Nutrigenomics is how your lifestyle choices and the foods you eat talk to your genes to influence your health outcomes.
How Does Nutrigenomics Work?
There are some diet and lifestyle factors that apply to nearly everyone. For example, some foods help reduce inflammation for most people, like turmeric, broccoli, and blueberries. Natural compounds in these foods, including antioxidants, protect cells from damage that can lead to premature aging or disease. Regular physical activity also influences genes in ways that impact health.
At Love.Life we also offer personalized gene testing, to identify specific genetic differences that are unique to your body. For example, caffeine affects people differently based on their genes. Roughly 50% of people process caffeine slower than others, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. But this isn’t true for half of the population. Testing how you process caffeine allows us to provide tailored recommendations that can help improve your sleep, blood pressure, and exercise performance.
What is Gene Expression?
Humans are born with a set of genes inherited from their biological parents. And as humans, we have remarkably similar DNA sequences. But there are genetic differences from person to person called SNPs (pronounced snips), single nucleotide polymorphisms, that interact with lifestyle in unique ways. These are sometimes referred to as genetic variations or variants.
- Certain SNPs have a big impact on your health. We call these high penetrance genes. The genes that present in this way are often screened for at birth and treatment is guided by a genetic counselor. A widely known high penetrance gene is the BRCA gene for breast cancer risk. It often leads individuals to take preventative measures to reduce breast cancer occurrence.
- There are also hundreds of low-penetrance genes within our genome that can increase the risk of certain chronic diseases or can improve health, longevity, and performance. For example, some people have a genetic variant that increases the risk of developing Celiac disease. Another SNP can indicate that someone has a genetic tendency to excel at strength and power-based exercises.
- The last component of gene expression is not about the genes you were born with, but rather how they’re expressed based on outside factors, such as toxins, diet, exercise, and even mindset. This level of gene expression is called epigenetics. It’s the set of chemical switches that turn a gene on or off and allow your body to read a gene. Scientists have discovered that about 80% of all chronic disease is related to lifestyle factors. That means lifestyle changes can be used to work with your genes to switch on those that promote health and turn off those that can do harm.
How Does Love.Life Use Nutrigenomics?
First, we’ll use nutrigenomic principles to make sure your body has enough of the nutrients and antioxidants required to create protective gene switches where they’re needed. We can also work with you on an individual level to provide tailored diet and lifestyle recommendations that support your unique SNPs in ways that reduce disease risk and optimize your health.
For more information about how we can create a tailored approach based on your genes, contact us to schedule a consultation with a Love.Life provider.