Choosing what to consume and taking the necessary actions to reach your health objectives might be daunting. How can you evaluate what will work for you when there are so many diets available and several specialists with varying opinions? Nutrigenomics offers some clarification.
According to registered dietitian Devon Peart, MHSc, BASc, RD, “nutrigenomics is a means to zero in on what will help you achieve your objectives based on what we know about your genes and how they interact with the food you consume.”
Peart shows how the most recent developments in customised nutrition function and how may aid in weight reduction, illness prevention, sports performance, and other areas.
What exactly is nutrigenomics?
Peart explains that nutrigenomics, or nutritional genomics, is the study of how genes and diet interact. Variations in your DNA influence how your body will likely react to certain foods.
For example, FTO gene variations are associated with metabolism, energy expenditure, and energy balance; they influence weight management and body composition. The variations in your FTO gene indicate how your body metabolises fat and protein. With the assistance of a nutritionist, you may utilise this information to choose an eating plan that complements your genetic composition.
The findings of nutrigenomic testing might assist you in making daily choices. Your genetic variations may indicate that you are more susceptible to:
- Knowing this, you may take preventative measures against developing high blood pressure and cholesterol. For instance, you may decrease your salt and saturated fat intake.
- You may devise a strategy to combat your sweet tooth and prevent consuming too much sugar. The findings might prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee causes jitters: Now you know why you feel so unsteady after consuming caffeine! You may be motivated to avoid it permanently.
- You can successfully adhere to an eating plan if you understand how your body reacts to macronutrients such as carbs, fat, and protein.
- More fat is burned with resistance training or cardio: By focusing on your most effective strategy for fat burning, you may get benefits more quickly.
How do nutrigenomic tests function?
The DNA test for nutrigenomics is a simple inside-the-mouth swab. This is submitted to a laboratory for analysis, and the findings are returned a few weeks later. Labs may evaluate seventy or more unique genes.
Peart states that nutrigenomic testing is based on science and is very accurate. “Remember that the findings indicate your susceptibility to certain health disorders or how your body is likely to react to nutrition. However, being genetically predisposed to something does not make it inevitable.”
Non-prescription nutrigenomic testing
Several firms provide direct-to-consumer genetic testing, but Peart advises working with a specialist. Dietitians who have received training in nutrigenomics can explain the significance of the results: what they imply for your health and how to choose foods that reduce your risk (and enhance your health) based on your individual variations.
For instance, suppose you have the genetic variation linked with high triglyceride levels (circulating fats in your blood). A nutritionist can assist lower this risk by searching for strategies to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. They have been shown to reduce triglyceride levels.
How does nutrigenomics affect diet?
According to Peart, nutrigenomics allows you to identify the dietary components that have the greatest influence on your health and may lower illness risk factors. Furthermore, research demonstrates that when individuals have access to their genetic information, they are more motivated to pursue health objectives.
Consider blood pressure. It is one thing to know that it runs in your family, but it is quite another to see genetic proof of risk. But having the variation does not guarantee that the event is inevitable. The empowering aspect of nutrigenomics comes into play at this point. Working with a nutritionist, you may design an actionable strategy to live your healthiest life, such as searching for methods to reduce salt intake.
Biological vs lifestyle factors
Genes are a component in determining health, but lifestyle and environment also play a significant role. How much does each component influence how the body reacts to food? This topic is addressed in the PREDICT 1 Study.
The research collected information from 1,000 individuals, of whom more than half were twins. Researchers evaluated the amounts of sugar (glucose), insulin, and fat in the subjects’ blood after they had the muffins. They also gathered information on the quantity of activity and sleep each individual engaged in. Researchers investigated each individual’s gut microorganisms (microbiome) using faeces samples.
Here are the results:
- Blood-sugar levels were most affected by macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates in the meal).
- The greatest influence on blood-lipid (fat) levels was exerted by gut flora.
- Compared to lipids, blood-sugar levels were more genetically determined than lipids but less so than meal composition.
In conclusion, genetics plays a role in a complicated dance of elements that differ from individual to individual. And many of these variables may be altered, including:
- Gut bacteria.
Is nutrigenomics the nutrition’s future?
Future dietary advice may be replaced with suggestions based on your genetics, interests, and predispositions.
“As individuals understand more about their genetic composition, I believe nutrigenomics will become a standard aspect of determining dietary decisions,” says Peart.
Genetic tendencies are not guarantees, but rather predictions. And nutrigenomics cannot remove all trial-and-error about food, supplements, and exercise regimens. However, nutrigenomics provides a more specific way to determine how to achieve optimal health.