In dire need of a crash course!

Hi everyone

I’ve just officially lost 20% of my self esteem trying to figure out how to read livewello’s reports. Hopefully my cretinism will show up in my genotype so I can blame mother nature.

Joking aside, how the hell do I make sense of any of this? There are absolutely no guidelines on how to read the reports.
For a given SNP, is it better to be in the green? Does it depend on the mutation? Should I go click SNP by SNP and basically become a freaking geneticist in the process?
When looking at a report for a specific disease, are all the SNPs shown those I have in my genotype? Are they just a list of all SNPs related to this disease?
So many questions that would only require a few simple lines of “Hey buddy, let me show you around” to clarify.

So I welcome any suggestion of a crash course where I might learn what I need in order to decide if livewello is a useful resource or just a hypochondriac rabbit hole.

Many thanks !


I feel your pain. I’ve been on it for months and I’m totally lost. If you figure it out, please share.


It’s not always immediately self-obvious, so no need for self-deprecation!

Generally speaking, yes, the Green-highlighted SNPs are those that are “normal”, i.e. they aren’t the variant “spellings”. The red ones mean there is homozygosity for the variant genotype; and in most cases diseases are linked (statistically) to the variant genotypes.

You don’t need to become a geneticist (I certainly am not!) but the more you become familiar with the genomic lexicon and about how the genomic database is built, of course the better able you’ll be to apply that knowledge.

There are other tools you can employ, with minimal cost. I personally recommend taking the raw data you uploaded to Livewello, and uploading it also to You then get a downloadable xml-based report that you can run at any time on your pc. While it will base much of its analysis of your genome on the SNPedia database, (just as Livewello does), unlike the latter, it allows for filtering for specific health / disease conditions, or for specific Genes. This can be a good complement to Livewello, which allows you to check just by specific SNP.

One thing I’ll mention at this point is that you’ll occasionally note that Promethease (and others) may identify your genotype differently for various gene SNPs than you’ll see on Livewello. That is because the “build” of the human genome changes periodically, and the direction in which the nucelotides (base pairs) that code the particular SNP may be on one report different, i.e. the reverse of, what is found in the other. For example, my observation is that Livewello typically reports the positive “plus” strand direction, while the “negative” direction spelling may be reflected in the information that Promethease (and maybe SNPedia) presents.

I wrote a bit more about this here: SNPs with GG but Outcome should be CC . As I explained there, this is a lay-person’s understanding… subject to review & correction by someone more knowledgeable.

One last thing I’d like to point out. It may go without saying to you but many people, seeing that they have a heterozygous or homozygous allele that’s associated with a disease condition, may deduce that they have that disease. I suspect you already know this, but it does not, in most cases mean that. If you read carefully, it just means that the allele in question has been associated (usually by statistical analysis in various disease / health studies) with a condition, meaning there is an increased (or decreased) likelihood.

Predisposition is NOT destiny. As epigenetics is showing, behavioral & environmental influences (diet, exercise, exposures to various agents, our emotional states, stresses, etc. etc. have a direct bearing on whether and how genes express - and whether or not we get the diseases for which we may have inherited certain tendencies.

The discovery of various pre-disposing gene SNPs does give us an advantage in that we can possibly head off problems - with specific strategies, such as supplementation with or avoiding certain elements. I have already done a bit of that with the help of looking at specific SNPs associated with metabolic (methylation, folate pathways, for example). Between that information and a knowledgeable doctor, I’ve been able to reduce a blood marker strongly associated .with the clotting disorder that I have.


Excellent advice here from @Roger_Hoffmann.

I’d like to reinforce what he says about how having a mutation on a particular gene doesn’t mean it’s anything harmful. Indeed, most of the time they seem to have no noticeable effects.

As an example, look at the MTHFR gene. Promethease lists a dozen or more potential SNPs. It also gives he frequencies of mutations at this locations. A simple analysis of those numbers says that only four people in a thousand do not have any of those mutations, But you’ll read loads of stuff on the interwebs about how just one mutation will have huge effects.

Also, the SNPs listed are only the places where it’s relatively common to have a mutation. There are a lot more locations that aren’t tested.


Good points.

Sometimes a “little” information can be dangerous. What we don’t see of our genome, including all those portions of the protein-coding DNA whose functions are yet unknown, may counteract some of the SNP alleles that have been associated with disease. To say nothing of the role of epigenetic influences on gene expression.

While much work is being done & information assembled, you could say this whole science is in its infancy!

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Hello all,
I actually am trained as a Methyl Genetic Counselor to help you make sense of this craziness! I don’t charge a lot like most do (most charge $400 to $2000) just to speak to them! I use a top software program created by Nutrigenetic Research. I work off of a very detailed symptom questionnaire and your genetic sample. I then spend hours mapping YOU. I work via skype and email. I can show you what is important and what ORDER you must go in to resolve issues. The supplements one person takes for a genetic SNP can harm your body due to you having other areas they don’t. I would love to chat with any of you. I love helping others solve their frustrations and the rabbit hole of questions about “What does this all mean!” I found a mentor who did this for me years ago, and I was a client with tons of issues. I have trained for years and now return the favor to others in need. Feel free to get in touch!


Hi, I forgot about this post, and after digging a bit I’d like to submit a few basic facts for your consideration.

We have 10 million SNPs.
SNPedia has information on about 100 000 of them (1%)
Of those 100 000, around 50 000 are tested by myancestry (0,5%) and 25 000 by 23andme (0,25%).

If, like me, you believe in the Pareto principle, and especially considering the amount of work needed to start making any sense of this 0,25/0,5%, I’ll let you make your own conclusion on the utility of even trying.

Wishing you all the best

Also, “I am trained as a Methyl Genetic Counselor” is one of the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Card reading still has a long life ahead :).

It is critically important to get involved with understanding our genetic tendencies if we wish to take control of our health. It is absurd that 5.7 million people are being treated for Alzheimer’s today in the US and few of them or their doctors/family know their APOE status (~65% have an APOE4 allele). Same for people entering sports where traumatic brain injuries are likely.

Making jokes about the “utility of even trying” to understand genetics sounds like someone who will spend 20 minutes at a doctor and accept any advice that comes from someone who knows nothing about our genes, toxic burden, exercise, diet, sleep habits, and daily and accumulative stresses. I know the outcome of that doctor’s visit; you will most likely end up with some pharmaceutical that chemically blocks some natural pathway that is causing a symptom. Fifteen years later you will probably be on half a dozen prescription medicines that no doctor on this planet knows how they interact.

A step by step review of my 23andMe’s 65K genes supplies a treasure trove of information that can steer many decisions on diet, exercise, sleep, and behavior. My last review was of 777 genes provided by that through various studies shows in increase or decrease in the likelihood of 103 different diseases. Just seeing how my wife and I passed down our genes to our daughter was worth the effort. Another review of 23 (personality) traits and 49 genes for genetic diseases from the same website left no doubt in my mind that genetics will be a key part of our healthcare system in the near future. It is already a key part of my healthcare and goes a long way toward preventing diseases and modifying behavior.

Prometheus was a quick study because it prioritizes concerns by category. Livewello is a bit slower but eventually ends up with worthy results. Quite a few of our friends who trust their doctors are on their second and third joint replacements and one even needed a kidney transplant because of complications from a pain medication. If you know a very smart doctor who knows you very well and has the time to know what your specific problem is, then you can bypass genetics with good results. If you don’t your life is a crap-shoot.

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Happy to show you my work. It is all backed by science and training. If you read many posts like I do, I see tons of advice given by untrained people. Their intentions are good, but their knowledge goes very shallow. The order in which you treat a symptomatic gene and what cofactors and enzymes you look at for help are all based on a pyramid approach. If you would like to see examples, I would love to show you.

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