Physical Traits

Gut Biome – How Your Genes Influence What’s Going on In Your Gut

The health of your gut biome is as important as the health of your organs. Learn how your DNA has influenced your immune and digestive health.

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Genetic testing can identify one’s predisposition to develop certain gut conditions and immune disorders based on one’s heredity.  This information can help you make informed choices to support the health of your gut biome.


Is There Genetic Testing for Gut Health?

Genetic testing related to gut health primarily involves screening for risk factors, such as diabetes and obesity, as well as specific gut conditions like celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Chrohn’s disease.  This analysis of your genes can yield suggestions about optimal nutrition and lifestyle, which in turn can help you to make the best choices to support your gut health.

(Genetic testing for gut health should be distinguished from microbiome testing, which involves analyzing an individual’s feces to determine the relative representation of different bacteria types in the gut.)


How Do Genes Affect the Gut Biome?

Until recently, nutrition scientists believed that the trillions of bacteria in the gut – which are essential to healthy digestion -- were primarily introduced to the system by foods consumed after birth. Indeed, we know that one’s environment (diet and lifestyle) can have a major impact on the gut biome.  But the story does not end there.

Links between one’s genes and gut bacteria are increasingly being established.  For example, one large study correlated a single genetic marker with an abundance of beneficial gut bacteria named Coprococcus and Oscillospira.  Further study in this relatively new area of research will surely reveal more connections.

Today there is also signficant evidence to suggest that the trillions of bacteria in our gut may be largely inherited from our parents.  One theory is that this serves to pre-populate the digestive system with the optimal bacteria for one’s health.  A corollary theory is that illnesses are more likely to originate from bacteria that are exotic to one’s gut biome. The gut biome has also been linked to metabolic disorders (including obesity and type 2 diabetes), autoimmune diseases (such as type 1 diabetes), cancer and even autism. 


What Is the Gut Biome?

You’ve probably heard of prebiotics and postbiotics.  These refer to foods and supplements that support our gut flora – the living community of bacteria in our digestive system, a.k.a. our gut biome.

And while we still scrub our hands with anti-bacterial soap and take anti-biotics to stave off “bad” bacteria, the bacteria extant in our body are essential to healthy organ functioning.  Not only does the average adult carry 5 pounds of bacteria, the number of bacteria in our body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10:1.


How To Find Your Gut Health Genetics

Are you wondering what these latest scientific findings might reveal about your genetics and gut biome? If you’ve taken an at-home genetic test from a service like AncestryDNA or 23andMe, you already have access to your raw DNA file. Just visit your testing provider’s website and download your file. 

By confidentially providing your DNA test results to the experts at Genomelink, you can gain invaluable genetic information that will help you make better-informed wellness and lifestyle choices.  You can browse the many Food & Nutrition traits covered by Genomelink here.

Photo by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash

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