Genetic testing looks at genes to identify information about hereditary medical conditions (cancer, heart disease, diabetes) in your family and predisposition/ risks for other health concerns such as insomnia and low energy.

Modern medicine tells us that all disease is caused by two factors – genetic predispositions and environmental stressors – and that someday, we will know enough about the genetic side of the equation to make far greater contributions to a patient’s well-being and health.The genetic age has arrived. We explore both sides of the issue, environmental stressors AND genetics.

Genetic tests expose the vulnerabilities but also provide what kind of treatment or preventive measures such as lifestyle and dietary changes which should be implemented for long term health and effective treatment.

We offer many useful genetic test panels that help address the whole health picture of the patient.

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What Genetic Tests Can Tell Us

Genetic tests can identify changes in chromosomes, genes or proteins. Genes called SNPs can create vulnerabilities to many kinds of allergic, infectious, immune, toxic, nutritional and psycho-emotional stress.

Some genetic tests, like the 23andme ancestry testing, are inexpensive and can be used to address a wide array of the common, important and modifiable quirky genes that influence most common health concerns, such as insomnia, chronic gastrointestinal disorders, depression and anxiety. Other genetic tests panels are designed to figure out your unique genes which predispose you to various medical issues, such as an inability to detox properly, which is a quirky MTHFR gene? Or more seriously, cancer or heart disease. Genetic tests can be specific to certain issues, such as pharmacogenetic testing (i.e., pharmaco=drugs), which tests your unique response to medication. This test can tell you if certain drugs are likely to make you sick (or even die) because your body might not break them down properly, or if other drugs won’t work at all because your unique genetic makeup breaks them down too quickly.

Maybe you have struggled with digestive problems for years and can’t seem to find a solution. Or don’t understand your lack of energy or chronic insomnia? You may have genetic concerns due to a known family history of cancer, heart disease or addiction.

If you know you are predisposed to certain risks- your diet, supplement intake, lifestyle and stress patterns can be modified to make the expression of such genes less likely. Getting to the genetic root cause provides important data to possibly prevent and help treat chronic medical conditions and psychiatric disorders.


Genetic Tests Offered at NIHA

NIHA offers specialty kits from national labs that will confirm or rule out suspected genetic conditions and risk factors.


Pharmacogenetic Testing (PGx) - Find the right medication for you

We highly recommend this genetic test for all patients that analyzes how your genetic makeup affects your unique response to medication. Medication mortality rates from adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are between the 2nd to 4th leading cause of death, ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents and automobile deaths

This test is an important step toward personalized medicine. It will determine your medication sensitivity and reduce the chance of a possible adverse drug reaction.

In many patients, certain drugs/medications don't work as well as expected, while in other patients they cause toxic effects, even at a lower dosage. The reason may be genetic. How well your body metabolizes medication is an important consideration in prescribing medication and the chances of a positive outcome. With PGx testing, you will know which ones you may have a sensitivity to, and the practitioner will be able to determine the right medication for you, and the right dose. PGx is generally insurance covered.

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Cancer Genomics- Cancer Risk for Common Cancers

Cancer genomic tests for SNPs, which create risks for 8 common types of cancer by assessing 41 SNPs, and is often insurance covered. If you have a family history of cancer this important test can assess risk and suggest that more frequent early detection radiology and bloodwork should be performed to catch cancer at its earliest development when it is more easily treated. Also, by knowing the exact SNPs which put you at risk for cancer, certain nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes may alter genetic expression and decrease risk.

 

Cardiogenomics- Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

These panels can assess for various kinds of heart disease and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension. The proper drug to reduce risk based on these genetic factors can be chosen, and nutritional and lifestyle interventions can be adopted which match your genetic makeup so that the risk of various kinds of heart disease can be negated.


Alpha -1- Genetic Test for Antitrypsin (AAT)

This is test for AAT deficiency which can cause emphysema and liver disease, even when lifestyle risks are not occurring, such as alcohol or tobacco abuse. Your practitioner may consider this test if you have: emphysema, COPD (with or without a history of smoking), asthma, poor lung function, family member with alpha-1,  or  those with other risk factors (smoking, occupational exposure, etc.) may wish to be tested. This test involves a finger stick blood sample.


23andme - Ancestry Genealogy

23andMe is not offered at NIHA but recommended for every patient; it is a consumer test that you do on your own (we can’t order it for you). Go online to 23andMe.com and order the kit.  It will arrive by mail. Follow instructions for saliva collection, mailing and registering the test online. The 23 and me information will suggest that this test is only for ancestry genealogy, but for an additional $30, we can show you how to convert the raw data link into a few hundred genomic SNPs. The raw data will need to be Important information on neurotransmitter-related genes for psychiatric vulnerabilities and addictions and many other problems can be revealed by this test.


MTHFR Test - Methylation Pathways and Detoxification issues

The MTHFR enzyme (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) blood test is used to detect two relatively common mutations in the MTHFR gene that are associated with elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood. Those with the mutation may have trouble with methylation and eliminating toxins from the body. This simple blood test is done through our on-site LabCorp.


Interpretation of Genetic Tests

Dr. Charles Gant’s expertise has been centered on functional medicine and diagnostic testing for the root cause of health issues for over 40 years. He has been reading the results of genetic tests for several years and considers this information vital to creating an accurate treatment plan for the patient.

Genetic testing will soon become a routine standard of care for all healthcare practitioners. It promises to revolutionize personalized medicine in the decades ahead.

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Related Information:
Methylation 101: What it Means for Your Health
Methylation 102: A Deeper Look at the MTHFR Gene