Personalizing Nutrient Requirements
Food is the foundation of healthy living. Now advances in Genomic Medicine are providing the tools you need to create diet plans that are personalized to you – with even more precision.
Nutrients in the food we eat promote growth, development, and maintenance of our bodies — a complicated orchestration involving many biological systems. These vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates can affect how genes function, which in turn that influences cell biology – how our cells function.
Other ingredients in food, such as bioactives, influence how our genes function and how they keep our biochemical pathways running smoothly.
If all of these biological systems are optimized, our metabolic pathways produce the building blocks of life.
If they are not, imbalances can eventually lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Each step along this journey is under the control of genes. Genes make all the proteins that run our biochemistry and biological systems. These proteins are what makes us respond to bacteria and viruses, digest our food, walk or run, think and imagine, communicate with others, and so much more.
The nutrients we consume are the connectors and communicators, orchestrating these complex processes. Some examples include:
- Digestive enzymes that help us digest our foods.
- Proteins that move the right nutrients to the right cells, such as Vitamin D, calcium, and Vitamin B12.
- Enzymes that run our biochemical pathways so we can walk, talk, think, etc.
- Receptors that facilitate communication between the external environment and our internal biochemistry – such as mounting an immune response to an invading virus or bacteria, shivering to keep us warm or sweating to cool us down, experiencing joy and connection when with a loved one.
Personalized Nutrition: A Foundation of Genomic Medicine
Personalizing the types and amounts of nutrient we eat optimizes growth, development, and health. This has been a goal of health professionals for decades, but how can we know exactly which nutrients and foods each person requires? Best guess, trial and error, and one-size-fits all approaches to personalized nutrition can have very mixed results.
For many years, healthcare professionals have made broad assumptions based on a nutrient’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA attempted to define the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of 97–98% of healthy people. When research is insufficient to develop a RDA, another parameter, Adequate Intake (AI) is used, assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
To help consumers apply the principles and concepts of the RDAs, the Food & Drug Administration introduced the term Daily Value. Daily Values are used on the Nutrition or Supplement Facts box on foods, beverages and nutritional supplements. This measurement is also used by the federal government for school lunch programs.
As long as people had the RDA of a vitamin or mineral, had sufficient intake of dietary protein, carbohydrates, and fat, most physicians and nutritionists believed that overt nutrient deficiencies would be avoided. These are the same assumptions that are made by a panel of experts when the RDAs are reviewed and updated every several years.
The Human Genome Project and personalized genomic testing have exposed several problems in the assumptions used to establish the RDAs. We now know that small differences in the human genome accounts for all of the variations that exists in the human race–from hair color, height, weight, susceptibility to disease, and nutrient requirements.
The fact is, that we’re all quite different, and any standardized approach to nutrition will fall short on the personal level.
This has led to the establishment of a new scientific discipline—personalized nutrition. With a DNA-informed approach, we can:
- Determine how you metabolize certain nutrients from food
- Assess whether the nutrient requirement established by the RDA is adequate or needs to be adjusted based on gene variants in one or more of these metabolic processes: digestion, absorption, transport, metabolism, or utilization
- Identify the changes in DNA that affect nutritional requirements for you
- Reveal situations where genes are involved in creating a “nutritional paradox” – where nutrient you consume actually has to be converted by your enzymes into the active form needed by your body
Vegan, paleo or keto?
It all depends … on your genes.
These same genes that determine your personalized nutrient requirements also determine how you will do with these various diets. Match the wrong diet for your genes, and despite following what you are told is the “best” diet you could be doing yourself harm without even knowing it! But match your foods with your genes, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.
Personalized nutrition is a foundation of addressing Alzheimer’s disease – both for prevention and symptoms. With our genomic testing, taking into account all the areas of the GENESIS Matrix®, we use strategies tailored to your unique genes, biochemistry, and your unique needs to create the optimal pathway for you.
Learn more about how personalizing your nutrient requirements is just one of the many steps we take to help you optimize your cognitive functioning. Request a complimentary consult today.