Can an astrophysicist and a molecular biologist tell us what is the “Perfect Health Diet” for everyone? Of course not, how absurd! We are all so genetically and biochemically unique, with vastly different nutritional requirements, that you cannot apply the same standard nutritional advice to everyone – male, female, young, old, pregnant, athlete, ageing, diseased, on medications, in various living environments, exposed to certain occupational hazards, etc etc.
I have been wondering what my genes can tell me about my biochemical individuality, my disease propensity and my future health potential. I was also curious about what my genes have to say about my specific metabolism and nutritional requirements and therefore my body composition. This is the information I need to design a personal, tailored nutritional medicine and lifestyle program.
Since the menopause I have found an extra seven or eight kilos sitting on my torso, that will partially melt away when I exercise for a decent period of time, or when I get my full requirement of sleep. Reducing my meal portions is also a winner for dropping my fat stores, as well as taking specific herbs and fruits that increase my fat burning. But then I take a holiday to somewhere delicious like Italy and it all creeps back on again. So demoralising!
It concerned me that I have a family of gross obesity for at least three generations, of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and thyroid issues. More recently dementia is appearing in my mother’s line. I know there are also conditions like addictions, bipolar disorder and cancer amongst my father’s relatives. As a wellness practitioner I want to ensure that none of these diagnoses live out in my life, so I have been taking good care of my diet and lifestyle choices for many decades now to be as healthy as I can possibly be. But I wanted to have some clearer guidelines for my preventive health strategies, to ensure that what I was doing and taking was enough and was specific and targeted to my unique genetic code.
I have just completed my training as a Fitgenes Practitioner and received my personal Fitgenes genetic profile hot off the laboratory website, which reveals my groups of genes which code for most of my body’s metabolic processes. I was not worried about what the results might show, as gene expression is modifiable by nutritional, lifestyle and environmental factors and this knowledge gives me the potential to optimise my long term health.
So now I have some really key and useful information about how to become the best physical and mental version of myself. I have all the genes that hinder my fat metabolism and increase my risk of fat storage. I also have a genetic tendency to poor cholesterol metabolism. Consequently I know that I should avoid inflammatory, processed foods and sugars, as well as no alcohol for me, which is easy (as you may have gathered from my previous posts!) I should include plenty of Brassica vegetables and sprouts that assist my phase II liver detoxification and high antioxidant foods and drinks, such as oily fish, green tea and cacao to protect against cancer, diabetes, hypertension and obesity. I also need more vitamin D than the average person to make my receptors respond effectively, so I will have to supplement with this vitamin religiously.
My gene profile also confirms that exercise is an essential prescription for maintaining my health – every day, always. Interval training is better for my genes, as opposed to endurance-type exercise and good news, overtraining is harmful to me! I have already felt an improvement by rowing at high intensity for 30 seconds, resting for 30 seconds, and then repeating this cycle for at least 12 minutes. Yoga is my favourite exercise and although it blisses me out, it does not shift any fat stores for me. It will reduce my risk for high blood pressure, however, which is written in my genes.
I now also know the conditions that I am unlikely to get, like mental health disorders and fatigue (I have good genes for energy metabolism and handling neurochemicals). I am relieved that I do not have the underlying risk factors for female cancers, as my immune and hormone regulating genes are optimal. My CYP genes also tell me that they are excellent at handling caffeine…hehe.
Many people are very concerned about finding out what lurks in their DNA, for fear of finding something inevitable and untreatable, but Fitgenes only profiles the genes which code for the molecular processes in our tissues which can be modified by natural means for optimal gene expression. This means that you can create the very best version of yourself with this knowledge, safely and permanently, as one test is all you need for your lifetime.
I have to say that my Fitgenes genetic profile test has given me clarity and focus on the areas of my health which need more attention, as well as those about which I need not have any concerns. I can see my inherited potential pitfalls and now I know how to avoid them, which is empowering. I also now seem to know myself even better, right down to my DNA.
Giselle Cooke, Holistic Health Consultant