What does that word even mean?
It is the study (in which I have been training and implementing for nearly 2 years) of how nutrition and genes impact and influence each other.
We are all genetically very identical but we have variants (SNPs) that set us apart from how we look on the outside and also how we operate at a cellular level on the inside.
Nutrigenomics takes this one step further by looking at patterns of variants in any given person to help understand what nutritionally or (even with exercise physiology) could potentiate or quieten a certain pattern.
The key word is potential. Just because we have a set of gene SNPs that reveal something, for example, a tendency towards inflammatory pathways or a tendency to salt-sensitive hypertension or a tendency to metabolize fats differently, doesn’t mean you are absolutely affected. This is where epigenetics comes into play. This statement is completely evidence-based: YOU can influence your genes in a negative or positive way. And this is also where people like myself come into play because often, you need a guide.
If you choose to explore your genes, get an evidence-based test done vs some of the plethora of the ones out there available to anyone on the internet. And in addition to that, try to get a trained practitioner who can interpret it well, but ALONGSIDE your labs and medical status. I think this is the key piece that seems to be missing from all the places that do these tests.
In our practice, we use a very well-known company where the only SNPs that are tested are evidence-based, and I am a believer in not testing 1000s of SNPs where we don’t have enough data to show us what to do with a variant!
Once you have your report, you can always keep referring to it throughout life as things come up from time to time in all of our journeys towards amazing health outcomes.
Nutrigenomics show me that food can definitely be medicine and that it is now another excellent tool in the culinary medicine toolkit to help drive choices and behavior change and help answer WHY!
Just yesterday I was talking with a new colleague who also utilizes this tool in her practice and how much of a game changer it was in her own personal health journey, and her mother’s! It is certainly the future! If you’ve ever had them done, let me know if or how it has helped you (or even if it hasn’t quite yet…); I’d love to know!