From The Tree of Life Blog

Who Are You? Get to Know Your DNA!
August 16th, 2017


Due to recent changes in 23andMe, v5 raw data files, we are asking you to carefully reconsider doing a 23andMe kit until further notice. This version does not include 7,000 of the 9,000 SNPs currently looked at in our proprietary software program. We are looking into alternatives and hope to have a solution for you as soon as possible. We are encouraging you to reach out to 23andMe with your concerns about the recent changes and missing SNPs. Email or call 1-800-239-5230. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause. We are not able to answer questions about why 23andMe made these changes. We are as shocked as everyone else. Please call us at 717-733-2003with any questions or concerns you have. We will do our very best to answer them for you, as we are also seeking answers.

What can DNA tell us? Your ancestry? Personality traits? Genetic risk factors? Inherited conditions? Responses to caffeine, gluten, medications and more? If you answered yes to all the above, you’re correct. Answers to these questions and more lie somewhere in your genes. While your DNA alone cannot fully account for who you are, it can unveil secrets to your health that weren’t accessible before.

Let’s all agree that genetics is rarely all or nothing. In almost every case, the version of a gene you receive from your parent will give you an increased or decreased chance of a particular outcome. The simplest of these outcomes include your sex, eye color and hair color. But just because you have a gene, the outcome is not certain. Other external factors come into play such as lifestyle choices with diet, exercise and sleep as well as exposure to environmental factors…all of which together with your genes work to determine how you end up.

It’s all in the SNP

Learning about DNA has supported the emergence of a whole new scientific approach to wellness. In the simplest form, we are all made of cells that have 23 pairs of chromosomes that are made of DNA. DNA, genes and chromosomes are like a blueprint of life and are the plans that tell the body how to make things. Genes are passed from parent to child with each and every cell containing a set of genetic instructions. When an existing cell divides to make a new cell, it copies its set of genetic instructions. However, sometimes these instructions are copied incorrectly, like a typo, which leads to variations in the DNA sequence. This is called a single nucleotide polymorphism or SNP (pronounced “snip”).

Because DNA is nothing more than a pattern that tells the cells how to make its proteins (enzymes), these genetic SNPs, or variants, may impact your ability to make and use different nutrients critical for healthy circulatory, immune, and digestive functioning plus much more. But again, everyone is susceptible in their own unique way with the many variables of external influencers and factors at play. Additionally, just because you have a gene does not mean that the gene is expressing at the cellular level. Genes need to be expressed at a cellular level in order to influence health.

We live and die at the cellular level…our health is dependent upon the health of the 60-100 trillion cells in the body. One of the most important activities is the enzyme function that fulfills major roles in the cell—structural, enzymatic, hormonal, and more.  Enzymes take substance A and turn it into substance B. Genetic variants may cause less than optimal conversion of substance A to B, resulting in impaired function, which may include how your body clears toxic substances, how it makes antioxidants to neutralize damaging free radicals and much more.

What does this mean to me?

Most SNPs do not cause any observable differences. But the location and total number of SNPs a person has may influence their susceptibility to health issues or impact how they react to certain drugs or even specific foods. The presence of free radicals and oxidative stress in your body also may be at the root causes of health challenges. Your body naturally produces all of these agents, but genetic variations can cause you to have too much or not enough of them. When out of balance, they can cause cellular damage, inflammation and the formation of toxins, leading to slower rebuilding and repair of cells and ultimately faster aging. To compensate for these free radicals, your body makes antioxidants to rebuild and repair damaged cells. But your inherited genetic issues may inhibit you from making enough antioxidants, cause you to produce too many oxidants, and suppress your ability to support cell repair, which can negatively impact your health.

Some DNA Tidbits

The identification of specific genes have been linked to your body clock (when you naturally rise in the morning and want to go to bed at night), longevity, obesity, attention deficit, and more. Did you know…

How can DNA testing help?

With genetic saliva testing, you can now measure your ability to make and use the enzymes that are critical components of your health. When in balance, these enzymes can control free radicals, keep your cells healthy, and rebuild new cells effectively. As a result, you may look and feel younger and remain healthy and vibrant as you age. You’re never too young or old to optimize your nutritional and antioxidant status.

Harness Your DNA for Optimal Health

To fully understand how your DNA impacts your health, watch the recorded lecture, “MethylGenetic Nutrition – Breaking the Genetic Code” or visit for introductory videos and articles.


Tree of Life offers naturopathic and natural health consulting. Naturopaths are not licensed medical doctors, and therefore do not diagnose or treat disease. Rather, we support the body nutritionally, so that the body comes into balance on its own.

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