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Precision Pit Crew: Maximizing Your Genetic Horsepower

Compass of clarity

Imagine your body as a race track, where each driver races a unique race car. Just like race cars on a track, not everyone's genes perform the same way! Some genes might zoom ahead like supercharged nitro cars, swiftly reaching the checkered flag. Meanwhile others might need more time to make it to the finish line.

Similarly, pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing involves examining various “race cars” (representing different types of medicine-related genes) to determine which one closely matches your genes in terms of how quick or slowly it processes the medications that you may be prescribed.

Poor Metabolizers are like a vintage Volkswagen Beetle cruising through our bodies. It's not built for speed. They take their time processing medications. Slow and Steady wins the race, just like the Beetle meandering down the road with its retro charm.

Normal Metabolizers are like muscle cars that are big, powerful, and roar down the road like champions. If you're a normal metabolizer, your gene is like a powerful Dodge Charger. Your body is pretty good at handling medicines, just like how muscle cars handle the road with ease. It's like your body knows exactly what to do, making regular and consistent time when breaking down medications. Your gene is reliable and efficient, just like a muscle car on the highway.

Ultra-Rapid Metabolizers are like Formula 1 race cars that are sleek and lightning-fast, like a Ferrari. With their advanced engineering and precise handling, Formula 1 Ferraris tear down the track with urgency. If you're an ultrarapid metabolizer, your gene is like that high-performance race car. You can process medicines at a faster speed.

Compass Check

Just like how different cars would be suited for different race tracks and drivers, pharmacogenomics helps you better understand the race car you drive (your medication related genes), and it can also help us find the perfect race track (medicine and dose) for you based on how your body works.

Whether you are slow and steady like a Vintage Beatle, reliable and efficient like a muscle car, or lightening fast like the Formula 1 Ferrari, or something in between, pharmacogenomic testing helps ensure that you have the best tools to navigate the road ahead and reach your health goals.

It's like finding the perfect race track and match for your race car so you can win the “My Health Race” every time!

Navigating "Normal"

Now, we want you to understand that being labeled as a normal metabolizer doesn't always indicate that you will metabolize medications in the usual or anticipated way across all situations.

Here are a few reasons why it's vital not to accept this classification without further consideration such as talking to a genetics trained healthcare professional.

1. Individual Diversity

individual diversity

If you are labeled as a "normal metabolizer," it usually means you metabolize (break down) medications at the normal/anticipated rate. Things like your environment, nutrition, other medications that you are taking (prescription and over-the-counter) and even underlying medical conditions can affect how your body metabolizes a drug, even if you're a "normal metabolizer".

2. Test-Specific Effects

Pharmacogenomic testing looks at specific genes related to how you process certain medications. So, the term "normal metabolizer" only applies to the drugs and gene variants that are covered in the test. You could be a normal metabolizer for one drug or drug category, but metabolize another drug differently.

3. Phenoconversion

At times, your observed drug metabolism may not always match what's on your genetic test results. This is called phenoconversion: a mismatch between how your body is breaking down medications vs. what is predicted based on your DNA. This can be caused by medications (prescription or over-the-counter), food, environment, age, and other factors.

Take a look at the scenario below:

You use Lego pieces (representing your genes) to build a car (representing your phenotype).

genotype vs. phenotype

When you put the pieces together, the car that you make may look different than what was on the box. In genetics, sometimes what we see on the outside (phenotype) doesn’t always perfectly match up with what is going on inside of us (genotype).

So its important to remember that normal metabolism for one person could result in adverse effects or treatment failure due to individual changes and phenoconversion.

Finish Line

finish line

Just as a skilled pit crew supports a race car, your healthcare team – your primary care provider, specialists, and pharmacogenetics pharmacists – acts as your dedicated pit crew. They are here to ensure your genes, the drivers of your metabolism, perform optimally.

When one of your genes is labeled as a "normal metabolizer," it's like giving your pit crew a basic map of the race track – they have a general idea of what to expect. But just as race cars face unexpected challenges on the track, your genes encounter unforeseen obstacles in metabolizing medications.

That's where the "Compass of Clarity" comes in. It's a tool that provides your pit crew (healthcare team) with a clear sense of direction, purpose, and understanding of your unique genetic makeup and healthcare goals.

Just like a pit crew works together to ensure a smooth race, involving every member – your healthcare pit crew – ensures that nothing is overlooked.

By working together and sharing insight, your healthcare team can navigate the complexities of your genetic makeup with precision, just like a pit crew steering a race car through tight corners. They can anticipate challenges, adjust your medication regimen accordingly, and ultimately optimize your health and well-being.

Need help navigating your medications? Book a call with our genetics-trained pharmacist.

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