Why would I need a genetic test?
Genetic testing has been around since the 1950s but only in the area of chromosome counting to detect genetic disorders at birth. Since then it has expanded throughout the years to newborn screening, diagnostic testing, carrier testing, preimplantation genetic disorders, prenatal diagnosis,
predictive and presymptomatic testing, pharmacogenomics, nutrigenomics.
Nutrigenomic testing is the science of studying the relationship between the humane genome, nutrition, and health and will be discussed further in this article. This area of genetic testing is still relatively new but it lays the foundation of truly personalised nutrition.
Who will benefit from Nutrigenomic testing?
Any individual wanting treatment, lifestyle, and disease prevention tailored appropriately for their unique needs will benefit. Nutrigenomics can give you insight into how best to manage your weight with interventions unique to you that impact metabolism, absorption, and storage of fats and carbohydrates.
It can also give you insight into the potential risk of lifestyle disease and how to best prevent them from happening, enhance your performance in sport and take care of your health in a way that is personalised and precise. A few areas that these tests look at including Cardiovascular health, Glucose and insulin balance, Risk for blood clotting, Bone, collagen and joint health, brain health, Sex hormone balance and Detoxification, inflammation, and oxidative stress to name a few.
My husband’s genetic report
I’m going you use my husband’s report as an example to share how this has been of benefit for him and why I love to use these tests in my practice.
*Important to note that the type of genes tested are what we call low penetrance genes which means that is not indefinite that you will develop a certain disease no matter any changes that you make but that you can prevent these lifestyle diseases through changing your habits.
We found that he has a risk for Cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline as well as insufficiencies in how he is able to detoxify. His highest priority is inflammation and oxidative stress, we also found out that he is caffeine sensitive but he already knew this from personal experience.
Now that we know this information what do we do about it… For him, the risk of cognitive decline is very scary but we are putting a few interventions in place to help prevent this from happening, for example, assessing his sugar intake, focus on eating lots of plants and all the colors of the rainbow from fruit and vegetables and most importantly work on his inflammation which your brain does not like to have to hang around… We have introduced specific supplements to his routine such as omega 3, Vitamin D, and Phosphatidylcholine as well as regular exercise… Your brain loves to exercise.
We have recently adopted a plant-based way of eating and he has found a lot of improvement with regards to his inflammation in eating this way. It is definitely a mind shift as we are Afrikaans and grew up eating lots of meat and braai meat every weekend with family and friends.
We have to support his liver by reducing alcohol and caffeine intake and giving his liver the right nutrients to function appropriately like your cruciferous vegetables and again lots of color in his diet from plants. There are specific nutrients that will be of great benefit to him like sulforaphane which is the active ingredient in broccoli.
The information in these tests is not supposed to scare you but empower you to make specific diet and lifestyle changes that are personalised to you to help prevent and better manage your health.
“Genetic testing doesn’t tell you how you are going to die, it tells you how you are going to live and that’s a very important step for all of us in gaining back control of our health.” Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., FACN