Several decades of nutrition research have shown us that no one-size diet fits all and since we are all unique, healthcare nutrition which applies to all doesn’t fit everyone. Many factors come into play as to why it may happen but the main reason has something to do with our genes or genetic makeup.
Genomic testing determines the interplay between genes, nutrition and health. It helps personalise the diet and nutrition and provides you with a blueprint for optimal health and wellness.
What do genomic tests evaluate?
Genomic tests identify the specifics of our DNA, in terms of change in our chromosomes, associated genes and/or protein . Nutrigenetic DNA tests examine the genes and variants of these genes involved in specific nutrients and their metabolism.
What can genomic testing tell you?
Genomic testing can reveal a wide range of information, from your ancestry to your health and family history. For instance, genetic testing can screen and diagnose complex diseases, find out the risk and predisposition to disease, identify hereditary disease patterns and even help in creating a course on treatment, revealing a proclivity for nutrient deficiency or toxicity, food sensitivities and even whether you’re at risk for nutrition-related diseases.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Saima Naz Khan, Senior Manager- Scientific Affairs at Genes2Me Pvt Ltd, revealed, “Every individual requires a balanced diet which should comprise macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibers) and micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) but no individual neither requires nor responds to the exact amount of these nutrients; therefore, there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. While several factors are at play, genetics plays a crucial role in our nutrition. Genomic testing can reveal why certain nutrients or diets works for an individual and why it doesn’t work for others. There are nutrigenomics services that are truly useful for anyone who wants to be proactive about their health.”
She added, “A nutrigenomics counsellor may be able to advise you on certain eating patterns that will or will not work well for you based on your individual genetic makeup. For example, because of genomic tendencies for fat metabolism, gene variants may indicate that your body would not benefit from a vegan diet or would not adapt well to a keto diet. A nutrigenomic test can identify your personal best sources of macronutrients and micronutrients. Choosing a diet based on your genetic tendencies can help you achieve your health objectives.”
Elaborating upon the same, Dr Akansha Sahay, General Physician at Tattvan E-clinic, said, “Nutrigenomics, a science that studies interaction of nutrition and genes is flourishing and changing lives. DNA test for diet and nutrition can give us information about foods that can be healthy for us and ones which can pose a risk of various health conditions. Choosing a diet based on your genetic tendencies can help you to achieve your desired health goals.”
She listed the factors whose information can be provided by DNA testing:
1. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies – calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, and more.
2. Bone mineral density (BMD)
3. Body Mass Index (BMI)
4. Response of macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fats and fibers on your weight.
5. Salt intake and blood pressure sensitivity
What is a DNA-based diet?
Dr Akansha Sahay explained, “These diets are based on nutrigenomics, the study of the relationship between nutrition and the human genome. Examining one’s DNA can help determine which diet would be most appropriate for one’s health. A genetic test is undertaken to determine the correlation between a person’s genes and nutrition level for their overall health. This info is primarily used by experts to pinpoint the best diet for them. Nutrigenomics is a wonder by which we can even correct cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 1 diabetes and other lifestyle diseases,Your DNA can influence not only your food behaviour, but is also capable of altering the expression of various hormones and enzymes critical to metabolism. These determine your response to diet, predisposition to weight gain and metabolism.”
She said, “Nutrigenomics (also known as nutritional genomics) is broadly defined as the relationship between nutrients, diet and gene expression. Phenylketonuria is an example of single gene mutation.” About the examples of nutrigenomics, she said, “Phenylketonuria patients should avoid phenylalanine-rich food. Many Asian populations have the problem of deficiency of the aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme, which is responsible for metabolism of ethanol.”
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