AJ, now retired, was a very successful female pro wrestler who is now writing a book about how she turned a “disability” into a “superpower.”

I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder when I was barely out of my teens. Like our olive skin tone and caterpillar eyebrows, I guess it just runs in the family.

By definition, it is a mental disorder characterized by alternating periods of mania and depression. In less scientific terms, it is a real asshole. The disorder strips a person of control. Those affected experience unexpected and unwarranted highs that can increase adrenaline, paranoia, and recklessness, and lows that induce panic attacks, relentless sobbing, and overwhelming lethargy. A person’s heart, mind, and actions either become amplified to a dangerous degree or unrecognizably distorted…

When I harnessed its seemingly uncontrollable might, I realized Bipolar disorder’s powers could be used for good. My diagnosis didn’t have to be an affliction. It could simply be the gift of extraordinary emotions.

I like to collect these types of stories for inspirational purposes and wanted to share this one with you.

Link: Silence, Interrupted

Background:
I had my genes tested in 2011 as one of the many things I was trying for my health.
At that time, the results were unremarkable.

It said I was 99.97% South Asian.
Likely lactose intolerant as an adult.
I won’t flush when drinking alcohol.
And a few other random things like ear wax type.

They also had some other health reports but nothing that great. Everything seemed very generic and vanilla.

It’s not their fault. I think the FDA prevented them from providing detailed health analysis at that time.

So, I assumed there was nothing more to be gleaned from my genetic data and forgot about it.

In 2014, I met a doctor who told me about MFTHR and analyzing my raw genetic data from 23andme on a website to see if I have genetic mutations. I ran the report but did not think much of the results. The doc was looking for a certain type of genetic mutation that was not present. I actually didn’t even read the results until last week, big mistake!

Fast forward to 2017, a week ago, I read a Tim Ferriss article talking about how he is fast metabolizer of caffeine, according to his genetic testing, and so he avoids coffee and drinks tea by dumping out the first brew to get rid of caffeine, and drinking the second.

So this got me curious. What type of coffee metabolizer am I? I started searching for ways to analyze my raw data.

Holy cow. This was a life changing moment!
Not only did I find out I’m a slow metabolizer of caffeine, which is fine, but so much more!

I want to tell you exactly what I found and how you can also get your raw genetic data analyzed.

My Genetic Results:
I’m really excited to share this info with you and could write multiple novels about the information, but I’ll keep it as short as possible.

Just know that I had been going through certain health issues my whole life and had reached some conclusions through my own research, trial and error over many years. The genetics info backs me up 100% and gave me new hope that I am on the right trail.

If only I knew this information decades ago! I could’ve avoided ridiculous amounts of time, effort, money, disappointments. But better knowing now than never.

My main two issues in life I’ve been working on, as you already may know, has been depression issues and obesity issues. My genetic information provides clues to both.

The best part of finding this information was that I had something solid to prove all the symptoms I was going though all these years, rather than it being all in my head or me doing the diets wrong. You know what I mean?

1. Depression & Anxiety

a. Vitamin D Receptors
I have two down-regulated vitamin d receptors, which can affect many things in the body, including dopamine levels, which can translate into depression. Another gene for vitamin d deficiency.

This could explain why I feel way worse during winter season, when the days are short and sun is rare. Now I’m focused on getting my levels up to 50-60 ng/ml.

b. Methylfolate, B vitamins, B12
multiple markers for deficiencies in these, which can lead to depression. To combat this, I’ve been taking my daily B Complex, and a sublingual B12 Methylcobalamine with L-5-MTHF.

c. Multiple genetic markers that say things like “increased risk for depression” and “7x less likely to respond to antidepressants.” F’n great!

2. Obesity

a. Abnormal Fat Metabolism
Eating saturated fat (meat, butter, cheese, pork, dairy) increases my risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. WTF!

I had been eating atkins diet back in the day, and recently on the paleo/high fat, low carb diets for many many years. Never lost weight. I was even putting butter in my coffee, and though it tasted great and gave me an energy boost, it was packing on the pounds.

It’s recommended I lower saturated fat and increase poly & monounsaturated fat (fish, avocados, nuts, etc). Right now, I’m experimenting with the Starch Solution by Dr. John MacDougall, so my fat intake is super low, and starchy carb intake super high.

b. Multiple genetic markers saying things like “1.67x increased risk of obesity, particularly with saturated fat”

c. Reduced thermogenesis in response to cold exposure
Remember the trend of walking in the cold, or putting ice packs on the back of your neck to activate brown fat to lose weight? Well I did that for a long time, even in the winters, even cold showers!, with no damn results. Maybe this gene is the reason why.

d. Increased risk for type 2 diabetes

How you can analyze your data
Lucky for you, I have done the hard work and found some great resources where you can analyze your data.

First, you will of course need to have done the 23andme genetic testing. It costs $99 and is a spit test that you mail back to them. Very simple and easy.

Some of the websites below analyze part of the data for free. Some charge money for comprehensive results.

1. Genetic Genie
Cost: Free

They provide two reports, the most important being the MTHFR one. That’s where I found out about my Vitamin D receptors and B12 issues.

2. Found My Fitness
Cost: Free

Dr. Rhonda Patrick has a free analysis where you can find out about obesity and other nutritional markers.

3. Nutrahacker
Cost: Free

This site has some overlap with the above two, but provides a cool color-coded pdf, with things you should take (b vitamins, b12), and things you should avoid taking (vitamin E for me).

4. Promethease
Cost: $5

This provides more comprehensive data on your genes and you can search by categories like obesity, diabetes, depression, and many many other issues.

The cool thing is you can download the entire html file to your computer, so that you can have the data offline. They only store the data on their servers for 45 days, then it’s deleted.

5. Livewello
Cost: $19.95

I’m not sure if there’s much difference between Livewello and Promethease, but I have done both.

Livewello is also a comprehensive analysis of your genetic information. Their website states they provide data for 600,000 SNPs.

This is a good one too.

Long time no talk.
I totally forgot you exist!
Such is with the gloomy winter blech season up here in Chicago.

I started watching eatyourkimchi youtube channel a bunch of years ago after my bro shared it with me. It was a fun video on making ramen and I became hooked.

The channel is by Simon (her husband) and Martina, Canadians living in South Korea, talking about food, restaurants, & life. (Recently they moved to Japan.)

I had no idea someone who looked so happy and carefree in her videos was suffering from EDS, chronic pain, inability to move around at times, and depression.

In this video she shares her difficult depressive life during high school (tried to end it all) and the decision she made after to live a thriving life regardless of how ill she is.

It’s a good one.

Bonus: