DNALYSIS: DOES DNA TESTING FOR WEIGHT LOSS REALLY WORK?
03 October 2018
This past month I was lucky enough to be able to try out DNAlysis – something I have been wanting to sample for ages!! The idea that science (namely genetic testing) can tap into our personalised and specific nutrition, sports and health needs is music to my ears – taking much of the guess work out of trying to figure out what our bodies ACTUALLY need. So if you dabbling with idea of trying it out, then here is everything you need to know.
I can imagine many of you health nuts out there are curious to know how this all works, so I decided to get the full low down on DNA testing and analysis by Dnalysis founder himself, Dr Danny Meyersfeld, who was ever so generous in answering my many questions. I also share my full experience of the Dnalysis experience in my Vlogwhich you can watch HERE, or at the end of this blog post.
All answers to the questions below are provided courtesy of Dr Danny Meyersfeld
1. How exactly does DNAlysis work?
DNAlysis is a genetic testing laboratory that specialises in the field of nutrigenomics; or the relationship between our genes and our nutritional environment. We develop panels of tests across the health spectrum; from propensity to chronic disease risk, to sports performance and personalized prescribing of medications. We train healthcare practitioners on how to incorporate this science into practice; from understanding why and when the tests are relevant, to report interpretation and appropriate management of the results. The DNAlysis range of tests are used by healthcare practitioners in close to 30 countries around the world.
2. Why would you say this DNAlysis is the most effective way to get more insight into your nutrition, sports and health requirements?
Knowledge of your DNA gives insight into your health that would otherwise not have been available, other than, in some cases, through a tedious process of trial and error. Variations in our DNA play an immensely important role on the manner in which our genes function; DNA testing allows us to understand our cellular function at a molecular level, identify areas of weakness, and importantly, be given the tools to compensate for these weaknesses.
3. How do you come to the conclusions that you do with respect to the genes expressed? I.E How do you know that X gene expression means that you should eat Y foods? Is this from studies conducted? Is it because certain gene expressions have demonstrated a link to certain health conditions?
When we compile our panels of genes, we limit ourselves only to those gene variations that have sufficient significant research behind them in the peer-reviewed literature. The evidence needs to be present on two levels: firstly, evidence linking a particular gene variation to a particular outcome; and secondly, that there is evidence of an intervention to overcome or prevent that particular outcome. The exact nature of the intervention, such as the nutrient that is recommended, would be determined based on a combination of the prevailing scientific literature and an understanding of the biochemical pathway in which that gene is known to operate.
4. Would you say that DNAlysis and eating right for your blood type have any relation?
Absolutely not; there is not one publication in the scientific literature confirming the THEORY of the Blood Type Diet. The only published study has shown that an individual would lose weight on all diet types, irrespective of blood group.
5. Is it possible that the DNAlysis results can be affected in any way i.e via extraneous variables that may alter the readings?
No; aside from the small chance of human or genotyping error in the lab, the results are reliable and accurate.
6. From a nutrition perspective, have you ever had cases where the DNA results say one thing but the person being tested finds that this method of eating has not worked for them? What if a DNA test says for example low carb but the person tested has found that high carb actually works for them?
I cant think of specific examples offhand, but the dietitians who work with the reports would probably be better placed to answer this question. What does happen, however, is that people often have a misinformed opinion of what a “low carb” or “High carb” diet actually entails. The reports are a guideline that need to be further refined by the dietitian to come up with an optimal meal plan, and certainly there can be people who might fall on the border between, for example, low carb and Mediterranean diets. In this case the dietitian would use what they already know about the patient to push them in a certain direction.
7. There are many tests to choose from. What in your opinion is the most effective or most helpful tests to select if you are looking to improve your overall well-being?
The combination of DNA Health and DNA Diet are, for me, the most useful and universally relevant. Although the DNA Diet is designed specifically around weight loss, it provides valuable information about risks for weight gain that can benefit even someone not trying to actively lose weight. Speaking from my personal experience, it gave me a heightened consciousness of food types I should be avoiding or restricting, purely to maintain a healthy weight.
DNA Health is a very useful set of tests that considers genetic risk factors in seven metabolic areas that, if not functioning optimally, can predispose to chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. For individuals wanting to be more proactive around their health, and better understand what their own requirements are for optimal nutrition, this test is immensely valuable.
8. How much does a test cost?
Tests range from R 1750 for DNA Diet, to R 3 700 for DNA Health. It becomes more cost effective to run more panels.
9. Which dietitians would you recommend to interpret the results?
Any of the dietitians that are listed on our website and have been through our training.
10. If a person's health test results shows a predisposition to cancer - what would you say would be the best course of action for that person to mitigate the risk?
The majority of cancers are as a result of poor lifestyle choices; sedentary behaviours, poor nutrition, smoking, etc. The information is empowering because the genes that we look at are, by themselves, not enough to cause disease. It is the combination of genes and environment that will ultimately determine your health outcomes. Thus the person would be given the tools, by their healthcare practitioner who is interpreting the report, to try and reduce the disease risk.
11. Would you say that a self-fulfilling prophecy may play a role when it comes to DNAlysis? I.E you are getting a glimpse into your genetic predispositions, therefore, do you think knowing that you are for example prone to strokes, may cause a stroke to happen because you fear it and believe it may happen?
I do not think so, simply because the risks that we consider are modifiable. The test gives us the power to implement changes to our diet and lifestyle to proactively reduce our disease risk. As we say,”genes load the gun; lifestyle pulls the trigger”
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find more information about DNALYSIS at www.dnalysis.co.za
BELOW IS A DETAILED ACCOUNT OF MY FULL DNALYSIS EXPERIENCE, FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS ETC...
Yours in Health Always