Last week I received my Nutrigenomix DNA test results. This test measures 45 genetic markers which tell you your nutrient needs (omega 3, vitamin A, Vitamin C, B vitamins etc), salt and caffeine sensitivities, tolerance to lactose, risk of coeliac, sensitivity to weight gain based on fat intake, your ideal way to eat, and much more.
It’s such an amazing test and I couldn’t wait to get my results! It takes about 3-4 weeks to get them back, so it feels like a long time when you want to know straight away!!
So some very interesting things came up on my test. I want to share them with you so you can see how just small changes in your diet and lifestyle can change your long term heath dramatically.
These are the markers that were elevated -
Vitamin D -
I am at an increased risk for low circulating vitamin D levels. The gene that is tested is the CYP2R1 gene. This is involved with vitamin D 25-hydroxylase which is a key enzyme that activates vitamin D from it’s pre-formed type (which is obtained through sun exposure and a little through the diet). Having a variant in this gene interferes with how vitamin D is transported to the tissues.
Low levels of vitamin D are associated with decreased bone mineral density and an increased risk of fractures. Vitamin D also contributes to normal functions of most cells in the body. Low blood levels of vitamin D can result in weak, brittle bones, poor muscle function, and decreased immunity. Life-long vitamin D insufficiency has also been linked to accelerated cognitive decline, autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular disease.
It’s very simple to make sure you have enough vitamin D. Get tested by the GP or privately (click HERE), see what your current levels are, and then supplement from there. The amount of vitamin D you take daily will vary depending on what your levels currently are. As I have the variant in this gene, a maintenance level will be 1000IU a day, but I will probably need to take more than that initially to get my levels up to optimal.
I have an increased risk of bone fractures if I don’t consume enough calcium daily. This risk is increased further as I have the variant in the CYP2R1 gene linked to vitamin D. Vitamin D and calcium are both needed for healthy bones. Calcium is important for growth, maintenance and repair of bone tissue. It is also involved in maintenance of blood calcium levels, regulation of muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and normal blood clotting. In order to absorb calcium, we need adequate vitamin D intake.
I already limit the amount of dairy I consume, and will carry on doing so due to the lactose intolerance result in this test (which I’ll explain later on in this blog). So I will be focusing on getting my calcium from green vegetable, oily fish, nuts and tofu. I will also carry on weight training to keep my bones strong.
I need to aim for 1300mg of calcium a day to reduce this risk.
As I have a variant in this gene, I have a sensitivity to caffeine. My body struggles to metabolise it. I thought this would be the case. If I have a strong coffee I start to feel very strange, and sometimes struggle to sleep that night (even when I’ve had the coffee at 1pm!!).
If I consume more than 200mg a day, which is roughly 2 cups of coffee, I have a 26% increased risk of having a heart attack. If I consume 4 cups of coffee a day, I have a 53% increased risk of having a heart attack!!! Also, bare in mind, that these are small, weak coffees. If you go to Starbucks or Costa and have a flat white, it has about 270mg of caffeine if not more!!
It’s not just coffee that contains caffeine. Tea, green tea, cacao!!! also contain it. Also energy drinks and coke…but I think most people are aware of that.
I don’t have a massive amount of caffeine at the moment anyway (as I’m pregnant!), but I will be keeping this in mind the rest of my life.
If I want something chocolaty before bed, I will be using carob instead of cacao. This is a plant which tastes very similar to cacao, but it doesn’t contain caffeine and it is actually naturally sweet, rather than bitter like cacao. You can by the carob pods and snack on them. They’re delicious!
I will be limiting my green teas to 2 a day. Green tea does contain caffeine, but it also contains theanine which is an amino acid that calms you. So it’s a great alternative to coffee.
If I do have a coffee, I will make sure it’s not super strong, I won’t have more than one a day, and I will make sure my consumption of the other caffeine containing foods/drinks are limited that day. I would go for decaffeinated if I know it’s been through the water processing rather than chemical processing, but most decaf coffees have been made using chemicals, so it’s best to stay away.
I have a variant in this gene which means I have a 230% increased risk of high blood pressure if I consume more than 1600mg sodium a day! This is the equivalent to about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt! That is hardly anything. I find this fascinating.
Salt is found naturally in foods, so even following a whole food diet, as I do, you will be getting sodium, which is fine and healthy, as we need it to survive. However, as soon as you start introducing processed foods such as bread, breakfast cereal, ham, tinned soup etc. it will soon be adding up! One average serving of tinned soup contains roughly 1130mg of sodium! And that would be just one meal.
Therefore, it’s even more important for people with this risk variant, like myself, to follow a whole food diet. High blood pressure runs in my family, and now I can see why. I feel very lucky that I have this information so I can easily prevent myself from getting it.
There are many other genes that were elevated, but if I keep going this will be a very very long blog post! So here’s an overview….
Omega 3 -
I have a higher risk of deficiency if I don’t consume 1.24g omega 3’s a day. This has been linked to high triglycerides and heart disease. I have a 25% increased risk of high triglycerides if I don’t consume this daily.
Saturated Fat -
I have a 67% increased risk of obesity if my saturated fat intake is more than 10% of my total daily calories.
I have a slight lactose intolerance.
I have a medium risk of gluten intolerance.
These are all very interesting and great tools to have for the rest of my life. It tells me how I should be eating and exercising according to my genetics, rather than just guessing. I think knowing I have a 230% increased risk of high blood pressure if I consume too much salt is a great, as there’s no way I want to have high blood pressure!
It's also very interesting seeing the genes that aren't elevated. It gives you information about your diet, exercise and supplementation, which you wouldn't have known before.
Many people think they’d rather not know, however, the changes are very small and they can make such a massive difference to your long term health.
If you're interested in having this test done. Please click HERE for more info.
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