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How I Used A Personalized Approach To Fight Off Sickness

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

The morning after getting back from speaking at conferences, I started feeling general weakness in my body, and fatigue that I usually never feel.

Some of my employees that were traveling with me told me that they tested positive for C19 a few days after going back home, so I took a rapid test right away, but it initially came back negative. I thought I had a cold.

I started taking supplements to mitigate the sickness, but I was approaching it like it was just a regular virus, so I didn’t necessarily throw everything at it that I normally would if I knew it was C19.

I woke up the next morning still feeling off, so I tested again. This time, it was positive.

With this confirmation, I decided to throw everything at it to prevent long C19 or a protracted illness.

I know A LOT of people with symptoms that lasted many months, and I definitely didn’t want that to happen with me.

So I got to work.

Looking At My Genetics

I have a genetic predisposition for worse outcomes in C19, based on a number of factors which studies have shown to correspond with worse outcomes:

  • My brother and other family members got hit hard by it
  • I’m blood type A, which is the worst blood type (O is the best) [1]
  • I’m male (worse outcomes compared to females)
  • I have a bunch of genetic variants that increase my risk, some uncommon

(Note, that we cannot provide reports on this topic for regulatory reasons, but anyone can still look up their SNPs. We took off information on the SNP page itself because of the regulatory issues.)

Some of the variants that I carry are:


I have the A allele in rs11385942, which only about 5% of the population has (or the C allele in rs10490770) [2].

According to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine, having the less common ‘A’ insertion allele in rs11385942 yielded the strongest association signal across the genome for respiratory failure among C19 patients (OR 1.77), and also for needing mechanical ventilation [1].

Note that rs11385942 is not present on the DNA chips by 23andMe, Ancestry and MyHeritage. However, with SelfDecode’s cutting edge machine learning and AI, we are able to predict your variation with 99.7% accuracy, so it will show up.


The less common A allele for rs10831496 is associated with severe C19 [3].

I have one of these alleles, which about 40% of the population has.


The second variant (rs657152) deals with the gene that can help determine the ABO blood group. I know my blood type is A already, which is the highest risk.

Having the A allele is associated with worse outcomes, and I have 2 A alleles, which about 15% of the population carries (OR 1.32) [2].

This variant is linked with increased inflammation, maybe because blood type A is more susceptible to inflammation in certain circumstances.

Having A+ blood type is also associated with elevated risk for various autoimmune conditions.


The A allele of rs10735079, part of the OAS1 gene, is linked with decreased OAS1 expression, which is associated with severe C19 [4].

I have AA, which is not uncommon, but still significant.

In human microglia with lowered OAS1 expression, there’s high production of inflammatory markers (TNF, IFN), indicating that OAS1 is required to limit the pro-inflammatory response of immune cells [4].


This SNP belongs to the TMPRSS2 gene, which is involved in how C19 enters the cell.

I don’t have the protective T allele here (I have CC) which means C19 can easily infect me [3].

Interestingly, TMPRSS2 is expressed several times more highly in the prostate than any tissue, suggesting a role for TMPRSS2 in the gender difference in illness severity due to C19 [5].

I told you I won the genetic lottery of bad genes 😉

By understanding my genetics and going through peer-reviewed studies connecting C19 with certain supplements, I was able to create a plan for myself that helped me get healthy really quickly, and I continued doing my normal routine even when I was still considered sick with C19.

I took a lot of supplements and changed my diet quite a bit. Here’s everything I took (picture doesn’t contain all supplements).

The only symptoms I felt were the initial ones of weakness and fatigue, and I had some body sensitivity – not pain in my body, but some actions like doing yoga felt uncomfortable in my muscles.

I didn’t experience any other symptoms like fever, headaches, body pain, sore throat, congestion, loss of taste and smell or a runny nose.

I was actually able to work my normal 60 hours for the week, minus the time it took me to take all the supplements 😉

The quality of my work stayed consistent to pre-C19, I was able to get on work calls, and my Heart Rate Variability, body temperature, and respiratory rate were all back to normal within a few nights.

In comparison, when my brother got C19, he had a fever for two weeks, had to go to the hospital twice and was the most sick he had ever been in his life.

If I didn’t look into my genetics and take supplements that helped boost my immune system and lower inflammation, I may have been in the same position he was in – or worse.

Many people I know had long C19 and took a while to get over it, I didn’t want to be one of those people.

Some people are born mutants or get lucky and don’t have any predispositions for worse outcomes.

I’m more interested in how you can become healthy when you have genetic predispositions for something, and that’s my focus.

I have genetic predispositions for a lot of issues, including mood, cognitive, autoimmune and cardiovascular problems, but understanding that I am predisposed and knowing the targeted approaches that I should take is what’s key to optimal health and living a great life.

Everything HAS to be Personalized

I’m not sharing my regimen to show you what you should take.

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Whether it’s inflammation, anxiety, C19, or any other health issue you’re experiencing, you should be personalizing your own approach with what works for your body.

Personalized health is not “the future” anymore – it’s already here, and it’s the best way to tackle any problem.

I created SelfDecode to make it easy to take a personalized approach to health. Using our software, I am able to look up my genotype for any SNP, and the reports tell me what issues I’m at a higher genetic likelihood of having problems with, and tells me what to do about it.

I wouldn’t have been able to create this custom regimen without SelfDecode because it would be too difficult to sort through all my genetic data – and impossible to even look at my SNP variants because they are missing in common SNP chips.

If you’re ready to experience the benefits of having full control of your health, and not being at the mercy of the generic solutions from conventional healthcare, check out SelfDecode.


About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen flipped the script on conventional and alternative medicine…and it worked. Growing up, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, anxiety, and other issues that were poorly understood in traditional healthcare. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a learning journey to decode his DNA and track his biomarkers in search of better health. Through this personalized approach, he discovered his genetic weaknesses and was able to optimize his health 10X better than he ever thought was possible. Based on his own health success, he went on to found SelfDecode, the world’s first direct-to-consumer DNA analyzer & precision health tool that utilizes AI-driven polygenic risk scoring to produce accurate insights and health recommendations. Today, SelfDecode has helped over 100,000 people understand how to get healthier using their DNA and labs.
Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, with a mission of empowering people to take advantage of the precision health revolution and uncover insights from their DNA and biomarkers so that we can all feel great all of the time.


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