From learning more about your genetic makeup to discovering hidden hereditary conditions in your family, genetic testing at Neurvana Naturopathic Medicine Integrative Clinic in Calgary can reveal more about your health than you can imagine.
Genetic testing and DNA testing have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. Gene screening can rule out or confirm genetic conditions and help determine your chances of developing or passing on a specific disorder or genetic weakness. Whether you’re looking to finally pair a diagnosis with unexplained health symptoms, learn about certain genetic weaknesses you may have, or learn more about what the future of your health might hold, our team of professionals can seamlessly walk you through the process.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are long chains of molecules that are used as the blueprint to determine your characteristics, like eye colour, hair colour, and hair type. Your DNA is the chemical basis of your genes, which are contained deep within your cell chromosomes. Beyond physical traits, your genes also influence medical conditions and your likelihood of developing or passing on certain disorders.
Your DNA is what makes you, you—but it’s so microscopic, you’ll need a bit of help to discover and decode it. This is where genetic testing comes in. Genetic testing identifies changes, sometimes referred to as variants or mutations, within your DNA, genes, and chromosomes.
Genes are passed down from your parents, which is why they’re referred to as “hereditary material.” The results of you or your parent’s genetic test can influence the medical care both you and your family members receive. For example, genetic testing can reveal the risk of developing certain cancers or genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia. Gene screening can also discover any variants such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in your genes that are disrupting normal cell function, causing unusual symptoms or other health problems, or posing a risk to your children.
There are several different forms of genetic tests, including a cheek swab or blood testing. While the same genetic material from a cheek swab can be obtained through a blood test, certain genes are located on a very unstable, highly recombinant region of our chromosomes. Failing to capture these genes through a blood sample runs the risk of failing to analyse them at all.
To ensure the most accurate results, the physicians at Neurvana Naturopathic Medicine Integrative Clinic of Calgary rely on blood genetic testing. Our selection of screenings allows for the ultimate bio-individualized approach to health.
SNP testing is the most common type of genetic testing currently on the market, helping to isolate the genetic code of your DNA and identify genetic weaknesses. It’s helpful to think of your genetic code like the alphabet, but with four letters instead of 26. Variations within this code account for differences in your appearance and health.
Your genetic code never changes and SNP testing only needs to be completed once in your lifetime. Essentially, SNP testing forms the blueprint of your DNA. It identifies variations or mutations that can lead to a genetic disorder. At Neurvana Clinic, we utilize Functional Genomic Analysis to develop your genetic report.
However, while SNP testing can display your DNA blueprint, additional testing is needed to determine disease and optimal treatment due to an effect of cell behaviour called epigenetic expression. This is how the environment around us actually influences the expression of our DNA. Genes are constantly turned on and off by cell machinery based on signals the cells are receiving from the environment. It is essential to determine environmental influencers as well as genetic weaknesses to achieve the proper health goals with genetic testing.
Transcriptome analysis (mRNAs) is also referred to as gene expression or epigenetic testing. It’s the most accurate and robust form of testing by far, helping to reveal the behaviour or expression of your genes. Gene expression is the process by which your DNA code is turned into a functional gene product, like a protein that controls individual cells. It can be considered the fine print of your DNA blueprint.
The fine print discovered by mRNAs testing is significantly more impactful than your DNA blueprint. This information is the source of both disease and health and can inform your physician on how to best treat your unique conditions. Due to its importance, the team at Neurvana relies on industry leaders such as RGCC Onconomics and GENIE for mRNAs testing.
An allele is an alternative or mutated form of a gene. Serum or allele testing analyses your blood to locate which of your genes have mutated and better understand their repercussions. In particular, these tests isolate weaknesses in recognizing biotoxins such as mold, bacteria, or viral toxins and other environmental toxicities.
Alleles are located on very unstable regions of your chromosomes, so serum HLA-DR testing must be drawn in blood. To ensure our results are as accurate as possible, Neurvana clinics utilize LabCorp for allele testing.