Dr. Alex Chan N.D. Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre Naturopath YVR
4 min|Dr. Alex Chan

Biohacking Your Genes

Wellness, Health, Biohacking

What Does Genetic Testing Tell Us?

As part of the Integrative Biohacking Elite Program, we include genetic testing to give us more details on how we can optimize your health. Genetic results give us a roadmap that indicates where our biology may be leading us. More importantly, it provides clues on how we might prevent certain diseases. We use this information to help answer questions like:
  • What types of diseases might you be predisposed to?
  • How does your body process different foods?
  • Which type of diet might work best?
  • Can we design an exercise plan that will optimize your results?
  • What types of nutrient deficiencies do we need to look out for?
Through genetic testing, we can help reduce trial and error and motivate you towards achieving results. Understanding your genes is like the wide lens and from here we can dial in on specifics. When we say genetic testing, we are looking at DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid which is the building block of life. DNA is the inherited biological molecule that contains the information responsible for the development and function of an organism. Essentially, it’s the code for making living things and its arranged into genes which act as instructions for making all the proteins we need for life.

A genome is the complete set of genetic information. Every person has the same 25,000+ genes but within these genes there are variations in the DNA code. These variations in code influence how you specifically make proteins. As protein synthesis impacts biological functions like energy production, detoxification, metabolism, etc. these genetic variations are significant.

Slight changes in DNA are needed for survival and are selected for and passed down based upon who carries these traits and is able to reproduce. Genetic testing has become a more accessible tool and by analyzing DNA for particular sequences of interest we can identify specific variations and relate this to clinical outcomes.

Genetics only represent part of the picture

How the genes function is significantly impacted by your behaviours and environmental factors. This is the study of epigenetics. Epigenetics literally means “above” or “on top” of genetics. Through lifestyle and environment, we can change how cells read a DNA sequence and thus how the gene is expressed in terms of protein synthesis. This gene regulation is key and it means that the choices you make and what you do actually impacts the outcome of your DNA. While most epigenetic changes occur within your lifespan we’re seeing that epigenetics changes can also be transgenerational.


One of the best understood modes of epigenetic modification is changes in DNA methylation. Methylation is a process whereby methyl groups, a molecule consisting of one carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms, are added or removed from a DNA molecule. This change in methylation can alter the activity of the DNA segment without changing the sequence itself.


Another type of epigenetic change is histone modification. DNA is wrapped around proteins called histones. When the histones are tightly packed, the genes in the DNA cannot be easily accessed and so that gene is said to be turned off. When the histones are more loosely packed, more DNA is expose,d and so it can be accessed and the gene is turned on. Chemical groups can be added or removed from histones and this effects the packing and thus impact which genes are on or off.

There are other types of epigenetic changes and these epigenetic changes are all reversible and do not change the DNA sequence itself. However, these modifications do change how your body reads the DNA sequence. This is why epigenetics and how you live are so important as your overall genetic expression is only partially due to the genes you were born with.

We've said it before, Biohacking is based upon the idea that we can engineer our bodies to feel better and we can do something about it right now. Having genetic testing is a perfect opportunity to use data to drive better results. Your genes provide a roadmap but they don’t spell the outcome. Together, we have an opportunity to make changes to your lifestyle and environment that can actually impact how your DNA and genes function.

3. THE BOOK ON GENETIC TESTINGFOR DIET,FITNESS,AND HEALTH Official Textbook for dnaPower Certified Genetic Diet, Fitness and Health Specialist Program Dr. Lois Nahirney, DBA Contributing Author: Jill Irvine, MBA, BSc
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