Nutrition and genetics communicate continuously and influence many areas of society and health with their dialogue. So much to even determine the birth of new scientific disciplines.
The attention to the link between what we eat and what is in our genetic code, DNA, has assumed unprecedented importance in recent decades, thanks to advances in molecular biology research and techniques.
Thus, new sciences were born, such as nutrigenomics, nutrigenetics, and nutraceuticals which try to improve the health of everyone through a personalized diet based on genetics. How does genetics affect nutrition? We will look at this in this article.
Nutrition and Genentics – How Does Genetics Affect Nutrition
If it is true that nutrition influences DNA, the opposite is also true. So how does genetics affect nutrition? The specific characteristics of the genetic heritage of each individual can determine different responses to the same nutrient. And so a particular food will have a very different effect on one person from that observed on another.
All the mistakes – or merit – of genetics, particularly small differences called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) available in the genes. Despite being small, they can very clearly influence different processes related to the assumption and utilization of nutrients. These differences in DNA have, in many cases, represented an evolutionary benefit.
Suppose a specific variant allows, for example, to digest milk. Individuals who possess it and live in areas where milk is the basis of nutrition will certainly “have the advantage” compared to those with a different variant. Another example is, what level of protein is right for one person, might not genetically be appropriate for another!
The ultimate goal of nutrigenetics (the science that studies how DNA differences determine how different people respond to foods) is a personalized diet that considers each person’s genetic makeup and not just “standard” values such as weight, height, gender, and age.
Following a nutritious and healthy diet, which avoids gaining or losing too much weight and enjoys good health, is not so simple. There are no magic formulas, and each body is special.
Changes in How Your Body Behaves In Front of Food
Some genes can affect the way the body behaves in front of food. This results in excessive “snacking,” the feeling of unattainable satiety, or even altering some foods’ perception and desire.
There is a genetic test for these cases, consisting of taking a saliva sample and analyzing it. Anyone interested in knowing about their genetic parameters related to food and observing their body’s condition can do this. Only a saliva sample will allow the analysis of more than 130 genetic markers without contraindications and with results in a month.
With the right kit, you can perform a DNA nutrition test by yourself to understand what your body really needs. Based on the test results, you can set up an appropriate eating plan. You must consider those gene variants associated with eating and addictive behaviours to guide you and determine the most beneficial physical activity.
NGX has the perfect DNA Nutrition test kit and Personalised Nutrition Pack to help you start this. It can also help you achieve improved physical and cognitive function. It is useful for those who, following a hypocaloric eating plan and carrying out regular physical activity, do not achieve the weight loss they need to improve their health.
Physical and Behavioral Changes
Various studies have shown that genetics can influence people’s reactions to food. In this way, certain foods can cause a person a bitter or sweet taste, lactose intolerance, or alcohol-induced facial flushing. Those same foods may not generate any reaction in other people.
In addition, certain genes can influence a person’s desire for food or how they perceive it, thus affecting their behaviour in front of it.
For example, it can lead to eating between meals or losing feeling full or hungry. Genetics affects the way each one eats and the way the body processes food and behaviours with it.
The test, which is simple and not at all invasive, allows medics to determine the characteristics of an individual. This lets them optimize their metabolism, lose weight, and maintain it according to the results they get, improving their quality of life.
We know that nutrition is the process that allows us to obtain energy and nutrients to fulfil all the body’s functions. Therefore, a poor diet can affect the state of health, causing the development of different diseases. However, it is not the only factor that can influence the environment.
The emotional, social, physical, biological, and genetic state also determines the characteristics and conditions of each individual. Due to this, the prevalence of chronic diseases varies between people, families, and countries. This is because we all have habits, genes and live in different environments.
This is how nutrition and genetics relate to understanding better how the body responds to food. Findings show that genes are very sensitive to eating habits. This means that you can modify them depending on the type of food you consume for a particular time, also known as nutritional genetics.
Genetic variability determines the colour of the eyes or skin and how a person consumes food, nutrients, or supplements. A gene can have a different metabolic response in certain foods. It is very helpful to know how each one behaves in the body. Thus, you will be able to determine the specific nutritional requirements.
You will also identify the nutrients and types of foods you are susceptible to. In this way, the information we get by studying genes determines the amounts necessary to maintain an adequate body balance for each person individually.
The first thing to do is a diagnosis that provides enough information to establish a specific nutritional treatment. This is how we put nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics into practice.
Nutrigenetics studies the effect of genetic variation on the interaction between nutrition and genetics. Knowledge of the nutritional genome will be essential to design a personalized diet with positive effects on your health. This science has the same scientific basis as pharmacogenomics. It is the study of the molecular and genetic bases of diseases to develop new treatment routes.
Evidence indicates that the intestinal microbiota (intestinal flora) directly relates to the absorption of nutrients. This is due to its importance in metabolic and immunological functions. The intestinal microbiota is a new factor involved in the regulation of body weight. It also helps to regulate various diseases linked to obesity.
Nutrigenomics is the science that studies the interaction between nutrition and genetics (components of foods and dietary genes). Currently, there are investigations on the alterations of the genome responsible for diseases such as obesity, familial hypercholesterolemia, phenylpyruvic oligophrenia, and many others of genetic origin that, until now, lack treatment and which are expected to be able to act with modifications in the genes.
Nutrigenomics helps us to understand what happens in the body once a specific food or nutrients are ingested. In this way, it seeks to be a tool to prevent and cure diseases in the future.
This is how genetics and nutrition are integrated to know the variations, requirements, and behaviour of the different nutrients in the body and customize the diet according to each person’s genetic characteristics. This is why personalized meal plans have become the main goal of nutrigenetics.
In the same way, it is important to mention that, although we have a certain genetic predisposition to different conditions or diseases, we are not determined by genetics. This can be modified with healthy lifestyles such as exercise and a balanced and sufficient diet. Our gut health can go a long way to enhancing the quality of life!
Due to this, it is important to eat well and stay active in all stages of life. This will help improve genetic inheritance, thus improving the conditions of the offspring and being able to prevent future diseases.
The influence of genes on how humans can use food differently has been known for a long time. Today, tests and nutrition plans based on genetic analyses, also called “personalised nutrition,” help to promote an individually healthier lifestyle. The high demand for genetic analyses raises many questions about the ethical, social, and legal dimensions. This also includes “non-medical” tests.
A broad discussion about lifestyle genetic analyses should lead to the fact that the providers of the tests also provide more comprehensive information on the significance of the results for consumers. In addition, a good basic scientific education (Scientific Literacy) and know-how in genetics can contribute something.
Remember that the best way to eat is according to the needs and characteristics of each individual. You should take into account your genetic differences and relationship with nutrients. This is because they allow improving the nutritional status. Doing so reduces the risk of suffering from any disease and provides enough energy and nutrients to achieve optimal health.
If you want help with leading a healthier lifestyle, then get in contact to discuss our online and in-person coaching plans.