What can your DNA reveal about you? The traits, health conditions, natural gifts, talents and qualities about ourselves that are genetic are far more extensive than most of us expect. Many of these genetic qualities are not solely determined by our DNA, but rather influenced by our DNA. It’s true that cultural and environmental factors contribute to the likelihood of us developing a condition or trait we’re genetically predisposed to, but it’s still very interesting to find out things about ourselves we didn’t know were genetic.
While most DNA tests only inform you of your ancestry information, a CircleDNA test is a comprehensive health report based on your DNA. In fact, a CircleDNA test provides you with over 500 reports about yourself in 20 categories. This includes your fitness strengths and weaknesses, cancer and disease risk, behavioural traits, personality traits, your sleep patterns and much more.
Your DNA test results allow you to get to know yourself better and take charge of your health. You’ll be able to view your report and take preventative measures wherever there is a heightened risk of health issues and relax a little where your genes are stronger in other categories.
For example, it might be in your DNA to have great skin, yet you also have a higher likelihood of sleep issues based on your genetics. Again, your genetics aren’t the sole factor in determining these qualities, but they do factor into the likelihood, and that’s why DNA tests can be helpful because knowledge is power.
Becoming aware of your genetic predisposition towards certain natural gifts, talents and personality traits can help you to hone in on your natural strengths and harness them. Similarly, knowing you have a genetic risk of certain nutritional deficiencies is an example of a weakness highlighted by your CircleDNA report that you can counteract with preventative measures.
Below is a list of some qualities you might not know are genetic, and traits that your genes can (in part) be responsible for:
Are you a night owl, while your partner is a morning person? Our genes strongly influence the functioning of our circadian rhythm, which controls the sleep/wake cycle. They push around our preferred times to wake up and go to bed by changing the way we respond to light, hormones and neurotransmitters.
You could be genetically more likely to have a late chronotype, which means it could be in your DNA to be a night owl.
How well you bounce back from stress – whether you’re a worrier or warrior – is affected by your genes as well. Serotonin, dopamine, and the stress hormone cortisol influence our ability to respond to or bounce back from, challenges, so we test genes that control their production and removal from the body.
Based on your DNA test results, you might find out that you’re more likely to be a ‘worrier’ with low stress tolerance or a ‘neutralist’ with average stress tolerance. If you’re lucky, it could be written in your DNA to be a ‘warrior’ with a high tolerance for stress.
When it comes to worrying, know that the personality trait of being neurotic is influenced by your genes as well.
If you’re always covered in mosquito bites after a night of camping or a day of hiking in the wilderness, it could be in your DNA to be more vulnerable to mosquito bites. Approximately 85% of your vulnerability to mosquito bites is genetic, as is your blood type, sweat levels of ammonia, lactic acid and uric acid which can repel or attract the pesky bugs.
Taste Preferences (Such as a Sweet Tooth)
Your sensitivity to taste is mostly genetic, which can open you up to a more varied diet (if it’s in your DNA to be a non-taster). It’s rare to have it in your genes to be a non-taster. However, it is quite common for you to be genetically more or less likely to have a sweet tooth. Do you have it in your genes to likely have a sweet tooth? Knowing this about yourself helps you take preventative measures, such as avoiding keeping too many sweets in the house and stocking your cupboards with healthy snacks, instead.
It could be in your DNA to have a higher or lower appetite control. Genes that deal with the production and metabolism of leptin, ghrelin and insulin can affect your appetite control. While insulin lets sugar into cells and leptin reduces appetite, ghrelin increases the desire for food and affects body weight. Don’t despair if your DNA results come back with poor appetite control, however. Eating more slowly and mindfully, alongside choosing foods that improve insulin sensitivity, can help. You have the power to control your appetite, regardless of genetics, if you have the willpower.
Response to Supplementation and Nutrient Absorption
Don’t disregard supplements or superfoods if you aren’t responding to what you’re currently taking. Your genes affect how well you absorb and metabolize certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, iodine and magnesium. You may need a higher dose, for example, or an emphasis on different nutrients entirely.
Second-Hand Smoke Sensitivity
Whether you have asthma that flares up, or your airways just feel irritated after hanging out with smokers, now you know why. Some genes affect your lungs’ response to the toxins in cigarette smoke, so don’t hesitate to leave the room if one of your friends decides to light up.
Skin Age and Skin Appearance
A large number of genes affect how well your skin deals with oxidative stress from pollution and UV radiation; and how well your skin maintains collagen, cell division and water content. If your genetic skin profile is a more mature skin age, it’s more important for you to avoid environmental toxins and excessive alcohol, while taking good care of your skin.
Your genes can determine your risk of injuries, and the CircleDNA report can be quite specific. My DNA report indicated that I have an especially high risk of Achilles tendon injury, for example.
We have several different types of collagen, and Type V collagen holds a significant influence over our risk of soft tissue injuries. If your Type V collagen production isn’t as naturally high as those with lower injury risk, it’s best to take a collagen supplement and develop the right warmup and cool-down stretches for you to avoid injuries throughout your life.
Likelihood of Excelling in Sports
Ever wonder what sports you should be playing? Your genes can significantly affect which sports your body performs best, depending on the combination of power, endurance and strength involved. For example, if your genetic makeup indicates that you have medium power abilities, low endurance and high strength, that could mean you should consider weight lifting, boxing or gymnastics.
Creativity is all about divergent thinking. While your environment and personal choices can boost your creativity, creativity comes more naturally with a certain genetic makeup that affects serotonin processing. A larger corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibres that connects each brain hemisphere, is linked to heightened creativity as well.
Similar to creativity, music ability is affected by the corpus callosum, which is larger in musicians. Gene variations that influence inner ear development and the brain’s auditory centres can improve your ability to perceive or perform music.
However, individual and environmental factors can override genetic predictions. Some of the best musicians and dancers simply practised and rehearsed enough to be professionals. If it’s written in your DNA to be gifted at music or dance, perhaps you’d have to rehearse less than your peers.
Introversion and Extraversion
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert is about 50% determined by your genes. Extraversion is associated with feeling energized by social groups, increased assertiveness, and the need for stimulation. Introverts typically prefer to recharge alone and choose quieter interests while being very into self-reflection.
Genes controlling oxytocin and vasopressin metabolism are linked with the personality trait of altruism or acting in the interest of others. Those of us with high degrees of altruism are more likely to put others before ourselves, contribute to charities or fight for causes that don’t immediately affect us.
Like other behaviour and personality traits, altruism can be affected by who you are on other levels and also be impacted by your environment. “My parents don’t understand why I participate in fundraisers, but I want to make a difference in the world. I can’t just watch a problem continue to make others suffer,” Alexandra Preston explains, noting her genetic high score of altruism on her CircleDNA test.
Roughly 30 – 40% of your predisposition to entrepreneurship is genetic. Your parents or teachers may have pressured you into pursuing a stable career, but perhaps what you’ve always naturally wanted was to do something less traditional or more innovative – or at least be your own boss. Sound familiar? Some genetic factors that affect our resilience in the face of risks can make entrepreneurship more enticing.
There could be a genetic explanation for your ability to tolerate pain. Lower catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) activity heightens your perception of pain, and to avoid developing chronic pain conditions, you need extra care to prevent injury and balance your nervous system. Meditation and acupuncture can be helpful in this situation.
Your love (or fear) of risks and thrill-seeking is partially influenced by the dopamine receptor 4 gene. Excitement and novelty give you a natural “high” as the dopamine surge works its magic, and thrill-seekers have a heightened perception of this.
This can apply to anything from extreme sports and adventurous solo travel to gambling and binge-eating, so it’s best to channel your natural urges into moderate, healthier sources of novelty.
Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Cholesterol and triglyceride levels have a large genetic component. If your CircleDNA test warns you of this, limit your intake of red meat and dairy, avoid smoking, and stay active. Aim for a waist circumference of under 35 inches (89 centimetres) if you’re a woman with a predisposition to high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Tooth Decay Risk
The production and strength of enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth, is influenced by your genes as well. If you were always the kid with a mouthful of cavities, while your friends seemed to have perfect teeth, it’s time to pay attention to your dental health. Some people benefit from regular professional cleanings and brushing or using an interdental cleaner after every meal.
If a DNA test told you that you had elevated tooth decay risk based on your genetics, you’d likely start going to the dentist more frequently.
Drug Side Effects and Drug Response
Whether natural or pharmaceutical, medicine should never be one-size-fits-all. You may need more or less of certain drugs or experience side effects that others don’t. For example, imagine a person who had asthma and relied on Ventolin [salbutamol] much of the time, and was nervous quite often for no apparent reason. If it turns out their DNA test results listed Ventolin as “Use with Caution”, that could explain it. Nervousness is one of the possible side effects of Ventolin, but it’s possible to be unaware that you’re genetically more likely to experience these side effects.
While most health conditions, traits and individual qualities are not 100% genetic, our genes do influence far more than we think. Knowing about factors such as genetic skin conditions that are in our DNA, vulnerability to pollution and genetic risk of injury can help us to take better preventative measures and re-evaluate our lifestyle choices.
You’ll have some genetic predispositions that you want to hone in on, harness and capitalize on. Examples of these might be your genetic predisposition to creativity, musical ability or being genetically likely to be gifted at mathematics.
You’ll have other genetic predispositions that you’ll want to fight against, such as low endurance, or genetic risk of obesity.
Once you know what your genetic strengths and weaknesses are, you can use this knowledge to your advantage. Find out over 500 reports about yourself in over 20 categories from one single DNA test with CircleDNA.