Nutrigenomics is the study of how our diet influences our genome, which contains our DNA and instruction for life. The genome carries the story of our ancestors health, and how that has influenced our own health today.
Genes however are not your destiny, they are your blueprint. Once you learn how to read the blueprint and make improvements where there are weaknesses in the design, the foundation becomes healthier and more resilient. It is the epigenetic expression of our genes that determines health or illness.
When we look at family history, we may see susceptibilities to certain lifestyle diseases. This could be diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, or cancer. Before genetic testing, we were not able to pinpoint exactly how these diseases may be manifesting. Research continues to show that stress, sleep, diet, relationships and environment all play a role in whether or not these diseases manifest. Genetic testing allows us to see where exactly these biochemical steps may require more intervention.
Why Nutrigenomics Testing?
Your genetic analysis will tell you the biochemical steps that have specific vitamin, mineral and amino acid requirements to do their job correctly. Certain gene mutations may increase the requirement of certain vitamins and minerals to normalize function. For example, if you have a slow COMT enzyme, you may have a much lower threshold for stress. But increased magnesium and vitamin C helps speed the enzyme to a normal rate, lowering the stress response and risk of stress induced dysfunction.
A genetic analysis can help us discover exactly where the “chinks” in your armor are, and what we can do to strengthen the biochemical system through nutrition.
What Can You Expect to Find in Your Nutrition Genome Analysis?
If you look at current blood work, diet, environment, stress and sleep patterns, you can see a snapshot of your health. What a genetic analysis does, is allow you to see where you need to focus most attention for optimal health. One theory states that there is only one disease and two causes: deficiency and toxicity. A genetic analysis helps you see both.
For example, high glutamate levels are implicated in anxiety, IBS, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Your genetic report and family history may reveal that you would want to avoid triggers of high of high glutamate like MSG, sugar, wheat, dairy and excessive exercise, while an increased need of vitamin C, B6, magnesium and zinc is needed to prevent high levels of glutamate from occurring in the body.
Another example is folate. Folate is extremely important for healthy DNA protection and repair. Cancer risk is higher when DNA repair is poor, and increased in risk by mutations in DNA repair genes like BRCA 1. Certain genes tell you when your folate requirement may be higher, and therefore needed for preventing inflammation and increasing DNA repair.
The Future of Nutrigenomics
There are more than 10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).1 Many of the SNPs are only believed to increase risk of certain diseases by a small amount: only 1 percent in many cases, while others may increase risk 20-70 percent.2 All variants that are common enough to be called polymorphisms have been inherited over many hundreds or thousands of generations.3 Therefore I believe the best approach is not to treat a single SNP, but to utilize nutrigenomics to strengthen your entire genome by looking at family history, stress, blood work, current diet, medication-induced deficiency and genetic susceptibilities.
A common phrase that is used is that upcoming generations will be the first generation that won’t live as long as their parents. Our great challenge today is providing ourselves and the next generation better health than our parents and grandparents. Epigenetics – the study of the environmental influence on the expression of our genes – shows us that changes in our diet and environment can completely change our genetic destiny. Studies have shown that nutritional degeneration in one generation show can also reverse just as quickly to regeneration.
Therefore, it is my belief that we have the ability to be healthier and live longer lives than any generation before us. A knowledge of your genetics and biochemistry is a scientific gift to make this a reality, with a multigenerational ripple effect. Everything you do today will not only positively influence your health, but every generation after you.
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