• Melanie

What’s in your DNA: how to hack your genetics and cheat cancer

Updated: May 1, 2019

Have you ever wondered why you got cancer - or how to prevent cancer? In this vlog, I’m joined by nutrigenomist Dr Heather Way from The Australian Centre for Genomic Analysis who has helped me live well beyond cancer and with my autoimmune disorder. Read on to find out: What's a DNA test? Can I fix broken genes? How do I prevent and heal from chronic illnesses? How does Vitamin D relate to cancer, autoimmune and chronic pain? Can I harm my body if I take vitamins or supplements without a DNA test?

What's a DNA test?

Genetic testing (or DNA sequencing) is a simple saliva test, completely non-invasive (thank god as I can't stand blood test). Depending on where you go for your test, it could be as simple as spitting into a tube or taking a mouth swab in the comfort of your home.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, here's the definition of DNA sequencing:

sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks - called "bases" - that make up the DNA molecule.

Image source: https://empoweryourknowledgeandhappytrivia.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/dna-molecule-of-life/

In a perfect world when all is well, the four base pairs match perfectly: T and A stick together and C and G stick together like a jigsaw. In a DNA test, we look for mutations where the pairing is wrong.

A DNA test can explain:

  1. Inflammation

  2. Cell Defence

  3. Cardiovascular Health

  4. Fat Metabolism & Cholesterol Regulation

  5. Vitamin D Metabolism

What do DNA test results look like?

The results of a DNA test are often reported using a traffic light system. Green light means everything's good. The pairs are sticking together the way they should. Orange means one of them is wrong (e.g. the C might be stuck to an A by accident). If the pairing is completely wrong, that's a Red light, as for my test for Vitamin D, which can explain why I had both cancer and autoimmune disorder.

What's the role of Vitamin D in cancer and autoimmune disorders?

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in cancer prevention and recovery. In Dr Heather's experience, all her cancer patients have had "broken" Vitamin D receptors just like mine.

Vitamin D has 3 main functions in the human body

  1. It contributes to your bone density

  2. It protects you from cancer

  3. It protects you from autoimmune

In my case, I can't absorb Vitamin D. If I sit under the sun (especially here in Australia, we’re so lucky) I'll get a tan because my melanin is working perfectly but I can't absorb Vitamin D, which is absolutely crucial. The Vitamin D receptor is on every single cell of the 22,000 cells found in the human body. Hmmm. So, what now?

Can we fix "broken genes"?

According to Dr Heather Way, the good news is yes, it's totally fixable. Hurray!

There are nutrigenomics and nutritional interventions that we can use to fix this. This is the beauty of doing your sequencing; interventions can be tailored to you and interventions are based on science.

Through a healthy diet and taking regular supplements (what Dr Heather refers to as interventions), I have been cancer-free for six years and I'm managing my autoimmune disorder naturally for the most part.

Can I harm my body if I take vitamins or supplements without doing a DNA test?


If there's a high risk of having a Vitamin D deficiency for people who have cancer, you might think well what's the harm in taking Vitamin D anyway, right?

In the video, Dr Heather explains 2 huge problems with that approach:

  1. If your receptors are working then that’s very expensive urine. It won’t absorb it.

  2. Too much Vitamin D is toxic and could harm you.

There's such a hype around taking vitamins and it's not a great idea. You’ve got to take the vitamins or the supplements that are good for you and your body.

In my case, taking Vitamin C for example could have the reverse effect. Too much Vitamin C (over 500mg) would down regulate the expression of an important antioxidant. Said what?!? It could be very dangerous! So, it’s not a good idea to just willy-nilly take vitamins and supplements from the chemist. Plus, it’s a terrible waste of money.

If you want to get your own DNA test, you can contact Dr Heather Way's team at TACGA (you can mention Melanie from Girls Rocking Cancer sent you). Tests can be done from all over the world and consults on Skype.


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