Nutrigenetics in 60 seconds

Where does the word Nutrigenetics come from?

The word was coined by Dr. R.O. Brennan in 1975 in his book, Nutrigenetics, which explored how the genetic background of an individual impacts the diet.

So what is Nutrigenetics?

Incredibly we are all 99.9% genetically identical, it is that final 0.1% that makes us unique, from our eye and hair colour, to our height, to how susceptible we are to illnesses.

Studies have been ongoing for a number of years now that have sought to understand how our genetics impact, and are in-turn impacted, by the foods we eat, the environment we live in, and what that might mean for our overall health and life-span.

Nutrigenetics emerged as a field of study, separate to nutrigenomics, which seeks to uncover and understand the interaction between diet and genes, with the ultimate goal being able to optimise health through personalised nutrition.

Why would I want to personalise my diet?

The influence of nutrients on the genome is now well documented, and it is understood that some genes have a more heightened sensitivity to nutrients than others.

Several genes that are associated with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) have been shown to be susceptible to dietary intervention - that is to say, personalising your nutrition to your genes is more likely than not to reduce your chances of contracting CHD. In addition to CHD, you can also reduce your chances of getting diabetes, and coeliac disease.

How will a personalised nutrition shake help me get fitter?

A DNA test can show how well your body converts vitamins at a genetic level, and thus you can add in extra vitamins to compensate if your body is not getting them out of your diet effectively.

Vitamins A, B, C, D and so on are important for maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, so to perform your best you need to make sure you have enough in your diet for your body to use them. You may need a nutrition shake with a little added vitamin A, or you may need quite a lot.

Aside from the overall health benefits of personalising your diet; a tailored diet has been shown in studies to help you lose weight more quickly compared to traditional methods of weight loss.

If you are on a diet that is boosting your fat-loss and giving you the vitamins your body craves at a genetic level, you will get more lean, get stronger, feel happier, and improve your performances in the gym or on the track, or at Parkrun.