You may remember your parents saying, “Don’t forget to take your vitamins.”
But which ones? Why? What dose? How often? Due to recent advancements in nutrigenomics, we now know that certain supplements which may be beneficial to some people can be downright harmful to others. This is because people’s bodies metabolize nutrients differently based on their unique genetic makeup. With a DNA nutrition test, you can discover exactly what your body needs, and take the guesswork out of choosing supplements.
Government Recommendations — Why a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach Doesn’t Fit All
Though there are public health guidelines that recommend how much of various nutrients people should consume, they don’t account for individual differences in genetic makeup—which can be significant. In the United States, these recommendations are known as Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and are based on population distribution data, including daily averages of nutrient intakes sufficient to meet the requirements of most people. What’s the problem with this? You are not an average.
Nutrigenomics — The Future of Nutrition
We know now that there is great diversity, based on genetics, in how individuals process and react to different nutrients. Several gene variants have been identified that influence both the rate and efficiency at which different nutrients are metabolized. This interaction between genes and nutrients is known as nutrigenomics and is often referred to as “the future of nutrition” since the use of genetic data makes it possible to develop highly personalized nutrient recommendations for each individual.
Too Much, Too Little, or Just Enough?
Often, health-conscious people take supplements to maintain or improve their health or to protect against nutrient deficiencies. They may follow the DRIs or do their own research to understand what they might need. But many would be surprised to learn that there are gene variants that impact their ability to utilize those nutrients. How would they know if they have a gene variant linked to vitamin D deficiency or to excess iron accumulation?
The only way to know is through a DNA nutrition test. In fact, some people may require more vitamin D than government guidelines suggest, while others may need to specifically avoid iron supplementation, including any iron present in multivitamins. A DNA nutrition test, along with information on lifestyle factors, health goals, medications, and medical history, makes it possible for each person to customize their supplement plan to reach their optimal health.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Your DNA
Gene variants have been identified that impact the metabolism of a number of vitamins and minerals, such as:
- MTHFR gene variants C677T and A1298C, which reduce the efficiency of folate metabolism. Folate is involved in regulating homocysteine levels. A high homocysteine level is a risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease.
- HFE gene variants H63D and C282Y, which affect iron metabolism and are associated with elevated iron levels. Early symptoms of iron overload are chronic fatigue and joint pain. Eventually, the accumulated iron leads to heart and liver damage.
- PEMT gene variants 5465G to A and 744G to C, which are associated with lower levels of choline in premenopausal women. Choline has important roles in fat metabolism, brain and liver function, and fetal development. A deficiency in choline can lead to fatty liver disease.
Other examples discovered from nutrigenomics research are variants of the GC gene, which influence a person’s vitamin D levels, and variants of the BCMO1 gene, which affect vitamin A levels.
A Smarter Way to Supplement
Customized supplements can be used to achieve a variety of health benefits, for example:
- Improve energy levels, sleep, short-term memory, and mood.
- Maintain skin and eye health, muscle strength, and balance.
- Protect against allergies, asthma, hearing loss, and nutritional deficiencies.
- Support health goals like weight loss and stress management.
A DNA-based supplement plan is more than personalized vitamins and minerals. It can also include omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, probiotics, and herbal supplements, depending on your body’s unique needs. Learn how to take control of your health with nutrigenomics.