It’s written in our DNA. Our genes are what define us.
We are very excited to be able to offer Nutrigenomix genetic testing as part of our practice. We know there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to food and nutrition. This is because everyone’s DNA make-up is different – the variations in our genes makes us unique from one another. This is why we all look different and why our bodies all respond to food and nutrition slightly differently.
THE HUMAN GENOME
Research tell us that one of the most important lifestyle factors affecting your likelihood of developing certain diseases is food and nutrition. It really does have a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Since the completion of the mapping of the human genome in 2003, there has been much research looking into the effect that food can have on our genes and growing recognition of the importance of how our genes influence our health and wellbeing.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an international collaboration whose goal was to completely map and understand all of the genes that make up human beings. Our genes are made up of DNA, and our DNA is made up of four chemical bases, pairs of which form the “rungs” of the twisted, ladder-shaped DNA molecules commonly seen in DNA models. All of the genes in our body are made up of stretches of these four bases, arranged in different ways and in different lengths to form different combinations. Our genes altogether are known as our ‘genome’.
Researchers of the HGP completed the human genome mapping and now understand these three things:
- The order (sequence) of all of the bases in our genome’s DNA
- The locations of genes for major sections of all our chromosomes
- How inherited traits (such as those for genetic disease) can be tracked over generations
Through this research we now know there are about 25,000 human genes, of which virtually all can exist in different forms. There are roughly three billion DNA base pairs which make up the entire sequence of the human genome. The director of the National Human Genome Research Institute highlighted the importance of this project saying “It’s a history book – a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It’s a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it’s a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease”. As you can see, this has paved the way for fascinating research in the years following 2003 and created a whole new area of research called nutrigenomics.
WHAT IS NUTRIGENOMICS?
Nutrigenomics is the study of how diet interacts with genes to impact on health and performance. It is the science that uncovers the relationship between genes, nutrition and human health. It looks at how our genetic variation modifies our response to diet.
Often we hear people giving well-meaning advice about how they “lost weight” or “improved their energy levels”, only to try this advice and it not work for you. It has become apparent over the years that some people just respond differently than others to certain foods.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Different versions of a gene can make us respond differently to certain components in food such as the gluten in bread or the caffeine in coffee. These variations can help to explain why some people are at higher risk of vitamin D insufficiency or low iron status.
Since 2003 and the completion of the HGP, we have learnt that genetic variations in the population and between individuals can affect a wide variety of responses to key components of the human diet, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.
For example, while some people can happily consume foods and drinks in line with our Australian Dietary Guidelines, others may benefit from limiting their caffeine consumption or increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. The best diet for you will depend on your specific variants for these nutrition-related genes.
Understanding your genetic profile can provide you with insight into how your genes affect your unique response to the food and drinks you consume, and can provide you with the tools needed to make the best dietary choices.
Testing is done by the company Nutrigenomix who provide the genetic test kits, analyse the samples and provide the written reports of your results. It is backed by years of scientific evidence published in some of the world’s most reputable journals.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Knowing how specific genes can affect how you respond to different dietary components helps you to use nutrition to it’s fullest potential to prevent, manage or improve various health issues and chronic disease. This kind of testing does certainly not dismiss or contradict our Australian Dietary Guidelines, but the ‘one size fits all’ approach of these guidelines does not benefit everyone to their full potential. Genetic testing through Nutrigenomix will help transform the recommendations in the Australian Dietary Guidelines into more specific advice on the amounts of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and other dietary components you should be consuming in order to optimise your health and wellbeing and reduce your risk of developing certain diseases.
Recent research has also shown that giving people information about their genes can further motivate them to adopt healthier dietary habits.
Contact us to book in a test today!
National Human Genome Research Institute, https://www.genome.gov/12011238/an-overview-of-the-human-genome-project/