Eat according to your genes

Are you confused about which diet you should follow? Should you avoid dairy or gluten? What about coffee? Are you slow or fast metabolized? Do you feel some foods starting to affect you in a different way that they used to?

Food intake and the environment are the two main factors that affect our health or illness. We are what we eat, and now we have the ability to identify what’s best to eat for our specific genes, and to improve our nutritional status or that of specific nutrients used in fixing the genetic expression with personalized nutrition. For example, aging and cancer are especially influenced by dietary factors.

Nutrigenomics is a relatively new field of research that examines the relationships between what we eat and our risk, our response to disease, and the molecular mediators (genes and gene expression and biomarkers, such as hormones or metabolites) between them. Since ancient times, humans have known that environment and food can interfere with an individual’s health condition, and have used food and plants as medicines. With the advance of science, especially after the conclusion of the Human Genome Project (HGP), scientists started questioning if the interaction between genes and food bioactive compounds could positively or negatively influence an individual’s health. In order to assess this interaction between genes and nutrients, the term “Nutrigenomics” was created.

Nutrigenomics corresponds to the use of biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics to find and explain the interactions between genes and nutrients at a molecular level. The discovery of these gene-nutrient interactions will aid the prescription of customized diets according to each person’s genotype. So the use of nutrigenomics has the potential to revolutionize the understanding of our nutrient needs, because it takes into account our genetic profile.

I am now actually offering nutrigenomic gene testing to understand what foods are most likely to cause problems, and what you can change to improve your health, rather than just guessing what the best approach for you is. I’m working with the company Nutrigenomix Inc., which was started by scientists at the University of Toronto and offers a comprehensive test of 45 genes.

Genetic testing can reveal some very interesting things. For example, it can show you how quickly your body metabolizes caffeine by examining a gene known as CYP1A2. Heavy coffee drinkers who are slow caffeine metabolizers retain more of the stimulant in the body, putting them at increased risk of having a heart attack and developing diabetes and hypertension, studies have found. People who metabolize caffeine quickly receive a protective effect from moderate consumption of coffee, some studies have found.

If you’d like to learn more about how genetic testing works, and how it can benefit you, then please e-mail me! You can check our Nutrigenomix practitioner page, you’ll find a lot of articles, videos and more information there on the Nutrigenomix website too.

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