6/8 By Sipko van Dam

Why we analyze your genes

Our genes have an important influence on our health. While none of us can change our genes, we can use the insights coming from our genes to mitigate many different health risks. Take obesity for example. In some cases, your genes will trigger you to gain weight more easily when eating unhealthy food. However, if you adhere to a healthy diet, you can live equally healthily as someone with ‘good’ genes. The key is to know your genetic predispositions so you can mitigate them.

By working on the factors within your control, you can do a lot to address the potential impact of your DNA on your health. For example, studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle can cut your risk of heart conditions in half – even if you are among those with the highest genetic risk profile.

Genetics 101

Your DNA consists of approximately 3 billion DNA letters, which scientists often refer to as your “genome”.

Only 1% of these DNA letters form the building blocks of your body. The other 99% have not been unraveled yet, but they are known to help regulate which building blocks your body uses.

Amazingly, the difference between any two people’s DNA is likely to be less than 0.1%, equating to approximately 3 million DNA letters (mostly located in the 99% of DNA that does not encode any building blocks).

Nonetheless, this 0.1% difference between you and another person can lead to different levels of susceptibility to health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

How does Ancora analyze genes?

Many genetic variants play into your risk for common health conditions, but traditional DNA research programs examine just a few genetic factors. Ancora, on the other hand, uses cutting-edge polygenic genetic susceptibility scores. Our focus is on health conditions you can proactively address.

Here is how we do it:

  • We calculate your genetic risk score for the health conditions we report, based on scientifically validated information available in genome-wide association study databases.
  • The databases tell us which DNA letters occur most often in people that suffer from each particular health condition we examine, versus the letters of people who are healthy.
  • We then combine these insights with all of your other relevant health data to provide you with insights into your most important health risks and link these back to actions you can proactively take to mitigate them – for example, nutrition and lifestyle choices that are easy to implement into your daily life.

Some examples of what we might recommend:

Genetic tendency

Example actions

Fat accumulation

Engage in low-intensity activities, train in your maximum fat oxidation zone, pay attention to your energy balance.

Weak bones

Engage in bone- and muscle-strengthening activities while maintaining your levels of calcium and vitamin D.

High blood pressure

Watch your salt intake and maintain a good balance of minerals in your diet.

Low hemoglobin (used by red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body)

Eat plenty of foods rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12, and choose to supplement where necessary.  

NOTE: We do not test your DNA for life-threatening conditions, so if you are experiencing any symptoms of disease, please do not wait for our analysis: go and see your doctor immediately.

How will I get my DNA results?

Your DNA results will be securely stored in your Personal Health Passport in the ‘My Statistics’ section. You will be able to view:

  • Your genetic susceptibility to a range of lifestyle-related conditions on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means you are among the individuals with the lowest risk and 10 with the highest risk.

  • A description of the percentage of individuals with a similar risk profile to yours that typically develop the outcome (e.g. diabetes) in their lifetime.

  • A description of how your risk compares relative to that of the average individual.

  • Advice on how to address any risks we have identified.

As part of your Insight & Action Session, a sports doctor will spend time to walk you through your results, answer any questions you have, and help you pinpoint any important areas you might want to address in your action plan.

Genes are a sensitive topic and everyone’s health circumstances are unique. But knowledge is power for you.

By diving deep into your DNA – together with all of the other things we analyze – we will give you the knowhow to proactively take your health journey into your own hands.