DNA profiling: Your privacy and data - Muhdo

Blood analysis is often utilised as the gold standard for DNA analysis quality and has established places of usage, often in hospitals and labs. Thanks to modern science, however, saliva is quickly replacing blood as the “go to” method of DNA analysis and is now a proven method of gaining DNA data in a non-invasive way. Muhdo utilises saliva collection kits that stabilise high molecular weight DNA, inhibit bacteria growth, with the majority of DNA being of human origin. Multiple studies have proven that saliva DNA analysis has equivalent accuracy to blood testing and can be utilised for microarrays and whole genome sequencing.

Muhdo's custom chip

Muhdo employs a custom chip to analyse specific SNPs within the genome, the chip constantly runs with a 97-99.9% accuracy level with failed samples being highlighted and the client informed and replacement kit sent out.

Some state that there is limited research looking at the direct health benefits that consumer DNA testing platforms can offer, however the information provided acts as a major stimulus and motivator for people to start taking responsibility for their nutritional and fitness needs which has a positive impact on their health. All Muhdo advice is expertly given by qualified individuals and will cause positive health outcomes with or without the DNA testing. Muhdo complements our recommendations with DNA testing to apply small personalised, tailored alterations to already well-studied health-based recommendations. We consider Muhdo as a health coach rather than just a simple DNA test.

The science team

The Muhdo science team includes experts from genetics, nutrigenomics, strength and conditioning and epigenetics. There have been thousands of peer reviewed studies looking at the individual effects of nutrigenomics for specific health outcomes, whether that be lifestyle, nutrition or exercise. Muhdo collates hundreds of these papers and weights them accordingly to give us an extremely accurate and effective health platform to offer our customers. We analyse 1,000 of the most researched Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) that relate to nutrition, fitness and health. Each aspect requires at least five peer reviewed medical white papers supporting the nutrigenomic conclusions before we incorporate it into our algorithms. This, along with a whole variety of positive testimonials from customers over the last two years gives us extreme confidence with the recommendations that our platform goes on to provide.

Muhdo takes a common sense approach to the recommendations we give whilst utilising the known, proven DNA research. The following example below can give insights in how a diet that already has known benefits (balanced) can be used considering the clients’ requirements and DNA profile.

Case study

Client A is vegan and requires a diet to match an active lifestyle, whilst the client tries to put on muscle mass with a 4 day a week resistance based training programme.

Calories – Kcals per day can be worked without the usage of DNA taking into account, weight, height, activity, goal, sex, age and government RDAs.

Macronutrients – macronutrient profile can be worked out to match the clients’ goal and health needs, client A may require more protein due to an active lifestyle and the goal of attempting to gain muscle mass whilst considering government RDAs. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22150425), Macronutrients can also be swayed via genetic analysis (https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs1801282(G;G)) PPARG variants may warrant a lower fat intake for example. However for this overall example we leave DNA to the side.

Micronutrients and Preferences – In general a balanced diet contains 5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day (https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-pyramid) and must contain sources of protein, fats, fibre and general carbohydrates. Client A has preferences of no meat sources, including dairy, common research indicates that vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, omega-3 and general whole proteins can be deficient in vegans (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/vegetarian-diet/art-20046446). Therefore, Muhdo will have to use expertise to create a diet knowing these factors to incorporate all known potential deficiencies whilst also taking into account training and goal.

Expert planning

If Muhdo ended here Client A would have received an expertly created plan that matched all environmental factors.

Genetics – We will use just one example here to explain the benefit of DNA analysis, the gene BCO1

The BCO1 gene is responsible for making a protein (BCMO1) that is involved in the conversion of beta-carotene into retinoic acid (active form of vitamin A) that can be used by the body. Vitamin A is crucial for your brain, immune system, skin, eyes, teeth, bones and for the formation of hormones. Vitamin A protects our eyes and skin from UV damage, so it will allow you to get UV and limit skin cancer risk. Vitamin A is important for thyroid hormone and vitamin D function. Vitamin A might benefit obesity (https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/3/2/453/htm#B125-jcm-03-00453). Vitamin A is important for brain function- particularly forming memory. and vitamin A deficiency causes a circadian dysrhythmia” Selfdecode

Beta-carotene is found in coloured vegetables, fruits and other plant sources, however, certain variants in the gene BCO1 can lead to a 51% reduction in beta-carotene conversion to vitamin A (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22113863). This may not be an issue if Client A received vitamin A from animal products (retinol form). However, as a preference, Client A is vegan making the clients best source of vitamin A beta-carotene conversion.

Innate risks

Muhdo learns that Client A has the variants linked to lower beta-carotene conversion and therefore increases high beta-carotene foods (dark leafy veg, carrots, sweet potatoes etc.). Unlike vitamin A, one cannot “overdose” on beta-carotene.

This small change in the clients’ diet plan has already taken an innate risk and mitigated it, genetic analysis allows this to occur multiple times for multiple potential genetic risks. Certain variants linked to lower conversion of beta-carotene are found in 73% of all populations https://selfdecode.com/snp/rs11645428).

Diets that do not use this non-invasive testing are, therefore, NOT mitigating a client’s innate risk factors and are inferior to diets that utilise DNA as an added bonus to a client’s health.

Therefore by utilising all the above factors Muhdo creates very accurate recommendations based on environmental factors (tracking, questionnaire) and adds extra value with genetic based alterations and tweaks to improve advice further.

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