There are many people who feel that they are not able to achieve their health goals in spite of a conscientious diet and fitness routine. Even regular health checks do not seem to help. Is there any method to identify and bridge the gap? Nutrigenomics is the science that looks at the interaction between our diet and lifestyle habits and how they affect our DNA in terms of regulating genes responsible for metabolism, development, and overall wellness.
Why is it Important to Understand Nutrigenomics?
- Common dietary elements can act on our DNA, either directly or indirectly, to alter gene expression or structure. For example, dietary fat/carbohydrate intake affects genetic activity, metabolism rates, adiposity and thereby, a likelihood of weight gain (obesity).
- Sometimes, for some of us, diet can be a serious risk factor for many diseases. For example, carriers of MTHFR gene variants may have lower enzyme activity and hence a higher risk for developing folate deficiency. In such instances, a reduced intake of Vitamin B6-containing foods may trigger clinical manifestation — screening can help implement dietary changes to manage health better.
- The impact of diet on the balance between healthy and diseased states depends on our DNA. For example, variation in the SOD2 gene can alter the the antioxidant activity and increase the risk for excessive oxidative damage. Individuals who carry such variants need to ensure richer portions of antioxidants in their diet. Exercise routines can be planned with adequate rest between heavy workouts for repair/recovery.
- Some diet-regulated genes (and their common variants) can affect the onset, incidence, progression, and/or severity of chronic diseases.
- Chronic diseases can be prevented, mitigated, or addressed through dietary intervention based on the knowledge of nutritional requirement, nutritional status, and genotype. For example, certain gene variants can increase the likelihood of developing gluten intolerance. Genetic screening can help identify such risk factors for dietary intervention if required. This can have a positive impact on health, overall wellness, as well as athletic performance.
What Can You Learn From Nutrigenomics?
- Your power to absorb vital nutrients required for a healthy body and mind
- The impact of nutrients on various organs and pathways
- Nutritional factors that can protect your genome from damage
- Impact of genes on your lifestyle, diet, fitness, habits, etc.
When Is The Best Time To Get A Test?
The answer is NOW! Nutrigenomics are once-in-a-lifetime tests that are noninvasive. From newborns to nonagenarians, anyone can take this test. Whether you are starting your wellness journey or a veteran health and fitness expert, these tests can help you get to know yourself better.
How Can You Use It To Improve Quality Of Life?
Nutrigenomics can be the game-changer that empowers you on your wellness journey or enables you to achieve your fitness goals. Here’s how it works:
- Genetic tests are available online — you order one and receive the sample collection kit, along with a health history questionnaire.
- Once you send the sample, your DNA is extracted and analyzed for several key markers associated with diet, fitness, well-being, disease risk, and more.
- The genetic counselor correlates genetic findings with health history to offer personalized nutrition, fitness, and wellness advice.
- Your nutritionists and personal trainers can also be part of the genetic counseling session in order to design diet plans and fitness routines that work for you.
Sharing her views on the importance of Nutrigenomics, Pooja Ramachandran, India’s pioneering genetic counselor says, “The need for personalizing nutrition was seen soon after the conclusion of the Human Genome Project and the ensuing impact of personalized medicine. Nutrigenomics is poised to be a powerful tool for nutritionists, dietitians, doctors as well as any healthcare professional in using nutrition therapy for the treatment of disease. More importantly, Nutrigenomics may facilitate the prevention of diet-related diseases, and help design individualized nutritional strategies based on anticipated adverse or beneficial impacts of specific food or nutrients for a particular individual.”