Gene Nutrition

This genetic metabolic screen assesses how your genes may impact specific metabolic processes that have a bearing on your overall health.Gene nutrition testing (also referred as Nutrigenomics or Nutrigenetics test) provides the report about Eating Behaviour, Micronutrient profile vitamin (A,C,D,E,B6,B9,B12), Iron requirements, Anitoxidant needs, Food sensitivities and more.

The way we fuel our bodies with the foods we eat are all impacted by our genetic make-up. The old adage “you are what you eat” plays a major tole in determining our health and wellbeing. Food and its nutrients directly and indirectly influence our gene expressions. Genetic variations affecting certain metabolic traits in turn dictates dietary means and requirements for instance, the response to food varies from individual to individual explaining why some people can eat as much as they want and never gain weight. These factors may be attributed to the large role that genes play in influencing eating behaviours and metabolism of different foods. We have assessed your genes for the following metabolic traits for which we have arrived at tailor-made dietary recommendations. Your nutrient requirements are formulated to suit the genetic variations identified in your DNA.

Regulation of Eating

We believe that our choice of food, quantity and frequency of intake is voluntary. However, hormones play a significant role in influencing these choices. The hormones secreted are in-turn regulated by genes. Individuals with certain genotypes have been observed to experience difficulty in feeling full and hence tend to eat more without feeling satisfied. They snack frequently and tend to crave energy dense foods high in sugars and fats. About 70% of overweight people have low satiety and people with low satiety eat 10% more calories per meal than people with normal satiety.We analyse 3 genes FTO, MC4R, DRD2 which shows the likelihood of excess calorie consumption and obesity.

Taste Perception

Human tongue has millions of taste receptors which allow us to taste the various foods. Genetic differences, manifested as variations in taste receptors from person to person, explain the individual food preferences and impact eating behaviour and nutritional intake. Food preferences are influenced by environmental factors, cultural factors, availability and also by genetic characteristics. For example, people who are classified as supertasters, genetically, are averse to chemicals in cruciferous vegetables. Some people are less sensitive to sugar leading them to overconsume. Generally, the less sensitive one is, the more they will consume that food. Prittee Taste Perception is analysed with a genes TAS2 R38, Sweet taste perception with TAS1RS, TASIR38 & TASIR.

Carbohydrate Response

Carbohydrates provide the main source of energy for the body. However, excess consumption, particularly in Individuals with certain genotypes can lead to excess weight gain, diabetes and other conditions. The current Indian diet is significantly higher in refined carbohydrates and lower in protein than the recommendations from the National Institute of Nutrition (60% carbs & 10-12% proteins). As a consequence, obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates are very high in India. By modifying your carbohydrate consumption according to your genotype you can maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of developing the aforementioned conditions. 5 vital gene involved in glucose metabolism & obesity [ PPARG,  PPARGC1A, SREBP1C, pro, MMAB ] are analysed.

Protein Response

Dietary proteins provide amino acids for the synthesis of body proteins, active enzymes and other biologically important nitrogenous compounds in the body. High protein diets, particularly in individuals with certain genotypes can have beneficial effect on weight maintenance. As per the IMRB survey, 9 out 10 Indians are consuming inadequate amounts of protein. Higher number of vegetarians (91%) show a protein deficit as compared to non vegetarians (85%). Protein deficiency could be attributed to poor muscle mass, higher triglyceride levels and higher prevalence of central adiposity among Indians. By modulating your protein intake according to your genotype can help address the above mentioned conditions and help maintain optimal body weight. A key, genetic component of Protein metabolism , TFAP 2B is evaluated to assess protein response.

Fibre Response

Dietary fibre is essential to maintaining body weight and composition, blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. Individuals respond differently to their dietary fibre intakes. However, adequate dietary fibre intakes have beneficial effects on waist circumference and BMI in individuals with certain genotypes. With economic and dietary transition that has taken place in India as a result of globalization, more and more proportion of people are shifting to processed, refined and packaged foods. Therefore, dietary fibre is acquiring greater significance due to its beneficial role in maintenance of optimal body weight and the associated health benefits. The FTO gene responsible for association between BMI & fibre intake is evaluated.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. They are predominantly derived from animal and dairy products and also from some vegetable oils. Individuals with certain genotypes may have higher levels of LDL cholesterol and more prone to weight gain in response to high levels of saturated fat in their diet. Such individuals may benefit from limiting saturated fat intake. Replacing both saturated and trans fats with unsaturated (poly and mono unsaturated) fats helps to improve cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity and BMI. Predisposition to obesity due to saturated fat intake is evaluated by the gene APOA 2.

Poly Unsaturated Fat Response

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are considered as healthy fats and are important for the maintenance of heart and brain function and overall growth and development. The two major types of PUFAs are Omega-3 and Omega- 6 Fatty Acids. Foods that have balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6 are considered healthier. Individuals with certain genotypes may have decreased blood levels of both of these fatty acids and as a result should increase their dietary intake. Contemporary Indian diets have an exceptionally high Omega-6: Omega-3 fatty acid ratio due to excessive consumption of Omega- 6 from processed foods and cooking oils. 5 key components of PUFA metabolism is evaluated by the genes APOC 3 APOA5, FADS1, SREBP1C.

Mono Unsaturated Fat Response

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) belong to the family of healthy fats that improve good cholesterol (HDL) levels and keep the bad cholesterol levels in check. While individuals with certain genotypes may benefit from adequate intake of monounsaturated fats in terms of lower body weight and elevated HDL (good) cholesterol, others may not. Avocados, olives, some varieties of nuts, as well as oils, such as olive oil are some of the food sources rich in MUFA. This is assessed by the presence of gene ADIPOQ, BDNF.

Propensity for Weight Regain

Exercise can positively regulate bodily functions and decrease fat levels. Regular exercise renders weight control through improved metabolism and oxidation of fatty acids. Oxidized fatty acids in addition to glucose can be used as a fuel source for the body during exercise. Regular exercise is a healthy way for fat loss and weight control. How efficiently people respond to exercise in terms of fat oxidation is dependent on their genes. The influence of the carbohydrate & fat metabolism impacts weight response to exercise as assessed by the presence or absence of the genes LIPC, IMSIG 2.

Vitamin A Requirement

Vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin, is required for clear vision, healthy skin and enhanced immune function. Vitamin A can be obtained from either animal or plant sources. Animal sources like organ meat, fish & milk products provide Vitamin A in the form of retinol or retinoic acid, while plant sources like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes provide the precursor of Vitamin A in the form of carotenes. Carotenes must be converted into retinol for them to function as Vitamin A in the body. People with certain genotypes have reduced ability to convert carotenes to retinol and may be at a risk for Vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin D Requirement

Vitamin D, the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, is essential for absorption of calcium from the intestine. It is also important for immunity as it improves our body’s defense against harmful microorganisms. Our body can synthesize sufficient Vitamin D from cholesterol when the skin is exposed to adequate amounts of sunlight. A particular genotype is responsible for lower levels of Vitamin D in some individuals. Low Vitamin D levels pose the risk of rickets and osteoporosis-related fractures. An increase in Vitamin D intake is recommended improve calcium absorption and overall health.

Vitamin E Requirement

Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin is an antioxidant, defends the body against free radical damage and protects polyunsaturated fatty acids from oxidation. Individuals with certain genotypes have lower plasma levels due to inefficient transport of Vitamin E within the body, therefore have increased Vitamin E requirement. The current Indian diets contain higher levels of PUFA, especially (Omega-6) contributing to more than 10% of the daily calories than recommended by NIN (<10%), which necessitates increased Vitamin E in the diet. This has been associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases.

Vitamin B6 Requirement

Vitamins B6 (or Pyridoxine) is a B Complex Vitamin found in certain foods such as whole cereals, beans, vegetables, liver, meat, and eggs. It is required for the proper utilization of sugars, fats and proteins in the body. Excess of glucose inside the cell can cause cell damage (glycation). Vitamin B6 protects the cells against glycation-induced damage. Some genotypes lack the ability to fully metabolize this vitamin owing to its low levels in the body. Vitamin B6 deficiency in adults may cause health problems affecting the nerves, skin, mucous membranes and circulatory system.

Vitamin B9 Requirement

Vitamin B9 or Folate is an essential B vitamin, which plays a major role in DNA synthesis and repair. It has a vital role in several cellular functions. It is essential for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine in the cell. An excess accumulation of homocysteine can induce inflammation, damage blood vessels, increase blood pressure and cause a disturbance in heart health. A particular genotype causes increased Vitamin B9 requirement due to a reduced enzymatic conversion efficiency of Homocysteine to Methionine.

Vitamin B12 Requirement

Vitamins B12 (Cyanocobalamin), is actively involved in red blood cell maturity and its deficiency can lead to production of immature red blood cells, a type of anemia named macrocytic anemia/pernicious anemia and general fatigue. Along with Folate and Riboflavin, it helps in eliminating homocysteine from the cell. Fermented products like tofu, milk & milk products, and organ meat are the main sources of this vitamin. Individuals with certain genetic variations may require higher intake of B12 to prevent anemia and to remove excess homocysteine from cells.

Vitamin C Requirement

Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin, is a potent anti-oxidant and has immunity enhancing properties. A particular genotype has reduced ability to absorb Vitamin C due to inefficient transport within the body. This increases the risk for developing Vitamin C deficiency disorders. Indians tend to have lesser fruit and vegetable intake (recommended average of 400g/day). This is seen to lead to higher rates of Cardiovascular Diseases, Scurvy and even Cancer. A diet rich in Vitamin C can counteract the genetic predisposition towards the diseases

Iron Requirement

Iron is a mineral essential for oxygen transport through the blood (bound to proteins like hemoglobin in RBC & myoglobin in muscle). Hepcidin regulates the entry of iron into the circulation. Iron deficiency leads to anemia. According to the International Institute of Population Studies, prevalence of anemia is very high among children (>95%), pregnant women (96.2 %) and adolescent girls (97.8%) in India. This translates into higher rates of incidence of infections and illness in the country. Individuals with certain genotypes have reduced ability to absorb iron from the diet. Regulating hepcidin levels and increasing dietary sources of iron can be beneficial.

Calcium Requirement

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body maintaining the strength and structure of bones and teeth, along with certain critical metabolic functions. Genes such as CASR plays a key role in the regulation of serum calcium levels and influences bone mineral density (BMD). Both higher and lower serum calcium levels can have important consequences for health. Individuals with certain genotypes have increased serum calcium levels and several studies have indicated that higher serum levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and suggest the possibility of underlying conditions such as hyperparathyroidism, kidney disease.

Phosphate Requirement

Phosphate is a mineral that is necessary for the formation of bones and teeth. In the body, almost all phosphorus is combined with oxygen, forming phosphate. Phosphate is also used as a building block for several important substances, including those used by the cell for energy, cell membranes, and DNA. The body obtains phosphate from the food we eat. Individuals with certain genotypes have decreased serum phosphate levels and therefore have increased requirement.

Magnesium Requirement

Magnesium is a mineral, closely associated with skeletal system and cofactor in several important reactions. It is essential for maintaining electrical potential in nerves and muscle membranes. Individuals with certain genotypes have lower serum magnesium levels, therefore have increased requirement. Clinical evidence suggests that the amount of magnesium in urban & western diets is insufficient to meet individual demands and that magnesium deficiency may be contributing to common health problems including diabetes, hypertension, and osteoporosis.Genes responsible for the micronutrient absorption, requirement & excretion in the individual is assessed & recommendation given.

Antioxidant Needs

Antioxidants are found in vegetables, fruits, whole cereals, nuts, oil seeds and green tea. They play a key role in reducing the ill effects of ‘free radicals’ and thereby prevent premature aging, tissue damage and the onset of chronic diseases. Individuals with certain genotypes have lower efficiency to defend themselves against free radical damage. They would benefit from an increased intake of antioxidant rich foods.The genes soo2 / CAT responsible for ageing changer are studied.

Salt Sensitivity

Salt plays an important role in electro-physiological functions of the cell and is essential for nerve and muscle functioning. Cooking salt, which is added for taste enhancement, is the major source of sodium in our diet. According to the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) Injuries and Risk Factors Study, Indians consume about 9.3 grams of salt per day, which is nearly twice the amount recommended by the WHO. High intake of salt is associated with high blood pressure, heart ailments and stroke. Individuals with certain genotypes are more adversely affected by high salt consumption than others.The response of a person to high sodium / low sodium diet is assessed by analysing the genes AGT, Sa K1, ACE.

Caffeine Sensitivity

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate, many soft drinks and energy drinks. It is a potent vasoconstrictor and makes one feel more alert by increasing blood pressure. However, this stimulant effect can also cause jitters, anxiety, and difficulty in sleeping. How quickly an individual metabolizes caffeine has been shown to be influenced by their genotype. Certain genetic variations slow down caffeine metabolism; as a result of which caffeine is retained in the blood for an extended time. This increases the risk of caffeine-associated health disturbances like reduction in bone mineral density, increased blood pressure and heart ailments.

Alcohol Flushing Response

Drinking alcoholic beverages is a common feature of social gatherings, yet alcohol overconsumption can undoubtedly lead to detrimental health effects. For some individuals, even small amounts of alcohol can be exceedingly unpleasant due to their body’s adverse reaction to alcohol causing facial flushing. Those who experience alcohol flushing may exhibit nausea (vomiting sensation), dizziness and rapid heartbeat. Alcohol flushing response can be attributed to genetic variation in the ADH1B gene, which encodes an enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism. Individuals with certain genotypes are more likely to exhibit flushing symptoms than others, thereby increasing their risk for alcohol dependence. In most cases, avoiding alcohol is the best remedy for those who experience alcohol flush. ALDH2 presence gives a evidence Rank 4 for the above said flush response.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance is a condition that causes a person to react adversely after ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Gliadin, a sub-constituent of gluten is slightly strenuous to digest owing to its complex structure, and this may be the cause for gluten intolerance among 10% of Indians (NIMS, 2014). Individuals with certain genotypes have a lower tolerance to gluten and exhibit gastrointestinal disturbances like abdominal bloating, cramps and diarrhea. Thus timely detection and adherence to a gluten- free diet can work wonders in managing this digestibility issue. Six major genes responsible for gluten Se HLA DQS, HLA DQ2.5, HLA DQ 2.2, HLA DQ7 etc are evaluated.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a common food intolerance that affects as much as 80% of the Indian population. Its symptoms include abdominal bloating and pain, diarrhea, flatulence and nausea. Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not produce enough lactase (the enzyme that breaks down the milk sugar lactose into the simpler molecules: galactose and glucose). An individual’s ability to metabolize lactose is influenced by their genetic makeup. A genetic variation can influence lactase activity in adults and thereby regulate lactose metabolism ie. the presence or absence of a gene MCM6.