It’s an exciting time in the field of genetics with the growing body of research in epigenetics and nutrigenomics and Scientists learning more and more about just how set our genetic heritage really is.
The science shows the genes are more like gears, that have to be activated or engaged before they will perform. It’s no longer accepted that you are just the victim or hero predetermined by your genetic pool.
Food (your diet) and your lifestyle choices literally act like the dial on a fan, turning it up or down, up-regulating or down regulating your gene expression.
What does this mean:
Well, it means that (for the most part) no matter what genetic blueprint you are born with, you can change how your genes (and which genes express) by changing what you eat and how you live.
It’s exciting because it means you have choices.
Ok so for some things, sure your genes are set, like eye colour and skin colour etc… but beyond that, there is a lot of scope to influence how your genes express. Even when there are strong genetic risk factors, they are rarely 100 percent guaranteed, which means there is hope for people with many genetic risk factors. For example people that are genetically more prone to obesity can learn which foods trigger them to gain weight. They can learn their vulnerabilities and strengths in appetite regulation and tasting ability and use this information to manage triggers in their lives. For example someone with poor satiety signalling or appetite control should avoid buffets. They would be better suited to dine a la carte when eating out or to purchase portion controlled healthy meals delivered to their door, rather than risking testing their willpower driving past MacDonalds hungry.
It’s also exciting because it allows us to make predictions and gives us an honest shot at prevention, rather than waiting until disease expresses before trying to treat or cure.
For example if you have genetic variations that mean you are vulnerable to inflammation, and you know, you could eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, and you could limit foods that would cause inflammation in your life. And you could avoid a bunch of processed food that can cause inflammation. This would hopefully protect you against symptoms and the side effects of inflammation like arthritis or other inflammatory diseases.
However if you are prone to inflammation and your cupboard looks like this below, you are in danger of a bunch of unpleasant symptoms.
And of course, it’s not just disease, if you know your genetic strengths and weaknesses in terms of types of exercise your body is suited to and other factors, you could prevent injury, enhance performance and play to your strengths.
More and more Science is showing we need to move away from the idea that: “One size fits all” when it comes to health, nutrition and fitness. Your best chance at influencing your genes for the better, is knowing what they are.
Everyday, you are influencing your genes. Give yourself the best odds by eating the right foods for you, and finding how your body enjoys getting fit.
Our nutritionist can order a range of basic DNA tests. Get in touch if you have any questions or interest and we can point you in the right direction or book an appointment. Email us on [email protected]