DNA | VitaFEM
"JOINCIRCLES enables you to own your medical data. After buying a DNA test here, we’ll send out your DNA kit on the next working day. When your kit arrives, swab the inside of your cheek and call our courier to collect – follow the simple instructions in the kit. The lab will take around 14 working days to analyse your DNA, from the time they receive your DNA sample. When your results are ready, I'll email them directly to you. To get the full value from your results, we highly recommend that you contact a healthcare practitioner from our ‘Practitioner Circle’ to take you through your results. This will help you understand how and where to focus your efforts. They will also suggest the most relevant blood, blood spot and urine biochemistry tests that you can do going forward, to measure and track your risks and potentials based on your unique genetic variations. After your consult, you could book a wellness coaching appointment with Margie to get you started and keep you on track. Once you have your DNA, you can start shopping personalised nutrition, environment and lifestyle choices on JOINCIRCLES.com. This is how you start on your journey towards optimal wellness! Please contact me if you need help choosing the right test and/or practitioner for your needs". Dr Heidi | email@example.com
The VitaFEM report examines 20 genes which impact female health through all stages from estrogen production, activation, and detoxification to heart and bone health.
What is estrogen
Estrogen is one of two major female steroidal sex hormones, the other being progesterone. The main source of estrogen in females prior to menopause is the ovaries, after which the main source becomes the adrenal glands and fat tissue. Oestrogen is also produced by the placenta during pregnancy. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout life, naturally increasing during puberty and pregnancy, and falling after menopause. During the menstrual cycle, estrogen levels peak during ovulation dropping off if pregnancy doesn’t occur.
The main roles of estrogen in the body are to increase the growth and production of cells, the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics - breasts, pubic hair etc. Oestrogen is also involved in maintaining bone density, plays a role in blood clotting and affects skin, hair, mucous membranes, and the pelvic muscles.
The body produces 3 different types of estrogen:
E1 - Etrone: medium strength, predominant after menopause (adrenal glands)
E2 - Estradiol: strongest form, predominant during childbearing age (ovaries & adrenal glands)
E3 - Estriol: weakest form, predominant during pregnancy (placenta & liver)
The report highlights potential strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:
- Blood clotting
- Cardiovascular health
- Folate requirement
- Free radical damage (antioxidant requirement)
- Estrogen precursors
- Estrogen production
- Estrogen receptor
- Production of 2OH, 4OH and 16aOH estrogen
- Vitamin D requirement
- DNA | VitaFEM tests UGT gene (Glucuronidation): the UGT enzymes render estrogen more water-soluble and ready for excretion via the bile to the small intestine
- DNA | VitaFEM tests your estrogen receptor genes. Once produced, estrogen moves through the blood and exerts its influence in the body by binding to estrogen receptors (ERs). ERs are important since they are also known to bind to DNA and control gene expression. There are two types of estrogen receptors encoded by two separate genes:
- ER alpha (ESR1) - found in the highest concentration in the endometrium, ovaries, and hypothalamus (in the brain). ESR1 increases the action of the attached estrogen
- ER beta (ESR2) - found in highest concentration in the ovaries, kidneys, brain, bone, heart, lungs, intestinal mucosa and endothelial cells. ESR2 weakens the action of the attached estrogen
What is DNA
DNA is your body’s instruction manual, controlling every single function from when you were only made up of a few cells, until now. It looks like a twisted ladder, made up of two halves. Each “rung” of the ladder contains two “letters” of DNA code called nucleotides which bond together in pairs: A (adenine) and T (thymine) bond together, as do C (cytosine) and G (guanine). Genes are portions of the ladder containing combinations of the nucleotide code which are “read” as instructions to perform a specific function.
What are SNPs
Over time, due to environmental and lifestyle factors, minor changes called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) occur within the DNA code and are passed down from parent to child, from generation to generation. Remember the nucleotides? Well, a C might be replaced by a T, changing the instructions.
Some SNPs are positive, making us stronger and more resilient (like being able to digest milk after infancy), some are negative (like being likely to store more fat as a result of past famine or food shortage) and some make no difference at all. SNPs can be passed down from just one parent, or from both, enhancing the effect. SNPs are generally what we are looking for when we test your DNA.
Your results are shown by a combination of the letters ATCG along with a traffic light system to indicate if your result is good, neutral or potentially detrimental.
Identical letters (e.g. GG or AA) mean you are either what is called the wild type with no genetic variants (SNPs) OR you have both genetic variants (from both parents). A combination of letters (e.g. AG) means you have one inherited genetic variant.
- A green result indicates either no variants or a positive variant impact
- An amber result usually indicates one genetic variant present and/or a mildly negative impact
- A red result indicates a negative impact either due to both variants being present or a wild-type result that is not as beneficial as the variant
Pair with these tests
To measure and track how estrogen is being metabolised, we recommend doing the following biochemistry test: