The importance of genetics and atherosclerosis

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

In the past month, I’ve been talking about heart health pretty frequently on my Instagram for two reasons.

  1. It’s American Heart Month, and it’s important to raise awareness on the number one killer in the USA, and ways to prevent it (hint: over 1/3rd of the heart health-related deaths can be prevented!)
  2. Heart health is an important health topic for me to focus on, as I have many family members that have experienced heart issues throughout the years. I want to make sure that I take all preventative measures to improve my health, and I’ve been making breakthrough discoveries with SelfDecode in the past month.

We recently released our Cardiovascular Health Summary Report, which combines your risk scores and recommendations for 15+ key heart-related conditions and puts it into one easy to read report, giving you life-changing insights and recommendations.

Through this report I was able to discover new things that have helped me tremendously.

Genetically predisposed to increased TMAO

High levels of TMAO increase atherosclerosis, which is responsible for 31% of deaths worldwide.

I’m already susceptible to higher levels of TMAO and, because I’m incorporating a lot of meat in my diet, it’s increasing it even further. So it’s extremely important for me to start implementing some changes that help me keep my heart health in optimal condition.

One of the top recommendations that SelfDecode provided was resistant starch – which I’ve already been taking.

The increase in butyrate and short-chain fatty acids that you get from resistant starch decreases TMAO levels.

The second supplement that I found in my top recommendations is berberine. One of the ways that TMAO is produced is through the gut. When certain bacteria break down choline and carnitine found in foods like red meat, there’s an increase in TMAO. Berberine can change the composition of the gut microbiome, reducing the populations of TMAO-producing bacteria.

Since following the recommendations from SelfDecode, my lab levels for my heart health have been more optimal than ever.

The new Cardiovascular Health Summary Report not only helped me discover new things about my health, but it also helped me keep my blood pressure in check.

Risk of increased blood pressure

When I look at something like blood pressure, my blood pressure is almost always optimal – 110/70 usually, but sometimes that’s not the case.

Because I’m genetically predisposed to higher blood pressure, even the smallest of changes make big impacts on my health.

I remember one day checking my blood pressure by a doctor and it was higher! Even though I was eating healthy, I added food to my diet that really affected my blood pressure, more so than someone that has a “less likely” risk of increased blood pressure. I had to take specific health actions that SelfDecode recommended to me to bring it in the optimal range.

When you sign up for SelfDecode, you get access to your own personalized Cardiovascular Health Summary Report, plus:

  • Access to ALL current and future summary reports – like Brain Health, Gut Health, Diet & Nutrition, and so much more.
  • 300+ Health & Trait Reports
  • Unlimited access to Lab analyzer tool – upload your labs and track your results just like I did with testosterone
  • 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
  • NEW! Ancestry – discover where you’re from and track your maternal lineage (Only available on Health + Ancestry Plan)

Unlock the power of your genetics and build the optimal life for you.



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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