During Black Friday 2017, I purchased a 23andMe Health + Ancestry for $99, which was a great deal since the test normally retails for $199. I was curious about my various health traits and my ancestral background since my half-sister who is half Korean & half Caucasian got results back from her test that showed she is 11% Japanese. Logic would say that I am at minimum 22% Japanese, right?
Taking the test was pretty straightforward. The test taker is not supposed to eat, drink, smoke, chew gum, brush their teeth, or use mouthwash for at least 30 minutes prior to providing their salvia sample.
I decided to provide my sample right after I woke up from bed. All I had to do was spit into the provided test tube, mix in the stabilization buffer and then seal the test tube and package it into the self-addressed stamped shipping container, which is actually just the original box that the test came it. Then I just dropped the package off in a USPS mailbox and waited for my results
After a few weeks, I got a notification email that my results were ready and that I could login to check them out.
Immediately after logging in I saw a notification on the main page highlighting a “variant” in one of my genes and that I had a “slightly increased risk” of Celiac disease.
This obviously worried me right away, since having any sort of “variant” does not sound good. I did some research on this gene variant and read that I was 3 times more likely to have Celiac disease than someone who not have this gene variant. Roughly 1 in 100 Americans have Celiac disease so my chances were more or less 3 in 100, which did not seem that bad.
I love all things gluten and never really felt that it affected me in a significantly unhealthy way. I wanted to get confirmation for whether I actually did have Celiac disease and read that the Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) blood test was the most accurate way of confirming Celiac disease. The test returns a positive result in about 98% of patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-containing diet.
I set up an appointment with my doctor via the One Medical app and went in for the blood test a few days later. I got my results back about 2 weeks later and luckily they came back negative. I was relieved, but I also considered if I was potentially just sensitive to gluten.
I previously went on a Ketogenic (Keto) diet for a few months in 2017 and my body felt much better and cleaner. So as an experiment I have been gluten free since mid-January 2018. I tested my gluten sensitivity after 2 weeks and did realize that my body reacts to it in an uncomfortable way. Moving forward I will continue to eat gluten-free and will further test my sensitivity along the way.
It would be an unfortunate circumstance if I have to continue to eat gluten free for the remainder of my life, but ultimately it is a healthier way to live and I cannot really complain if I am doing positive things for my body.
Although I know many people have concerns about the privacy aspect of having your DNA tested and stored by a 3rd party company, I believe there is so much beneficial health information that you can gain from a 23andMe test. In addition, there are a lot of random cool facts that you can learn about yourself, and your ancestors.
Ultimately being able to make better decisions in your life based on your test results will allow you to live a healthier and happier life, which is priceless.