With the science of genomics and the benefits of understanding our DNA now well established in the medical, sports and health industries. A new area which is gaining some interest and notoriety is that of the corporate world and improving health in the workplace.
So, the question being asked today is “Can a DNA test help reduce employee absences”?
We first need to look at what a DNA test can offer in the way of information to help improve your general health and wellbeing.
DNA provides our basic blueprint for life and is shaped like a twisted ladder.
This twisted ladder is called the double helix and is made up from 4 nitrogen bases: Adenine (A); Thymine (T); Guanine (G); and Cytosine (C).
These form structures called nucleotides within our DNA, which are called genes.
Genes make proteins that encode and build a variety of things from hair, skin and organs to which eye colour you have.
We have roughly 25,000 genes, some genes contain a few hundred letters and others contain millions.
Humans have the same genes, just the variation of those genes will be vastly different.
Individual variations will hold the key to how you absorb and process certain foods and vitamins, to how you individually respond to exercise, stress or sleep.
Unlocking your genetic code and discovering what makes you unique, may hold the key to becoming a
fitter, healthier and ultimately a happier you.
We can now focus on two of the many areas which can be analysed with a Muhdo DNA test, and that
will largely play into each other to improve your health by hopefully reducing your risk of getting a
cold, or possibly flu.
Firstly, as previously mentioned we all have tiny variations in our genes which basically allow us to absorb the nutrients (vitamins/minerals) within our food.
For instance, if we look at Beta-carotenes’ (found in carrots) conversion to the usable form of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is more than just a single nutrient, but a broad group of related nutrients each providing us with differing health benefits – and they come in two forms:
Retinoids are made up into retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and retinyl esters and can be found in animal sources.
Carotenoids are made up from a larger family, which include two subcategories, Carotenes and Xanthophylls that then branch off further still into a variety of other elements such Beta-carotenes and Astaxanthin, which are found in plants.
The two forms aren’t just chemically different, they also provide us with different types of health benefits.
Your genetic variation of gene BCO1 will affect your ability to convert Beta-carotene from plants into retinol effectively.
Retinoids and animal sources contain the active form of Vitamin A already, and thus conversion is not needed. If you are following a vegan/plant-based diet you may have a possible Vitamin A (Retinol) deficiency.
A healthy immune system is critically important to us all, as every minute of every day your body is either under attack from bacteria and viruses or producing Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), also referred to as free radicals.
Research is demonstrating that free radicals cause oxidative stress and damage your DNA, which leads to ageing and underlies all disease processes, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, premature ageing and also plays a role in the development of cancer.
Your body produces antioxidant enzymes, which remove these ROS. Genetically, some people do not produce good levels of these antioxidant enzymes and are at risk of increased oxidative damage.
Your body’s own antioxidant enzymes are far more powerful than any antioxidant supplement, so to decrease oxidative stress you need to enhance your ability to produce these antioxidant enzymes.
Again, a DNA test can be an extremely useful tool to better ascertain as to whether your antioxidant genes have slightly impaired function? And then what you need to do to improve them.
In the second instance, we can now apply the same logic to how you sleep, deal with stress and your ability to fight off any bugs floating around the office.
Getting a good night’s sleep has many health connotations associated with it and understanding your genetic predispositions can help shine some light on any issues that you may have.
Our genetics play a role in the development of sleep disorders, quantity and quality of sleep, and if we are more likely to stay up late, get up early, or have naps, etc.
For instance, individuals who are predisposed and more likely to be night owls may have issues getting to sleep.
And if they have a vitamin A deficiency risk it may cause them more issues in trying to get to sleep.
The reason being is that melatonin, or the “Sleep hormone”, which is responsible for signalling darkness to the body and regulating daily physiological rhythms is hugely affected by Vitamin A. As Vitamin A deficiency causes a reduction in gene AANAT, which will reduce melatonin levels.
So, you can see how your genes in many instances act as a community, as if you have trouble sleeping you might firstly be a predisposed to being a “Night Owl”.
This trait will then be magnified if you have an “Increased Risk” of deficiency of Vitamin A.
You can quickly see how these examples can affect just one aspect of your day to day life, and which is crucial to keeping you fit and healthy.
If you are having certain issues at work, such as keeping up energy levels, productivity or picking up the latest office cold, then understanding what makes you tick at the genetic level may hold some of the answers as to why.