Nutrigenomics testing – the role of genes in your diet

March 16, 2024

In a world with so much information at our fingertips, there’s no doubt that there is a sea of confusion on how to be healthier, what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, which exercise is best and what supplements we should be taking!

Often, the information is conflicting too. There are claims that certain diets or foods can turn our health around, give us boundless energy or help us to lose weight.  This can all be so overwhelming and certainly before entering into the world of nutrition, I felt the same.  I understand how this can leave you feeling confused and with a lack of direction. Perhaps you have tried some of these trends only to have felt disappointed? Why does this happen?

The short answer is: there is no ‘one size fits’ all nutrition plan that will work for everyone. We are unique individuals with our unique genetic code and unique biochemistry. What is healthy for you may not be right for another and vice versa.

This is where nutrigenomics testing comes in!  This is just one method I use in my clinic to create truly personalised nutrition and lifestyle plans for my clients.

We all inherit a unique set of genetic code from our parents. These are instructions contained within our DNA. Our body translates this code to produce molecules and proteins that not only support our growth and development but also impact our health.

Variations in our genes are what makes each of us unique and they can have a significant impact on our health. These variations make us unique in numerous ways, including our risk of disease, response to medication, our environment and the food we eat.

And now for the science bit………

A variation at any single point in our DNA sequence is known as a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)  – pronounced “snip”.

These SNPs are expressed or simply turned on or off (known as epigenetics) by our lifestyle and our environment, including the food we eat, the quality of our sleep, stress, physical activity and the toxins we are exposed to in our environment.

Addressing an individual’s increased nutritional needs and looking at how and what we eat has the power to turn on/off a gene expression for the body’s benefit and support towards achieving optimal health. Using cheek cells as a sample, genetic testing enables you to be proactive with your health.

By identifying these common SNPs and any associated symptoms you may be experiencing will truly help to formulate a nutritional programme just for you.

What is Nutrigenomics?

Nutrigenomics is the practice of exploring the way your genes influence your body’s response to the food you eat and the way in which nutrients for your food are utilised. You could have the healthiest diet; however your body may not be able to appropriately use the nutrients. Genes may be one of the reasons behind nutrient deficiencies or health issues.

Thankfully, never before has personalised medicine been so accessible.  Nutrigenomics testing is an exciting addition to my toolbox.  These tests are invaluable in helping me create a tailored nutrition and lifestyle solution that matches your particular genetic requirements, effectively fast tracking you on your health journey.

The genetic panels are easy to do, and in fact I have done the majority of the panels myself. A simple process whereby after placing an order online, I received a test kit containing a tube and swab for a sample of my cheek cells.  After a minute or so of rubbing the swab around my mouth, it was placed in the tube with a preserving capsule and off it went in the post.

The results came back in a user-friendly colour-coded diagram, alongside in-depth insights into the risks or proactive potential of each gene within the pathways. For example, I had always suspected an intolerance to dairy due to experiencing excess mucus in my throat after drinking milk. Indeed, my Nutrient Core report came back indicating the gene that controls levels of the enzyme lactase needed to digest sugar and lactose in milk is switched off in me, meaning I am intolerant to lactose.

Now we all love coffee, right?  I love the smell of it, but I also know that if I drink it, it can make me feel jittery. Interestingly, my report confirmed that not only do I have increased sensitivity to caffeine, but I am also a slow metaboliser, meaning caffeine stays in my body for longer which is the reason I avoid it.  Luckily, I have a low risk of celiac disease or gluten intolerance.  The reports have given me such insight into my genes and really help me to make more informed dietary choices to mitigate health risks!

I would highly recommend undertaking genetic testing to anyone who wants feedback on what their strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to personalised nutrition.

Curious to find out more? Understand your genes with the wide range of comprehensive genetic tests that I offer.

Book a call to discuss genetic testing

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