I recently had my DNA tested.
It started out as a way to find out more about my ancestry. I was doing family tree research, and it seemed like the logical next step. As predicted, I have a mix of genetic origins. What can I say, I’m an American!
I admit, it was entertaining at first. According to my DNA, I’m likely to have dark hair and dark eyes, probably don’t have dimples, I’m likely to have light skin and some freckles, and I probably don’t sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight (yep, that’s a genetic thing!) These all seem to fit, nothing really surprising there.
But when I really started digging into the data, two things really struck me. One, the fact that we all share so much in common. Did you know that we humans share about 99.5% of our genes? Only one half of one percent or our total DNA makeup accounts for all the differences within the human race! Hair color, eye color, skin color, height, whether we tend to be heavy or thin, even what types of foods we prefer!
The second thing that struck me is the fact that the small percentage that makes us different means we all have different needs. In those genes are coded how we process foods, how we metabolize medications, and very specific details about how each of our bodies build proteins, muscles, and enzymes. Genetic explanations for why some of us can’t tolerate gluten, or B vitamins. Why some of us are prone to heart disease, some of us have severe allergies, and some of us bruise easily.
It reminded me that each of us has different and specific needs when it comes to health care. Not only must we have specific care tailored to our specific needs, we need doctors who are willing to help us figure out what those needs are. Sure, there’s a whole up-and-coming branch of medicine that will someday prescribe for each patient the exact medications in the exact amounts and frequencies that best support our genetics. And in the future we will likely have medications that turn on and off specific genes to cure disease.
Chiropractic has always been like this – we find the specific cause of a patient’s symptoms and then work to fix the cause, so then the symptom goes away on its own. Each patient gets a care plan based on exactly what he or she needs.
Doing this DNA testing actually gave me a renewed sense of purpose, though. The more I know about each of my patients the better and more accurate treatment I can provide. So I make you this promise: I and my colleagues at Wilson Chiropractic will always do all we can to make sure we provide the most accurate and effective care plan for each and every patient – based on your specific symptoms, your body, and your needs.
I hope that my DNA and accompanying research I provided can somehow further science, can somehow help us learn which genes are really responsible for the health of our bodies.
I hope that I am around when we as a society are really able to put genetics to work to heal ourselves.
And I hope that until that time, I can do my part to make sure each of my patients, friends, and neighbors get the best individualized health care possible.
Yours in health,