Today, many people are taking an increasingly proactive approach to their own wellness. Instead of waiting to treat an illness or condition once diagnosed, they’re working to implement lifestyle changes to prevent potential health problems ranging from diabetes and osteoporosis to cancer and heart disease.
But what if you’re doing “everything right” and are still having trouble losing extra pounds or controlling cholesterol and blood sugar numbers?Let’s face it, even the best-intentioned among us are working off of ever-changing research studies applied to the general population. And while people generally find success, sometimes an individual’s own genetic makeup means that investing time, energy and money in the newest recommended diets, exercise programs and supplements are a total waste. That’s because there is no “one size fits all” approach to wellness.
This is where genetic testing can play a pivotal role in optimizing your nutrition and wellness plan. Gene testing can reveal not only specific health risks you may need to watch out for, but your predicted responses to certain eating plans, medications, and supplements. This allows you to know which therapies may be most effective for you.
The test we use is not the tell-all, “gloom and doom” test of which many are so afraid. We focus only on specific genes in key areas necessary for optimal health that reveal individual genetic weaknesses we call SNiPs (because single nucleotide polymorphisms is a mouthful.) But just because your testing may reveal a SNiP, doesn’t mean you’ll develop a disease. It simply means there is a predisposition for the gene, if exposed to the right environment, to express itself negatively. This information allows us as your healthcare practitioner to offer specific nutritional oversight to help you overcome identified genetic weaknesses.
It can also help us in directing your efforts to live a healthier life. For example, a major means of controlling many chronic health conditions is weight management. Genetic testing can reveal information from four genes related to body weight and body fat that can determine how you are likely to respond to certain diets and exercise. For example, it can reveal whether you are carb-sensitive or fat-sensitive (or neutral,) and help determine the best dietary guidelines to follow. In fact, a study presented to the American Heart Association focusing on women trying to lose weight showed that those whose dietary habits were in line with their genetic test results lost two to three times more weight than those whose diets were supposedly incompatible with their genes.
In addition, we know that many of our patients regularly spend money on popular nutritional supplements without any knowledge or proof of personal need or benefit. Through genetic validation of enzyme function, we can determine if certain supplements and other medications, including antibiotics, are being effectively delivered at the cellular level, so you don’t waste time or money unnecessarily.
Genetic testing cannot predict the future, but knowing how your genes may impact your health will give you valuable insight in working with your healthcare practitioner to personalize the most effective health and wellness plan for you.