Do you remember a while ago I told you about how I’d had to spit in a tube and take a sample of my own poo?
It wasn’t one of the most GLAMOROUS things I’ve ever done in the name of blogging, but I was promised all kinds of interesting insights into my DNA and the workings of my gut, and I was kind of intrigued, so I thought I’d go for it.
A couple of weeks ago I got the results back on both tests and Atlas Biomed were right, I DID learn some interesting things about myself.
My original post talked a bit about how you collect your samples, so I won’t traumatise you with that again. Once your samples have been processed, you’re sent an email to let you know that your results are available online. You then log on and you get a dashboard full of information about different aspects of your health and diet.
Initially my recommendations were based just on my DNA and microbiome tests, but there is also the option to improve the accuracy of your results by completing a short questionnaire about your lifestyle and diet.
The stand out piece of information for me was a warning to follow up one of the results with a GP. Apparently I am a carrier of a disease called Haemochromatosis, which effects how the body absorbs iron. Atlas suggested I speak to a GP to find out more about the risks of passing on the faulty gene before I thought about having children.
Not much I can do about that now, as I’ve already HAD children, so we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed on that front. Bee does have pretty high levels of iron, so she’s going to see if she can get herself tested for this one. It’s weird isn’t it to think that you could carry a disease all of your life and not even know about it? How amazing would it be if these tests flagged up something that you were able to then do something about?
The Atlas tests also identify diseases that you might be at particularly high risk of. For me this is ulcerative colitis.
Although genetically I am slightly more predisposed to this disease, there are lifestyle things that I could change to help protect me. Rather than just leaving you to fret over these risks, Atlas gives you recommendations based on your results, so that you can make specific changes:
Introducing these foods would have a very positive effect on me generally it would seem, as I only scored a pathetic 4/10 for my microbiome diversity. Atlas very generously say that it could be down to something out of the ordinary, like a recent course of antibiotics, but I think in my case it’s more likely to be a sign of poor diet.
Diet is a tricky one for me, because so long as I feel generally fine, I think it’s something I can easily let slip. These results were a bit of a wake up call for me, as they’re essentially saying yes, I might feel okay on the outside, but inside, things are not so good. There is definitely room for improvement here.
Fortunately Atlas is on hand again with some suggestions:
The results also highlight information about your vitamin levels, and again this was something I was glad to find out, as I seem to be predisposed to low levels of quite a few vitamins and minerals. A varied, balanced diet then is even more important.
As well as key health and diet information, the DNA test also tells you things about your personal traits.
In turns out that some of the things that get defined by our DNA are downright weird. At school you learn about stuff like earlobes and tongue rolling, but did you know that your genetic makeup is responsible for things like whether or not you tend to have wet or dry earwax, (wet) and how stinky your sweat is? (Very apparently. Thanks DNA.)
Other highlights for me include the fact that I’m more likely to go grey at a young age, (clearly true, as it has already happened), and that I’m more likely to suffer from episodic memory, (again, definitely true as I can hardly remember any of my children’s childhoods, let alone my own.)
What were we talking about?
Oh yes. I’m genetically predisposed to being a grey, forgetful, slightly stinky old lady, with wet earwax.
It almost makes me wish I’d never done the tests.
Overall though, it was reassuring to find out that most of the risk factors for me are around diet, which is something that I do have the ability to change. Disease wise, I didn’t come back with a big long list of warnings – I primarily just need to be a lot more aware of what I eat. I’ve bought some fish oil supplements and some acidophilus and bifidus, and I’ll be eating a LOT of grapes. I’m all over it.
The results I’ve talked about here are just a sample of the full report. If you want to find out more about the tests and get your own DNA and microbiome profile then check out the Atlas website now.
(Quickly before you forget, if your episodic memory is anything like mine…)
I took these tests for free for the purposes of this review. All opinions my own.