Direct-to-consumer genome sequencing companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry are becoming increasingly popular as a source of helpful health information. Your genome is basically the blueprint that contains all the information (DNA) needed to build every single cell that makes up your body. The advent of genome sequencing has greatly accelerated the rate of medical research and has allowed scientists to discover genetic variations that are associated with an increased likelihood of developing certain types of health conditions. For example, carriers of the ApoE4 gene variant have a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Women with the BRCA1 gene variant have a very high likelihood of getting breast cancer. Genetics are not destiny. LIfestyle factors (eg, smoking, nutrition, exercise) account for the lion share of your likelihood of developing any specific age-related chronic disease. However, knowing wether you carry any of the variants associated with a higher likelihood of developing a specific health condition can be very helpful so that you can make the adequate lifestyle adjustments that can help you protect against it. Better to know than be surprised.
Go deeper: Once you have your genome sequenced, you can get enhanced information from places like Rhonda Patrick’s FoundmyFitness, which focuses on variants that specifically impact healthspan ($25), or SelfDecode, which provides specific suggestions for optimizing specific health areas