An interview with the expert – Dr. Sean Penny | DNA testing at The Hundred Wellness Centre Dubai
Earlier this week, we introduced you to DNA testing at The Hundred Wellness Centre – the cutting-edge technology that brings you incredible information about your health based on your genetic code, enabling you to prevent future problems and potential illnesses with lifestyle changes and possible treatments/supplements. Today we present an interview with the expert, as lifestyle blogger and the contributing editor to this DNA testing series – Holly Hollywould – interviews Dr. Sean Penny…
Dr. Sean is The Hundred Wellness Centre’s resident, in-house homeopathic doctor and one half of Dubai’s Wellness Brothers. Holly sat with Dr. Sean to find out more about DNA testing: How it can help you and why it’s one of the most invaluable tools in the wellness market right now…
Hello Dr. Sean. Please can you tell us a bit about yourself? I am a homeopathic practitioner. Have a masters degree in homeopathy and I’ve been working in Dubai for the last 12 years. Initially I worked at The Dubai Herbal and Treatment Center and now I work at The Hundred Wellness Centre. I own a business with my brother – Ryan Penny – that is focused on the development of supplements, we go by the name The Wellness Brothers.
We’re here to highlight DNA testing. How long has The Hundred Wellness offered this service, and why was it so important to make this available? We’ve offered DNA testing at the centre for about 18 months. Why do we do it? Well, it is a well established fact that people respond differently to external influences – whether that be dietary changes, supplementation, medication or exercise (to name but a few). As a result there is an increasing understanding that people need to be treated as such with treatment plans that are specially tailored to the individual. This includes factors like medical history, culture, age, gender and more recently consideration of one’s DNA. Ryan and I have been using DNA testing for about 8 years now and we firmly believe that the DNA forms the foundation from which we can develop a comprehensive management plan for our patients.
What company do you use for the DNA testing? DNALYSIS Biotechnology. They are great and based in my home country – South Africa.
Can you tell us a bit more about the DNA testing process at The Hundred Wellness Centre? The patient comes to the center and we collect samples using 2 swabs from the inside of their cheeks – it’s painless and quick. This is sent via courier to the lab and it usually takes about 2 weeks to receive the report back. The patient then follows up with me and I spend an hour explaining the results and discussing a plan of action based on them – all while taking into consideration the patient. i.e. we don’t treat the genes: We treat the patient with the genes.
Some people are afraid of these types of tests. They worry that they will discover things that they (a) don’t want to know, and (b) can’t do anything about anyway. What would you say to them? There are tests that provide information about health risks that are unavoidable. We use a company that includes genes, which merely indicate risk that can be influenced by lifestyle – diet, supplementation, exercise, social habits etc. So yes, it may not be easy to receive information about something you cannot do anything about but the test we do is to highlight exactly what you should do to avoid some of the more common diseases we face today.
How much do the DNA tests cost? DNA Health is AED1600. DNA Diet is AED1200. DNA Fit is AED1300, and DNA Estrogen is AED1100. All of the tests include a complimentary, one-hour consultation with me to explain the results and treatment.
What do you do with the information once the test results are back? I spend 1 hour explaining the genes tests and what their results mean. I give a brief explanation on genetic testing and what the letters and names of the genes mean so they can better understand their results and then I provide information with regards lifestyle changes that can positively impact their genes.
There’s a lot of negativity about supplements in the world right now. Many people think that they are a gimmick, or argue that we shouldn’t need them – our ancestors never had access to them for example. What would you say to that? Yes. In an ideal world we should be able to get all we need from food. But, sadly we don’t have the same kind of food that our ancestors did. The nutrient density is far lower. And the fact that we live in places where food has to be transported, sometimes, thousands of kilometers – especially in Dubai – means a lot of the food we eat has been green harvested. That together with the increase of stress on our body from toxins, genetically modified foods, pollution, and geopathic stress, means we actually have a greater demand for nutrients (like antioxidants) to support our body. So: We’re getting less nutrients than our ancestors, and we actually need more nutrients than our ancestors. Lastly, advances in medicine have enabled us to determine specific gene variations, which may make certain metabolic processes in our body less efficient and the introduction of supplementation is effective in many instances to overcome these hurdles. So tailored supplementation can be life-changing – where even nutrient dense foods may not have been enough.
What have been some of your favourite DNA testing cases? Can you share some success stories with us? I have tested numerous people who have never had their cholesterol checked, but based on their DNA test reports I have suggested the likelihood of them having high cholesterol is quite large. And in those cases more than 90% of the people I have suggested do the cholesterol test, land up having high cholesterol. In those who implement the dietary changes based on their DNA reports we have seen significant improvements. I can also think of two cases where my female patients have had miscarriages in the first trimester. Changing the folic acid to the correct form has resulted in these patients subsequently carrying to term. This has been a common occurrence with doctors in the U.S. as well.
Can everyone do the tests? Or is it purely for those who have health problems or suspect something is up? No! Everyone can do it. From any age. Your DNA doesn’t ever change – and to be equipped with information about your genes from an early age is such a blessing and it can make it easier to implement a plan before bad habits are formed.
Can you talk us through the different tests available? The DNA Health test is the most comprehensive and general. It covers overall health and includes markers for lipid metabolism (heart health including cholesterol levels), methylation (how well your DNA grow and renew themselves using B vitamins in a process of DNA repair called methylation), detoxification (how well your body detoxifies itself), inflammation (checking the genes that govern inflammation are working properly and not causing unnecessary inflammation that can lead to problems), oxidative stress (how well your body copes with oxidative stress and whether you might need to increase your antioxidants to support that), bone health, insulin sensitivity, and food responsiveness (lactose intolerance, caffeine sensitive, salt sensitive, iron overload and polyunsaturated fat metabolism).
The DNA Diet test goes even deeper into food responsiveness, and how your diet can impact your health for the better or worse – based on your unique DNA. The DNA Estrogen test screens any potential issues with estrogen metabolism in your DNA and the DNA Fit test is a comprehensive report on how your DNA impacts your performance in sports or training – a great tool for all budding and professional athletes.
Lastly, if we could only do one test, which would you recommend? Definitely the DNA Health test. It’s the most comprehensive and the best place to start.
Join us next time when Holly Hollywould shares her DNA testing experience with The Hundred Wellness Centre.
To talk to us about having your own DNA tests done, give us a call on 04 344 7333 or drop us an email here