7

votes

23AndMe, Worth the $$$?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 04, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Considering genetic testing, mostly just my curiosity getting the best of me. For only $100 and $9/month for a year I think it is pretty affordable.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:50 PM

You absolutely need to know your APOE4 status. If you have 2 of those, you need to know and you need to act. imvho.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 05, 2011
at 06:29 AM

Brain aneurysm, colorectal cancer, and Type I and Type II diabetes are all on their list. Diabetes, both types, rates 4 stars on their association-confidence scale (the highest, based on established research), and the cancer and aneurysm rate 3 stars (based on preliminary research).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 04, 2011
at 10:01 PM

You need to do this. We need to settle once and for all that we are Gege MeiMei.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 04, 2011
at 05:16 PM

But note one thing: although I was very excited by information the test provided, a couple genetics experts at my work were not. Apparently, there are very few strong connections that can currently be provided. However, as you know, they keep your data around to update with future research discoveries.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 04, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Ah, in the that case I'd surely get it.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on June 04, 2011
at 02:55 PM

I was thinking about this last semester, and the idea of genetic inheritance. It made me think of ancient Greek plays in which the hero's downfall begins when he discovers his fate, and how he's going to die. I think that's a super powerful thing to have hanging over your head. Are we ready to face the details of our mortal limitations while we're youthful? What's to be gained from this? Am I thinking of this too hard/in the wrong way?

Beaafe23c50e311a8c0ea96728abf398

(418)

on June 04, 2011
at 02:29 PM

Hmmmm, with my grandfather being adopted the ancestry part could really come in handy. He died of a Brain Aneurysm and I was curious to see if the test showed I was at risk for that as well as other major diseases. (Diabetes and Colon Cancer also run in my family)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 04, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Thomas, I'm interested in this too. The 23andMe profile says a few things about obesity and response to diet and exercise, but it's pretty weak. It would be cool to collect a nice-sized dataset and start looking for the kinds of correlations you're talking about.

Beaafe23c50e311a8c0ea96728abf398

(418)

on June 04, 2011
at 01:15 PM

I'd like to know what diseases I might be at risk for. I should probably note that my Grandfather was adopted and I don't know anything about him except that he dies of a Brain Aneurysm.

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9 Answers

4
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on August 28, 2012
at 02:52 AM

For me it was absolutely worth the money. I was suffering fatigue and brain fog even a year after going on a gluten free paleo diet (diagnosed with celiac disease). I found my answer by digging through the 23andMe raw results: I have mutations in my methylation and oxidation pathways. These mutations are associated with autism (especially in males) and chronic fatigue syndrome (especially in females). I've been supplementing to fill those enzymatic gaps, and my brain is starting to function again. My doctors would never have found the problem, as it's just not something western medicine tests for. And I was very likely to fail out of grad school if I hadn't turned things around. It also made me realize the seriousness of my symptoms: I thought it was just something I needed to tough out, but given the outcomes of many other people with this set of mutations, it is likely that I would have ended up diagnosed with chronic fatigue in my 40s, or worse, and totally non-functional.

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 04, 2011
at 01:38 PM

I, too, am thinking about this. In my opinion, it would be interesting to start collecting data and comparing it to see if we can detect certain patterns among people who do well eating a certain type of diet as opposed to another. Dave, I was just about to post a similar thread so I am glad that you did!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 04, 2011
at 02:25 PM

Thomas, I'm interested in this too. The 23andMe profile says a few things about obesity and response to diet and exercise, but it's pretty weak. It would be cool to collect a nice-sized dataset and start looking for the kinds of correlations you're talking about.

2
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on June 04, 2011
at 09:24 PM

I found it informative to get a base level of info and my personal genome (you can download the raw data for looking up things in the future). Not so sure on the ongoing fee, but it's small enough.

Things random things I found:

1) I have one of the lesser negative variants of the MTHFR gene which means that I don't process regular B9 (Folic Acid) and B12 (Cobalamin) correctly. So my liver doesn't clear toxins as well as someone who can process Folic Acid correctly (but better than someone with a total negative). Work around for this is to take a more bioavailable version (a Methyl Folate and a Methylcobalamin). The normal person converts Folic Acid and Cobalimin to these versions in the body, so your skipping that step. Important for helping recovery after working out, etc. Interesting side note. You can tell this without a test by eating asparagus. If you can smell it in your urine afterwards, you've got at least one negative variant (a big chunk of the US population have the negative variants).

2) I've got one of the endurance variants of the ATLAS gene. I think the research on this is still a bit flaky, but supposedly you can have a power variant and an endurance variant on this gene. A big chunk of the top powerlifters have the double power variants. A big chunk of the top endurance running types have double endurance variants. Critical to know? No, but handy to know where your genetics lie.

3) I've got a mild variant for Hemochromatosis (problems eliminating Iron). Not a big deal for me, but came to mind because a funky situation I read about recently where a scientist died from the plague. Plague survives off iron in the blood. It was a neutered version, but he apparently had so much iron in his blood that it spread like crazy and killed him.

4) While I'm not a supertaster, I am a medium taster, which is still affected by bitter tastes (ie. part of why I hate brocolli, etc).

2
3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 04, 2011
at 02:23 PM

For me, the answer is yes, but probably because I'm more interested in the ancestry profile part (and mucking about with the data) than in the disease risk profiles. Apart from learning whether you're a carrier of a particular gene variant, the correlations between most (but not all) diseases and your genetic profile, as of this moment, are still pretty weak, as I'm sure you know.

One of the features (some might call it a bug, lol) of the "membership" is that you can allow yourself to be contacted by genetic relatives that show up in their database. I've had a few such contacts, and some of them are quite handy with the genealogy bit, so you might get some family clues there.

And I am starting to look into ways to use the data beyond the site itself. Razib Khan has some pointers for getting your geek on over at his blog.

Beaafe23c50e311a8c0ea96728abf398

(418)

on June 04, 2011
at 02:29 PM

Hmmmm, with my grandfather being adopted the ancestry part could really come in handy. He died of a Brain Aneurysm and I was curious to see if the test showed I was at risk for that as well as other major diseases. (Diabetes and Colon Cancer also run in my family)

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 05, 2011
at 06:29 AM

Brain aneurysm, colorectal cancer, and Type I and Type II diabetes are all on their list. Diabetes, both types, rates 4 stars on their association-confidence scale (the highest, based on established research), and the cancer and aneurysm rate 3 stars (based on preliminary research).

1
F15e0bae42dbf0b8cfc71e62902497b4

on August 16, 2012
at 05:13 AM

I found it quite useful as it reenforced my self-diagnosis of celiac (I can't get the test cause I went paleo before I even knew celiac was a thing). This has helped me get taken seriously by new doctors, which makes it much easier to get appropriate treatments (and gluten-free meds).

1
F2f559fe327007fd064a0f5bd79d6278

on August 15, 2012
at 09:44 PM

I found out that I have a recessive gene for hereditary fructose intolerance. So no making babies with someone else who has genes for HFI for me.

1
7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on June 04, 2011
at 03:30 PM

I'm kinda 'meh' about the info I got from 23andme. For ancestry info, http://www.familytreedna.com/ is vastly superior. From people who have contacted me on FTDNA, I now have a pretty good idea of my biological father's ancestry, which is info that my biological mother did not disclose to the adoption agency.

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 04, 2011
at 01:11 PM

I got it last year. For me, it wasn't worth it.

The novelty was worth about $50. Knowing that I wasn't a carrier for the really bad diseases was worth about $30. That leaves more than $100 unaccounted for. But it's a great conversation starter at parties, and you can know for sure if you have soft or hard ear wax. So maybe you should go for it?

Beaafe23c50e311a8c0ea96728abf398

(418)

on June 04, 2011
at 01:15 PM

I'd like to know what diseases I might be at risk for. I should probably note that my Grandfather was adopted and I don't know anything about him except that he dies of a Brain Aneurysm.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 04, 2011
at 05:16 PM

But note one thing: although I was very excited by information the test provided, a couple genetics experts at my work were not. Apparently, there are very few strong connections that can currently be provided. However, as you know, they keep your data around to update with future research discoveries.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 04, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Ah, in the that case I'd surely get it.

Ecb90bbbd5a15868b2592d517a4a5e82

(280)

on August 15, 2012
at 09:50 PM

You absolutely need to know your APOE4 status. If you have 2 of those, you need to know and you need to act. imvho.

0
E7320c552ab7453d2ff45d4be79f6b50

on June 04, 2011
at 02:58 PM

This is a lot like going to a psychic if you ask me. You know she's going to tell you a bunch of things about your future that are probably going to scare the sh*t out of you, even though it may, or may-not ever happen. Why worry about something that may never come to pass?

Genetic predisposition to just about anything, doesn't guarantee you'll get it. Cancer, heart disease, and gluten intolerance, are a few of the diseases of civilization that we are supposedly genetically pre-disposed to have at some point in our lives.

The bottom line is that with 90% of these diseases, you can avoid them by simply eating Paleo/Primal.

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