Chronic inflammation-based disease states like chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, and chronic mood and cognitive disorders are typically seen in individuals who have an increased susceptibility to develop chronic illness which has a genetic root cause. Nowadays, thanks to recent genetic discovery, the nature of the increased susceptibility is able to be better understood and often steps can be taken to lessen this increased likelihood to be chronically ill. Many people are aware of the role of the MTHFR gene in chronic disease. This is just one of many important gene variants (SNPs) that provide clues of chronic disease predisposition.
When our initial evaluation of the patient indicates that knowledge of genetic predisposition is sufficiently likely to assist in chronic disease management, we recommend genetic variant testing. Although this is not necessary in every case, it is frequently recommended in our patient assessments.
We have found that for the cost, the salivary genome test available through the 23andme lab provides a very good data set of gene information that when appropriately interpreted can provide actionable information that may contribute to improvement of many chronic disease states. The 23andme testing uses the Illumina Omni Express technology with an error rate of <0.01%. The 23andme test assesses a subset of all the patient’s protein-coding genes. The 23andme test can be ordered directly by the consumer. The company recently increased the price of the test to $199 plus shipping costs, and the lab increased the amount of clinical information provided with the results.
Texas Integrative Medicine is partnered with 23andme and we stock the kits for the gene testing in the office. As a partner 23andme processes the samples we submit faster than for the direct consumer (results in approximately 3 weeks). Once we have the 23andme raw data which is a downloadable compressed zip file of about 5,100 KB size, the data is uploaded into a cloud-based application. The application converts the data into a clinically relevant report of treatable genetic variants with recommendations for interventions to help alleviate the adverse effects of the gene variants contributing to inflammation, disorders of detoxification, and chronic disease.
The patient’s inherited status (wild-type, heterozygous, or homozygous) for over 200 gene variants of over 70 important protein-coding genes including MTHFR, SOD, CBS, MTR, NOS, MAO, COMT, ACAT, SHMT, CYP, PON, FUT, BHMT, MAT, and a number of others is determined. The testing along with a copy of the report is provided to each patient. Explanation of the report’s information by the doctor is critical to proper implementation of the findings.