Leverage Your Genes To Support Your Immune Response

  •   Erika Gray, PharmD

With the advent of winter, many people are concerned about their risk factors for upper respiratory infections. Learn more about what types of nutrients or lifestyle changes you can make to help minimize your risk factors for these infections!

Our newest feature Virus Risk Score (VRS) not only quantifies relative risk, but also identifies specific suggestions for improvement to support your immunity. The new score is in addition to all the other valuable genetic insights on the app.

FYI, you can download our free app to test-drive the features we report on. Of course, until we have your test sample results, the app displays sample data. Your data will be completely different.

Research has found for the novel virus that there is a big range in the types of symptoms people develop: from no symptoms to severe respiratory failure. While we know age, gender and other comorbidities such as obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels play a role in the severity or development of the virus, there are many people who appear to be healthy, yet still develop serious symptoms from the virus.

It turns out your environment (what you eat, how you sleep, how you move and more) may impact your viral risk more when combined with your genetics. The new My ToolBox Genomics Viral Risk Score takes you on a deep dive into understanding your environment, lifestyle and genetics.

Taking this simple saliva test and utilizing an in depth questionnaire, you will see what role your lifestyle, your environment and your genetics each play in the possible risk for the virus AND more importantly targeted recommendations to help you strengthen your immune resilience.

Read more to learn about all the valuable information your genetics hold for your health.

Researchers have found more than two dozen genes tied to COVID-19. Having these genetic variants can increase your risk of having a more severe form of the disease. A couple of the top ranked genes in many studies are IL-6 and ACE.

IL-6 is interleukin-6 which is a cytokine molecule. Cytokines are key mediators of the inflammatory response. They are important for defense against a wide variety of viruses. It participates in the regulation of both innate immunity and inflammatory processes. Individuals with variations in this gene generally have higher levels of inflammation. If someone develops the virus and has the variant for the IL-6 gene, they may experience higher levels of inflammatory response which may lead to more medical support.

ACE is an angiotensin-converting enzyme. It is a gene that makes an enzyme involved in many processes throughout the body. This includes blood pressure regulation. Additionally, a form of the angiotensin-converting enzyme is present in the lungs, creating a binding site for the virus. Patients with respiratory problems may have a higher expression of this gene and maybe more likely to contract the novel virus.

Besides IL-6 and ACE, nutrient genes such as GSTP1, MTHFR, and Vitamin D genes have an effect on your immune resilience as well. Oxidative stress is one of the mechanisms responsible for respiratory diseases. The GSTP1 gene is located in the lungs. This gene makes an enzyme involved in protecting the cells from oxidative stress.

While MTHFR has been more commonly associated with lower folate levels, someone with a mutation in the MTHFR gene is far more vulnerable to illness and infection because of its direct tie to glutathione production. Glutathione is a major antioxidant in our body. Thus, those with MTHFR mutations may have lower levels of glutathione, increasing their chance of developing oxidative stress. New studies found oxidative stress plays a role in the novel virus where people may have decreased O2 saturation (oxygen levels in the lungs) and shortness of breath.

There are several genes that are linked to lower Vitamin D3 levels. Having adequate Vitamin D3 levels can be very helpful to support respiratory function. Thus, knowing your Vitamin D genes can be very helpful in guiding your dosage needs.

What can you do to reduce your risk?

Knowing your genetic predispositions will allow you to make informed decisions. You will learn more about your ability to detoxify, your sleep quality and the type of exercise that is best for your genes.

We combine your genetic results with your environmental data and a detailed lifestyle questionnaire to help provide an in depth look into your health and what you can change. Environmental factors such as poor air quality can have a negative impact on your health. The beauty of using the MyToolBox Genomic app means your air quality score will automatically be calculated and included in your score.

This can be amplified when combined with specific genetic factors. Learn about your Viral Risk Score today to help you make more personalized and informed choices today!

Get all of your questions answered
and kickstart a healthier you in 2021.

Erika Gray, PharmD

Dr. Erika Gray, PharmD, Co-Founder of ToolBox Genomics, has a PharmD from University of California at San Francisco, and worked as a pharmacist at a Level I trauma center in both the inpatient pharmacy and emergency room. Her experiences in the emergency room of seeing the terrible manifestation of chronic diseases and in helping patients understand their biomarkers in relationship to their health paved the way for co-founding Toolbox Genomics.

My Toolbox Genomics empowers individuals in their healthcare journey by creating reports focused on genetic predispositions derived from published research. Test results and suggestions are intended to lead to consultation with one’s healthcare practitioner. MyTBG reports do not diagnose disease or medical conditions. Any lifestyle changes should result from consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners.