Solving Beethoven’s health mysteries using his DNA

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

Why did Beethoven die?

I’ve always said that looking at your DNA is extremely important in discovering your risks of certain health issues.

By understanding your genes, you can make changes in your life to mitigate future health issues and solve current problems.

And now I have one of the most famous composers in the world backing up this claim… Ludwig van Beethoven!

Ever since Beethoven passed away, people have been wondering what exactly caused his death.

Recently, scientists were able to reveal these health issues by analyzing the DNA from a strand of his hair.

In addition to hearing loss, Beethoven had suffered from severe liver disease – something that was found in his DNA!

According to the researchers, they were able to discover a number of significant genetic risk factors for liver disease.

They also looked at his lifestyle choices – like drinking a lot of wine with his lunch – and figured out that the combination of his genetic risk factors for liver disease with his poor lifestyle choices led him to develop the disease that ended up killing him.

Beethoven’s situation really fits like a glove with what SelfDecode was built to solve.

High Risk For GGT, Cinnamon, and the GGT1 Gene

High levels of GGT in the blood can be a sign of liver damage and can contribute to the development of cirrhosis if left untreated.

Up to 70% of differences in people’s GGT levels may be due to genetics, so looking at your genes can really help you determine your predisposition to having elevated levels of GGT.

Based on my DNA, I have a typical likelihood of having high levels of GGT.

If we were able to upload Beethoven’s genetics into the SelfDecode platform, we’d most likely see that he has a higher likelihood.

For example, let’s say that he did carry the negative variant of the GGT1 gene.

The GGT1 gene helps our body use glutathione, which is an important antioxidant that protects our cells from damage and decreases GGT levels.

This gene helps maintain the right amount of glutathione in our cells, which is really important for protecting them from harm caused by things like pollution, toxins, and other stresses.

If you carry the negative variant of this gene, your protection from harmful pollutants is diminished.

And high levels of GGT are strongly associated with excessive alcohol consumption – something Beethoven was great at doing.

Since he was drinking a lot, and the variants he carried didn’t allow him to properly use glutathione to decrease GGT levels, there was excessive damage done to his liver.

This is just one of many examples of how Beethoven’s genes potentially played a huge role in developing the liver disease that killed him.

Beethoven’s Recommendations

If SelfDecode were around in the 1800s, he could have used his personalized recommendations to potentially improve his liver health and, in return, compose more music. 😅

Apart from the obvious “drink less alcohol” suggestion, Omega-3, Cinnamon, and L-carnitine could’ve been game changers in reducing his GGT levels.

Fortunately, SelfDecode is available to you now, and you don’t need any scientists to uncover your genetic risks and recommendations!

Once you upload your DNA file or get our DNA Testing Kit, SelfDecode analyzes over 85 million genetic variants to give you your genetic health predispositions for 300+ health topics like liver issues, mood problems, gut inflammation, and many more. Plus, you’ll also receive:

  • 14+ Summary Reports – these look at all of our health reports that fit under one health topic, combine it into one easy-to-read report, and give you life-changing insights and recommendations.
  • Unlimited access to Lab analyzer tool – upload your labs and track your results
  • Access to Personalized Genetics Blog – over 600 blogs that change based on your DNA
  • Personalized supplement formula – instantly created based on your unique genes
  • SNP & Gene Explorer
  • Lifestyle Analyzer – answer questions to determine whether your current choices are contributing to certain health issues
  • NEW! Ancestry – discover where you’re from and track your maternal lineage (Only available on Health & Ancestry Plan)


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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