Nanci Guest, MSc, RD, CSCS, Registered Dietitian, discusses What is Nutrigenomics and How Can It Help You
What is Nutrigenomics and How Can It Help
While over the past couple of decades we’ve recognized through research that our personal DNA affects how we respond to our environment, whether it be medications, diet, supplements or even our response to exercise.
The field of nutrigenomics is the study of our gene nutrient interactions, so basically how we respond to a nutrient with regard to absorption, digestion, metabolism. And through this we look to improve our health and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases related to nutrition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and conditions such as high blood pressure.
There are now about two decades of research that show that our own unique DNA will affect the way we respond to our environment. And this includes a dietary response, as well as our response to supplements, medications and even our response to exercise.
And the area specifically related to diet is called nutrigenomics. And nutrigenomics is basically the study of nutrient diet interactions. And from this science has shown that each of us have unique genetic variations that can affect the way we respond to nutrients in our diet.
Nutrigenomic testing is done generally through a saliva test. So you provide a sample of your saliva and that goes to a lab. And then it’s analyzed for certain gene nutrient interactions that have been well established in the research. So once we know your genotype or your certain genetic variation, we can then determine how you respond to various nutrients.
So for example, we have one of our main tests that we use as dietitians is your response to coffee. And many of us are at risk of high blood pressure or a heart attack if we’re a slow metabolizer versus a fast metabolizer.
And actually half of the population is at risk. And in addition we have sodium, for example. Some people are at risk for high blood pressure with too much sodium in their diet, again depending on a genetic variation because some people are not.
If an individual has questions or is interested in nutrigenomic testing in order to improve their diet based on their DNA, they can contact a registered dietitian or another health care professional that provides nutrigenomic testing in their practice. Local Registered Dietitians
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