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  • Writer's picturehannahangell

Genetics & their impact on fitness and diet

I had some DNA testing done recently and went through my results last week with my Nutritional Therapist Bev Gibbs.

I did the testing with DNAFit. It was a very simple process which involved sending a swab/saliva sample in the post and then I received my reports by email a couple of weeks later.

Our genes make up who we are and they can provide us so much information regarding power, endurance, injury risk and recovery rate. They can also help with diet and show whether carbohydrates or saturated fats will impact your ability to lose weight, as well as looking at lactose intolerance, alcohol, caffeine and salt sensitivity and Vitamin D and B needs. The documents gave me such a huge amount of information and even with a science background I was unable to make sense of it all! I am hugely grateful to Bev for going through it all with me and explaining what it all meant and how it can help with my training and diet.

I thought I would share a couple of interesting findings with you!

  • My genetic results indicate I have an overall higher than average risk of a sports related soft tissue injury – funny that given I have spent the last 14 months trying to shift my foot injury! Though my results also show my post exercise recovery is fast – meaning I should be able to recover quickly between sessions, though it is a fine balance between doing too much and risking injury!

  • My genetic results also indicate a raised requirement for dietary antioxidants and increase amount of omega 3 fatty acids - in order for free radical removal, immune support and recovery

  • In terms of nutrition and diet I have been recommended to increase antioxidants, vitamin D and calcium and decrease salt, caffeine, saturated fats and grilled meat

  • I have a reduced beneficial effect of alcohol on cholesterol – for those with some genotypes having a small amount of alcohol can help with cholesterol, but I’m not one of those unfortunately!

  • Interestingly my genes show I metabolise caffeine slowly and I also have a genotype that indicates I am at an increased risk of having low bone mineral density associated with caffeine intake.

These are just a few of the fascinating findings that Bev has pointed out to me in my report, I won’t share it all with you as I don’t want to give all my secrets away ;) But with a 25 page report on diet, 15 page report on fitness as well as a summary page and huge meal plan document there is quite a lot to take in!

I am really keen to take a look at all the information in detail and start making changes to my diet and training. You can’t change your genes but you can change your lifestyle and by identifying and analysing your unique genetic characteristics it is possible to adjust your training, diet and lifestyle to match your individual needs to succeed in sport. That’s why considering the two together and by looking at genetic strengths and weaknesses the appropriate exercise, dietary and lifestyle recommendations can be made.

The DNAFit website is full of really useful information explaining what genetics is and what their testing shows – they will explain it a lot better than I ever could so it is well worth checking out! If you have any questions I would recommend getting in contact with Bev at Sense of Nutrition, she can offer you a complete package going through everything. This is what I needed the most help with, there is no point having all the information if you can’t interpret it and therefore make changes from it. It’s no use having it sitting there in a file on your laptop! Bev offers a full package covering genotype report analysis including a tailored plan to support weight management goals and long term health, recipes, shopping lists, reviews, personal guidance and unlimited support.

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