Creating the perfect healthy lifestyle generally requires a bit of trial and error to find what works for you (and what doesn’t) with regard to diet and exercise.
But DNA testing is changing the game. Thanks to a growing range of consumer-focused DNA testing services, we no longer have to try different approaches until we find the most effective way to eat and train. A quick and effortless DNA test can now reveal what approach is best suited for you.
Product Review by Tanja Schmitz, Editor
Get actionable insights
I recently sent in some of my DNA (a quick and simple cheek swab couriered to the company) to optiphi®. The team analysed my sample and sent me two comprehensive reports – the optiphi® TMHelix Diet and optiphi® TMHelix Health reports.
Both reports include a lot of data which can prove overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with genetics , but thankfully the test includes and online consultation with an expert who guides you through the results explaining conditions and how they relate to your health. Each health condition is also clearly explained within the report, and then goes on to list personal diet, lifestyle and supplement recommendations for each condition.
Here’s a quick look at a summery of the health conditions listed in the test. Each condition is interpreted as low (*), Medium (**) or high (***) risk. Each condition is then further explained in detail in the report, empowering you with insights to make necessary changes to your lifestyle.
These reports revealed various actionable insight into my specific genetic variations and how my unique genetic code interacts with various lifestyle, diet and environmental contributing factors.
The optiphi® TMHelix Health report identifies unique genetic markers that indicate my genetic predisposition to certain health risks and concerns, while the optiphi® TMHelix Diet report reveals how my body processes various foods.
Depending on the DNA variations (they’re called SNPs) detected in each category, the report designates them as low, medium or high priority areas.
Based on these findings, these comprehensive reports provide a roadmap and actionable steps on how to design my diet, supplement and exercise regimens, and change my lifestyle behaviours and choices to improve my health and minimise these health risks in the long-term.
Now I can ditch the guesswork
A DNA analysis basically takes the guesswork out of finding the most effective personalised interventions to improve my overall health and get the best results from diet and exercise.
For example, I learnt that DNA methylation is a priority area for me. According to my optiphi® TMHelix Health report, “DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic function for normal regulation and development. This process affects the expression of certain genes under certain conditions.”
Impaired DNA methylation will affect certain key processes. For instance, genes that should switch off will continue functioning and vice versa. And what does it mean? This could lead to issues such as accelerated ageing, several types of cancers and an accumulation of damaged DNA and possible mutations.
The need to improve and maintain this important process is clearly vital to my overall health, wellbeing and longevity, but I wouldn’t know this was an issue without the test.
Take a proactive approach
And this is where the true value of DNA testing shines through for me – uncovering insights that empower me to take proactive steps to improve your health now, rather reactively responding when I get sick.
In this regard, my personalised optiphi® TMHelix Health report highlights important steps to take in terms of my diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplement approaches.
How I should adapt my diet:
In terms of my diet, I should add more raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), alliums (onions, leeks, garlic) and green leafy vegetables to my diet, and increase my dietary intake of food sources that are rich in folate and B vitamins, especially if I follow a vegetarian diet (which I do!).
Other important advice shared included adding more insoluble fibre into my diet and increasing my intake of antioxidants and magnesium. I should also decrease my intake of saturated fatty acids.
From a supplement perspective, adding folate, methylated B vitamin and a multi-mineral complex that includes magnesium, zinc and selenium would benefit my efforts to improve my methylation.
How I should adapt my training:
Exercising regularly and losing some weight can also improve methylation. Furthermore, I should reduce exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, especially smoking. Certain drugs can also cause epigenetic changes to how DNA is methylated.
My results revealed that low-moderate intensity exercise will result in better overall health and weight maintenance results. This allows me to craft an exercise routine that allows my body to respond at its best, keeping intensity lower reducing inflammation.
I definitely intend to implement these simple yet proven interventions to improve my DNA methylation, and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
DNA testing from optiphi® can provide similar insights across other areas of your health and lifestyle and provide actionable interventions to improve aspects such as your skin condition, your metabolism and detect cancer risk factors.
The full range of optiphi® Helix DNA tests include:
optiphi® Helix Health Report
optiphi® Helix Diet Report
optiphi® Helix Skin Report
optiphi® Helix Hormone Report
optiphi® Helix Breast, Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Report (only from medical practitioner)
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.