Eating…According To Your Genes!

Have you ever wondered why different diets or eating patterns get results for some people, and not others? Well that is because of our different genotypes, or genetic makeup, that determine how our bodies metabolize nutrients, which forms of exercise we excel at, or what type of diet helps with weight management. Genetic testing for nutrition and exercise can help put an end to generic advice, and give you personalized feedback on how to optimize your health and wellness!

Nourish is now offering genetic testing through Nutrigenomix, and you can book a consult on our website. A few of the Nourish dietitians have received their own results, and want to fill you in on what they learned and what changes they have made. Here’s what they have to say…

Abby

I have never completed any sort of genetic testing before, so I was quite intrigued to see the results of my Nutrigenomix test. There were multiple gene markers that were either elevated or diminished, but I’ll only focus on a few here today.  To start off, let’s talk about B12. B12 is essential to make red blood cells and DNA. B12 cannot be made in the body so we must consume it from foods or even supplementation. My gene markers indicated that I have an elevated risk of having a B12 deficiency. As a vegetarian, this did not surprise me too much. I’m usually quite aware of my B12 intake since it is found only in animal products or fortified foods. Although I do not eat meat, I’ve aimed to ensure that I’m consuming adequate amounts of eggs, yogurt, and soy products like tofu, which is usually fortified with B vitamins. I also eat fish sometimes, so I’ve been aiming to incorporate more salmon. Moving on to gluten- the genetic test indicated that I had a medium risk for gluten intolerance. I’ve never experienced any noticeable side effects from consuming gluten in the form rashes or gastrointestinal upset, so this did not affect my eating habits too much. I love a good sandwich on whole wheat bread, and wasn’t ready to part with it. Lastly, and most surprising to me, my genetic marker indicated that I have an increased risk for an Achilles tendon injury.  While this hasn’t impacted my nutrition habits, I have been thinking about it more when I run, and mostly hoping that I don’t get injured. But on a positive note, the genetic test also showed that I have a heightened pain tolerance if I ever end up with the injury. Hey, you win some you lose some!

 

Diana

My Nutrigenomix test results contained some surprises, which have definitely led to some changes. First, I found that I have an elevated risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Because I spend most of my time indoors and wear sunscreen when I am in sunlight, I don’t get much Vitamin D since this vitamin is synthesized in our body from sunlight. I did not previously take a supplement, but I do now to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin D, which helps bone health, muscle function and immune function. I also found that I am at high risk for gluten intolerance. Going gluten free is not something that I have tried yet, but this information is good to know because if I do begin to experience symptoms of gluten intolerance, which can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and headaches, I will have a good starting point for an elimination diet rather than just guessing at what could be causing these symptoms. Knowing that other risk factors, such as folate, beta-carotene and other vitamin metabolism is typical gives me peace of mind that I am likely getting these nutrients from food. And learning that I have a genetic advantage in power and strength activity like lifting weights has given me more motivation to focus on this at the gym!

 

Samantha 

I found it very helpful to know what vitamins I was likely to become deficient in as a reminder to include more of those specific foods in my daily intake. One of my elevated risks was Vitamin B12, and I now know that I am at a higher risk for vitamin deficiency, but am also aware of the daily recommended amount, along with a foods list of high vitamin B12 foods and the serving size, which is extremely helpful! I was relieved to know I am “typical” in the caffiene category, but it did not surprise me that I have an elevated risk of high blood pressure when my sodium intake is high, as it runs in my family. I was shocked and excited to see that I have a genetic advantage to excel in endurance sports, after being active and playing sports my whole life, it is nice to know my genetic make up allows me to continue! Overall, this was a very helpful tool to see what areas of my health I may need to focus in on based on my genetic make-up, and the information provided to improve was very thorough and clear to follow.

 

Melanie

My Nutrigenomix test results have given me plenty of personalized nutrition and exercise recommendations I can use to improve my wellness.  I discovered that my risk for low iron status is elevated when iron intake is low. I do have a history of anemia, and need to focus on getting enough heme (animal) and non-heme (plant) iron in my diet. Adding foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus or tomato sauce to veggie dishes increases the absorption of plant-based iron, which I can certainly do!  Next, I discovered that I have an enhanced weight management response to consuming a high protein diet, about 25-35% of total energy intake. I can definitely tell if I am not getting enough protein in my diet because I feel hungrier, crave sugar, and have less energy for workouts, so these results have motivated me to make protein a priority when planning my meals. Lastly, I discovered that I have a genetic advantage to excelling in power and strength-based exercise, rather than endurance (my dad has the marathon running gene-not me!).  I have since adjusted my exercise to focus more on weight lifting and HIIT workouts vs. long cardio sessions, which also saves me a lot of time!

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