Can Lifestyle Changes Alter Your Genetic Fate?

The topic of genetics is one that has come up more than ever before. With new breakthroughs in genetic interpretation, we’re able to provide more insight into our ancestry, health history, and what may lie ahead for us in terms of what diseases or conditions we have a predisposition for.

One of the things we are asked often at Phosphorus is why would someone use Phosphorus if they are otherwise healthy? Especially when there is a common perception that you can’t do anything to change it.

We disagree.

Our goal is to help you stay healthy by understanding your genetic risks for diseases, enabling you to take preventive action when necessary. We provide you with actionable advice for all the conditions the company tests for, meaning you can take preventive measures if you’re predisposed for any of these conditions, such as changing your diet or taking medication.

It is possible to alter your genetic fate and is very much worth the effort.

The science around influencing your genetics

There was a study done in 2018 that looked at those who are at high risk for diabetes and whether lifestyle changes could impact their condition. Overwhelming evidence showed that lifestyle changes – specifically, improvements in physical activity and diet, which lead to weight loss did reduce diabetes risk significantly.

Whether or not you smoke is another excellent example of how making changes in your lifestyle can help improve your genetic predispositions. Smoking is universally considered unhealthy and leads to many potential health conditions. If you have a predisposition for cancer in your DNA, the carcinogens in cigarettes can affect the molecules in our bodies, which would encourage the growth of cancer. This occurs by mutating anti-cancer genes, thus losing their protective nature, and are no longer able to keep us healthy. 

If you’re aware that smoking leads to poor health and that you have a genetic susceptibility for cancer, not smoking (or quitting smoking) is a positive lifestyle choice that can help significantly and invest in your future health.

Same goes for heart conditions. Eating healthy and exercising can genuinely effect and improve our genetic leanings. If you ignore that you’re at a high-risk for heart issues, you’re tempting fate. As shown in a Harvard Study in 2011 that looked at women who were at high risk of heart-related death. The study indicates that those who practice low-risk behaviors reduce their risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) substantially.

Both studies demonstrate just how much lifestyle choices can work on a deep level to modify our risk.

Who should consider this test?

While this kind of health information can be beneficial at almost any age (over 18), we believe that those aged 45 and older stand to benefit most from this information. This is typically early enough where there is still time to intervene before symptoms are severe.

A positive result from our PhosphorusONE test is giving you a warning that you might want to make some real lifestyle and health changes. It’s important to note however that while you may carry a mutation associated with one condition, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll definitely be diagnosed with it. It just means, as we’re walking you through, that making changes to your life now will help reduce the chances.

Actions to take if you test positive for any conditions

This is the good news and what we’re all about: Preventive Care.

At Phosphorus, we offer the opportunity to speak to a Board-Certified Genetic Counselor. This is a complimentary service to better help you understand your results and risk. Our counselors can help you to better understand your risk by examining your family history.

You would then take your results and any notes you took down from the conversation with our counselors and make an appointment with a specialist. That way, they can advise you about tweaks you can make in your diet, exercise regime, any current medication you’re taking (or may need), and order additional tests if needed. These behavioral and medical modifications can help to either reduce the risk or help manage the disease of concern.

The takeaway

The mission here is not saying, “Oh well, it’s in my genetics! What can you do?” Genetic testing can aid you in getting the right type of care before any severe incident occurs. Being proactive about your genomic health can literally save your life.