Recent research has revealed a potential connection between nutrition and our genes. This new area of science is called nutritional genomics and is focused on how foods affect our genes, as well as how individual genetic differences can affect the way we respond to the consumption of foods. Experts are of the opinion that nutrition advice from dietitians will be based partly on an individual's genes. Only the future will tell!
How Do Your Genes Impact You? As most of us know, we all inherit our genes from our parents, which determines how we look (including eye and hair color), as well as how our body functions. The study of genetics involves looking at how individual traits are inherited from our family members.
The current research is looking closely at our genes to learn how our health and behavior is influenced by them. We already know that our risks for many chronic diseases and health problems are increased when found in our parents and/or grandparents. An example of inherited health conditions is an intolerance to milk. Lactose intolerance is more common in African-American and Asian populations than in Caucasian populations. This has been linked to a common genetic trait in these populations. Although we know many health problems are inherited, the possible link between nutrition and our genes is not understood. While we know our genes play a role in our overall health and wellness, we also know that our health is greatly influenced by our lifestyle - diet, exercise, and habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking tobacco.
Can Diet Impact Your Genes? Researchers are finding that our genes may determine how our diet, as well as your lifestyle, affect your health. What we eat can greatly influence cellular reactions in our body's tissues and organs. Diet and lifestyle-based habits may also contribute to the likelihood of developing chronic diseases. More research on the relationship between diet and genetics may help to explain individual differences in the development of disease. This research may also help us in determining how we can continue to prevent the onset of chronic disease.
There is no question that what we eat most often will always matter. Living a healthy lifestyle, including eating a healthy diet, including regular forms of physical activity, managing stress, and proper supplementation is and will continue to be important for everyone - regardless of their genes. It is, however, very exciting that we will soon know more about the role of genes and our ongoing health and wellness.
Genetic Testing Genetic testing is available in many doctors offices worldwide. Testing in these settings, however, can be extremely expensive and is often not covered by health insurance. I currently offer genetic testing in my practice through Gene SNP DNA Analysis. Through this technology, your health and lifestyle considerations can be addressed by examining your own unique, genetic makeup. The Gene SNP DNA Screening Analysis provides you with valuable information about the relationship between your genetic profile and your health. It is an affordable and extremely easy process, and the best part is that the results remain accurate throughout your entire life. This is because our genes don't change! You will receive a comprehensive action plan including: dietary recommendations; the types of exercises most beneficial for your body; recommended overall lifestyle changes; and personalized nutritional supplementation recommendations to support your health.
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD, Nutrition Specialist and Owner of Lifestyle Management & Nutrition, received her Bachelor's Degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Vermont. Upon graduation in 2003 she spent four years providing nutrition education and counseling to local Vermonters. In 2007 she returned to the University of Vermont to complete a two-year Master's program in Dietetics and Nutrition. She is now practicing as a Registered Dietitian at Essex Physical Therapy located in Essex Center, Vermont.
This blog is a reflection of her thoughts on nutrition including: nutrition tips, proper supplementation, recent developments in nutrition, and information about nutrition as a fundamental piece of true health.