Genetic tests a valuable tool
Everyone’s body is unique and has different needs when it comes to food.
By Deepika Suresh, Genetics Specialist and Chief of Staff, Xcode Life
CHENNAI: Many of us have experienced the frustration of not getting the desired results despite following a diet to the T. It can be very tiresome and exhausting to jump from one diet bandwagon to the next without being able to figure out which works the best for your body type.
Along with good sleep and exercise, diet forms one of the three pillars of human health. In fact, one can even say that good health begins and ends with diet. When nutrition holds such an important stake, is it fair to blindly follow the one-size-fits-all approach to diets?
Everyone’s body is unique and has different needs when it comes to food. What works for your friend might not work for you, and that’s because we all have a unique instruction manual on how our body functions — the DNA.
Let’s assume that each page of this DNA manual represents a gene. These genes contain instructions about how tall we will grow up, our eye colour, skin tone, and even our nutritional needs.
The science behind those interactions that take place between genes and nutrition is called Nutrigenomics. Nutrition Genetic tests aim to use this science to give us insights for crafting a diet optimal for our body’s needs.
These tests are like a map that helps us understand how our genes affect our nutritional needs. From a small sample of our saliva or blood, it is possible to identify any genetic changes or variations that could affect our nutritional needs.
You might find out that your body has a hard time absorbing certain vitamins or nutrient. Many nutrition genetic tests also include information on your health predispositions that is, how likely you are to develop health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and cancer.
Using this information, you can then make changes to your diet, for example, switching to a low-sodium, low-cholesterol diet, to offset the risk and even prevent these conditions. But here’s the thing -- genetics is just one part of the story. Genetic testing can be an incredibly valuable tool in helping you understand your nutritional requirements.