How Genetic DNA Tests Can Show Your Digestive Health Profile : You can think of a genetic DNA test as a biological report card given to your doctor. It tells them how well the parts of your body are doing, from your skin to your internal organs. But unlike a report card, you can’t easily replace a grade of D or F with a passing one. It always speaks the hard truth regardless if it’s positive or negative.
Although genetic DNA tests can be subject to errors or misinterpretation, they may be able to tell you something that medical professionals can’t. With the information the tests provide, doctors can make decisions that will benefit every part of your body, including your digestive system.
The best genetic DNA test can tell a great deal about your digestive health. In the past, scientists thought that gastric juices would destroy DNA. But not only did they find out that it can survive in hostile environments, but they also picked up DNA from whatever a person has eaten. Genetic DNA tests can identify the microbes living in a person’s digestive tract, and this is valuable data that can translate to a sound diet plan.
Here’s a closer look into genetic DNA tests and what they can derive from your digestive health.
Looking For Variations
Like many medical tests, genetic testing looks for something different, if not unusual, about one’s DNA, particularly in its sequence. A typical DNA has a double-helix structure with four nucleotide bases: cytosine (C), guanine (G), adenine (A), and thymine (T).
All you need to know is that the nucleotide pairs are always AT and CG; anything else is already an unusual trait. Genetic testing involves sequencing the DNA in a sample and running the data on a computer to map out one’s genetic profile. If this sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Even some DNA variations that testers find are still a mystery to them.
This is why you have to give this report card to your doctor. While their interpretation may not be accurate all the time, doctors can make sense of the results better than the patients themselves. The results won’t necessarily determine if you’re sick or well, at least not on their own. Further testing will most likely be required.
The Ideal Sample
The accuracy of any genetic test is only as good as the quality of the samples. Most tests use blood samples since it’s easy to draw blood into a syringe. But in terms of digestive health, blood can’t tell the whole story. After all, it’s part of an entirely different system from your digestive tract.
In this case, the sample has to come from along the tract. Two viable samples happen to meet this criterion: saliva and feces. For those with a fear of needles, this is good news. Getting saliva or fecal samples doesn’t involve even the least bit of pain; you only have to either spit into or place a small amount of stool inside a specimen container. Then, send the samples to your chosen testing facility.
Saliva samples are almost no different from blood samples. A 2000 study by German researchers discovered that 74% of the DNA present in saliva comes from white blood cells, the same as blood-sourced DNA. One downside is that they degrade quickly due to the enzymes in saliva. Some test kits get around this by adding a preservative to the sample.
As digestive DNA testing is also concerned with profiling the microbes in the digestive tract, feces is another suitable sample. Experts estimate that a gram of wet fecal matter is home to 100 billion bacteria. Even if the sample is deprived of oxygen, at least half of them will stay alive.
Health Planning And Beyond
With the proper steps, genetic DNA testing can yield a treasure trove of health information. Many known diseases can be passed from one generation to the next, so the test can determine your risk for any of them.
The most common among those illnesses is diabetes; a person can inherit type 1 or type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the chances of a child developing type 1 diabetes are as follows:
- 1 in 17 from the father
- 1 in 25 from the mother if she gave birth to the child before age 25
- 1 in 100 from the mother if she gave birth to the child after age 25
- Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4 if both parents have developed the illness
With these kinds of information, your doctor can draw up the best approach you can take to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Genetic DNA testing may be able to paint a picture of your digestive health as well as the condition of the rest of your body. Given that more and more people are suffering from various health conditions these days, there’s a possibility that genetic DNA tests will grow in significance in the health care industry, providing deeper insights into people’s physical well-being.
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