Genomic Medicine? Know thy SNPs!
Oh my geeky goodness! This topic gets my neurons firing!
SO! SNPs (pronounced, "snips"). What exactly is a SNP? S-N-P is an acronym for "Single Nucleotide Polymorphisim."
SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people. There are roughly 4 to 5 million SNPs in our genome. Each SNP represents a difference in a single DNA building block. These variations may be unique or occur in many individuals. SNPs can be used to track the inheritance of genes within families. Some of the SNPs have been identified can help predict an individual’s response to certain drugs, susceptibility to toxins, & risk of disease development.
But why, really, should we care?
Personally, we have found that having knowledge of certain SNPs within our own genomes can give us the power to make more effective choices on our paths to longer health-spans and healthier lifespans.
Whether you’re simply working to optimize your life via diet, supplementation & exercise or looking seriously at how to outrun diabetes, cognitive decline or cancer, there's information in your genome that can offer some direction.
If you have already run your genome through a service like 23 And Me, you can get a well researched & carefully considered report on some of your most critical genes and what current research suggests might be the most impactful nutritional & lifestyle insights specific to those genotypes, from Dr. Rhonda Patrick at Found My Fitness for just $25.
If, like me, you’re an excitable & passionate self-hacking geek with some extra time on your hands…I HIGHLY recommend Self Decode as my genome service of choice. They have an amazing menu of reports to choose from. You can dive into a FULL package or tiptoe in one report at a time.
They have an extensive SNP finder where you can pop in almost ANY gene and find out what your SNP is. If there are studies or data relevant to that gene available, Self Decode has them for you to peruse.
Self Decode also gives you the ability to choose HOW you want your data. You can choose a more or less complex version of the offered data depending on how sharp you're feeling on a given day.
There's no such thing as "good" or "bad" SNPs.
I'll admit, it takes a long minute to stop thinking that there are good SNPs and bad SNPs. I'll find out I have some epic genes for longevity (FOX03)and then another SNP will tell a tale of decreased neuroplasticity. (Insert sad face emoji).
I'll find out I have maximum fast twitch muscle fibers (ACTN3) and then I'll find out I have a SNP (COL1A1) that can lead to increased tendon injury (think sprinter with big muscles ready to fire coupled tendons that like to rupture (insert sad face emoji). I don't know that you can head down this path of playing around in your own genome without going through your own version of this.
The beauty is this: If we know where we have solidly performing genes that are working for us in ways we want and we also know where we have suboptimal performing genes that we'd like to get more out of, there are very often diet and lifestyle measures we can take to get better performance out of our "poor performing" genes. Your genome and the information your specific SNPs provide is just a set of data points for you to use to make better informed decisions with your health. THIS is Epigenetics.
Epigenetics are like a massive set of on/off switches.
I like to think of Epigenetics as an incomprehensibly massive set of “on/off” switches. In every second of every day our thought choices and emotions (due to the neuro-chemical changes our thoughts can lead to), our consumption choices and habits, our physical activity or inactivity, what stressors we expose ourselves to…. in EVERY part of every day we are flipping a myriad of epigenetic switches on and off.
This community of self-optimizing keto adherents already deeply understands that many aspects of their health can in fact be taken into their own hands. But for many outside of this community, the thought of their health status being etched in stone comes as a relief. It’s a relief because believing this as a truth removes ALL personal responsibility and effortful action towards better health from their lives.
Heart disease? Nothin’ I can do, “It’s in my genes!”. Diabetes? “My whole family has it, it’s in our genes and there’s nothing I can do!” WRONG. Much can be done and it can be done in ever more refined fashion as we learn more about our own personal genomes.
Predisposition is not a guarantee.
Now, there are very clearly genetic predispositions to all manner of disease states. The beauty is that most predispositions are just that. And, to be clear, scientists are still at the very beginning of understanding exactly which actions and choices are best for which set of genes. BUT! That does not mean that we cannot take into our own hands a number of aspects of our health that are very clearly “editable” via diet and life style.
Ketosis, fasting, exercise, heat and cold shock… ALL of these have massive long term positive effects on our health through epigenetics. Having knowledge of what SNPs we carry simply gives us more data with which to make even better decisions with our health.
As mentioned above, we love Dr. Rhonda Patrick's comprehensive report where she covers in detail the SNPs she has personally researched. If though you want the all in, all data, full package we recommend Self Decode.
Self Decode is a biotech company that helps people understand their genetics towards the end of achieving their health goals. Whether you're looking to optimize health, overcome a health concern, prevent disease and other age-related problems or are just aiming to live a longer life, Self Decode is a phenomenal tool to have access to.
Their reports help you identify genetic weaknesses and suggest lifestyle approaches and supplements to improve your negative genetic variations. Self Decode has a massive database of SNPs, substances, genes, conditions and more. Self Decode was started by CEO, Joe Cohen. Joe won the genetic lottery of bad genes. As a kid, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine. It was not until he began to understand the genetic roots of his issues that we was able to really make lasting changes to his health. Click HERE to read more about Joe's story and why he started Self Decode.
We understand that the thought of DNA testing makes some people uncomfortable.
We know the topic of DNA testing can be a touchy one. Many are still leery of this whole field. And this is very understandable. This field of personal genomics is still in its infancy. What we know today will be laughable in comparison to what we'll know in 5, 10, 50 years. But, what we know is enough to begin making smarter personal choices. And we don't know about you, but we're in! Time waits for no one and we want as much actionable data as we can get!
Stay well friends! Keep those brains sharp and those bodies strong!