Nutritional genomics or nutrigenomics is a multidisciplinary science that deals with the study of how foods affect our genes and how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to nutrients and other naturally occurring compounds in the foods we eat. Nutrigenomics helps us appropriately understand the relationship between human genome, diet, nutrition and health.
As you are aware, no two people in the world have the same fingerprints. Similarly, our genetic variations are unique identifiers which make us different from others. It is the variations in genes that make us who we are. From our gender, the color of our hair, eyes and skin, the types of foods that work best with our bodies and even the type of exercise designed to maximize our individual performance, our genes are the set of instructions for the creation and maintenance of our bodies.
As you know, our genes are composed of combinations of nucleotides (A, C, G and T). While there are only four possible bases, they can be combined in billions of ways to code for countless functions in our body. These four bases make up the DNA sequence and combine to form words and phrases that give instructions to your body for literally everything from how your cells function to the color of your hair.
How Does Genetics Play a Role in Your Health and Wellness?
All health problems in different people are a result of the functioning of their body’s unique biological system. These unique set of instructions for your biological systems to function are encoded in your DNA. And it is by understanding and testing for variations in your unique DNA blueprint, that we are able to not only identify the root cause of your health problems but also provide targeted solutions.
For example, if you are complaining about depression, anxiety, low immunity levels and brain fog, knowing your genetic variants can be very useful because we may discover that your variants in HLA gene is causing an autoimmune response to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. Since you may be genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance, we may recommend you discontinue eating food made from wheat, say chapatis and switch to nachni or rice chapatis. And you may also be recommended to go on a gluten free diet and consume gluten free alternatives for snacks.
Since we have unique DNA, it is highly impossible that the same food gives the same response for everyone. That is why all of us have our different food preferences. By unlocking your genetic code you will be able to know how your body metabolizes carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fibers and you will be able to know if you have intolerance to gluten, lactose or caffeine, how well your body is able to absorb vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
Once you know your genotypes, you will be able to make necessary lifestyle changes whether it is altering your food habits and knowing which foods you should eat more (food that your body lacks) and which foods you must control and if possible avoid (that your body is allergic, intolerant and sensitive to) along with how can you achieve ideal body weight and increase energy and fitness levels with enhanced metabolism.