Nutrigenomics is the study of genetics and how it plays a role in the body’s ability to process nutrition influenced by the DNA. In short, nutritional genomics takes a closer look at the relationship between nutrients, diet, and gene expression.
Throughout the years, research has flourished, and it is more clear about how all these aspects work and affect people.
What aspects of nutrition could genetics affect?
While we know that there are factors that change the way the body processes food and nutrients, let’s look at how. The following are some nutritional downfalls as a result of genetics.
People who are lactose intolerant cannot process dairy products, which stems from how their body works. In lactose intolerant people, their bodies cannot process enough enzymes responsible for tackling the breakdown of lactose.
Lactose intolerance is a result of their genetic makeup. Since lactose is the by-product of milk, it affects all dairy products. So for lactose-intolerant folks, dairy produce is a no-go.
Gluten sensitivity (Celiac disease)
In the case of Celiac disease, people are allergic to gluten, so their bodies cannot process wheat products. If a child or adult has this condition, wheat products like barley or rye should be substituted with carbohydrates that their bodies can process. Carbs such as corn, potatoes, and wild rice may be better options for gluten intolerance.
The CFCO (Gluten-Free Certification Organization) ensures that gluten-free foods get their stamp of approval and are safe for gluten-intolerant people. Celiac disease is also genetically related and not so hereditary.
Even more than these two examples, nutrigenomics testing has the potential to change the way we interact with food. Personalized nutrition has not only the potential to keep up healthy but can also help in understanding how genetics can affect obesity.
We all know some people who spontaneously know what foods are good for them and how to balance their diet. But, unfortunately, this is not the case for all of us.
The nutrigenomics market-main aims at normal individuals in need of dietary intervention but lacking the intuitive knowledge to make food choices in line with their genetic makeup.
How diet affects our health
Studies show that a diet can affect a person’s health and lead to chronic conditions in certain circumstances. For example, when nutrients cannot be absorbed into the small intestine, they can cause weight loss and anemia, amongst other complications.
The latest studies and development regarding nutritional genomics show that genetics can change how the body takes in nutrients or if it can do so at all. Knowing the DNA makeup of an individual will help prevent chronic disease by improving their diet from an early stage.
How does Nutrigenomics help improve wellness?
Nutrigenomics works hand-in-hand with DNA to determine how an individual’s body processes nutrients. Nutrigenomic testing offers the possibility to test the individual genetic variations leading to how our body will react to various types of food.
A balanced diet is critical for healthy living, and genetic testing allows us to understand better how the body will react to different types of nutrients. It will then become easier to define a personalized diet that will help lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
When combined with physical activity, personalized nutrition is a great way to fight insulin resistance, type II diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases. If we are what we eat, precision nutrition is one of the best ways to fine-tune our dietary intake.
Over the years, home DNA test kits have become affordable and are since a straightforward process. Anyone can now order a DNA health kit from verified companies like DNA fit, Nutrigenomix, or Genopalate.
With an easy cheek swab, the recipient can send their DNA sample to these companies to test it. The DNA test will determine if the person carries genetic markers that link to certain foods.
While the outcome of the DNA test and being able to process certain nutrients is only based on genetic predispositions, the test helps create a higher level of certainty.
For instance, if someone carries the CYP1A2 gene, they can process caffeine faster and easier than folks who don’t have this genome. Likewise, the MCM6 gene, or lactose gene, helps process lactose easily compared to lactose-intolerant people who don’t have enough of the MCM6 gene.
The fat gene or FTO gene is prevalent in certain ethnic groups. The FTO gene puts people at a higher risk of developing diabetes. In addition, their risks of developing Type II diabetes are increased when leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating a diet rich in carbohydrates.
Altering the diet based on the genetics present in an individual can thus help reduce chronic diseases. In essence, Nutrigenomics can help anybody plan and adjust their diet according to their unique genetic variation to eat foods that process more efficiently.
Nutrigenomics can help determine the following:
- Genetic health risks
- Carrier screening
- Possible wellness and health traits
- Wellness and dietary tolerance
- Cellular aging
How does Nutrigenomics affect work and life?
When it comes to Nutritional Genomics, it’s good to know that it has so many advantages. As part of effective lifestyle changes, people may experience better work conditions and abilities if they are healthier.
As a preventative measure, reducing the onset of metabolic diseases and chronic conditions will help people lead better lives. Health conditions such as hypertension and heart disease, if gone unchecked, can result in hospitalization or worse.
It is also very costly to maintain medical bills. For some people who are only diagnosed later, there may be health concerns that could permanently put them off duty.
Some nutrigenomics tests available at home
In the past, 23andMe was the only option for health DNA test kits, and they were also one of the first companies approved by the FDA back in 2017.
With all the home kit DNA tests available, it can become overwhelming to decide which one to choose. There’s also competition between companies and the related market. Thankfully, there are kits suited to various budgets and goals. The following are some of the tests available.
Epigenetics+ DNA Test
Epigenetics+DNA testing from My Toolbox provides the test kit as well as access to customized extras. These extras may include a gym or fitness program, access to meals and breakdown nutrients, as well as a tracking tool to stay on track using a smart device.
Inside Tracker gives users a deeper insight into how they can improve their lifestyle considering nutrients and diet. For convenience, Inside Tracker is also compatible with the Garmin fitness tracker, which helps streamline things even more.
Since everyone’s body is different, the program allows for a suitable meal plan, exercise regimen, and lifestyle habits to help improve wellness. Of course, you can also easily track your progress as you go, which is very motivational.
Are all the health testing kits equal to each other?
Not all DNA health testing kits effectively decode variables related to Nutrigenomics, but they may provide some information related to genetic mutations. Genetic mutations can help narrow down what works best and may not work in a patient’s diet and wellness plan.
Nutrigenomics is highly beneficial and a leading breakthrough in healthcare
Nutrigenomics has many pros, and taking a simple health test even from the comfort of your home is the first step to improving your health and wellness on a deeper level.
Some of the fantastic benefits of Nutritional Genomics include but are not limited to:
Knowing even more insights into macro and micro-nutrients
A deeper understanding of both macro and micro-nutrients can help determine how these will affect an individual and what levels. Think of the test results as being put through a microscope and assessed at an advanced level. After that, it is tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual.
Possible sweet-treat indulgence permission
On the bright side, a person may indulge in foods considered less healthy if they don’t negatively impact their body or health.
Cut out unnecessary dietary supplements
When fully aware of the nutrition the body needs, it won’t be necessary to keep taking unnecessary dietary supplements. Less unhelpful dietary supplements mean saving on additional costs.
Conclusion to Nutritional Genomics
With breakthrough studies of over 20 years, analyzing human genomes has helped set the tone for life-changing implementations that could help save lives. Organizations like The Center for Nutritional Genomics are dedicated to studying the relationship between nutrients and genetics.
Who would have thought that not everyone can process nutrients in the same way? Or that genetic structures are directly linked to whether or not the body can absorb nutrients or react negatively towards them.
One of the issues to be resolved, though, is how people will interpret the results of the gene variants. Most Nutrigenomics at-home Testing companies will only provide comprehensive analyses and advice. You may learn that your gene pool craves turkey but dislikes mutton. But nothing is black and white in genetics, and the best way to safely follows a personalized nutrition program is to talk to your doctor or nutritionist.
Somehow a recent study conducted by a team of Australian researchers showed that doctors were still lacking the proper training and knowledge on making the most of such tests aiming at improving nutrition.
Our genome is our most precious resource, and nutrition science has a lot to benefit from Nutrigenomics. This is just the beginning of the road for gene bases nutritional intervention, but the promises are huge. In addition, metabolomics and functional food are new components that will also need to be factored in the complex field of nutritional science.