Would you take a DNA test to improve your skin, eating habits and mental and physical health?

A woman has passed on more than what she looks like to her daughters. Credit: Pexels
A woman has passed on more than what she looks like to her daughters. Credit: Pexels

Genetic testing is not definitive. I'm told it's more about assessing probability and risk.

And to paint a picture it's described as the following if you cast your body as the target... your genetics will load the gun and your lifestyle will pull the trigger.

So I'm keen to find out what I can do to keep the gun from getting fired.

After a swab of my saliva sent in a sealed envelope, a two-week waiting period and R5 120, my DNA found its way to the DNAlysis Biotechnology labs in Illovo, Johannesburg. As they say succinctly on their site, they "provide the tools to accurately transition genetic results into realistic health solutions".

In a series of DNA tests called DNA Diet, DNA Health, DNA Mind, DNA Oestrogen, DNA Skin and DNA Sport, my genetic material was analysed for experts to be able to help create a lifestyle intervention to improve my weight management, fitness goals, mental health and the way my skin, body and mind will age.

I wouldn't mind navigating through the things in my control that would make me live longer.

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  • DNA diet looks at your weight management
  • DNA health looks at your diet, lifestyle and supplements
  • DNA oestrogen focuses on your hormone metabolism and women-related cancers
  • DNA sport highlights your sporting potential
  • DNA skin relays your health and ageing risks
  • DNA mind looks at your mental health

When the results came back, Jessica Pieterse, a registered dietician took me through the six tests - a lot of the information is too dense for you to tackle it on your own.

Basically they tell you things like you shouldn't take carbs in the second half of the day (ugh, rolls eyes), that I should be taking part in high-intensity exercises like Crossfit because my body thrives on power and resistance training (who me? whose dumbbells weigh 1kg each) and my body's just producing expensive pee if I don't include slow-release magnesium supplements to help absorb the other supplements I take.

A few years ago, I cut out all dairy except butter (because honestly, what kind of a life would I have if I couldn't spread the stuff over a hot, freshly baked bun?) and the DNA tested noted that my genes showed a high risk of lactose intolerance. It's amazing to get that affirmation that when you listen to your body, it has all the answers. Similar thing with caffeine.

Me and decaf should make better friends. And yes you naysayers - coffee without a caffeine kick is not pointless plus it can be delicious. I'll find my thrills elsewhere okay?

Apparently, I must watch out for my thrill-seeking gene (so maybe not) because it puts me at a higher risk for substance abuse and dependence on opoids and amphetamines.

For smokers, it will even tell you whether you carry the gene that makes it difficult to quit your nicotine habit. 

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And I don't mind getting along in age, I do mind not feeling and looking my best.

So I'm going to start using skincare from OpthiPhi after a consultation where they match my gene results to the best regime I should be on. I'll keep you posted on any improvements I notice to see if you can use your DNA to pick the best beauty products for you.

Isn't that exciting?

Fascinating stuff.

So mom, thank you for the good and the bad genes - now I know how to make the most of them.

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