Learn how genetic variants in your DNA can alert you to your unique health risks so you can take action to protect your immune system.
To date, nearly 9.6 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide. And, since many scientists and disease specialists predict a spike in cases this winter, many of us are still figuring out how to best protect ourselves from the invisible pathogens lurking in the environment.
When you go to the grocery store you worry about touching the shopping cart handle. Or when you go for a walk with your kids, you cringe when they pick up the playground toys. You keep hand sanitizer in your car so you can use it on the go and a spare mask in your glove box just in case.
By now, you know to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth in public, and practice social distancing to stay safe. But it’s still difficult to know if your precautions are good enough.
Most days you find yourself wondering if there’s anything else you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Thanks to the science of genetics, there’s another way to be proactive about protecting your immune health. You can map your DNA to learn about your own individual predispositions to certain immune reactions, immune disorders, and vitamin deficiencies.
Most of the time, we all follow the same guidelines to stay healthy. But knowing your unique immune system strengths and weaknesses can inform you what precautions are necessary to mitigate your risks and avoid serious health complications.
Getting an immune function genetics report is like having access to your body’s playbook. It’ll help you understand how your body will react to invasive pathogens so you can support your immune system efficiently and effectively.
For example, if you learn that you have a genetic predisposition to develop breast cancer, you might choose to quit smoking. Likewise, if you learn that you have a genetic predisposition to develop respiratory tract infections—a severe and problematic symptom of COVID-19—you might opt for home delivery grocery services when COVID-19 cases spike in your area.
When you know your genetic predispositions and precise risks, you can take the right precautions to protect yourself against pathogens in your environment.
Especially in the face of the novel coronavirus, knowledge is power. Know your genetics. Know your immunity. Know your risks.
Your genetic variants make you unique.
Your genes are responsible for all your biological traits. They’re the basic unit of heredity, and they carry information that determines which features and characteristics are passed on to you from your parents. Essentially, your genes govern your biological makeup and make you uniquely you.
For example, if you have green eyes like your mother, it’s because you’ve inherited genetic information from her that determines eye color. If you’re tall and athletic like your father, you’ve inherited his genetic coding that determines your height and athletic capabilities.
There are approximately 25,000 genes in every human, according to the Human Genome Project. Most genetic information in the human genome is the same from person to person. These are the genetic instructions that wire you as a human, rather than a dog or a fish.
But there is a small percentage of your genes (less than 1% of the total) that are uniquely yours. These are the genetic variations that determine your physical appearances, such as your hair and skin color. They also dictate your unique susceptibilities, predispositions, and behaviors, such as your genetic risks to develop serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Since parents pass their genes on to their offspring, some health risks and diseases tend to cluster in families, just like other inheritable traits.
- Your genes are the blueprints from which your body builds itself and carries out its internal functions.
- Across all humans, most genetic information is the same.
- Less than 1 percent of your genes, however, are unique to you.
- They dictate your physical appearances, such as your eye and hair color, and they govern your biological processes that determine your health. For example, some genetic variants are linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
How is my DNA related to my immunity?
Getting sick can feel like an unlucky draw. But your adaptive immune response to pathogens (the response that takes place internally after you’ve been exposed to germs) isn’t random. In fact, it’s mostly determined by specialized instructions in your DNA.
Have you ever caught a virus that was going around at work? In the afternoon you feel a sore throat coming on and the next morning you’re on the couch unable to move. You call out of work for the entire week because you end up with a severe case of bronchitis and your doctor advises you to rest.
You hear your officemate also called out sick. But when you check in with them, they say they only felt sick for a day or two and were back on their feet in no time.
The difference in your reaction to the same virus is partially due to your genetics that govern your immune responses.
Recently, researchers at King’s College London have determined that nearly three-quarters of immune traits are influenced by genes. To complete their study, researchers analyzed 23,000 immune traits in 497 adult female twins. They concluded that adaptive immune responses are mostly determined by genetic variants.
Many genetic variants in DNA are benign. Their chemical variations have no harmful effects. But some genetic variations and biological markers have been scientifically linked to diseases, disorders, and health risks. For example, the BRCA gene has been linked to a predisposition to developing certain types of breast cancer. Other genetic markers are related to predispositions like stress, mental health disorders, and immune functions.
Hopefully, future studies will work to find associations between genetic variants and other complex health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and different forms of cancers.
To learn more about how your DNA and immune system work together to protect you, click here.
- Your DNA is full of instructions that govern your immune responses.
- Genetic variations are responsible for your health efficiencies and deficiencies, which is why the same virus can have multiple effects on different people.
- Certain genetic variants are linked with increased risk of diseases or immune system difficulties.
Which DNA variants are especially important to immune health?
There isn’t one immune system gene, though there are many genetic variants that have a profound effect on your predisposition to experience or develop health complications.
Scientists keep track of genes by abbreviating their long, complex names. Genetic names are usually abbreviated with letters and, sometimes, numbers. For example, a gene that has been associated with cystic fibrosis is called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Its abbreviated name is CFTR.
To safeguard your immune system, it’s important to know your genetic predispositions and risks for a variety of biological processes. For a holistic picture of your immune system, you should consider genetic variants that determine your risk for experiencing:
- Anxiety (FAAH gene),
- Nasal inflammation (BDNF gene)
- Asthma (TNF gene)
- Influenza (CD55, TNF, and IL17 genes)
- Severity of influenza symptoms (TNF gene)
- Respiratory Tract Infections (CNR2 gene)
- Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura, an autoimmune disease (CNR2 gene)
- Pain Sensitivity (FAAH gene), and
- Vitamin deficiencies (RBP4, FUT2, ALPL genes).
If you have genetic variants that determine you’re at risk for experiencing any of these events, you’ll want to support your immune system accordingly.
It’s important to note that having a genetic predisposition does not mean that you will develop a certain illness. It means that you have an increased risk of experiencing an illness, disease, or biological event in your lifetime when compared to someone who does not have that genetic variant or predisposition.
- For a holistic picture of your immune system, consider genetic variants associated with predispositions to experience anxiety, nasal inflammation asthma, influenza, respiratory tract infections, autoimmune diseases, and vitamin deficiencies.
- Your genetics can also tell you if you’re predisposed to experiencing severe flu systems and if you have acute sensitivities to pain.
Get your Free Immune Function Genetics Report today.
In the midst of the global pandemic, it’s best to take the most thorough precautions available to protect yourself. For many—especially immunocompromised and elderly populations—that means getting a genetics report to know your unique predispositions to health risks.
Think of it like this: before you go to work in the morning you check the weather forecast. If the weather app predicts sunshine, you wear a short-sleeved shirt; if there’s a chance of rain, you pack a parka. If there’s a hurricane warning you call out of work and board up your windows so you can stay safe.
Getting a genetics report is like tuning in to your immune system’s forecast. When you know your risks, you can better prepare for them. And for many, that makes all the difference.
To get your Free Immune Function Genetics Report and discover your genetic predispositions, upload your DNA results to Endo-DNA here.
If you’ve never had a DNA test before, click here to order one to your house today.
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