Reading Your Genetic Testing Kit & DNA Results

Recently my wife Laurice and I tried the 23&Me   health and ancestry genetic testing kits. We shared our initial experience here in this video, which included the both of us trying to decide if we should actually film our saliva collecting samples on camera.

The total wait time was about 3 and 1/2 weeks to get our results. Note: I have read a number of reviews on Amazon that claim it took much longer to get results, so please contact the company to find out more.

Overall, we were simply curious about what we might be able to find out about our DNA and if there was anything we could proactively do to prevent any of the predispositions to any diseases that we might have.


I also believe that most of these reports are for educational and research purposes only and that most published reports about DNA variations explain only a small part of the heritability of a trait, and they also don’t take into account how different variants might interact.

It’s also important to understand (and 23&Me does this well) that published reports typically ignore environmental, dietary, microbial, medical history and lifestyle factors, any or all of which may well affect my true risk for any trait or disease.

Part of the story

We ordered the Health and Ancestry report, which seems to be the most conclusive. The health and ancestry report is suppose to tell us more about our DNA, health, traits and ancestry.  This includes a report that explains our genetic health risks for Alzheimers and Celiac disease (a true hypersensitivity to gluten, not a fad diet).

According to 23&Me, their kits meet FDA requirements and they continue to add additional reports. I know they’ve recently added genetic health risks like gene mutations for breast and ovarian cancer, which could prove to be very helpful.

We’re You Born with a Beach Body?

Their wellness report unveils some interesting and possibly helpful things like our predisposition for our true/ideal weight (lower or higher than the general population) and obvious variants, (like eating less red meat and exercise) that may effect our current weight.   It’s interesting to understand what our actual weight is suppose to be vs how we tip the scale.

The carrier status report let us know if we are gene carriers for diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, Hereditary Hearing Loss and Sickle Cell Anemia.  There are 40 reports in total which include rarer diseases like ARSACS which is a debilitating hereditary and progressive childhood neurological disorder. The report also includes results like whether you carry a mutation that lowers cholesterol and helps guard against heart disease.

Interesting but not what I would consider super useful is a report on our DNA traits, like our ability to taste bitterness (an actual chemical called PTC) and if we are likely to have a Unibrow. (uh, okay)

Adam and Laurice.png

My wife Laurice describes what she found to be most interesting about her report.

I have always been curious about my ethnicity. We knew my father’s parents were both from Syria and my maternal grandmother was from Ireland, but my maternal grandfather’s roots were vague: “some Irish, some French, and bits of this and that” was what I was told growing up. My composition came back “43.1% British & Irish”, and “43.8% Western Asian,” with the remaining percentage indeed tiny bits of this and that, including “1.0% French”!

To me, the most interesting part of my Wellness Report was that my “Muscle Composition” was “Common in Elite Power Athletes.” I have a new go-to answer for the frequently asked question of how I’m able to keep up with our five children!! 

The Traits Report was also illuminating, and most rang true. It didn’t get it all right—I’m not “likely to have lighter skin” and certainly not “less likely to have thick hair” (tell that to my brush!)—but I was still surprised by how accurate the majority of my results were. For example, my DNA showed I was “less likely to be able to match a musical pitch,” which anyone who has heard me sing can attest to. It was strange to me that my DNA also correctly revealed I was “likely to wake up around 7:25 AM”. 

Uncovering Your Family Tree

I have read that results of ancestry tests may differ from company to company. While Laurice and I are not creating an ancestry tree, I have read that Ancestry DNA does an excellent job. I have also heard that 23&Me has a much better Ethnic Origin Analysis and we did find out interesting things like how many cousins we have around the world and where they live.

What do I do with all this information?

If you are considering an at home DNA testing kit I strongly encourage you to discuss your report with your doctor, genetic counselor or other health-care provider prior to making any medical or reproductive decisions.


Also, you can upload your results to sites like which is a tool to organize all of your health data for your physicians and specialists.

When I spoke to some of my friends about the test, I wasn’t surprised to learn that they are concerned that 23&Me and other DNA kits selling our private information to Google and other companies.  Drug companies like GSK are working with 23&Me to mine the data found in these tests. They don’t look at an individual’s name and personal information, just the DNA results. According to my research, 23andMe definitely is selling your data to third party companies, research institutions and nonprofits. But it is not selling your genetic data to those entities in order for them to sell you things. It is selling de-identified, aggregate data for research, if you give them consent.

If you are concerned about your privacy and what is being done with your test results, The Wall Street Journal published an in-depth article about this on Sept 17th in their Innovations in Healthcare issue. Here is the link for you to read.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss DNA Kits, I’d love to hear from you, just comment below.

Yours in Good Health,

Dr. Adam Perlman

Cryotherapy Benefits and Results

I tried cryotherapy for the first time at CryoEvolution in Mt. Pleasant, SC, near Charleston.  There have been a number of interesting studies that have found that cryotherapy is therapeutic for reducing muscle soreness.

The Cryotherapy market can be split into liquid nitrogen therapy, dry ice, and electric.  A description with claims on the company’s website explains their approach and benefits.

Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) is the process of exposing the body to ultra-low temperatures (-200 to -250F) in a controlled environment for a limited amount of time. The individual enters a Nitrogen-cooled cryogenic sauna or chamber for 1-3 minutes, which lowers the skin surface temperature significantly. This action stimulates receptors, activating a Central Nervous System response and causing a release of endorphins. After the session, the body immediately begins to reheat itself, increase circulation, and decrease inflammation by clearing toxins, lactic acid, and metabolic waste. The new supply of oxygenated blood stimulates cellular regeneration. Many notice an after-burn effect in which they metabolize additional calories. WBC treatments have been adopted by elite athletes and professional sports teams for muscle recovery and injury prevention.

In my mind, it is probably as effective as an ice water bath but a lot less brutal. Although Cryotherapy does get kinda cold, it’s a fast three minutes and you’re done.

Developed over 40 years ago by a Japanese doctor to alleviate the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, it wasn’t until European rugby and football teams started freezing themselves in the past ten years that it became more popular. There is suppose to be at least 400 cryotherapy spas in America and the technology has been used in the US for the last 8+ years. It has become popular in non-clinical settings by sufferers of a variety of disorders, those looking for relief from inflammation and a competitive edge in training. Not just for athletes, it supposedly reduces inflammation throughout the entire body and can help those with arthritis, joint disorders, improve post-operative recovery, manage pain, improve mood, boost metabolism and improve sleep.

Now, it should be noted that scientific studies on whole body cryotherapy are inconclusive at best.

So, let’s start with the Cryo Commandments which include –

  • making sure to rotate during your session
  • the feeling of pins, needles, numbness, and tingling along with shivering and shaking are normal
  • expect a 30-50 degree skin temperature drop

cryo commandments

Judd Baker, the founder of CryoEvolution explains, “You are entering a chamber that contains liquid nitrogen turning it into nitrogen gas and cooling it to about negative 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cold air will help reduce inflammation, as well as stiffness, pain and soreness. The reason you wear a robe, socks, slippers and gloves is that we want the maximum exposure to that cold, but we also want to protect the extremities.”

Cryotherapy isn’t for everyone. Those who are pregnant or have a heart condition are not candidates for therapy.  According to Baker your body will go into a little bit of a state of shock and will boost endorphin production, melatonin, serotonin, norepinephrine, and it should make you sleep better and increase your mood for the rest of the day.

Three minutes in the chill chamber wasn’t the most comfortable for me but it wasn’t terrible. I certainly prefer it to lying in an tub of ice water for 20 minutes.


If you have muscle aches and soreness from working out, you certainly can do local treatments like an ice pack or bag of peas and CryoEvolution even offers localized cryotherapy which can be used to target specific areas. Their clients frequently combine this treatment with whole-body cryotherapy, to treat problem areas. The local area treatment usually only needs to be conducted for 5-10 minutes.

adam in chamber

I also tried their Normatec Compression Therapy Boots, which are suppose to be great for relieving sore & stiff legs, especially combined with a cryo session. The NormaTec Recovery System is an air pressure massage indicated to temporarily relieve minor muscle aches and/or pains and to temporarily increase circulation to the treated areas.

The results of this study did show that intermittent pneumatic compression systems, stockings, and multilayer bandaging are useful and effective in venous leg ulcer treatment.

More information can be found here, on how compression boots work.

Join Me on a Journey of True Health & Well-Being

Hi, I’m Dr. Adam Perlman. I am the former Associate Vice President of Health & Wellness for The Duke University Health System as well as Executive Director of Duke Integrative Medicine.  I currently hold the position of Director of the Leadership Program in Integrative Healthcare.  As a practitioner of functional medicine, I have spent my entire career trying to help people take a more comprehensive, holistic approach as they address their health concerns while optimizing their vitality and living their best life.

You see, the world of medicine and the healthcare system, in general, is moving from a disease-centric approach to a systems biology that addresses the individual as a whole.

I believe, like many, that the healthcare model of tomorrow will be very different. It will be equally predictive, preventative, personalized and participatory. 

  • Predictive meaning medicine will incorporate genomics to determine the probability of disease.
  • Preventative allowing people to know their individual risk profile, which will motivate them to make changes before they get sick.
  • They will receive personalized recommendations, namely targeted and specific interventions and treatment.
  • Finally, people will feel empowered and encouraged to engage in personal choices that are participatory, meaning patients will finally team up with the physicians to get to the root of their health problems. 

In the meantime, I urge all of us to become experts about our own health and wellness.


I think you will agree that there’s a lot of confusing information out there about how to care for your health and well-being. What are we confused about? Well, some of the things I find confusing are simple, like what kind of eggs do I need to buy nowadays? There are at least ten choices out there.


What about probiotics and the microbiota? What about all of this bacteria in my gut? Should I take a probiotic? If so, what kind? How many strains? How many colony forming units?



All of the information out there can be very confusing and very misleading.

So what do I personally do? Well, I use my medical training and knowledge try to sift through the information while looking for the evidence. This enables me to make the best decisions for myself while helping inform my family and friends and frankly, I want to do the same for you, and help you become an expert on you.

Information Empowers You with Freedom of Choice

Ultimately, it is about our freedom of choice, because if we’re operating with incomplete information or misinformation, perhaps because it was put on the internet by the company that makes the product, then we don’t truly have freedom of choice.

I believe that with reliable information, we can make reasonable decisions about our health and well being and as I have said earlier, live our best life, while optimizing our vitality.

I am curious about anything that makes us look and feel great, including complementary and alternative treatments like cryotherapy, acupuncture, isolation float tanks, elimination diets and more.

I intend to report about my experiences here and invite you to join me on this health and well-being journey.

If you’re interested, follow me for some Perlz of Healthy Wisdom.

Pura Vida,