Eating For Your Genes: The Science Behind DNA, Food, & Your Health
Updated: Oct 16
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory condition where the body's immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic variants and epigenetics (i.e. environmental toxins and triggers, viruses, etc.)
Throughout modern medical history, it has been discovered that each person has a unique genetic makeup.
By looking at a person's genetic makeup, researchers can gather all sorts of helpful information. They can understand not just predispositions to certain diseases (like lupus) but also how a patient metabolizes medications, substances, and even what vitamins and minerals are lacking in an individual's DNA.
This blog is intended to give you a taste of a closer look at the science of human genomics, and how you can take this information and identify the best way for you to make the healthiest choices for your lupus.
*Disclaimer: always speak to your doctor before completely changing your diet or before starting any supplement. This blog is purely for informational purposes and should never replace the recommendations of a medical professional.
What is DNA? DNA is the genetic material that carries information about everything - from how your body looks (eye color, height) to how it functions (disease pathways, genetic conditions). Your genes are embedded in your DNA. Your DNA provides instructions for making proteins. Variants in these DNA “instructions” result in different proteins that can affect the functions of your body’s tissues, organs, as well as affect the way your body processes the things you put into your body.
Each person's genome (complete DNA) is unique and includes many variants. We ALL have them. These variants are distinguished by looking at your DNA building blocks (A, C, T, or G). By determining the location of the variants, it increases the likelihood of identifying the impact they may have on your health and how you process substances - including food.
DNA & Food:
Interestingly enough, just one variant in your genes can affect how your body processes food. Variants influence how you metabolize vitamins, minerals, and absorb the nutritional content of what you are consuming.
By studying a person's genetic makeup, and understanding the nutritional composition of foods, recommendations can be provided to you that have the highest amount of the nutrients that benefit you most.
Your Genes + Nutritional Science = Your Foods
Research has shown positive health outcomes when people with certain genetic makeups consume certain nutrient levels. “Eating for your genes” can help with insulin resistance, improving vitamin D deficiency, gluten intolerance, weight loss, energy levels, and more.
“As the interactions between genetic variation and nutritional requirements become more fully understood, it will allow dietary recommendations to be individualized according to genotype to ultimately reduce our risk of degenerative diseases and increase health and well-being in old age.” - The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oxford Academic, 2006
Eating For Your Genes:
How do you discover your variants? It’s simple… you check your DNA. Thankfully, many people have already had their DNA submitted to such companies as 23andMe and AncestryDNA. If that be the case, all it takes is a couple of clicks on my favorite new website GenoPalate.
GenoPalate is a company that analyzes over 100+ genetic markers that influence how your body metabolizes different nutrients. They combine your genetic results with research on nutritional genomics to determine your recommended intake level for carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. They base your recommendations on evidence-based research correlating your genetic variants with nutrition that’s shown positive health outcomes. They also provide insights on your sensitivity to lactose and gluten, and your metabolic rate of caffeine and alcohol. Additionally, they determine your recommended intake of over 20 of the most essential nutrients.
Anytime you allow your DNA to be studied it can feel a bit intrusive. That is why GenoPalate has the highest standards of practice which state the following:
-We only apply evidence-based research from high-impact clinical trials and population studies that directly link positive health outcomes with nutritional genomics.
-Our lab is certified by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), that regulate and ensure quality laboratory testing certified by the state and Center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS).
-Your privacy is our priority. Your data is completely de-identified and encrypted in our database and is carefully disposed of by our lab after it has been used to generate your report. - GenoPalate Website 2020.
My Personal Experience:
As a lupus patient, community liaison, and blogger, I was intrigued when I was first introduced to GenoPalate. I have always desired to be someone who is actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and being proactive with selfcare. However, I will admit, I have struggled with trying to manage my dietary choices. I never have felt that I understood what was the right “diet” for me, particularly with all my lupus and lupus overlap issues. Dealing with chronic multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies, normal supplements never seemed to do the job. Additionally, I have lived with digestive issues since birth that I have never quite understood… until now.
After two weeks of sending in my genetic sample, I was given my personalized nutritional profile. I was BLOWN AWAY! It included my macronutrient intake, my optimal vitamin and mineral intake, my top foods (100 foods in 16 different categories), and my substance metabolism and sensitivity chart for dairy, gluten, alcohol, and caffeine.
I learned that I DO have all the genetic variants for gluten sensitivity and that I need to eat low lactose foods. I also learned that I metabolize caffeine very slowly, which explains why I get so jittery and anxious if I have more than one cup of coffee! Additionally, it identified my vitamin D deficiency issues, as well as many other auto-immune indicators!
After processing this information, I have started to begin my new "Eating For Your Genes" journey. It is incredibly helpful that when I grocery shop, I know what foods to gravitate towards, and which foods to avoid. I have also enjoyed trying some of the GenoPalate recipes included in my easy to follow ap!
Now, the GenoPalate analysis is by no means meant to be used for diagnosing medical conditions or food allergies. It is simply a tool ... and in my opinion it is one more thing that allows me to “control the controllables” with my lupus. It makes me feel like I am taking an active role in my health. And after living with a very unpredictable illness like lupus for almost 30 years, I like having tools that allow me to manage my illness as successfully as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about your genetic profile and how to “Eat For Your Genes” click here. GenoPalate is offering a 50% special and coupon with code: Kelli20
**All resources provided by this blog are for informational purposes only, not to replace the advice of a medical professional. Kelli encourages you to always contact your medical provider with any specific questions or concerns regarding your illness. All intellectual property and content on this site and in this blog is owned by morethanlupus.com. This includes materials protected by copyright, trademark, or patent laws. Copyright, More Than Lupus 2020.