23 And Me Test- A Tool for Thyroid Patients

I'm a member of several thyroid groups on Facebook and I've learned a great deal from those, who are further along in the healing process. At the beginning of the year, I learned about a revolutionary tool that many thyroid and other chronically ill patients were using to assess their health risks, and some of them also used it to virtually rule out questionable diseases. So, did you know that a simple and inexpensive DNA test can provide you with a list of literally thousands of genes and genetic mutations that you carry? If someone told you that they could create a wellness plan for you, using your genes, would your be interested? Are you interested in learning if you carry the BRCA genetic mutations, a common cause of breast cancer? Does your family have a history autoimmune diseases or Alzheimer's disease? Are you trying to plan a family and worry about passing inherited conditions or genes to your future children? Do you want to know what other diseases you're at risk for developing in your life time? Do you know what your ancestry make-up is? If any of these questions arouse your interest, 23 And Me may be a test that can give you a multitude of returns on your investment.

23 And Me is a $99 DNA test that will analyze your genetics and provide you with comprehensive health risk profile and ancestry information. The company has been around since 2007 and was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, who is the wife of Sergey Brin, the Co-Founder of Google. This fashion-forward test looks for some 960,000 SNP's, which stand for Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism. SNP's are essentially copying errors from the creation of cells. 23 And Me compares SNP's to that of typos. 23 And Me notes, "These typos lead to variations in the DNA sequence at particular locations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (pronounced "snips")." So, for the purpose of this post, just know that SNP's are a result of the DNA that you inherit from your parents. Since no two people are alike, SNP's vary from person to person. This subject can be overwhelming at first and extremely confusing to learn about at first, so I'm going to keep my relation of information to a level that's basic enough to get my point across to you. I believe that this test is the wave of the future in the medical world and can be paramount in how people go about their health and wellness goals. CBS News actually just aired a piece on 23 And Me. Check it out HERE.

So, why should thyroid patients get the test? For starters, autoimmune patients are more susceptible to developing other autoimmune diseases. We are also more likely to carry a genetic mutation called MTHFR, which is linked to everything from miscarriages to Alzheimer's. Thyroid disease is notorious for contributing and even being a definitive cause of heart disease. I believe that my great grandma's death was ultimately caused by mistreated thyroid disease. She died of a massive heart attack in her mid 50's. She developed heart disease and had a thyroid condition. If you look at the cause of deaths among your family members, pay attention to patterns, such as heart disease and cancers, and be aware of any autoimmune diseases that run in your family. If you have Hashimoto's, an autoimmune disease, and your sister, cousin, aunt, etc. has Rheumatoid Athritis, know that those two diseases, as well as other autoimmune conditions can actually be linked together by a single gene.

Here is one screenshot showing some diseases that I am personally at an 'elevated risk' for developing, meaning they are my highest risk conditions:

As you can see, the 'Your Risk' category lists percentages, and compare them to the 'Avg. Risk.' Each of these diseases have detailed descriptions and explanations, which the user can read upon clicking on the diseases. This DNA test provided me with results for some 400 diseases, and provided me with detailed data, proof, and descriptions on each one. The program also provides a 'raw data' section, which is essentially a very large list of SNP's and allows a more seasoned user to utilize for research purposes.

I mentioned that my great grandma died of heart disease in her 50's. In fact, she died of none other than coronary heart disease. Many of my relatives on her side of my family have had heart surgery and attacks all before the age of 60. In addition, my grandpa on my dad's side died of lung cancer in his 50's, as did several of his family members. Of course, lifestyle plays a huge role in many diseases. Even though lung cancer is a common cause if death, genetics still play a roll in the likelihood that you'll fall victim to it. My grandpa developed mesothelioma, due to his work environment, but he probably carried a gene that made him more susceptible and sensitive to lung cancer. Aaron's grandpa smoked from a very young age and smoked 'cowboy killers' until he died virtually of old age. 
23 And Me did not ask me for information about my family history in order to process my results. When I first saw the results, I was admittedly somewhat humbled and shocked at the results, but I was blown away by the fact that my top two disease risks were the very cause of deaths for much of my family members.
See the autoimmune diseases listed? One major take-away from this test was that I carry the quite rare genes for celiac disease, which my doctor used to confirm my diagnosis. It's common for celiacs to test negative on the antibodies test and even the biopsy because the damage is not always deep enough to reveal the disease during lab testing. It is common knowledge in the integrative and alternative medical worlds that celiac and gluten sensitivity are linked to Hashimoto's and other autoimmune diseases. My elevated risks were largely autoimmune related, which is not a surprise, considering my current state.
Two results were locked upon logging in to the program; Alzheimer's and the BRCA gene. Most of us now know that the BRCA gene is a major cause of breast cancer. You may have heard about Angelina Jolie's recent decision to undergo a double mastectomy because she tested positive for the BRCA gene, which ultimately killed both her mother and aunt. After I agreed to open the more sensitive material, I was relieved to learn that I tested negative for both the Alzheimer's gene and BRCA. This doesn't mean that I will  never get breast cancer because there are multiple types, but the absence of the gene greatly reduces my chance of developing it during my lifetime. I did test positive for multiple MTHFR mutations, which I wholeheartedly believe is what contributed to many of the pregnancy complication and health problems on my mom's side, which is where I inherited these mutations.

So, what were some ot my other takeaways from the 23 And Me testing? Aside from knowing where I stand with additional autoimmune diseases that I'm more likely to get due to my current health state, I'm very aware of what my risks are for common causes of death, and I'm taking supplements that will hopefully mitigate my chances of developing the conditions and diseases that I'm at risk of developing, and I have a huge piece of mind that I do not carry many inherited genes, which I could pass along to my offspring. In the future, Aaron's going to complete the test, so we will know detailed information about how our genes can effect our future children, should we have any.

In regards to the inherited conditions, I learned that the only one that I carry is a Hemochromatosis gene, which I'm not likely to develop, but I could pass it along to my future child. Here is a short list of some serious inherited conditions that 23 And me tests for:
Sickle Cell Anemia
Cystic Fibrosis
Tay Sachs Disease
Factor XI Deficiency
TTR-Related Cardiac AmyloidosisGaucher Disease
Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy
Familial Dysautonomia
Zellweger Syndrome Spectrum
Canavan Disease
Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease
Glycogen Storage Disease Type 1a & Type 1b

23 And Me will also provide you with a list of your genetic traits, from estimating your eye color to the type of earwax (there are two types) that you have, if you're likely to be tolerant to lactose (which I am), etc. A few things that I learned and found interesting from this section included that I am sensitive to caffeine, I likely have red hair (humours because I was a red head until my early 20's, when my hair turned dirty blonde), I have typical odds of going in to early menopause, I carry a gene that was found in individuals with higher reading scores {so, you can call me a genius now...kidding}, I'm not likely to thrive on a Mediterranean style diet versus a typical diet, I don't carry the alcohol flush reaction gene (meaning I'm not sensitive to alcohol, which is known to cause flushing of the skin), and I carry a gene that was discovered in many world-class athletes and Olympians.

The test also looked for genetic variances that are associated with various drug reactions. This is a powerful tool and one reason why I gave Aaron my login and password to access to the results. If I were ever to be hospitalized, the list of drugs that I'm sensitive too or may not have success with may be beneficial for doctors. Warfarin is a common blood thinner that is prescribed to about 2 million people per year, and I carry a gene variance that makes me likely to have a typical response to the drug, however, some people carry a gene that 23 And Me notes may have, "Substantially increased warfarin sensitivity." And it "May require greatly decreased warfarin dose." I do have lower odds of having a positive outcome to the use of Metformin, which is a drug commonly given to diabetics.

The ancestry side of 23 And Me is also included in the test, and is really just an added bonus. I've read some amazing stories of adoptees, who found their blood relatives using the tool and other similar stories.
There's so many benefits to the 23 And Me test. For me, it's largely a tool that I'm using as part of an overall wellness plan. Think of your exercise and diet plan.  What if you're concentrating more on avoiding a heart attack because it's the number one killer in America, but you're at high risk for developing pancreatic cancer like me? I am now taking pancreatic enzymes and ensure that my diet consists of foods, such as garlic, spinach, and sweet potatoes, which are all good for the pancreas. Since pancreatic cancer usually doesn't cause noticeable symptoms until it's in the progressive stages, it's a very good idea for me to get periodic screening for this cancer during my lifetime.

With the mapping of the Human Genome Project , we now have the power to obtain information about our own genetics and take action to improve our overall chances of longevity, and gain understanding of what we may pass on to our future generations. Of course, we will never be able to predict or control everything, but we already strive to better ourselves everyday in many areas of our lives, why not use breakthroughs in science to take measures to change what we can, manage what we can't change, and reestablish goals for our overall health?

I'm interested to know your opinion about genetic testing. Is this something that your interested in having done?

For more information about 23 And Me and to learn more about how it works- About 23 And Me

A few personal success stories-
23 And Me Helps Man find Family
23 And Me And Planning for a Healthy Future Together
Empowering Your Health with 23 And Me


  1. You have me very interested in the 23 and me test, but when I went to the 23andMe website, unfortunately they have posted "we have suspended our health-related genetic tests to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s directive to discontinue new consumer access during our regulatory review process."
    Good ole FDA putting the screws to good things.