Nutrigenomic testing: How your DNA can impact your diet

Have you ever wondered why people respond differently to certain foods? Nutrigenomics is the scientific discipline dedicated to examining how that happens.

Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells that carry out various functions all governed by the hereditary material deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. DNA is what causes genetic variation in people – variations that can result in differences in the body’s digestion, absorption, metabolism and utilization of dietary components.

Nutrigenomics analyzes how nutrition and genetic makeup interact with each other to impact health outcomes and create these unique responses to beverages, food and supplements.

At Copeman, we work with Nutrigenomix® – a biotechnology company based out of the University of Toronto – who analyze 45 genes that provide information on responses to nutrient metabolism, cardio metabolic health, food intolerances, eating habits and physical activity. This testing offers our clients individualized dietary advice and a more in-depth way of looking at eating for health and disease prevention.

What nutrigenomic testing can reveal about your diet

A Nutrigenomix® test can tell you how well you respond to various key components of your diet, for example, caffeine.

Many of us love coffee and consume it daily. While it provides an extra energy boost to help wake us up in the morning, the amount of caffeine that everyone can safely consume varies based on their gene variation.

The link between caffeine and heart disease has always been a controversial topic. While some studies have found that caffeine led to an increased risk of a heart attack, others could not produce similar findings despite similar methodology. However, more recent studies have found that the difference of the effect caffeine has on the risk of heart attacks can be better explained by people’s genetics.

Participants with “fast” caffeine metabolism did not show an increased risk of heart attack, whereas those with “slow” metabolism showed to have an increased risk when consuming more than one cup of coffee per day.

This type of insight can be a great discussion point for individuals looking for a more preventative approach to healthcare.

What the Nutrigenomix® test entails (don’t worry, no studying required)

The process of Nutrigenomix® testing is quite simple. The adult-only test requires clients to refrain from eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking for 30 minutes prior to testing; a quick buccal (cheek) swab is taken and then given a confidential code prior to laboratory analysis. And that’s it!

Once the data has been analyzed, your dietitian will review individual recommendations focusing on wellness and disease prevention.

While studies have shown that clients who receive personalized dietary advice based on Nutrigenomix® testing find it to be more useful than general recommendations, it’s important to keep in mind that the field of nutrigenomics is still young, and some aspects still require more research.

Nutrigenomic testing should always be used in conjunction with advice of a certified healthcare professional.

If you’re interested in taking a Nutrigenomix® test, or learning more about the test, please click here.