Nutrigenetics is the study of how our genes interact with food. Nutrigenomics, on the other hand, looks at how nutrients affect gene expression. The terms nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics are often used interchangeably but they are actually two different things! So, what are these two fields of study, and what makes them so unique? To first understand this, we need to understand genetic variation.
What is genetic variation and why is it important?
Genetic variation is the difference in the nucleotide sequence of DNA. This makes each person unique and is responsible for their health, or lack thereof.
Good nutrition practices can be universal. For example, eating more vegetables and less refined sugar are broad rules for good nutrition that anyone can follow. Reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity are general guidelines for anyone who wants to age well. Despite these universalities, nutrition and health are highly personalized. Long before genetic testing, it was obvious that not everyone responded the same to the same diet or nutritional strategy. For example, some people find it easier to maintain a healthy body composition, while others find it difficult even to follow good eating and exercise habits.
Genetic testing can provide more detailed information about an individual’s human genome, specific DNA and genes, and food and nutrition. For example, it can tell you that if a higher percentage of protein per day will help your metabolism, or there is no difference in how your body uses the macro. Genetics and its relationship with nutrition are constantly evolving. As professionals in the health and fitness industry, it is important to understand terms such as nutritional genetics and nutritional genomics, to understand what these tests can do for customers, what their limitations are, and any risks.
What is nutrigenetics?
Nutrigenetics is the science that studies the effect of genetic variation on dietary response. This means that nutrigenetics focuses on the impact of how the different genetic variations of our genetic makeup affect our ability to metabolize nutrients and produce certain responses in our bodies.
Why is nutrigenetics important?
Nutrigenetics is important because it helps us understand why some people may have more successful results with certain diets than others. Everyone’s genetic composition is different and it is often underestimated just how much your genetic factors interact with your dietary components. With genes involved, the same diet isn’t right for everyone. For example, if you are sensitive to gluten, nutrigenetics can help your doctor develop a diet plan that will work for you and provide relief from symptoms such as bloating or fatigue.
What is nutrigenomics?
Nutrigenomics, which comes from “nutrient” and “genome,” looks at how nutrients and dietary factors, as well as environmental factors affect genetic expression. Nutrients regulate genes so understanding this process can help us understand why our bodies react differently to various diets. While both fields are often used interchangeably, it’s important to note their differences!
Nutrigenomics looks at how these genes are affected by different food components such as proteins, fats, vitamins, etc., so it examines what happens on a cellular level within the body from ingesting food!
Why is nutrigenomics important?
Nutrigenomics is important because it reveals how eating certain foods can have an impact on your health. For example, nutrigenetics may show you that if you are sensitive to gluten grains, following a gluten-free diet would be beneficial for your body. With nutrigenomic testing , scientists measure the effects of nutrients and dietary factors on gene expression in cells or tissues which shows why some people tolerate food allergens better than others even when they’re exposed to them consistently over time. This can tell you if you are at risk for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, and helps you create a personalized nutrition plan for disease prevention in order to reach your optimal health.
So what exactly makes these two areas differ from one another?
The terms nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic are often interchanged, however, they’re actually very different things! While both deal with the influence of nutrients on genes, nutrigenetics focuses more on how our genetics influences our response to certain foods. On the other hand, nutrigenomics looks at how nutrition affects gene expression and regulation.
In other words: Nutrigeneticists look at specific changes that happen inside cells after they have been exposed to foods while nutrigenomicists study how those genetic differences can react differently.
What does this mean for you?
Nutrigenomics is a quickly evolving field, and recent advances have made simple and affordable testing available for consumers. You can get information specific to your genes on which nutrition, fitness and lifestyle choices will help optimize your health. It can tell you about:
- Heart health
- Weight loss
- Brain Health
- Optimal diet
Having a roadmap based on your genetic profile can support your efforts toward good health and help simplify your choices. Sign up today and get a free consultation for your science-based, reliable nutrigenomic test.