(WTNH)-Knowing more about your genetic makeup can reveal a lot of things for your lifestyle. Naturopathic physician Dr. Jennifer Stagg, dicsusses information from her book “Unzip Your Genes: 5 Choices To Reveal A Radically Radiant You”
- You may have a genetic sweet tooth
Scientists have discovered that our genes can influence the foods we like. A “sweet tooth” might even trace back to your DNA. A 2008 study looked at this phenomenon. Researchers looked at people with diabetes who were either obese or with healthy weights. People with a specific genetic variant ate more sugar. This suggests that the gene may have influenced people’s tastes, potentially also increasing their risk of obesity and related conditions.
- There is a specific diet that matches your DNA
Ever wonder why your friend can experience amazing results from a diet that does nothing for you? The answer might lie in your DNA. It turns out that the right balance of macronutrients for you—fat, carbohydrates, and protein—may be genetic. Research has shown that eating the right foods for your specific makeup can influence your overall health. A study conducted at Stanford University in 2010 found that people who ate the right diets for their genetic makeup lost 250% more weight than those who ate diets not matched to their genes. A diet informed by genetics also lowered cholesterol in study participants. Discovering the right diet according to your genes is as simple as offering a saliva sample. For some, the results may point toward a low-fat or low-carb diet, while others might do best on a Mediterranean diet.
- Intensive training with weights might be making you fat
A rare change to a gene called INSIG2 can cause weight training to backfire. If you have it, you might gain fat instead of muscle when you lift weights. Research suggests the problem is that the body responds to resistance training by depositing fat in the muscle instead of building muscle. If you are planning to try weight training, or already experiencing a negative side effect when lifting, a genetic test would reveal if you are affected by this genetic condition.
- You may be prone to certain vitamin deficiencies.
Genetic variants can affect your health even when you eat an organic, local, whole foods diet. To be properly nourished, your body has to convert the food you eat into various chemicals your body can use. A common genetic variant can undermine this process. A mutation to a gene known as MTHFR alters the way the body processes folic acid. To use folic acid—which prevents neural tube defects in pregnancy and plays a role in a wide variety of functions in the body—the body has to convert it to methylfolate, the activated form of folic acid. MTHFR mutations undermine the body’s ability to accomplish this. Mutations in MTHFR are linked to a wide range of issues, including mood and behavioral disorders, infertility, recurrent miscarriages, cardiovascular disease, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Your genes can influence your destiny, but they don’t determine it. The choices you make truly can change your genes. Knowing which genes you have, and how they may affect your health, can inspire you to make better health choices. Ask your primary care provider about genetic testing options, particularly if you have a specific health problem, or a family history of genetic diseases.