Navigating Nutrition Through Genetic Testing

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I have written about Nutrigenomix testing in the past, back when the test was originally released. At that time, the test was specific to seven determinants of our genes. You can see the short article I wrote on it here.

A few months ago I had my original test re-analyzed now that the original seven gene test has been expanded. While the original test was interesting and informative, the more in-depth test and its results really blew me away.

For nutrient metabolism, my results showed an increased risk to vitamin A, B12, vitamin D, folate, and calcium deficiencies. What this means is that I need to be sure to meet at least the recommended daily allowance of these nutrients in the food I consume. Putting this into practice, I make it a point to eat more carrots, tuna, and eggs for vitamin A, and beef and clams for B12.

My vitamin D has been low in recent years on blood tests so I now take a supplement of 2000 IU/day (Vitamin D supplements are all nearly the same so no need to spend extra money for a fancy product). Lentils, edamame, spinach, and avocado are also staples for me because of their high folate content. Calcium gets tricky for me as I am a bit lactose intolerant (the test also showed this for me), but I am able to take in cheese in small doses and fortified soy milk (edamame and spinach already mentioned are also positive sources of calcium).

The cardiometabolic section of the test suggests my DNA is more sensitive to caffeine and sodium. I have always known about the former. Routinely, I choose tea over coffee as it’s less caffeine per serving, and generally do not use much added salt (except on hard boiled eggs!).

Weight management and body composition showed my response to energy balance to be diminished. Meaning, I have a slower metabolism. However, as I choose healthful foods most of the time and make exercise part of my daily life this has not been an issue. Notably the test also suggests consuming less saturated fats and more poly- and monounsaturated fats which is a diet practice I have put in place for years.

For eating habits and food intolerances, as mentioned, I’m more sensitive to lactose. This has been something that has happened to my body over time which is not that unheard of as we age. Additionally, my preference for sugar is apparently elevated.

When I was younger and doing much more cardio physical activity (tons of running), my taste preference for sugar was super high. There were times I could not get enough. In hindsight, I also know that I was not eating enough protein or fat so my body was making concessions for foods I was overlooking.

For more information on sugar specifically, I wrote about this and the new dietary guidelines exactly a year ago, you can find it here.

I’ve included more about the current sugar debate from like-minded colleagues who stand for science here:

Would You Rob a Bank to Buy a Bag of Candy?

The Telephone Game, Sugars Edition

Interestingly, for the fitness and physical activity section of the test, it showed my motivation to exercise is enhanced. Also, that I am an ‘ultra’ in power and strength, meaning I have a genetic predisposition to excel in power sports. This makes so much sense to me as with age I have changed my exercise preferences from less running to more weight training and resistance activity. I rarely have to make myself exercise. For me, the more variety I can incorporate into my exercise routine, the better.

Overall, I am very happy with my test results. They reaffirmed places where I was already listening to my body, my needs, and encouraged me to keep up with some other nutrition advice I did not even know about. If you missed the American issue of Vogue Magazine this month, Nutrigenomix was featured. If you’d like to read more about this amazing test click here.