If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I have been delving into genetic testing to find answers not only about ancestry but also about possible nutritional deficiencies and other wellness related issues. Needless to say, I have found out quite a bit about my family roots and even discovered a certain gene mutation that has shed light on SO many health issues I’d been having but couldn’t explain. You can read about my findings on that subject HERE when I tried out genetic testing company called Vitagene.
Vitagene was great in the sense that I was given some in-depth information about where my family came from and what deficiencies I need to correct (heck, it gave me the insight I needed to get this ball really rolling in the right direction!), but what it didn’t offer was a comprehensible raw data file of my complete genome that is recognized by third-party testers.
23andMe is probably one of the best genetic services out there for providing not only ancestry reports, but also carrier status reports for 42 different diseases, genetic health risk, genetic traits that influence physical appearance, preferences, and physical responses, and other wellness reports.
I’ve listed what’s tested below so you can see what’s included in these reports.
The carrier status report lists:
• Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum with Peripheral Neuropathy
• Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease
• Beta Thalassemia and Related Hemoglobinopathies
• Bloom Syndrome
• Canavan Disease
• Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation Type 1a (PMM2-CDG)
• Cystic Fibrosis
• D-Bifunctional Protein Deficiency
• Dihydrolipoamide Dehydrogenase Deficiency
• Familial Dysautonomia
• Fanconi Anemia Group C
• GRACILE Syndrome
• Gaucher Disease Type 1
• Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ia
• Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ib
• Hereditary Fructose Intolerance
• Herlitz Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa (LAMB3-Related)
• Leigh Syndrome, French Canadian Type
• Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2D
• Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2E
• Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy Type 2I
• MCAD Deficiency
• Maple Syrup Urine Disease Type 1B
• Mucolipidosis Type IV
• Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CLN5-Related)
• Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (PPT1-Related)
• Niemann-Pick Disease Type A
• Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome
• Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss and Deafness, DFNB1 (GJB2-Related)
• Pendred Syndrome and DFNB4 Hearing Loss
• Phenylketonuria and Related Disorders
• Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 2
• Rhizomelic Chondrodysplasia Punctata Type 1
• Salla Disease
• Sickle Cell Anemia
• Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome
• Tay-Sachs Disease
• Tyrosinemia Type I
• Usher Syndrome Type 1F
• Usher Syndrome Type 3A
• Zellweger Syndrome Spectrum (PEX1-Related)
The Genetic Health Risks Report lists:
• Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease
• Parkinson's Disease
• Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
• Hereditary Thrombophilia
The Traits Report lists:
• Asparagus Odor Detection
• Bitter Taste
• Sweet Taste
• Cheek Dimples
• Cleft Chin
• Earlobe Type
• Earwax Type
• Eye Color
• Finger Length Ratio
• Hair Curliness
• Light or Dark Hair
• Newborn Hair Amount
• Photic Sneeze Reflex
• Red Hair
• Skin Pigmentation
• Toe Length Ratio
• Widow's Peak
The Wellness Report lists:
• Lactose Intolerance
• Saturated Fat and Weight
• Alcohol Flush Reaction
• Caffeine Consumption
• Deep Sleep
• Genetic Weight
• Muscle Composition
• Sleep Movement
Sure, it was super interesting to see more information on all of these reports, but this information wasn’t what I was really after. What I really wanted was my raw data file so that I could delve even deeper.
Using the test itself was super simple and took just a few weeks after sending in my saliva sample before receiving my results via email. Everything looked good – no carrier status for any of the 42 diseases, no genetic predisposition for anything on the genetic risk report, and my wellness reports told me that I’m lactose intolerant, am unlikely to get a lot of deep sleep, and have the muscular composition similar to elite power athletes, among a few other interesting tidbits.
It was also really cool to see that I have 1200 living genetic relatives spread out across the world and a breakdown of where each line of ancestry came from.
I’ve attached a few screenshots to show what those look like.
But now into the nitty gritty of this whole adventure! The golden raw data file!
Why Getting Your 23andMe Raw Data is so Important
Getting your raw data will ultimately allow you to find out about potential health risks so that you can proactively change your lifestyle in order to support your overall health and well-being. You will be better able to determine which supplements are right for your specific needs based on your genetic mutations. I'd say that's worth its weight in gold!
Once you get your results from 23andMe, go to the TOOLS tab and find the box towards the bottom that says “Raw Data”. Click on “Browse your data” and you’ll be taken to a new page. There is a blue link right under where it says “Your Raw Data” that you can click on to download your whole raw data file. Choose "All DNA" and voila! You’re set for third-party testing!
So now that you have your raw data, what do you do with it?
Well, first of all, you’re going to want to keep that zip.file in a safe place should you ever need it in the future for further testing. Third party testers are always updating their databases with new findings and research so it's always good to check back when possible.
As of now, there are a few really good third-party sites you can use to get your genome further analyzed.
Here are the ones I used:
Livewello charges $19.95 to run your genetic raw data through a database that contains information on thousands of disease-related genes. It will give you reports for 600,00 SNPs and attaches 12 resources for learning about each gene. It also comes with free updates! Simply sign up on their site and select the Genetic Tools option to get started.
Below is a little snapshot of a few of my genetic mutation with drop-down menus at the side I can open for more details on each one.
Promethease charges $5 to run your raw data and offers an extensive look into each gene variant as well as giving you the option to toggle how you see your results based on topics, medicines, medical conditions, ClinVar Diseases, genes, magnitude, and ethnicity.
You have to make sure and download your html report since this site only keeps your results online for 45 days. But don’t let that deter you, their html report is amazing and allows for full functionality on or offline.
Here's a snapshot of a genetic mutation I have using Promethease:
Genetic Genie asks that you donate $10 for your report and offers in-depth information on MTHFR gene mutations and as well as a basic detox profile. You need to save your reports as a PDF in order to have your information on hand since the site does not save your raw data.
Here's a snapshot of what some of my MTHFR mutation look like and some info on what they mean.
Sterling's App can be a bit tricky to use but offers in-depth information on various kinds of genetic variants and MTHFR gene mutations (there’s A LOT in case you were wondering) and studies on those gene variants. I’ve used this site’s reports multiple times to help me understand specific genes and what they mean.
Create an account and then select Sterling's App, then "Order Reports". It costs $30 for a full variant report. To view your report, click on the "eye" icon under "Action".
NutraHacker offers nutritional advise in regard to which supplements to take and which to avoid based on your genetic mutations. The nutrition/mutation report is $35.
It can also be a bit tricky to use since you need to upload your raw data as a text file. I did this by opening my raw data using Notepad and saving it as a new separate file on my desktop. This new file uploaded perfectly!
Below is a snapshot of a few of my genetic mutations involving neurotransmitters and mood along with the recommended supplements for those mutations.
Overall, using 23andMe has really been a blessing as far as learning more about my own genetic mutations and what I can do to help those gene work as best they can by eating healthy, staying fit, and supplementing correctly.
I recently went to the eye doctor to get new glasses and was told I have ocular hypertension; the precursor to glaucoma. This came as no surprise because, you guessed it, I carry quite a few genes that predispose me to developing glaucoma later in life. Having this information beforehand gives me the confidence I need to face potential health concerns in the future and allows me to take action against them. You can read more about what I'm doing to help control eye pressure naturally here.
So on that note, I highly recommend 23andMe for anyone interested not only in ancestry and carrier status, but also for those wishing to dig deeper and become familiar with their unique selves in ways they never imagined.
Of course, this is not meant to be a diagnostic tool, but it does allow you to see a bit further into your genome and broaden your personal awareness. If I hadn’t looked into my raw data, I would never have known about my body’s inability to completely methylate folate or how I’m deficient in choline and other nutrients.
All in all, it has given me the opportunity to proactively support my health in a more focused manner than just taking a random supplement and calling it a day. I’m so happy I bit the bullet and got myself a kit and i think you will be too!
If you are interested in trying 23andMe, you can sign up to get your own kit HERE. Both the ancestry service and health and ancestry service provide your complete raw data file.
What has your experience been using 23andMe? Please share in the comments below!
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