Understanding the relationship between your health and your food – including the role proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional components play – has been a subject that has fascinated humans for centuries. Health conscious individuals rush to pick up the latest diet books – whether they relate to losing weight, enhancing health or avoiding certain disease states like cancer or osteoporosis. However, not all dietary recommendations hold true for everyone. When a research study suggests that the lycopene in tomatoes is good for bone health in postmenopausal women, immediately you might think of a friend or relative who is allergic or simply cannot tolerate tomatoes well. So, while tomatoes are good for bone health, they are not good for bone health in everyone.
To hone in on the unique nutritional factors that drive disease, the field of nutrigenomics studies the interaction between nutrition and our genes in order to make individualized treatment plans to optimize your health. To schedule a consultation with an integrative practitioner in that is an expert in nutrigenomics testing, call (470) 419-4380 or contact us online.
How Does Nutrigenomics Work?
The next frontier in nutritional science may enable individualized nutrition guidelines based on genotype. Nutrigenomics research focuses on SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms), which are DNA-sequences that vary from human to human and make us unique. Your DNA is 99.5% identical to every other human being; only .5% is variable, accounting for hair and eye color and every other factor that makes you unique. The SNPs account for 90% of that .5% of genetic variation.
Your genetic makeup determines everything from how your metabolism operates to how your body stores fat. It also shapes patterns of behavior–like overeating–and preferences for certain foods. Hunger levels and tendencies to develop conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all strongly influenced by gene expression. Mental states and mental illnesses are known to have roots in genetic makeup
The SNPs involved in basic cell maintenance are thought to impact the development of disease. It is becoming clear that multiple factors – nutrition, toxins, bacteria, viruses, drugs and physical activity – impact these SNPs, either increasing or decreasing the risk of disease. Fortunately, your genes are adaptable and can be turned on and off by external influences called epigenetics. By understanding the individualized aspects of genetic expression, human beings can influence epigenetics and design interventions in their lifestyle, nutrition and environment to prevent disease and live longer, healthier lives.
Nutrigenomics focuses specifically on the impact nutrition (from food and supplements) has on your health. The data from these SNPs – obtained from nutrigenomics testing – then shapes what your ideal diet should look like to prevent the disease you are genetically predisposed to developing. Ongoing nutrigenomics testing is addressing nutrigenomics and obesity, nutrigenomics and cancer, even nutrigenomics and schizophrenia.
In the future, nutrigenomics testing may show that, based of your genetic makeup, you may respond better to krill oil for omega-3 absorption than your sister who responds best to eating wild caught salmon. Certain people may respond better to a vegetarian diet, whereas others optimize their health by being meat-eaters.
It has been suggested that nutrigenomic testing has the potential to:
- Eradicate obesity
- Prevent or cure diseases like cancer or diabetes
- Reduce or even reverse aging
Nutrigenomics testing is conducted by using a swab saliva sample for your DNA testing. A report providing biomarkers and nutritional recommendations is typically provided and is generally accompanied by individualized counseling with interpretation of the results from your healthcare provider. Any integrative healthcare professional providing nutrigenomics testing and counseling requires an adequate level of expertise in nutritional science and genetics research.
The Future of Nutritional Science
Historically, nutritional research has focused on preventing malnutrition and studying nutritional deficiency diseases. They were studying what was missing. The focus of modern nutritional research has shifted to utilize nutrition as a critical tool to prevent disease.
If you’ve been suffering from disease states impacted by nutritional choices, nutrigenomics testing can be a safe and effective way to approach your condition or to gain the tools necessary to prevent diseases from ever manifesting.
To learn more about nutrigenomics and to schedule a consultation with a qualified integrative medical professional in that specializes in nutrigenomics testing, call (470) 419-4380 or contact us online.