Customizing Supplements Based On Your Genetics

March 17 - Writen by new admin

Every individual is unique, not only in terms of physical and genetic makeup but also in the choice & consumption of food. Your food preferences may be driven by a combination of factors – your taste preferences, your culture and based on your belief system and mental models – this applies all kinds of diets – mediterranean, vegan, keto, paleo, Atkins, DASH diet etc…

However your nutritional requirements are unique to you and this can be calculated based on your genetics, your lifestyle and other factors like age, gender and weight. So how do you know what nutrients you need more or less of? If you’re on a vegan diet are you getting enough of Omega3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA that’s mostly present in seafood? What if on top of this you also have a genetic mutation that lowers your ability to convert ALA – a plant based Omega 3 fatty acids to EPA and DHA? Similarly, if you are on a meat based ketogenic diet, how do you know you are having the right combination of fats and electrolytes like potassium or nutrients like magnesium? Nutritional genomics has progressed enough that we can now start using it for personalized micronutrient fortification and supplementation.

The Link Between Food and Genes

The absorption of nutrients from the food is a critical step in the digestion process as it allows the nutrients to become part of our body. This absorption is controlled by genes and every individual is genetically diverse in respect to their nutrient needs and absorption potential – this is central to the paradigm of gene-diet interactions.

The link between food and our genes and how certain nutrients can control the working of our genes is a process that is as old as we are. The two spheres of research that is focused on gene-diet interaction are called nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics.

Preventing Nutritional Deficiency

So how do you prevent nutritional deficiency? You can’t always go by dietary reference intake values because it considers everyone as an average person and doesn’t take into factor individual genetic predispositions. You should ideally get all vital nutrients from food as much as possible because you are getting vitamins and minerals, as well as bioactive phytochemicals – like flavonoids and carotenoids. However, for a majority of people it’s not possible to have food with ideal nutrition everyday. Its very hard to carefully monitor the nutritional content in food you eat along with the bioavailability of individual nutrients. This is where supplementation comes into play. It helps in lowering your nutritional deficiency risk.

The idea of using personalized supplements and nutrition is not new. Many chronic diseases and genetic disorders are being successfully managed using this approach. The concept of food-medicine is a powerful alternative to straight up consuming pharmaceuticals.

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