What is Nutrigenomics?
Before answering this question it is important to understand that genes are not our destiny as once was the popular held belief. Just because your mother or father died of cancer or some other horrific disease does not mean you will too. On the contrary, genes are merely warehouses of genetic potential. Whether or not this genetic potential comes to fruition, depends directly upon input from the environment. The term environment encompasses ALL stimuli that you come in contact with; not just the geographical area in which you live. When you think of environment, think of factors such as diet, lifestyle choices, indoor lighting and air quality, toxic exposures, who you associate with, your thoughts and emotions, and the list goes on.
As the popular adage explains "genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger."
Nutrigenomics Versus Epigenetics
Epigenetics is most certainly a popular term within the functional space. This term references the changes in genetic expression that happen based on the influence of environmental stimuli on our genes. Nutrigenomics, on the other hand, is a much wider scope of inquiry, which include epigenetics. Nutrigenomics is the combination of:
Biochemistry (study of all bio-chemical processes in the body)
Physiology (study of the mechanisms and interactions within a living system)
Nutrition (study of how food and nutrients interacts with the body)
Genomics (study of genes and their expression)
Proteonics (study of all proteins that can be expressed by a cell)
Metabolomics (study of the end products of cells and microbes)
Transcriptomics (study of RNA expression)
Epigenomics (study of all epigenetic modifications)
Why Is Nutrigenomics Important?
Modern medical science has shown us that by looking at genetic SNP's (single nucleotide polymorphisms), which are variances in the genetic expression of genes, we can evaluate genetic potential for health challenges. This gives us insight into the interaction between our genes, diet, and environment. This is hugely empowering because it helps to inform therapeutic interventions in the areas of specific foods that can be beneficial or harmful, macro nutrient ratios, lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, targeted nutritional supplementation, and medications. By having this information, we now have much greater power to influence our health and our lives.
Why Do We Implement This In Our Work With Clients?
To be clear, I am NOT a proponent of going deep within the rabbit hole of genetics, chasing endless SNP's around, and recommending mounds of supplements to address them. I do feel, however, that having an overview of genetics and identifying some of the "big hitters" when it comes to SNP's serves as an extremely powerful tool in helping our clients create targeted, healing protocols. With that said, my tool of choice to evaluate this aspect of health and healing is Nutrition Genome.
This company offers full genetic testing services along with an extremely robust and user friendly report. For those that have 23andMe data prior to August 2017, they also offer a report-only service that utilizes this data versus having to run the genetic test.
The report reveals significant healing opportunities and bio-individualized, therapeutic interventions in the areas of:
Digestion and Colon/Intestinal Health
Inflammation and Anti-oxidant Protection
DNA Protection, Damage, and Repair
Diet and Nutritional Supplementation
Drug and Toxin Interactions
Additional Lab Work
In addition to all this, you will also receive a bio-individualized grocery list to better help you navigate the dietary recommendations within the report.
How Do I Implement This In My Work?
With the bio-individualized data that Nutrition Genome provides, I mentor clients through all necessary steps to help them address and/or compensate for genetic variances/predispositions. This can be interventions such as helping you to determine the best form of B12 for your body, gaining a better understanding of one's decreased capability to handle xenobiotics (environmental toxins), and correlating all data with a client's health history, other lab work, and current health challenges.
In addition to the above mentioned, I also have the capability of utilizing this data to create custom, bio-individualized vitamin formulas that will best help to support the body within the context of one's specific genetic variances.