A huge focus this year for me has been on health and wellbeing. Other than engaging a personal fitness trainer and working out much more regularly, I also decided to invest in a standing desk for health purposes and to take a DNA test with Circle DNA.
The Circle DNA test came with over 500 reports across key areas such as cancer and disease risk; carrier status of heritable conditions; optimal diet and nutrition; talent and sports performance; ancestry and even personality.
I took the test because I felt that there was no point saving so much for retirement but not having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. To me, mental and physical health is one of the most important things. These are aspects in life I would not scrimp and save on. What is the point of saving so much, only to give it to the hospital in the end?
Furthermore, I intend to start a family in the future. I care about their wellbeing and do not wish to pass on any unfavourable diseases.
Some have asked if ignorance is bliss and if I am better off not knowing things like cancer and disease risk. However, I feel that since 80 percent of chronic diseases can be prevented with lifestyle adjustments, knowing ensures I can take steps to plan ahead and mitigate it.
In health and in life, there is a lot in life that we cannot control. However, what we can do is to be strategic – plan ahead, identify risks, and do what we can to mitigate them along the way. You can’t change your DNA, what you can control is your diet, exercise, lifestyle and mindset.
I chose Circle DNA as it is one of the world’s most comprehensive DNA test on the market. It is non-invasive, FDA approved, and super secure (ISO27001 certification). The tests are also validated by the Croucher Laboratory of Human Genomic and achieved a 4.5 out of 5 Stars on TrustPilot by their customers.
During the ongoing Covid19 Pandemic, Circle DNA also launched a non-profit initiative called Project Screen that will allow people to go online, receive and return their home-test kit and receive their results within 24 hours.
Here are some fun facts I’ve learnt about myself. I hope that you will enjoy this review of CircleDNA
1. Your DNA can tell which cancers and disease you’re at risk of getting
The Circle DNA report will give you insights into your risk level for diseases and cancer. The DNA test determines whether or not you carry inherited genetic mutations that may increase your risk of developing cancer and also risk of other chronic/complex illness.
How would this knowledge help you?
Firstly, you can be proactive about your health and go for regular screening. This will empower you by allowing you to detect cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage.
Also, you can take steps to change your lifestyle and diet to avoid these diseases manifesting later in life.
Thankfully, I did not have any cancer risks detected. However, I do have an elevated risk of Gallstone disease.
Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that can form in your gallbladder. Since I have elevated risk of this disease, what I can do to reduce my risk would be to
- Avoid irregular meal times like skipping meals
- Continue to exercise: A meta-analysis published in July 2016 in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that vigorous and non-vigorous physical activity was associated with a reduced risk of gallbladder disease
- Take coffee: A study published in 2015 in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that coffee consumption significantly reduced the risk of gallstone disease, which may be due to the caffeine stimulating gallbladder contraction and the flow of bile.
2. Your DNA impacts your ability to digest certain foods
Research shows that variations in certain genes can have a significant effect on the way our body responds to the food we consume.
With information about how our genes impact our ability to digest certain food groups, we can optimise our health by building our personal plate based on how our body handles food groups like carbs, fats, dairy, and more.
My test results showed that I had some sensitivities to salt. Individuals who have higher sensitivities to salt tend to be at risk of high blood pressure. I eat Encik Tan and Qiji a lot because it is the cheapest thing at Suntec City. I guess it is time to look for other options with less salt 🙁
To mitigate this, what I should be doing is to (1) Limit my salk intake to no more than 4g per day (2) be mindful about hidden salts in food such as bread, sauces and some breakfast cereals and (3) pick low sodium options
I also learnt that I have increased need for cruciferous vegetables to help promote toxin removals. And, my Coeliac predisposition is high which means that I could try to opt for gluten free options
3. Your DNA can help you understand your success traits and brain health
Your likelihood of success in life could be written in your DNA. There is evidence to show that the best predictor of your life’s outcome isn’t just linked to your environment (i.e. your upbringing and social class) but to your genetic make-up, too.
I was really surprised to find out my memory skills is only normal. Many people who know me in real life tell me I have a super good memory. I guess perhaps that is because I am interested in people’s lives, their stories and experiences.
Only 52 percent of someone’s ability to remember things is genetic. Perhaps I ate the right kind of food when I was younger, or maybe it was the Singapore education system that trained me well.
I also did pretty well in Entrepreneurship Tendency (AQ). Research has shown that one/s tendency to be an entrepreneur is only 30-40% influenced by our genes. AQ stands for adversity, or simply, resilience.
This is further backed up by another segment in the report which says that my Stress Tolerance is Warrior level which means I am likely to have a strong sense of calm when faced with obstacles. They identified this by testing genes known to influence how brain produces and breaks down the stress hormone, cortisol and also stress-related brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin.
However, I was saddened to learn that I have a moderate risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
APOE4 is the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Upon deeper analysis, I found that I have 1 copy of the APOE4. If you have two APOE e4 genes, your risk is even higher.
In our human population bout 25 percent of people are like me and carry one copy of APOE ɛ4, and 2 to 3 percent carry two copies.
Alzheimer’s disease not only kills brain cells and takes people’s lives. Luckily, it is covered under my critical illness plan.
Thankfully, I can take steps to prevent it. According to Harvard Health website, here are some things which I should do:
Exercise. “The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”
Eat a Mediterranean diet. “This has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer’s or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet,” says Dr. Marshall. The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; olive oil; nuts; legumes; fish; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy; moderate amounts of red wine; and red meat only sparingly.
Get enough sleep. “Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s and is linked to greater amyloid clearance from the brain,” says Dr. Marshall. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.
4. Your DNA can give you insights into your skin type and common skin problems you may face
One of the nicest things about this report is that it told me my skin age is younger! This means I look younger than my chronological age. This is quite true. Although I am turning 30 next year, I get guys who are like 5-6 years younger thinking I am their age and trying to get to know me.
However, very sadly, I have a high risk of Cellulite Formation. People who eat too much fat, carbohydrates, sugar, and salt – and not enough fiber – are likely to have more cellulite. The only thing I can do to control this is to continue to maintain a healthy BMI and reduce the intake of fatty food.
5. Your DNA can tell you about your personality
I found the report super accurate in personality assessment.
Genetic factors account for approximately 42 percent of agreeableness. In contrast, I am more “competitive/challenging” by nature. I just have to suppress this intentionally because I learnt my lesson that in many organizations, internal relationships are super important so it is better to be agreeable.
When I was younger, I used to be super introverted and reserved. When I went for exchange, it really forced me to step out of my comfort zone and socialize more.
How to use?
Taking the test is pretty simple and you can just buy online and follow the instructions below.
In life, we cannot control anything that happens to us and we cannot change our DNA. However, it is best to focus on what we can control and take steps to reduce risk. After all, your DNA is not your destiny. Since 80 percent of chronic diseases can be prevented with lifestyle adjustments, knowing my risks ensures I can take steps to mitigate it.
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you’re keen to 30 percent off your CircleDNA DNA Test here! You can use my discount and promo code: 1JERALDINEP59 for the discount. 😉