It’s not uncommon for people to chalk up poor health to genetics. Occurrences of heart disease, stroke, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other conditions are often viewed as inevitable by people with a family history of those conditions. It runs in the family.
The fact is, chronic illness is far more likely to be caused by the choices you make – physically, psychologically and nutritionally – than the genes you’re born with. Not only that, but it’s possible that the genes you’re born with can be changed by the food you eat.
What Is Nutrigenomics?
Nutrigenomics is the scientific study of how specific nutrients interact with genes and influence genetic behavior.
For example, nutrigenomics can tell us why one person can eat a high fat diet without having cholesterol issues, while another person with the same eating habits sees their cholesterol levels go through the roof. It can tell you why you struggle to lose weight even though you’re making what you believe are smart lifestyle choices.
This brings us back to the concept of bio-individuality, which states that every person is unique with very specific dietary needs based not only on genes, but on everything from physical activity and metabolism to stress and blood type. What may seem like a healthy diet may not be the healthiest diet for you as an individual.
By understanding how food affects your genes, we can determine if dietary changes may be used to treat or prevent a particular health condition.
The Relationship Between Food and Genetics
Food isn’t just the stuff you put in your mouth for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food is information. It can help us understand how genes respond to your dietary choices. It can provide clues about whether your body is able to use certain nutrients based on your genetic makeup.
Your dietary choices can change gene activity and structure. They can turn genes on or off. The effect of food on genes can help determine how susceptible you are to developing certain chronic illnesses, how quickly those illnesses progress, and how serious they become.
Benefits of Nutrigenomics
“Eat right and exercise” is one of the most overused and useless phrases in healthcare. Why? It implies that there’s one magic wellness formula that works for everyone. Again, bio-individuality tells us otherwise.
Nutrigenomics allows us to develop nutritional protocols and make lifestyle recommendations that are even more personalized. They’re based on your biochemical and genetic makeup, which is different for each individual. Nutrigenomics can also tell us if you have genetic predispositions to certain health risks.
Remember, food isn’t just information. Food is medicine. Rather than relying on prescription drugs, change the way you eat to support the treatment or prevention of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancers.
Nutrigenomics is still a growing scientific field, but one that can be a game-changer in healthcare and a life-changer for patients. It’s already an important part of the clinical nutrition program at Natural Healthcare Center, where Dr. Oscar Coetzee and Dr. Dana Filatova are trained and certified in the analysis of DNA using Opus23, the analytical tool used for nutrigenomics. To learn more about nutrigenomics and how food affects your genes, schedule a complimentary consultation with us today.