You’re looking at your medical or recreational genetic report and it says: “you are tall and handsome,” or: “pretty and petite,” and maybe you’re not! You get the point, sometimes genetic reports have predictions that do not seem accurate. And, then on a more serious note, your report may scare the daylights out of you by pointing out that you are at risk of some deadly disease. How can you, or should you, trust this company’s report if it is not even nailing down the less important predictions? Read on, and you will better understand why it is so important for your health.
One part of this answer has to do with genetic penetrance, which is the percentage of people with a genetic variant that have a particular disease or trait. Our genetics can be very complicated, with each person having a different set of millions of genetic variants that interact with each other in ways we do not yet fully understand. Sometimes if you have a dangerous variant, it’s impact may be eliminated by other genetic variants, or by reducing your environmental exposure.
The severity of symptoms associated with a variant is called expressivity. For those with a variant, symptoms can range from severe, moderate, or might not even be noticeable. This is called variable expressivity.
Food selection is clearly an environmental exposure that can be controlled, and works with genetic variants to affect both penetrance and expressivity, which is the focus of Food Genes and Me.
Let’s take a look at some notable examples. Neurofibromatosis is a disease that causes reddish-brown spots on the eyes, benign skin tumors, and several other conditions. There are variants that are in 100% of affected people - this is called complete penetrance, where all individuals get the disease. When variants have high penetrance, they are generally called mutations. The number and severity of symptoms can vary among people and is called the expressivity of the variant.
BRCA1 is a gene that is commonly tested for variants that might cause breast and ovarian cancers. Patients with these inherited variants might go as far as to have a mastectomy or ovariectomy to reduce their risk of disease. However, one BRCA1 study shows that only 48 of one hundred people will get one of these cancers by age 80. Thus, the penetrance is 48% by age 80. Other studies vary, but have similar variable penetrance.
My relative had a report that pointed out a variant for Lynch syndrome, which produces many cancerous polyps in the large intestine. But, he was 93 and doing well! He had routine colonoscopies, but only occasionally had a few polyps removed over many visits – not what his report suggested. This is where science gets grayish. By the criteria used in most studies, this would not be considered cancer. Nevertheless, the fact that he had vastly reduced numbers of polyps for someone with this variant is an example of reduced expressivity.
The millions of variants that each of us possess do really matter, after taking into account penetrance and expressivity. However, we are just in our infancy understanding penetrance and expressivity, which can show up as seemingly inaccurate statements in genetic reports.
Moving on to diet, let’s talk lactose intolerance, where dairy foods containing lactose can induce abdominal pain, bloating and other symptoms. The different human populations tend to have different levels of penetration and expressivity of variants that cause lactose intolerance. This is why 92% of Chinese and 75% of African Americans adults, while only 10% of Northern Europeans, have lactose intolerance. This is one example of why we need personalized diets!
Today, common practice is to define the percentage of people with a particular variant. If you are at moderate or high risk you should consult a Genetic Counselor or Dietician and set up a screening schedule. This type of preventative strategy may be the best approach to reduce the burden of disease in the near future.
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Modern humans have existed for 6,000 generations, and we inherit traits, behaviors, and health vulnerabilities from our parents through DNA. Each person has 5-10 million variations in their DNA sequence. Yes, that is a lot of variation, but explains why you do not look like, act like, or have the same diet issues as your neighbors.
As we age, our bodies begin to fail in different ways, in part based on the DNA sequence variations we inherit, but also upon our exposure to environmental conditions, i.e. possibly the food we eat each day. Unfortunately, it is a very rare situation where there is certainty in what failure you will get. Again, this is partially because each person has a unique genetic makeup and a unique exposure to the environment.
To address this, scientists study large populations and determine what percentage of people has a specific condition. From these measurements, they can estimate the risk of seeing a particular condition, i.e. a genetic risk score. This is somewhat like your chances of rolling double sixes with a pair of dice – there are 36 possible combinations and double sixes is just one possible roll. Therefore, you have a 1 in 36 chance of rolling double sixes. Likewise, most human conditions have risks between 1 in 100 and 1 in 250,000. You may be thinking that 1 in 100 risk is a low risk, and “it’s not going to be me!” Well, but returning to dice as an example, let’s suppose you played some game and rolled the dice 108 times. Then on average, each set of 108 rolls would produce 3 rolls of double sixes! The same thing goes on with disease risk. Because there are so many different types of disease, each with their own risk, collectively you have a higher chance of contracting a disease. This is why the personalized dietary from advice is so powerful for living a healthy life.
Although we cannot be certain, one of the best predictors is your family history. This is the inherited risk. The other main risk for disease is environment, which includes your exposure to toxins, sunlight, radiation, chemicals, stress, physical injury, parasites, bacteria, viruses, and predators. Perhaps the most important environmental exposures that affect your risk is the type of food you eat every day.
Since most people eat frequently, it’s no surprise that the food you consume directly effects your health. But, you may not have known that interaction of your genes with your diet can radically change your risk for specific diseases and conditions. This field of research is known as nutrigenetics or nutrigenomics.
In your FGAM nutrigenetics report, we analyze your genetic file for several hundred DNA sequence variations. On average each person has a different set of 10-20 of the sequence variations from hundreds that are possible. Each of these variations are indicators of an increased risk for a condition and a food or supplement intervention that reduces the risk. FGAM was very careful to select only the DNA variants that have a strong basis based upon rigorous statistical tests in a scientific study. We next use this information to give you a list of five foods and portion that should be eaten daily and could reduce the inherited risk. Every time you come to the FGAM site, we may often provide you additional foods, so keep visiting your FGAM account.
To keep building our accuracy in genetic risk scoring, FGAM asks that you to donate your genetic information and complete a 5-10 min survey to advance FGAM research to discover new variants. You will benefit from your donation; by FGAM improving your personalized dietary advice. With your data we perform a genome wide association study (GWAS) for each survey question you answer. To perform these studies we do need 1,000s of participants and that is why we are asking you to be a team member. See our privacy agreement on how we take extra steps to secure your data and will only use it for FGAM research.
Submit candidate survey questions on FGAM’s contact us webpage as you would like, so we can further understand your interest, and together can investigate new DNA sequence variations of your interest.
In summary, FGAM is different from other genetics companies in several key areas:
1. FGAM focuses only on personalized foods and supplements based on your genetics.
2. FGAM only uses scientific studies with a strong scientific foundation and passes rigorous statistical tests.
3. FGAM is actively discovering new DNA sequences, and with your help will later not just be dependent on third-party published scientific studies.
4. FGAM believes it provides you the important information from genetic research because you eat every day; we do not provide information that has little impact on your life.
For more information or clarity of some of these descriptions, please also watch our YouTube videos: https://foodgenesandme.com/watch-videos.
The study of the interaction of dietary and genetic factors and its effect on metabolism, health status, and risk of disease. Nutrigenetics aims to identify how genetic variation affects response to nutrients. This knowledge can be applied to optimize health, and prevent or treat diseases. The ultimate aim of nutrigenetics is to offer people personalized nutrition based on their genetic makeup.
The genetic differences both within and among human populations. There may be multiple variants of any given gene in the human population.
Genetic risk refers your chance of inheriting a disorder, disease, or other trait. For human health, disorders, or other traits it would be great if we could definitively say yes or no, but this is not the case. Therefore, we assign a risk instead that is based on scientific studies. The risk is like rolling a dice. You have a 1 in 6 chance of rolling a 2. So, if 2 is some disease, on average 1 out of 6 people would get it.
Food Genes and Me™ is reporting personalized dietary advice, which is a report containing suggestions about foods, nutrients, and portion sizes that you should eat. This advice is based on your DNA sequence and solid scientific studies that link specific genetic variants with risks of disease or other outcomes.
FGAM diets are generated by scanning your uploaded genetic file for variants that affect a gene diet interaction outcome and meet rigorous statistical scientific metrics. Once a variant is identified we search a nutrient database to identify foods and portions that should be eaten daily to increase the risk of a favorable outcome.
Every day, your conscious choices in food selection will have been supported by studies that you’re your personal genes to food metabolism and other risks. No other genetic information affects people as directly as this, in their daily lives. Some of the information may be helpful in speaking with your healthcare provider, as well.
We expect that when your DNA sequence file is uploaded, it will take less than 24 hours to return your report to you, and usually within an hour.
Your information will only be used by Food Genes And Me for the discovery of new variants that can be used to improve you personalized dietary advice. We perform Genome Wide Association Studies to identify these variants.
Yes. Your survey information is not connected with a customer number, not your name, and once loaded it is removed from servers connected to the Internet. Likewise, once your genetic file is uploaded and processed, it is removed from servers connected to the Internet. The scientific research to discover variants is performed on computers not connected to the Internet.
Food Genes and Me will process a .vcf file and raw DNA files (note: NOT zip files) from the following:
After your login follow instructions here https://www.23andme.com/you/download
After your login follow instructions here https://dna-explained.com/2013/03/21/downloading-ancestrys-autosomal-dna-raw-data-file/
DNA Family Tree
After your login follow instructions here https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/user-guide/family-finder-myftdna/download-raw-data-page/
On the contact us page, please indicate your interest in an email or send us a letter.
We are actively seeking B2B partners to sell food, nutrients, supplements, and meals suggested by research studies used in our Food Genes And Me reports.