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Sunday, May 19, 2024

5 Ways Gene Testing Can Improve Your Life

Most of us know the main pillars of good health but we also know that everyone’s body is different, with individual weaknesses and strengths. Because of this, what works well for someone in terms of diet, exercise or even medication may not work as well for someone else.

So what if we could tap into that uniqueness and tailor how we approach our health based on what will suit us as individuals?

Well, the reality is that thanks to the latest advances in the field of genetic testing, we can now begin to do this. Companies like South African-based medical bio-tech company Intelligene have recently made gene testing available to individuals, meaning that you can find out a huge range of information and apply that knowledge in order to improve your own health and wellbeing.

If you’re interested in this kind of gene testing, here are some ways it can help improve your life over the long term:

It can identify which medication will work better on you.

Using what’s known as pharmacogenomics – the study of how genes affect a person’s response to medication – gene testing can reveal which kinds of medication are likely to be more effective on a particular person in terms of treating certain chronic diseases.

With this knowledge, you can avoid a “trial and error” scenario when it comes to using medication for a condition you may have. This also saves you time and money by ensuring you’re getting the right medication at the right time, and at the right dosage too.

Medical scheme Fedhealth has recognised the potential in this area, and has partnered with local medical bio-tech company Intelligene to perform this kind of genetic testing.

Their initial pilot programme will look at a subset of members with certain chronic diseases to help them identify the correct and optimal treatment for them as individuals.

It can help identify which diseases you’re predisposed to.

Genetic testing can also help to show if you – or your children – have a predisposition to certain illnesses, whether that’s something like cancer or diabetes.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make dietary and lifestyle changes to avoid developing some of these conditions in the first place where chronic medication and other treatments may be needed.

The implications this has in terms of lowering medical costs are huge – which will impact the country’s healthcare system as well. However, it’s key to remember with genetic testing that just because something’s indicated for you, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will develop that particular condition.

Like anything, this will be affected by your environment and individual circumstances – it simply points to the likelihood that you may develop a condition over time, if your health isn’t managed proactively.

It can suggest which diets work best for you.

Gene testing can also reveal which type of diet suits your particular body and make up – whether that’s banting, paleo or Mediterranean for example, or whether you’d benefit from something like intermittent fasting.

This could be extremely helpful if you’re trying to lose weight, as well as for medical professionals such as dieticians or nutritionists, who can use this information to provide more tailored advice to patients.

As with anything though, it’s important to realise that there are no short cuts: while gene testing can help you identify the right path to go on when it comes to your diet and nutrition, the key is to be consistent over time.

It can help you see what nutrients your body needs.

Whether you have a specific goal in mind such as trying to lose weight or trying to gain muscle, gene testing can identify which kinds of foods and food groups your body is most likely to respond best to, what nutrients your body may need more of compared to most other people or is likely to be deficient in (e.g. vitamin D), and which types of foods you should avoid (e.g. red meat).

It can determine which exercise is best suited to you

Genetic testing can also help you see which kind of exercise will be most effective for your body type – for example if you’re better at activities involving power and speed (whether that’s sprinting or swimming) or slower endurance sports such as long distance running or cycling.

With this knowledge you can get the most out of the exercise you do – by performing better and enjoying it more at the same time! This will be great motivation to exercise more regularly, and also means you’re more likely to stick to it if you’re naturally good at it.

Overall, genetic testing has huge potential to positively influence our day-to-day lives by looking at the individual ingredients that would make us the healthiest version of ourselves, whether that’s changes to our diets, lifestyle, medication or exercise.

Putting this knowledge into practice means we’re more likely to live longer, happier lives – as well as reduce our medical bills that may otherwise be spent on chronic medication, seeing specialists and seeking ongoing treatment for health conditions.

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