developments in genetic testing enables us to look in detail at our DNA - the chemical instructions present in every body cell that make us who we are and drive every body function. 

This biological code doesn’t just impact gender, height, and eye colour. It tells the body how to do everything, including how well you absorb and use specific nutrients like vitamins,  affecting your nutrient needs. It impacts production of sex hormones, reproduction and fertility, and neurotransmitters, influencing thinking and emotional wellbeing.  It regulates how well your cells can grow and repair, even how well they can produce energy, or how readily you store excess energy as fat. In short, it’s the very code of life. 

But we are not all the same. Common variations in our genetic code (called SNPs - Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) result in small but important differences in function, affecting, for example, how much of a chemical in the body is made, how well it works or how our cells respond to it. These SNPs don’t create ill-health in themselves, but in combination they can affect our energy, mental wellbeing, detoxification and beyond, impacting health and contributing to development of specific health conditions. Looking at your genetic differences unlocks a personal health blueprint, offering a detailed insight into your unique biological strengths and weaknesses and a deeper understanding of your health.

Of course the environment plays a big part too. What we do and what we are exposed to interacts with our body’s ability dynamically. If we are not very good at processing caffeine, it does not matter if we’re not exposed to caffeine. But if we are, understanding that can help us reduce our intake of coffee perhaps, or support the system to handle it more effectively. 

Nutrigenomics looks at how these nutrition and lifestyle factors impact our genetic potential. We can’t change our genes, but we can change what we do to make them less significant. Nutrigenomic testing gives us an understanding of how our life choices interact with what makes us tick, so we can make positive changes that align with our genetics and optimise our health and wellbeing.

There are thousands of potential genes and SNPs we could look at and many companies offering to test your genes. But this is complex stuff, and your genetic information is precious. We can test your genes and provide you with thousands of lines of complex data, but that would not be useful. So as well as providing a DNA Test Kit, we also interpret the data for you through our unique Nutrigenomics Reports.

Some Common Questions about Testing

What are you testing exactly? Our test is a genetic test and looks at DNA. Our reports highlight if you have any common genetic variations (SNPs) that occur in at least 1% of the population and result in differences in biological function, like nervous system function, hormone balance or detoxification, that can affect health. It doesn’t measure the products of those functions such as blood levels of hormones for example. Sometimes it can be useful to look at results of other types of test alongside nutrigenomic testing.

What does the test Involve? The test is a simple, non-invasive mouth swab that is easy to do at home. The only requirement is to abstain from eating/drinking for at least 1 hour before testing. Simply collect a sample of cheek cells using the swab and place the sample and stabilising capsule in the tube provided. See How to do the test. Return with the signed consent form in the prepaid envelope (UK). There are no special storage or transport requirements and you can return any day. For international returns, the client is responsible for arranging and paying for return.

Who can be tested? Anyone. Even children can be tested with a parent or guardian’s consent. When testing a child under 18 years of age a parent or guardian with parental responsibility for the child can provide consent on the child's behalf. Since our genes are fixed from birth, the age of testing makes no difference to the results.  It won’t be affected by your diet, and medical conditions or medications you are taking. You only need to be tested once, because your genetics don’t change. What does change is what you do to help your genetics be less significant, and so improve our health. 

Is my data safe? 

We are also really careful with your sensitive data, storing it securely, protecting it using the highest industry standards. We hold the minimum client data for the minimum amount of time.  On receipt by Lifecode Gx samples are allocated a barcode and all other client identification is removed. The test is used only to create the reports which are only shared with the authorised practitioner and Lifecode Gx senior staff. Each test is processed in our ISO certified UK laboratory and all samples are completely destroyed after 3 months. All client genotyping data is marked for destruction at 5 months and completely destroyed by 6 months. The client report, the data and the DNA sample is never (and will never be) shared with, or sold to third parties. All of the data extraction and analysis is done in the UK. 

Is testing and interpretation accurate?

The genotyping methodology that we use is very accurate (at least 99.9%). Results that fail quality control are not reported (shown on the report as a ‘no result’). The science behind our interpretation is fully referenced in each report. Our reports are reviewed regularly by our expert team to ensure they are up to date and clinically relevant.

Do you test for specific genetic conditions? No. There are very specific genetic mutations that are extensive and highly predictive of a particular medical condition. These are the ones the NHS in the UK (or other healthcare providers) investigate for disease diagnosis. Lifecode Gx does not offer this type of testing and we suggest you talk your healthcare provider about accessing this, alongside any appropriate genetic counselling. However you might want to consider Nutrigenomics testing as well, as understanding how your body works as a whole (for example hormone balance, response to stress etc) could well be significant. 

How do I organise Lifecode Gx test/report and what does it involve?

If you are a practitioner wanting to use these tests and reports with your client, see How to Order for Practitioners If you’re not and want a test for yourself, see How To Order - Public.

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