top of page

Applying Genomic Science - A Cutting-Edge Approach for Disease Prevention and Reverse Aging

Updated: Jul 31, 2023


Genomic Science

What’s the best diet and lifestyle, and what’s nutritional genomics?


Living a vibrant, pain-free life full of youth and energy is everyone’s optimal goal. Regardless of age, this goal is achievable. The key to aging well and maintaining youth and vibrancy is to take a preventative approach by building a solid health foundation supported by sound nutrition. Instantaneously, here pops the big question that is always in everyone’s mind: What is the best diet and lifestyle?


There is no quick and easy answer to this question because everyone is different with their own unique genetic makeup, health history, blood chemistry, diet, lifestyle, cultural, personal, and professional background, all crucial factors to their health status. It’s imperative to connect these various­­­­ pieces to practice what I call “precision nutrition” - to ensure dietary strategies and therapeutic protocols are well-targeted for increasing the chance for success. Therefore, nutrition, diet, and lifestyle need to be highly personalized. So, the correct answer to the question is: The best diet and lifestyle need to be tailored for each person.


Speaking of personalized nutrition, nothing makes it more “personal” than incorporating a person’s genetic insights into crafting a nutrition plan. Nutritional genomics has been a hot topic in recent years. It’s an emerging, fast-growing, and cutting-edge field. Its excitement comes from a growing awareness of the potential for applying personalized dietary modifications to support health and reduce the risk of diet-related diseases. Nutritional genomics science studies the relationship between diet and genes in how diets or nutrients affect gene expression and how genetic variations impact a person’s responses to nutrients and bioactive compounds in foods.[1] The interaction between genes and diet-nutrients-lifestyle has a vital role in health outcomes. Applying nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics for personalized nutrition is the ultimate approach to supporting healthy aging and disease prevention.


Where to start and how to apply nutritional genomic science in real life?


With constantly fast-evolving technologies and sciences, there are now great tools available on the market for us to apply nutritional genomics in real life, something that we never thought would be possible just fifteen to twenty years ago. There are currently direct-to-consumer genetic tests, such as 23 and Me and Ancestry, as the two most known options people can access at affordable prices. While this kind of test provides fun information about ancestry and some info on genetic risks of certain diseases, an important caveat is that they don’t provide information on the gene and food-nutrient interactions, such as genetic risks or benefits in response to certain foods and nutrients.


Here is an excellent example that many people would be curious about: Are you a good candidate for consuming coffee or anything containing caffeine? The answer is it depends on your genotype of a gene called “Cytochrome P450 1A2” (CYP1A2 at the location of rs762551 in the genome). Caffeine is a known inducer of this gene’s enzyme activity. There are three genotypes of this gene: AA, AC, and CC. Suppose you have a variant (or single nucleotide polymorphism – SNP as its abbreviation) of this CYP1A2 gene with either AC or CC genotype. In that case, you have a slow CYP enzyme activity. The CYP1A2 genetic variants have the following health implications for their response to caffeine intake:

  • People with AC or CC genotypes are slow caffeine metabolizers. Caffeine intake may negatively affect their sleep quality even if they consume caffeinated beverages in the morning.

  • Type-2 diabetes: While various factors probably influence CYP1A2 gene activity, studies have revealed a positive association between caffeine consumption and CYP1A2 activity in the type-2 diabetes patient population.[2]

  • Hypertension: Even though the association between CYP1A2 variants and blood pressure (BP) is still controversial, several studies have shown that a higher caffeine intake may exacerbate the differences in caffeine metabolism between genotypes and that slow caffeine metabolizer individuals (AC and CC genotype) showed higher BP values than fast caffeine metabolizers (AA genotype).[3]

  • Athletic performance: Studies show that the CYP1A2 variants might alter caffeine’s ergogenic effect and magnitude. Fast caffeine metabolizers (AA genotype) appear most likely to benefit from caffeine consumption, while those who are C-allele carriers (AC and CC genotype) may have a possible disadvantage. Therefore, CYP1A2 genotyping before deciding on caffeine consumption is necessary.[4,5]

Except for the question about caffeine, there are many other questions you should also ask and here are some examples:

  • Do I have any genetic vulnerabilities associated with specific nutrient deficiencies?

  • Do I have any genetic advantage or weakness associated with consuming some known offensive foods such as gluten and dairy?

  • Am I at a higher risk of developing hypertension in response to sodium intake?

  • Am I a good candidate to follow any popular diets such as Keto or paleo?

The easiest and best way to get these questions answered is to take a direct-to-practitioner nutritional genomic test to learn about your genes. This will make the dietary strategies crystal clear and personalized. It’s always recommended to learn about it sooner rather than later. Go to https://www.jennynoland.com/product-page/nutritional-genomic-consultation to learn more about my fun and informative new service, which includes nutritional genomic testing and a 90-minute consultation session.



Jenny Noland, MS, CNS, CNGS, CKNS, LDN, MBA

Functional Nutritionist in Eugene, Oregon

Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist

Board-Certified Nutritional Genomics Specialist

Board-Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist

Certified Oncology Nutrition Specialist


Personalized Nutrition Therapy for Metabolic Dysfunction and Cancer Care

To learn more about our services, please visit the Service Offerings page.

To book a discovery call, please visit the Book Consult page or call 541-255-5047.


 

References:

  1. Peña-Romero AC, Navas-Carrillo D, Marín F, Orenes-Piñero E. The future of nutrition: Nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics in obesity and cardiovascular diseases. https://doi.org/101080/1040839820171349731. 2017;58(17):3030-3041. doi:10.1080/10408398.2017.1349731

  2. Urry E, Jetter A, Landolt HP. Assessment of CYP1A2 enzyme activity in relation to type-2 diabetes and habitual caffeine intake. Nutr Metab. 2016;13(1):1-9. doi:10.1186/S12986-016-0126-6/TABLES/3

  3. Soares RN, Schneider A, Valle SC, Schenkel PC. The influence of CYP1A2 genotype in the blood pressure response to caffeine ingestion is affected by physical activity status and caffeine consumption level. Vascul Pharmacol. 2018;106:67-73. doi:10.1016/J.VPH.2018.03.002

  4. Guest N, Corey P, Vescovi J, El-Sohemy A. Caffeine, CYP1A2 genotype, and endurance performance in athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018;50(8):1570-1578. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001596

  5. Barreto G, Grecco B, Merola P, Reis CEG, Gualano B, Saunders B. Novel insights on caffeine supplementation, CYP1A2 genotype, physiological responses and exercise performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 2021 1213. 2021;121(3):749-769. doi:10.1007/S00421-020-04571-7






bottom of page