In 2012 I stumped up the $299 (it’s cheaper now) to have my genes analyzed by 23andMe. Ever since then I’ve been interested to learn as much as possible about my own genetic makeup.
23andMe provides you with information on a number of your genes from your genetic risk to certain diseases to information on your ancestry to things like how likely you are to be gluten intolerant.
With easy to understand insights any layman who wants to understand personal genomics and especially their own genetics should start by using 23andMe.
Your genetic API
What’s also great about 23andMe is it provides you with your own ‘genetic API‘ which allows you to plug your genetic information into other third-party services.
These third-party services can look at specific genes relating to health and fitness to provide you with additional insights based on the latest research.
Services like DNAFit (which I intend to write a review for soon) can use your 23andMe data to provide you information on your genes related to fitness, nutrition, recovery and metabolism.
Promethease uses your 23andMe data to create a search engine for your genes allowing you to compare your results alongside the SNPedia database.
Occasionally new research is published about a specific gene and its relation to human health and Promethease comes in handy to see if you have the variation of it. For example when I read about the ‘Warrior gene‘ I use it to find out that I was a carrier.
Last week I came across a UK based service called Ingeneius which uses the 23andMe API to provide users with further insights into their genetics. Ingeneius offers a number of reports with some more comprehensive than others.
I opted for its Basic Blueprint which is described as:
“Our Basic Blueprint report includes some of the most well researched and best understood genes and variants (SNPs) that should form a vital part of your unique health profile.
The report includes comprehensive coverage of genes affecting allergy & immunity, cardiovascular health, metabolism, ageing, essential nutrients, detoxification, methylation and sports performance.
Enabling identification of key genetic susceptibilities to facilitate the development of highly personalised, health optimisation plans.”
Once you’ve granted permission with 23andMe and paid the £25 for the report, Ingeneius analyzes 46 key genes relating to eight areas listed above.
The color codes are self-explanatory and as you can see I have a good mix of green, amber and red with (thankfully) green being almost 50 percent of the results.
My ‘essential nutrient’ profile has three amber flags around low absorption of Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K, and one red flag around low Zinc levels. To me I interpret this as the need to supplement with these nutrients as a means to nullify these deficiencies.
High Iron levels run in my family therefore I need to get my levels checked as I get older. The amber flag on the HFE gene alludes to this also.
In the Phase II Detoxification section, the red MAOA gene is the Warrior gene I mentioned earlier. While it does apparently cause negative effects like outward anger reports also indicate people with the gene make better riskier decisions and are more able to handle pressure.
Any kind of genetic analysis should ideally include a geneticist to talk through the results to ensure that the assumptions being made are correct. For now I intend to fumble my way through my own genetics since it’s all part of the fun. As discoveries continue to be me made in personal genomics however that will likely change and I will ask for assistance.
The verdict on Ingeneius
All in all I’d recommend Ingeneius to anyone who is looking to understand more about their genetic data other than what is provided by 23andMe. Understanding the genes you have relating to the key eight areas can allow you to make actionable lifestyle changes that can help you live a healthier life.
I often struggle making sense with Promethease because I’m no geneticist so I’m often wondering if my interpretation of a gene is incorrect (unless there’s an article written about it) so guidance by professionally validated software is worth the cost if still a little confusing.
That, to me, is why services like Ingeneius are worth it.