IN MY DNA: What GeneLife Genesis 2.0 Told Me About My Health Through Genetics Testing

Life is unpredictable.

News of people who seem physically fit (especially those who partake in vigorous exercises regularly) falling victim to life-threatening illnesses saddens me every time because it makes me wonder: if it can happen to them, it can happen to us – to me, to you, to anyone. Am I doing enough to prevent myself from suffering the same fate? What if all the frequent workouts and healthy eating habits that I’ve been practising don’t actually make any difference to my general well-being because the likelihood of contracting some chronic diseases is already imbued in my DNA?

The only way to find out more (apart from looking into my family’s medical history which isn’t very helpful, to be perfectly candid) is to undergo a DNA test which can now be easily done through at-home test kits. Quite a number of consumer genetics-test makers have sprung up when this industry boomed, but only one remained catered to the Asian market with a Singapore headquarter, and that is GeneLife.

GenelLife Genesis 2.0

GenelLife Genesis 2.0

GeneLife?

Created by Genesis Healthcare (a privately-owned Japanese genetic testing and research company), GeneLife Genesis 2.0 is designed to analyse one’s DNA using saliva samples to determine the individual’s potential risks of acquiring common chronic diseases (such as hypertension, stroke and type 2 diabetes.. oh, the list is extensive), and to establish the metabolic type and genetic diet. Through this test kit, one would also be able to uncover his/her unique physical and behavioural traits, like skin type, drinking patterns and sleep behaviour. Furthermore, unlike other DNA test kits that are based in USA, GeneLife has a wider gene pool of Asiatic population so chances of accuracy are way higher (although I feel this would be more applicable to DNA tests for ethnicity).

Since our genes do not change in the course of life, taking the test just once is sufficient to help us make better health and lifestyle choices based on our risk profile. Even so, such test kits don’t come cheap and can set you back at least S$200 which I don’t feel comfortable parting with. Therefore, when Genesis GeneLife 2.0 was made available in the Shopee flash sale for S$97.75 (after further discount, and no shipping fee!), I knew right away that I should not pass on that deal. I mean, spend only S$97.75 to get key insights of my health destiny? Why the hell not?!

Taking the test, and why?

The test kit was delivered to my doorstep two days later – considerably fast given the current situation then. There was a consent form found in it for me to complete, as well as an instruction sheet that directed me to sign up for an account on the GeneLife website to register my kit. Also included in the kit were a user guide, an information booklet detailing all the items that my sample would be tested for, a tube where I would be spitting into, a screw-on funnel to prevent spillage, a zipper bag and an envelope to mail my sample back to the local GeneLife headquarter. Analysis results were expected to be released on my GeneLife account within the next 4 to 6 weeks. Once they were ready for viewing, I would be notified via e-mail.

Hand-delivered!

Hand-delivered!

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (front)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (front)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (back)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (back)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (seal)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (seal)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (expiry date)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (expiry date)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (inside)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (inside)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (contents)

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 packaging (contents)

Consent form

Consent form

I had to refrain from eating and drinking (plain water is fine) one hour prior to collecting my own DNA sample to prevent contamination. Once I had produced enough saliva in my mouth, I placed the funnel close to my lips and spat until the secretion reached the black mark indicated on the tube. Then, screwing off the funnel, I noticed some solution inside the tube flowing into and mixing with my saliva sample. With a few shakes, the tube was now ready to be sent back to GeneLife by post. The whole collection process took no more than 10 minutes! Easy and convenient.

Test tube and funnel in zipper bag

Test tube and funnel in zipper bag

The black mark to indicate the amount of saliva

The black mark to indicate the amount of saliva

After spitting

After spitting

After shaking and screwing off the funnel

After shaking and screwing off the funnel

Sample ready!

Sample ready!

Packed sample in the zipper bag

Packed sample in the zipper bag

Ready to mail

Ready to mail

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Signing up for a GeneLife account

Registering my kit online

Registering my kit online

Registration successful!

Registration successful!

Before looking at the results, I thought it’d be more meaningful to have some expectations set, somewhat as a gauge for accuracy. Since most of my late grandparents had diabetes and hypertension of some sort, I highly suspected myself to be carrying these genetic illnesses too so in a way, I wanted a confirmation. The investigative reporter in me also hoped to see if the test was able to pick out my known inherited disorders, like asthma, acne vulgaris (not sure if this is considered genetic since none of my immediate family members has this condition.. sadly) and ichthyosis vulgaris (from my Dad).

*drum roll*… My DNA test results!

From acknowledging receipt of my sample at the Singapore’s office, to its arrival at the laboratory in Japan, and finally informing me of my test results, GeneLife constantly kept me updated on the progress via e-mail throughout the whole duration of the four-week wait.

E-mail updates from GeneLife

E-mail updates from GeneLife

What greeted me before I saw my results

What greeted me before I saw my results

Due to privacy reasons, only results that are worth mentioning or are particularly of concern would be shared here (trust me, there’s a lot more to what you see below).

Some questionnaire to fill out before my results were revealed to me, perhaps for GeneLife to gauge the accuracy of their findings based on my responses (which would not affect the outcome of my test)

Some questionnaire to fill out before my results were revealed to me, perhaps for GeneLife to gauge the accuracy of their findings based on my responses (which would not affect the outcome of my test)

The last questionnaire under the diseases category was the worst.. 56 QUESTIONS!?!?! Gimme my results already lah! šŸ¤¬

The last questionnaire under the diseases category was the worst.. 56 QUESTIONS!?!?! Gimme my results already lah! šŸ¤¬

My risk of various types of infection (click to view image in full size)

My risk of various types of infection (click to view image in full size). Based on the additional information, 99.9% of the test participants are susceptible to norovirus infection šŸ˜‚

My risk of respiratory diseases (click to view image in full size)

My risk of respiratory diseases (click to view image in full size). Notice that my risk of asthma and childhood asthma is “normal” and “slightly low”? šŸ¤”

My risk of bone/joint/skin diseases (click to view image in full size)

My risk of bone/joint/skin diseases (click to view image in full size). Acne is marked “high”. This kit doesn’t test for ichthyosis vulgaris but I think psoriatic arthritis comes close.

Other lifestyle-related risks (click to view image in full size)

Other lifestyle-related risks (click to view image in full size). Hypertension is given a “normal” rating.

My risk of eye/ear/nose/throat diseases (click to view image in full size)

My risk of eye/ear/nose/throat diseases (click to view image in full size). As a short-sighted spectacle wearer, I’m baffled that I’ve been determined to have normal risk of myopia.

Other risks (click to view image in full size)

Other risks (click to view image in full size).

A click on each of the "Details" buttons directs you to a pop-up window similar to the above

A click on each of the “Details” buttons directs you to a pop-up window similar to the above

Some of these health revelations (e.g. slightly high risk of colorectal and bladder cancers) definitely came as a surprise to me because there isn’t any known family medical history of such illnesses, whereas there are few (e.g. high risk of acne, alopecia areata and atopic dermatitis) which were pretty much expected as I’ve already experienced them. What worries me most, though, is my high susceptibility to almost every lung-related disease listed (but strangely, I’m at normal risk of asthma?). This might have been inherited from the hardcore smokers on my paternal side because I don’t smoke, and I steer clear from secondhand smoke as best as I can. To mitigate these risks, GeneLife put forth a few preventive measures (as is similarly done for other risks identified) which include reducing exposure to polluted air by wearing face masks and installing indoor air purifiers, and consuming soy isoflavone and cancer-fighting fruits.

Now, onto my physical traits.. A closer look at my orientation/behaviour (click to view image in full size)

Now, onto my physical traits.. A closer look at my orientation/behaviour (click to view image in full size)

Some of my (innate?) abilities (click to view image in full size)

Some of my (innate?) abilities (click to view image in full size)

My body type (click to view image in full size)

My body type (click to view image in full size). Good to know that I would be pear-shaped if I ever become rotund.

More on my bone/joint/skin (click to view image in full size)

More on my bone/joint/skin (click to view image in full size)

As for my behavioural traits and abilities, the indisputable ones would be my high hoarding tendencies (my exploding makeup collection is the best testament to this), my preference for evening hours (I’m a late-nighter as my productivity level rises after midnight) and low mathematical performance (this explains why I was perpetually failing the subject back in primary school, and why I’d need to use a calculator even for the simplest calculations – Math just isn’t in my blood!). And who would have thought that my natural complexion has actually been dark all along?!

This test has, no doubt, revealed a lot of previously unknown genetic facts about myself. You’d probably need to sit down for a couple of hours to look through all the results because they are rather extensive. That said, such tests only assess your risk of diseases, so having normal risk does not mean that you have immunity to them; it just implies that you shouldn’t go overboard with your lifestyle choices. Since my chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes is on the high side, this probably means that I’d have to cut down on my bubble tea intake šŸ¤Ŗ Huehuehue..

On a side note, once you have determined your susceptibility to certain diseases or genetic disorders, you can also start deciding on your next step in life. For instance, should you buy certain life-insurance policies moving forward as a safety net? Should you still procreate and risk passing on your genetic mutations (if any) to your offsprings (I’m fully aware of this particular IVF technique that allows you to choose your embryo.. but let’s not go down the rabbit hole of ethics)? I, for one, am glad to know the illnesses that would potentially befall me so I can act on taking the necessary precautions to prevent them. Most importantly, understanding my risk profile has also solidified my decision to be childfree.

Now, let’s see if I’m able to get my hands on a DNA test kit that traces my ethnic mix (i.e. ancestry). For that, I have my eyes set on 23andMe and CircleDNA! Any advice on which would be a better kit for Asians?

What are your thoughts about GeneLife, or any other at-home DNA test kits for that matter? Let me know your views (and how accurate your results are if you’ve taken one) in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

GeneLife Genesis 2.0 is available on GeneLife.Asia and Shopee.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

CentrumĀ® Women: The All-In-One Multivitamin Specially Designed for Us!

Hello everyone!

Many people would agree that turning 21 is the biggest milestone in life. After all, it’s the age of majority in Singapore, our gateway to adulthood as we finally meet all age requirements at the cinemas, polling station and not forgetting – if you’re a Singaporean – for receiving the annual GST voucherĀ (this was the greatest deal to me, man! But being born in November meant that I’d only usually be eligible for anything in the following year šŸ˜’).

*cough* You know, I know

*cough* You know, I know (source)

Sadly, life also starts going downhill from then on. From the increasing prominence ofĀ  dark circles and saggy jowls to declining energy levels and metabolic rate, my body has been inevitably experiencing a multitude of degenerative changes as I inch towards my 30s. Even without looking at the mirror, I can already feel age creeping up on me as I squint my eyes more often than not to get a better view of things (crow’s feet very soon?) and notice how brittle my nails have become.

Granted, we can’t play God and stop the ageing process, but we certainly can slow it down by eating a healthy, balanced diet that promises all the essential vitamins and nutrients we need. But seriously though, who has the time (and money) for that? The last thing I want to do after a hard day’s work is to fret about what should be on my plate instead of indulging in the food I love (which more often than not are practically void of any nutritional value šŸ™Š *cough* bubble tea and fried chicken *cough*). And honestly, I don’t know how some people do it but damn, it takes an insane amount of discipline to resist all the temptations in a food haven like Singapore!

That's not to say that I condone unhealthy lifestyle habits but there are times when we need to give ourselves a pat on the back, y'know? Like today, I wrestled with my dog just so that I could brush his teeth. Surely I deserved a bowl of laksa as reward?

That’s not to say that I condone unhealthy lifestyle habits but there are times when we need to give ourselves a pat on the back, y’know? Like today, I wrestled with my dog just so that I could brush his teeth. Surely I deserved a bowl of laksa as reward?

And while doing so, how do we ensure that we still meet our nutritional needs? That’s when multivitamins like CentrumĀ® come into play!

Centrum for Women

Centrum for Women

A household name to even the least health-conscious Singaporeans *raises hand* (I mean, they’re not lauded as the world’s number 1 multivitamin brand for nothing!), CentrumĀ® may have been around for as long as I can remember but it was only recently that I started taking the multivitamins (all the HPB infographics have definitely gotten to me). Unlike many other brands I’ve seen, CentrumĀ® does not seem to take a one-size-fits-all approach – they have multivitamins catered to the various needs of each gender and age group (i.e. kids, teens, adults, elderly) specifically. Therefore, if you’re pushing 30 like me, CentrumĀ® Women would be the ideal choice.

NEWSFLASH

Dear 90’s kids, you are old.Ā 

What is CentrumĀ® Women all about, though?

Simply put, it is the complete multivitamin (A-Z!) that helps fill the specific nutrition gaps of women below 50 (hit the golden age? Here’s something else for you!).

Double the protection layer! Child-resistant caps and a protective seal which was a pain to peel in its entirety šŸ˜…

Double the protection layer! Child-resistant caps and a protective seal which was a pain to peel in its entirety šŸ˜…

Since men and women have different body compositions and nutritional needs, it would be ludicrous if we shared the same dietary supplement.

Since men and women have different body compositions and nutritional needs, it would be ludicrous if we shared the same dietary supplement.

So what’s in it for us? Based on the latest findings in nutritional science, CentrumĀ® for Women has more Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D, as well as over 20 other important nutrients* to support optimal health for modern women from the inside out. Besides fostering a healthy immune system and maintaining bone strength, the multivitamin is also made up of the essentials that keep our eyes (great for OLs who need to spend hours in front of the computer screen), nails (hear ye, manicure addicts!), skin and hair functioning strong. Never seem to get adequate rest no matter how early you hit the sack? Perhaps the B vitamins (e.g. Vitamins B6, B12, and Folic Acid) and iron present in each tablet would be the answer to your tiredness and fatigue!

TL;DR in colour for you (you’re welcome!)

Let’s not forget the fact that women in my generation would also be in their childbearing years now. Getting enough of Folic Acid can greatly reduce the chances of neurological birth defects too!

*be sure to check if you are allergic to any of these vitamins or minerals
The so-called "ingredients"..

The so-called “ingredients”.. Sorry for the terrible lighting. Click here for the full list!

The other side of the packaging

The other side of the packaging

Each bottle contains 60 tablets which would essentially last you 2 months. And don’t you hate it when you miss your dosing schedule? Well, this hardly happens to me with CentrumĀ® Women because there isn’t a strict regimen to follow per se. Pop one tablet a day with (optimally) or after any meal (but I usually take it with breakfast or lunch because kiasu) and you’re good!

If only these are grape flavoured!

If only these are grape flavoured!

Having only been on CentrumĀ® Women for a month thus far, it is still too early to tell if it has improved my overall health (I’m not really in poor health to begin with lah.. I think.. hahaha hope I’m not jinxing myself). But one thing I know for sure is that my energy level has restored quite a bit. I guess that’s a good sign, eh? šŸ˜

If you’re fortunate enough not to feel the effects of ageing yet (yet hor!), it won’t hurt starting on some of these multivitamins because it’s never too early to power up your life! So watcha waitin’ for?! Visit your nearest Watsons, Guardian or Unity Pharmacy outlet now!

Thanks for reading!

This post was done in collaboration with CENTRUM SINGAPORE.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized beauty updates!

Get Crunching with Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies by BHP

SPONSORED

Hello everyone!

You can probably remember my post on theĀ Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea published a few months back where I highlighted the health benefits of buckwheat (or soba in Japanese). Many diabetic and cancer patients, uponĀ my recommendation, have triedĀ either the green tea or the coffee to incredible results. It had even astounded and piqued the interest ofĀ a doctor who had noticed the consistently healthy blood pressure level in aĀ diabetic patient ever since she started includingĀ at least two cups of freshly brewed Roasted Buckwheat Coffee in her daily diet. The last time she met her doctor, he alsoĀ enquired about how he could get his hands on the coffee too!

In fact, one of the co-founders of the Buckwheat Healthcare Products (BHP) is also testimony of the effectiveness of buckwheat in bringing about health changes. Being aĀ serious diabetes, liver cancer and kidney disease sufferer previously himself, not evenĀ theĀ maximum dosage of insulin prescribed by his doctor at the Singapore General Hospital was able to help his condition. He was delivered the bad news that he would not be able to make it past 3 months in May 2007 by several experienced doctors he consulted. But instead of resigning to his fate, he remained optimisticĀ and continued to seek alternative solutions. Then one day, he stumbled upon an article about buckwheat and decided to give Buckwheat Roasted Green Tea a shot.Ā Even though he is still on medication for his kidney failure today, his other damaged organs have reverted to normal conditions, much to the amazement of his doctors. That’s right, he managed toĀ fully recoverĀ from liver cancer and diabetes without undergoing chemotherapy!

Due to its unsweetened and slightly bitter taste, many, especially children however, may find it hard to adjust their taste buds. That’s why BHP had come up with other variations like coffee and honey, as well as in cans. Now, it has alsoĀ come in cookie form! So cookie lovers, REJOICE!

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Apart from buckwheat, the powehouse cookies are also packed with the wholesomeness of chia seeds, one of the most nutritious foods on the planet that’sĀ loaded with fiber, protein, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients (source).

Ingredients of Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies:

Wheat Flour, Butter, Buckwheat, Chia Seeds, Egg, Sodium Bicarbonate, Baking Powder, Sugar, Salt, Milk Powder, Vanilla Essence.

Store in a cool dry place. Contains wheat, gluten, eggs, milk. Processed in a facility that uses nuts.

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

The adorable golden-brown heart-shaped cookies areĀ baked in bite-sized pieces that melt in your mouth. They are crunchy to the bite (you can even hear the satisfying crunch of the chia seeds in your mouth, no joke!) and are absolutely flavourful –Ā a little like Suji cookies.Ā Not only is it a great choice of snacks for in between meals (hear ye, hear ye, office workers!), it’s also a very healthy nibble for your kids. Who said cookies can’t be delicious and nutricious at the same time, eh?Ā With the buckwheat chia seed cookies, you can now turn your guilty pleasure into a guiltless one! šŸ™‚

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

As these cookies are still at the trial stage to gather more feedback on the taste, each packet is only limited to 25g with 5 pieces of cookies. Plans to have more quantity (40-60 pieces) in a bigger, better-designed packaging (200-300g in a heart-shaped tin)Ā areĀ well under way. I will update this post again when the time comes.

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies (S$3.50/pkt)

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Feeling the munchies? You can nowĀ order the all-new Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies from BHP! Click here to be directed to the product page.

Click image to be directed to product page

Click image to be directed to product page

Or, you could join my giveaway! šŸ˜‰

** SECOND BHP GIVEAWAY **

From now ’til 15Ā November 2015, I will be selecting 10 lucky winners to receive FIVE packets of the Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies. On top of that, I will also be giving away TWO boxes of Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea (25 sachets each) and TWO boxes of Buckwheat Black Coffee (30 sachets each). How does that sound?

TL;DR

WIN 5 x Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies + 2 x Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea (25 sachets) + 2 x Buckwheat Black Coffee (30 sachets)

To join this giveaway:

  1. Simply share this postĀ on Facebook. Your privacy settings must be set to “public”.
  2. Then, comment here with your e-mail address orĀ or e-mail me at askme@fionaseah.com with ā€œI want Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea!ā€ as your subject. Alternatively, you can use the contact form below if you’d like to maintain your privacy šŸ™‚

As product is bulky, self-collection is advised at the following MRT stations: Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Gombak, Bukit Batok, Jurong East, Serangoon, Orchard and Dhoby Ghaut. All are welcome to participate in this giveaway (even those who have won the first giveaway) as long as youā€™re able to meet me at any of the above-mentioned locations! šŸ™‚

Remember, contest closes on 15 November 2015 or earlier if response is overwhelming. Share this with your family and friends whom you think will benefit from these products! Good luck and I look forward to meeting some of you when you collect your prizes! šŸ™‚

Giveaway has ended on 15 November 2015! Thank you for your e-mails and comments.Ā Winners have been notified via e-mail! Do check your inbox/junk to see if you’ve won the giveaway! šŸ™‚

Together, let’s all work towards a diabetes-free nation!

Buckwheat Health Products Pte Ltd

FREE LOCAL DELIVERY
www.buckwheat.com.sg
Facebook | Order Now