We can’t change our genes but we can change our lifestyle

The future of personalised healthcare

Since the Human Genome Project was successfully completed there has been a rapid rise in our understanding and knowledge surrounding the topic of nutrigenomics and epigenetics - the relationship between our genes and our environment.

Many previously underestimated the role of nutrition in disease prevention, and there is now a growing research base looking into the associations between genes and disease risks; but perhaps even more importantly – the role that lifestyle, including our chosen diet and nutrition, play in ameliorating these risks.

Personalised lifestyle medicine uses an individuals genetic profile to highlight areas of potential vulnerability, which then helps guide decisions made with regards to how to ameliorate these by tailoring the diet and lifestyle accordingly – this may or may not require the use of select supplements, for example to support healthy detoxification – however recommendations should primarily be dietary and lifestyle related for the most natural and sustainable approach.

Knowing your genetic variants is empowering

Genes are made up of DNA, and are the templates to make proteins in the body, with every human receiving two copies of every gene – one from each parent. Variations in these genes, called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs (pronounced “SNiPs”) can alter the function of the genes within which they are found; and whilst this does not always have any clinical impact, in other cases it can. Knowing a person’s SNPs can therefore offer a powerful health advantage by allowing a practitioner trained in nutrigenomics to prescribe tailored lifestyle and nutritional recommendations that can help compensate for these variants.

DNA testing is simple and informative – when done correctly

Gene testing is quick and non-invasive using a simple cheek swab, which should then be analysed by a laboratory skilled in handling these samples and in their interpretation. Choosing a laboratory with experience in this area and who have rigorous quality control procedures is important in this rapidly growing area, which is why we choose to use DNAlife.

What helps DNAlife stand out is not the number of SNPs they test, but the fact they only test for select SNPs that have clinical significance; ones you can actually take action to ameliorate should a variant be found in your genetic material. These SNP test panels are kept up-to-date as the validity of each SNP is supported by at least three separate peer-reviewed publications - an important distinction. DNAlife only work with appropriately certified healthcare practitioners, as a SNP panel requires consideration within the greater context of each person’s health history to be of most use.

DNA tests on offer

No matter which test panel is selected, a comprehensive report is issued that clearly displays the level of gene impact, for example: no impact, low, moderate, high impact or even beneficial – as some gene variants can actually be advantageous to health. So how do you choose? See below for the options available and their personal and/or clinical relevance: 

DNA Health

This is the foundational SNP panel that is for everyone. It reports on genes involved in the following areas:

  • Lipid (fat) metabolism
  • Bone health
  • Methylation
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Food responsiveness
  • Detoxification

A DNA Health test helps to:

  • highlight specific metabolic pathways that may require extra support;
  • provide recommendations such as optimising certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals;
  • suggest whether a person is better able to reduce biomarkers such as cholesterol levels through diet;
  • provide an indication as to how susceptible a person may be to the harmful effects of carcinogens and other toxins ingested in the diet or in the environment.

DNA Diet

This test includes well-researched gene variations that can impact weight management. Not everyone gains or loses weight while following the same diet – therefore identifying a person’s response to diet and lifestyle modification to help control weight can be extremely advantageous.

The DNA Diet test helps to:

  • provide a strategy for weight management based upon genetic make-up;
  • may help motivate a person with a weight loss goal;
  • provide an understanding as to why another weight loss strategy may not have achieved the desired results;
  • provide some insight into which dietary style (e.g. Mediterranean, low carb, low fat) may be the most suitable eating style with which to manage their weight, based upon a person’s genotype.

DNA Mind

This test analyses 30 genes, which have been shown to have significant associations with key mental health disorders. Whilst inheriting these may be significant, environmental factors also play a key role in their development – factors which may be modifiable.

The DNA Mind test incudes genes involved in key biological areas related to mental health, including:

  • Lipid (fat) metabolism
  • Inflammation
  • Methylation
  • Neurotrophic, dopaminergic & serotonergic pathways
  • Endo-cannabinoid pathway
  • Cell-signaling

DNA Sport

This test examines various biological areas that impact training responsiveness and sports performance. These include soft tissue remodeling, inflammation, oxidative stress, oxygen transport and VO2Max, glycogenolysis, mitochondrial biogenesis, muscle building capacity and muscle fibre type. This knowledge can help direct training regimes in order to enhance any genetic advantage as well as identify any potential vulnerabilities that need to be supported through training and nutrition strategies.

DNA Sport reports on the following areas:

  • Soft tissue injury risk
  • Exercise recovery
  • Power potential
  • Endurance potential
  • Caffeine metabolism
  • Salt sensitivity
  • Peak performance time

This test may help to:

  • Give insight into the power and endurance training response – to optimize a persons training program;
  • Understand the genetic risk for soft tissue injuries, therefore to improve injury prevention;
  • Understand the inflammatory and stress response to exercise, therefore enhance the recovery strategy.

DNA Skin

This test analyses 18 genes involved in important areas related to skin health allowing you to improve the visual signs of ageing by focusing on interventions that are suited to your unique DNA. All gene variants analysed in the DNA Skin test are modifiable by using personalized lifestyle, nutrition, nutraceutical and cosmaceutical recommendations.

DNA Skin reports on the following areas:

  • how collagen formation and breakdown is regulated, giving insight into the firmness and elasticity of skin;
  • susceptibility to sun sensitivity and pigmentation;
  • sun damage, protection and repair mechanisms;
  • protection from oxidative stress;
  • detoxification and inflammation – these give insight into general skin sensitivity.

DNA Oestrogen

Research shows that an increased lifetime exposure to oestrogen is a strong risk factor for oestrogen dominant disorders including endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome and certain cancers. This test assesses gene variants shown to impact oestrogen metabolism and offers guidance regarding which dietary, nutritional and lifestyle recommendations can be of help in this area.

A DNA Oestrogen test may be of help to those:

  • with a personal or family history of oestrogen dominant conditions;
  • women who are considering oral contraception, hormone replacement therapy, or bio-identical hormone supplementation;
  • women considering in vitro fetilisation therapy.

Combination packages and reporting available

For those interested in more than one area, or for the most comprehensive insight into your genetic profile you can add any or all of the above tests to the DNA Health screening for a reduced rate. 

Main image created by kjpargeter DNA icon created by Icongeek26



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