As a species, humans have long looked to predict our future with questions such as 'is our health predetermined' or 'can we change our fate'? Following the discovery of DNA (famously identified by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953), some thought our destiny was written in our DNA.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was a ground-breaking international scientific research collaboration. Researchers across the globe worked towards a united goal of determining our entire DNA code. The project got underway in 1990 with the high aspiration to fully understand our genetic code and how this influenced us. By 2003 the project was completed giving us the first map of our chromosomes. It revealed that the human genome has just over 3 billion nucleotides making up our 23 chromosomes' DNA code. A historic achievement!
One big surprise of the HGP was that we have far fewer genes than was estimated before the project began. In 1990, it was estimated that due to our complex biology and vast numbers of expressed proteins, we were likely to have up to 100 000 genes. However, less than a quarter of human genes have been identified. To put this into perspective, bread wheat contains over 105 000 genes compared to roughly 25 000 human genes. Scientific research has since moved on to investigating how our genes are expressed into different proteins which function together to make up our cells and tissues and influence our health.
The shift towards personalised nutrition intervention for health and wellness
Since the HGP completion, our understanding of the complex interactions between our diet & lifestyle and our genes has progressed considerably using genetic data. Nutritional Genomics uses the information we continue to learn about our genetics combining information about our unique DNA code and environment. Using both allows optimisation of diet and lifestyle advice, promoting health, wellness and fitness.
What does Nutritional Genomic testing involve?
The Optimal Health report analyses a selection of carefully selected genetic traits. This information then combines with in-depth lifestyle questionnaire data to present individualised nutrition and lifestyle information. As a Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioner RegCNHC my role is to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to symptoms and health concerns. I consider each unique individual and recommend personalised nutrition and lifestyle programmes rather than a 'one size fits all’ approach. Nutritional Genomics is tailored specifically for you, considering your health journey, goals and dietary preferences.