Nutrition and Genetics, a few thoughts..

Just a few thoughts about the very interesting webinar-masterclass I attended last week about Nutrition and Genetics and the application in personalised nutrition with St.Mary’s University.

You may all know about the business of dna tests.

99.9% of our DNA is the same but the thing that makes us unique is only that 0,1%. 

DNA tests are used to understand if an individual has certain predispositions to diseases and pathologies, to scientifically know why individuals have a different response to medications, supplements, macros and micronutrients, to know if individuals are more susceptible to endurance training or power.

While it is scientifically true that some ethnicities are at risk of developing specific conditions, we also need to consider the single individual inside that ethnicity.

DNA tests are a game changer to help people fight genetic conditions and to have a deeper knowledge about ourselves. It can be very relevant in this country to help people to fight obesity and other conditions that can be influenced genetically but there are also some variables to consider too.

  1. The environment is a major cause of tremendous changes to our lives, if it’s a bad polluted environment it can cause diseases that are not visible in the DNA
  2. The diet of an individual plays a crucial part in our lives 
  3. Our age, sex, ethnicity(family history), training load and dietary preferences impact our health 
  4. The fact that someone has a “disease susceptibility”to a specific health issue doesn’t mean that they are cursed and can’t do anything about it and use it as an excuse.
  5. The costs of these tests are expensive 

Therefore, when dealing with personalised nutrition, the variables to take in account are loads but a good nutritionist can understand many things by asking the right questions, most importantly about the family history of an individual; for example: 

if someone has parents who are overweight with diabetes and come from specific areas of the world scientifically known to have issues with an “x” disease, they are more predisposed to insuline resistance and obesity than other people for sure but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do about it.

These people can improve and change their health substantially with the right healthy diet, physical activity and a healthy environment.

For us triathlete, getting a DNA test can be interesting to know if we are genetically made for endurance or for power/anaerobic training but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do endurance if we receive an anaerobic predisposition in our results. Anything can be done with the right training, like many conditions can be improved with the right nutrition.

Other clear info based on DNA that can be interesting for triathletes are caffeine susceptibility and the body responses to minerals, vitamins and macros.

DNA tests can give a deeper knowledge about ourselves, facilitate nutrition advice, provide genetics predispositions and provide clear information on selected DNA areas, but before spending a lot of money for a test why not try to:

  1. invest more money in some quality food if you know you don’t eat quality food 
  2. Change unhealthy behaviour and environment 
  3. Know your family history and do some researches about certain predispositions you might have if you come from a certain area of the world